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View Poll Results: How fast did you learn the local language?
Within a year 4 36.36%
After 1 year 0 0%
After 2 years 2 18.18%
After 3 years onwards 3 27.27%
After 5 years 1 9.09%
Didnt find it necessary to learn it 1 9.09%
Voters: 11. You may not vote on this poll

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  #101  
Old 19.11.2008, 23:26
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Re: How long does it take to learn a new language?

Oh, and I'm such a cadbury. If I split a bottle of wine with another person, you can bet the only thing I'd be learning how to say is "*giggle* You have pretty eyes."

*collapse*
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  #102  
Old 20.11.2008, 00:51
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Re: How long does it take to learn a new language?

The Bilingual edge- Kendall King and Alison Mackey.

Its' a really interesting read on when and where to teach children a second language (its aimed for parents regarding children). But it makes several very interesting points:

1. In order to pick up the ability to pronounce certain sounds instinctively, you need to be trained to pronounce them as "the window for hearing and appropriating all human language sounds begins to close at 10 months". This plays a key factor in being able to sound native - explains why despite living in Australia for 18 years, I still have a little Indian accent!

2. Being bi-lingual does increase the rate at which a third language is picked up, irrespective of the ethnology of the language group. So it seems its the language-learning skill which is responsible, not previous knowledge of the lingual group.

3. Fluency is not as dependant on age as is commonly understood. The authors suggest grammar and vocabulary is best picked up by adolescents. Adults are far more likely to pick up fluency, than young children.

4. I am a geeeeeeeeek.

Haha. This is all from a quick review, but if you get a chance to read it (I managed to find an E-copy) do. It seems fascinating, and like a really worthy read for parents who are hoping to introduce their kids to bi or multilingualism.
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  #103  
Old 09.12.2008, 01:59
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Re: How long does it take to learn a new language?

I know this is not the main focus of the thread but It is relevant to learning languages.

As far as kids and languages go,..
Consider it a parental obligation , let your your little ones experience and use as many different languages as you can, and dont listen to naysayers who come up with nonsense like 'no dont expose them to so many languages it confuses them' or 'they'll never learn one of them properly'
All crap. from Jealous malinformed neerdowells who have simply forgotten what brilliant learning machines little children are.

Our lovely little sponges will soak up whatever you throw at them linguistically, just let em soak it up. Just do your thing and see to it they get the exposure.

When it comes to little ones, they are learning monsters, just stick them in the linguistic pool they'll swim fantastically. just let Osmosis do its thing.

They are all primed to absorb language, its an opportunity to benefit from, and one that'll have a lifelong benefit.

They say that some 'have a flair for picking up languages...'. I suspect the flair is in the ones who've used several of them growing up.
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  #104  
Old 09.12.2008, 10:06
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Re: How long does it take to learn a new language?

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I know this is not the main focus of the thread but It is relevant to learning languages.

As far as kids and languages go,..
Consider it a parental obligation , let your your little ones experience and use as many different languages as you can, and dont listen to naysayers who come up with nonsense like 'no dont expose them to so many languages it confuses them' or 'they'll never learn one of them properly'
All crap. from Jealous malinformed neerdowells who have simply forgotten what brilliant learning machines little children are.

Our lovely little sponges will soak up whatever you throw at them linguistically, just let em soak it up. Just do your thing and see to it they get the exposure.

When it comes to little ones, they are learning monsters, just stick them in the linguistic pool they'll swim fantastically. just let Osmosis do its thing.

They are all primed to absorb language, its an opportunity to benefit from, and one that'll have a lifelong benefit.

They say that some 'have a flair for picking up languages...'. I suspect the flair is in the ones who've used several of them growing up.
You are absolutely right 3daystubble. And this is why we moved to Switzerland so that our son can learn a few more languages - effortlessly, while still young. He already speaks three languages and is now learning Italian and French. (Also German from next year on.)

At the same time, I'm also seeing that not all kids are like little sponges and I've seen kids learn a new language and then have their mothertongue suffer as a consequence. I also know adults who grew up with 2-3 different languages and when they say one of those is their first language, but they don't speak it 100% well, then you realize that they are not 100% fluent in any of the languages. I guess it's still better to speak 2-3 languages at 90% than only one.

I'm sorry if that sounds a bit confusing. English is not my first language. LOL!
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  #105  
Old 10.12.2008, 19:06
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Re: How long does it take to learn a new language?

One thing which shouldn’t be forgotten is that languages in themselves and one’s own command of a language are all constantly changing.
A child who has spoken one language up to the age of ten will have the vocabulary of a ten year old. Unless he or she reads, writes and hears and speaks the language after this, the child will lose some of the fluency and not increase the vocabulary as would be normal at this stage.
The environment in which one lives or works also makes a difference. Specialised words are constantly being added as new situations occur. Many people who are very fluent in two languages still much prefer to use only one of them for maths. I speak and read both German and English but I only know skiing vocabulary in German and hockey terms in English. I sew and knit in English but crochet in German.
It is a real challenge to parents to ensure that even as the child learns a new language he is encouraged to retain the use of the other tongues in which he was fluent before. To a lesser extent, it applies to adults too. Having lived abroad long enough, we may well find that our compatriots use words which have either changed in meaning or which didn’t exist when we left the country. Been there, done that.
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  #106  
Old 10.12.2008, 22:45
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Re: How long does it take to learn a new language?

