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. LanguageLover Registered Member

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    Fluent:

    English
    Finnish
    Swedish [Norwegian is understandable to a point since I speak Swedish.]
    Icelandic

    Okay:

    Dutch
    Russian
     
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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    If you're fluent in Swedish, familiar with Icelandic, and you can understand Norwegian, then surely you can also understand Danish?
     
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  5. ylaviva Registered Member

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    Hi! I might like to meet you someday.
    I am a language freak, and my greatest pleasure in travelling comes from being exposed to the magic of a new sound system.
    I have studied up to now about twenty modern languages and seven or eight ancient ones, although I am fluent in just a few and the rest are often dormient.
    Anytime I experience a sense of loss or of failure in life I tackle a new language. This gives me real consolation. And associating that loss with this new acquisition re-establishes the balance and makes me come out a winner.
    Would you like to go and improve Greek this Summer? or to learn Turkish?
    Ciao
    ylaviva
     
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  7. Norsefire Salam Shalom Salom Registered Senior Member

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    11,529
    I speak English and Arabic fluently and a bit of French but I didn't count it because I only know a few phrases
     
  8. Randwolf Ignorance killed the cat Valued Senior Member

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  9. deathfix Registered Member

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    8
    I voted '2' on the poll even though I'm much more fluent in English than my parents' native language. I grew up with English and a Nigerian language called Igbo being spoken in our house.

    I also took a few crappy years of German in high school. I'm currently trying to build upon that by reading German stuff online. Speaking is definitely harder since I have nobody to practice with.
     
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    24,690
    Igbo: a language in the Niger-Congo family with about 30 million speakers, primarily in southeastern Nigeria. It is a tonal language like Chinese, and also has several phonemes that challenge the conventional paradigms of phonetics. It has a vast continuum of dialects that are said to be almost all mutually intelligible. However Chinua Achebe, the famous author who is a native speaker, denounces the current "standardized" dialects as artifacts of the colonial era, and once gave a speech in the Onitsha dialect, which half the people in the audience could not understand.
    Talking to yourself helps. I do it all the time. I didn't meet a Portuguese speaker for thirty years after I studied the language but I'd been practicing out loud and when I finally met one we could understand each other.

    The one thing you'll be weak on is pronunciation, without having a native speaker to criticize you. But listening to yourself carefully can help. Or better yet, record yourself and play it back.

    You have the advantage of already being bilingual. The third language is always much easier.

    With German, remember that the writing is not perfectly phonetic. B, D, or G at the end of a word is pronounced P, T or K. Single S between two vowels or before a vowel at the beginning of a word is pronounced Z. Before a consonant at the beginning of a word it's pronounced SH. The digraph ß is pronounced like SS but it only counts as a single letter, not a double, so a vowel in front of it is long, not short. There are two sounds for CH. After I, Ö or Ü, and in the suffix -CHEN, it's palatalized, like Chinese X; most of the rest of the time it's a KH sound.

    There are phonetic variances in dialects. In some regions a final unaccented E is pronounced I, but in standard German it's a schwa. You might hear the suffix -UNG pronounced -UNK, but standard is -UNG. Some dialects pronounce W like English V (a soft F), others like Spanish V (lips together instead of upper teeth on lower lip), and in this case I'm not sure which is standard because the difference is almost too subtle for an anglophone to notice.
     
  11. deathfix Registered Member

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    Thanks for the tips.

    A funny thing I (and a few of my classmates) noticed back in my first year of German was the pronunciation of G at the end of numbers. The teacher pronounced them like the normal G in English, but the kids in the cheesy videos he showed always had a K or KH sound at the end of any numbers that ended in -zig or -ssig. When questioned about it, the teacher said he didn't hear any difference.

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  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    24,690
    G in the suffix -IG is never pronounced like an English G sound. That's the way foreigners pronounce German: badly. This is another sound that is pronounced two ways and I'm not sure either one is preferred. The easiest for anglophones is just to pronounce it as a K, like any other G at the end of a word. The other way is to pronounce it as a palatalized KH, like the Mandarin phoneme that's transcribed X in the Pin-Yin system. The same way you pronounce the pronouns ich, mich, dich, euch. That is NOT the same KH sound as in Buch, mach, doch. You have to learn to hear that difference, and then say it.
     
  13. deathfix Registered Member

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    I recognize and can pronounce the subtle differences with no problems. The other two German teachers I had in later years knew and correctly taught proper pronunciation of -ig and other rules.
     
  14. onlineaddict Registered Member

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    1
    I speak two languages

    English
    Spanish (beginner's level)
     
  15. olipt_crushed Registered Member

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    2
    So far, Croatian, English, Italian, German, Esperanto, but will be learning languages for the rest of my life now. :thumbsup:
     
  16. Atopos Registered Member

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    Lots of multilinguists here! And many 4+ even!
    I am mother tongue italian, fluent in english - oh, surprise surprise - and good in french. I am decent in German and learning some Finnish too. I can understand spanish, to some extent.
    I've been born with the first, learnt english since I was six, took french in high school and later German at university. I have been in a spanish speaking environment for some time. Finnish? Well, my girlfriend is a finn!
     
  17. Atopos Registered Member

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    My teacher is Austrian and pronounces all (or most?) of the -ig endings as... [ig]. Just as is it written. Is she a fake mother tongue

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    or just has a regional accent?
     
  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    24,690
    I suspect that you're hearing it as IG because it's written that way, when in fact what she's saying is actually IK. There are quite a few dialects of German. One of the most notable things they differ on is the pronunciation of the "soft" CH sound. (As opposed to the "hard" CH sound of Buch and machen, which is a more common phoneme in the Indo-European languages, e.g. Spanish, Scots, Greek and most of the Slavic languages. All German dialects pronounce that the same way, as the sound we usually transcribe as KH in other languages.)

    The soft CH sound of ich, moechte, saftig is usually taught to us foreigners as a palatalized KH, very similar to the Mandarin phoneme that is transcribed as X. But in some German dialects it's pronounced more like SCH. And in some dialects the final G in the ending -IG is pronounced K, just as it is in any other word ending in G, such as Tag.
     
  19. CharonZ Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    786
    Actually I am not sure whether there is a regional distinction in the pronunciation of ig. I have heard and used it myself randomly in both ways. I assume they started off as regional dialects (like using -ik or -isch) but permeated throughout Germany. I honestly wouldn't know whether there is a official "preferred" pronunciation.
     
  20. Atopos Registered Member

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    Thanks for the wonderful explanation!
    Actually, I know there are several differences on the [ç] phoneme (while the [X] is usually only misunderstood by foreigners) but, this far, I was pretty sure that my teacher said "fertig" as [fertig], litterally. I'll pay more attention tomorrow!
     
  21. Atopos Registered Member

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    Can I guess that you are finnish?

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  22. draqon Banned Banned

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    35,006
    Russian
    English

    some: french

    want to learn: japanese
     
  23. Cellar_Door Whose Worth's unknown Registered Senior Member

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    Un peu de français and English.
     

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