How many languages / What languages do you speak?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Giambattista, Feb 26, 2007.

?

How many languages are you fluent in?

  1. 1

    29.1%
  2. 2

    37.4%
  3. 3

    22.7%
  4. 4 or more.

    10.8%
  1. nicholas1M7 Banned Banned

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    1,417
    I thought you knew two, gay and english.
     
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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I have my own scale of fluency, based on powers of three. 0 means you know 1 word, 1 means you know 3 words, 2 means you know 10 words..., 7 means you know 3,000, 8 means you know 10,000. It's harder to rate mastery of grammar objectively, but at this granularity most people have a consistent correlation between other elements of "fluency" and vocabulary size.

    It conveniently peaks out at 10, there's probably never been a person who knew 100,000 words of any language, even Chinese. People like Winston Churchill would get a 9.5 in English.

    On my own scale I'm 8.5 in English and 7.5 in Spanish. Then I drop embarrassingly in other languages which I feel I can "speak" well enough to be useful. 6.5 in Mandarin and German, 6 in French, Portuguese and Catalan, 5 in Czech and Yiddish.

    Perhaps my scale doesn't work on Esperanto. I speak it much better than Spanish yet I don't think I have a large vocabulary. I guess that's the whole point of Esperanto, it's kind of a polysynthetic language in which you build your own words as you go. I had much better conversations with Esperanto speakers in Bulgaria and Hungary than with Spanish speakers in Spain and Mexico. I guess I have to assign myself an 8 subjectively.
     
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  5. Genji Registered Senior Member

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    5,285
    I don't speak gay. I told you I'm butch.

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  7. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    30,519
    I speak, write and understand English better than most (I hope!), and can comprehend many dialects of English (US, British, Australian etc.) I read French but certainly am not a fluent speaker. I know snippets of various other languages, but not so I can speak or understand them when spoken.

    Do computer languages count? If they do, then I'm fluent in about 10 of them.
     
  8. Prince_James Plutarch (Mickey's Dog) Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,214
    Fluent in English, proficient in Latin, and know I know a bit of German and Japanese.
     
  9. Medicine*Woman Jesus: Mythstory--Not History! Valued Senior Member

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    *************
    M*W: Is Ebonics a native language for you?
     
  10. tablariddim forexU2 Valued Senior Member

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    I used to speak 'in tongues', praise da lord.
     
  11. phlogistician Banned Banned

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    10,342
    Fluent English (first language) can get by fairly well in French. I also have some German, albeit rusty.
     
  12. The Devil Inside Banned Banned

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    um...
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2007
  13. Athelwulf Rest in peace Kurt... Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,060
    Only one language, unfortunately: English. Aber ich kann ziemlich gut Deutsch. Y estoy familiarizado con español por que soy de una área (¿o un país?

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    ) donde unas personas lo hablan — pero yo sé apenas lo hablar.

    And on another note: Yay for my first post in this forum. I'll try to get the most use out of this baby.

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  14. Zephyr Humans are ONE Registered Senior Member

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    3,371
    Just the one fluently, with smatterings of several more.

    Esperanto tre bonas, sed mi ne trovis amikojn kun kiuj mi povas paroli. Kaj mi ne havas nun multan tempon.
    (Esperanto is very good, but I didn't find friends with whom I can speak. And I don't have now much time.)

    Most of them are dialects rather than languages - e.g. C, Pascal, C++, Java, and C# all descend from Algol. What's probably more important is how many programming paradigms you're familiar with - imperative, functional, concurrent, meta, etc.
     
  15. beholder Registered Member

    Messages:
    7
    English, German
    and some French.
     
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    You folks should adopt my powers-of-three fluency scale:

    0 = 1 word
    1 = 3 words
    2 = 10 words
    3 = 30 words
    4 = 100 words
    5 = 300 words
    6 = 1,000 words
    7 = 3,000 words
    8 = 10,000 words
    9 = 30,000 words
    10 = 100,000 words

    Some of you who say you know "a little" of this or that may have a rating of 5 or 6. I got along remarkably well with my 5.5 in Italy.
     
  17. Athelwulf Rest in peace Kurt... Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    5,060
    I could be a six or even a seven in German. I guess I'm a nine in English. I don't think I'm quite a six in Spanish, or quite a five in French.

    But I'm not sure how to estimate this. Suggestions?
     
  18. Facial Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,217
    According to Fraggle's scale:

    English - 8.5
    Spanish - 5 to 6
    Mandarin - 5 to 6
    Japanese - 3.5
    Latin - 3
    French - 2
    Russian - 1
    Korean - 1

    Not too sure of this.
     
  19. Oniw17 ascetic, sage, diogenes, bum? Valued Senior Member

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    3,423
    Other than English, I can answer specific questions that I learned from this CD in Gaelic, and I can somewhat understand Magyar, but I'm not very good at writing in either. I was able to have a conversation in Spanish when I was in seventh grade, and I know the numbers/colours/school supplies in French. I wouldn't say that I can speak fluently in any of these languages at the moment, but I'd probably be able to understand someone talking to me in spanish or magyar with only a small amount of confusion.
     
  20. draqon Banned Banned

    Messages:
    35,006
    9 English
    10 Russian
    2 French
     
  21. river-wind Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,671
    I like the scale method. Very earthquake-y

    English - 8.5
    Spanish - 5.5
    Japanese - 2.5
    Chinese - 2.5
    Hindi - 2
    Cherokee - 3
    Hodenoshonee - 2
    Quechua - 1
    Gealic - 2.5
    My own lanaguage for my books #1: 4
    My own lanaguage for my books #2: 3

    I voted 1, though, 'cause I'm far from fluent in all but English (and computer languages).
     
  22. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    24,066

    Are you sure? You only need knowledge of 2000 words to write a PhD thesis in the field of history of science. My old professor told me that.

    Of course he could be wrong, but he was like you one of those people who know a [ENC]shitload [/ENC]of things.
     
  23. hug-a-tree Live the life Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    673
    Oh la la, Italiano is super hot.
     

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