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One thing which should’t be forgotten is that languages in themselves and one’s own command of a language are all constantly changing.
A child who has spoken one language up to the age of ten will have the vocabulary of a ten year old. Unless he or she reads, writes and hears and speaks the language after this, the child will lose some of the fluency and not increase the vocabulary as would be normal at this stage.
The environment in which one lives or works also makes a difference. Specialised words are constantly being added as new situations occur. Many people who are very fluent in two languages still much prefer to use only one of them for maths. I speak and read both German and English but I only know skiing vocabulary in German and hockey terms in English. I sew and knit in English but crochet in German.
It is a real challenge to parents to ensure that even as the child learns a new language he is encouraged to retain the use of the other tongues in which he was fluent before. To a lesser extent, it applies to adults too. Having lived abroad long enough, we may well find that our compatriots use words which have either changed in meaning or which didn’t exist when we left the country. Been there, done that.
You are absolutely correct Longbyt. Children learn quickly but also forget quickly. It takes a lot of ongoing work to remain fluent in more than one language. For example, we left Hungary when I was 10 and moved to Canada. (Actually lived in Austria first where I learned to speak German, which I quickly forgot a couple of years later) So my Hungarian pretty much stayed at that level as I only spoke to my parents in Hungarian and they never took the time to correct my mistakes. Fast-forward 15 years and I marry a Hungarian man, who doesn't find my 10-year old's vocabulary that cute and spends many years helping me to perfect my mother tongue once again.

My son is quite amazing because he has an incredible vocabulary in both English and Hungarian. He's what you would call, completely bilingual and is also fluent in Maltese. I'm really curious to see how these languages will be affected by him learning Italian and French now. I really hope that the core languages will not suffer, but I would not be too surprised if Italian became his first language in a couple of years.
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  #107  
Old 11.12.2008, 10:04
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Re: How long does it take to learn a new language?

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You are absolutely correct Longbyt. Children learn quickly but also forget quickly. It takes a lot of ongoing work to remain fluent in more than one language. For example, we left Hungary when I was 10 and moved to Canada. (Actually lived in Austria first where I learned to speak German, which I quickly forgot a couple of years later) So my Hungarian pretty much stayed at that level as I only spoke to my parents in Hungarian and they never took the time to correct my mistakes. Fast-forward 15 years and I marry a Hungarian man, who doesn't find my 10-year old's vocabulary that cute and spends many years helping me to perfect my mother tongue once again.

My son is quite amazing because he has an incredible vocabulary in both English and Hungarian. He's what you would call, completely bilingual and is also fluent in Maltese. I'm really curious to see how these languages will be affected by him learning Italian and French now. I really hope that the core languages will not suffer, but I would not be too surprised if Italian became his first language in a couple of years.
I would also like to point out the phonemon from my parents, in which there mother tongue of swiss-german which they spoke to each other until they moved to Canada in their early 20's has over the last 30years been replace with English. Well they have not forgotten the swiss-german , they now prefer to conserve with each other in english and revert to the swiss only when the other person as extremely minimal english, wether the other person is swiss or not.

Which is also a phonemon I have as yet only seen among swiss people, with this I mean that I have often noticed swiss-german speakers converesing to another swiss-german speaker in English or another language instead of swiss-german. Also I have found that swiss-german parents often do not bother to teach their children swiss-german when living abroad, unlike many other cultures. So I believe that swiss-german is a language that is highly likely to vanish with in the next 100years or so.
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  #108  
Old 11.12.2008, 10:14
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Re: How long does it take to learn a new language?

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I would also like to point out the phonemon from my parents, in which there mother tongue of swiss-german which they spoke to each other until they moved to Canada in their early 20's has over the last 30years been replace with English. Well they have not forgotten the swiss-german , they now prefer to conserve with each other in english and revert to the swiss only when the other person as extremely minimal english, wether the other person is swiss or not.

Which is also a phonemon I have as yet only seen among swiss people, with this I mean that I have often noticed swiss-german speakers converesing to another swiss-german speaker in English or another language instead of swiss-german. Also I have found that swiss-german parents often do not bother to teach their children swiss-german when living abroad, unlike many other cultures. So I believe that swiss-german is a language that is highly likely to vanish with in the next 100years or so.
That is a shame Babs. But I've seen the exact same thing happening with Hungarians. For most Hungarians, it's really difficult to learn English properly and even many of those who have been living in Canada or the US since 1956 still speak in broken English. But... the second generation will not speak Hungarian at all. They get to the new country and speak to the kids with their limited broken English instead of Hungarian. Then they end up mixing the two languages as they speak, which makes me crazy. They'll go to Hungary and speak half English and half Hungarian, trying to show off how well they speak English and just look foolish.

My husband and I make an effort to speak to each other in Hungarian as much as possible and only switch to English when there are others around or we're speaking about business, which is often easier in English.

It would be a shame for Swiss German and other languages to vanish in time because of this.
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  #109  
Old 23.03.2009, 13:34
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Re: How long does it take to learn a new language?

Hi, we have been living in Lugano now for 6 months also. We have only managed to have one private lesson due to unforseen circumstances and I am desparate to get stuck in. I wondered if anyone had tried the language courses offered by migros or amerispan etc. We have made friends locally within our village and that is helping but I am frustrated and want to learn faster like you!
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  #110  
Old 09.06.2011, 13:17
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How fast did you learn the local language?

I dont really know how to do this but if someone could assist, please do. Id like to make a poll on how fast (realistically possible) an average adult can learn the local language. (6 mos, 1 year, 1.5 years...) To the point that they can speak it at home, understand tv, walk into a government office and inquire or process something on his own, and things like that. We can also add how/where they learned it. School or self study or with a tandem partner?

I have classmates in my language class that have been living here for around 3 years and one for 8 years and she just enrolled for basic german. I would like to set a personal goal and would like to know how fast people actually achieve it.

Thanks

Last edited by stephanienie; 09.06.2011 at 13:28.
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  #111  
Old 09.06.2011, 13:25
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Re: How fast did you learn the local language?

How long is a piece of string?

Really, it's all about context. I'm fine asking for my regular prescription at the doctor's, not so fine asking for a permit renewal at the town hall. I'm fine chatting about Ottoman history in the pub, not so fine keeping up with three hour meetings at work.

I've been here six years, never taken lessons, have a B2 certificate in German.

Everyone's experience is different.
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  #112  
Old 09.06.2011, 13:27
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Re: How long does it take to learn a new language?

If you are talking about Aargau - which do you mean by the local language?
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  #113  
Old 09.06.2011, 13:38
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Re: How long does it take to learn a new language?

Oh yes, im talking about High german and not local language so "new language" would be correct
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  #114  
Old 09.06.2011, 13:42
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Re: How long does it take to learn a new language?

So lets make the standard lower. Not to the point of doing all those things i stated but only to the point where you can personally say you know the language.
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  #115  
Old 09.06.2011, 13:43
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Re: How long does it take to learn a new language?

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So lets make the standard lower. Not to the point of doing all those things i stated but only to the point where you can personally say you know the language.
That's entirely subjective, surely?

I know Albanian. I can say where I live, what I do for a living. I can greet people, thank them and bid them farewell. Therefore I know Albanian.
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  #116  
Old 09.06.2011, 13:45
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Re: How long does it take to learn a new language?

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So lets make the standard lower. Not to the point of doing all those things i stated but only to the point where you can personally say you know the language.
I know Japanese. Actually I don't know any words or syntax or anything but I feel comfortable enough with telling fibs to say I know Japanese.
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  #117  
Old 09.06.2011, 13:54
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Re: How long does it take to learn a new language?

I've been here 16 years and have lived and worked in both French-speaking and German-speaking environments, often simultaneoulsy, if you see what I mean. My working language has been predominantly English at all times. I would say I am nowhere near fluent in either French or German. I know enough to have a polite conversation, follow a meeting, translate a document into English etc, yet I would baulk at writing a letter, lengthy email or report in either language.
My wife, on the other hand, has been working in an entirely French-speaking environment since the day she arrived. I would say she is a fluent speaker, she even did her teacher-practioner course entirely in French.
It all depends on your immersion in the language and your ability to pick it up.
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  #118  
Old 09.06.2011, 13:54
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Re: How long does it take to learn a new language?

Well, im trying to get the point out of your comments if its meant to help or not. Yes its subjective and yes you can be sarcastic when answering. Or you can just be simply honest. So what should the changes be in the question?
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  #119  
Old 09.06.2011, 14:15
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Re: How long does it take to learn a new language?

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Well, im trying to get the point out of your comments if its meant to help or not. Yes its subjective and yes you can be sarcastic when answering. Or you can just be simply honest. So what should the changes be in the question?
Sarcastic? I'm giving you a straight answer: self-evaluation will give you useless results.

Sorry for bothering.
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  #120  
Old 09.06.2011, 14:30
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Re: How long does it take to learn a new language?

If you want to learn quickly- the only way is total immersion and keep away from anybody who speaks your MT, Forums in your language, TV, Press, etc.

This is what I did when I went to London- no Swiss clubs, no language schools full of French, Swiss and other foreigners- just the language you want to learn, day in day out, 100%. Your head and brain hurts for a few weeks- then it happens very quickly.
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