English Forum Switzerland

English Forum Switzerland (https://www.englishforum.ch/forum.php)
-   International affairs/politics (https://www.englishforum.ch/international-affairs-politics/)
-   -   How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently (https://www.englishforum.ch/international-affairs-politics/255456-how-many-languages-do-you-speak-fluently.html)

Odile 07.11.2019 20:41

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
B2 is a good level, but definitely not fluent.

Slammer is right, use it or lose it. For me, I use French and English all the time, every day- makes no difference. I have a Degree in German and used to teach it to A'Level- but never use it these days. It would just take me a couple of weeks there to go back to fluency, but nowadays it is a bit rusty. I'd love to speak Italian fluently, and was studying for A'Level just before we moved here. I get buy nicely, have a decent intonation, but grammar and vocab insufficient. Really must try and spend longer periods there. After 2 weeks, I am getting quite confident - then leave.

mobk 07.11.2019 23:06

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Dual nationality (CH, CAN), but sadly only English fluently.


French to newspaper reading, halting conversation level.


Spanish and German to a useful traveling level, but light years from fluency.


Enough snippets of Latin to sound snobby.

greenmount 08.11.2019 09:38

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by NomadAmericano (Post 2610413)
An observation from my discussions (in Spanish) with Swiss-based Spaniards and other native Spanish speakers: Almost none speak English.

And some say the same about Italians.
And I had quite the opposite experience with all the young(ish) ambitious Spaniards that are working for multinational companies because there are better opportunities abroad than back home, especially in certain fields.

It's funny how different people can be, eh?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Odile (Post 3118137)
But definitely not fluent.

Slammer is right, use it or lose it. For me, I use French and English all the time, every day- makes no difference. I have a Degree in German and used to teach it to A'Level- but never use it these days. It would just take me a couple of weeks there to go back to fluency, but nowadays it is a bit rusty. I'd love to speak Italian fluently, and was studying for A'Level just before we moved here. I get buy nicely, have a decent intonation, but grammar and vocab insufficient. Really must try and spend longer periods there. After 2 weeks, I am getting quite confident - then leave.

My French is getting rusty even though it's my first foreign language, English is only the second. I studied both in school as part of the school curriculum, whatever else I can speak nowadays it's because I invested my time (especially my time) and money in courses, books, various learning materials. Oh, actually I am a bit unfair now, our companies payed for a few German language courses but I was so busy back then that I didn't really take full advantage. I had to start again on my own, and properly that time. I could have had such an easy life in the French speaking part, but no, I wanted a challenge. And challenge it was - having to learn not only the official (High) German language, but some dialect(s) too....;-) Still believe that all of us who're making it or navigating through the Swiss diglossia deserve a certain amount of understanding from the locals. I might ask for too much though, who knows.

But yes, I also agree with slammer - use it or lose it. Practice, wherever and whenever you can.

Quote:

Originally Posted by slammer (Post 3118034)
English and German are pretty much interchangeable for me. At one time I could hold a conversation in Mexican Spanish, something that turned heads when in Spain. I could hold a simple conversation in Danish and can still just about read a newspaper also and much to my surprise I still retain a lot of school French. (Bet you didīt expect that Mrs. Ormrod) Maltese, only a few words, just enough to get me from A to B and not starve in a Restaurant.
Itīs all a case of "Use it or lose it!"

Lol, my (rather basic) Spanish contains lots of bits from South-America, maybe even Mexico. I'd be delighted if I could use the Argentinian accent though - which I like the most...maybe it will come natural to me one day...just to confuse the audience. lol.

Sky 10.11.2019 10:11

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by greenmount (Post 3118254)
My French is getting rusty even though it's my first foreign language, English is only the second

Your English is perfect, I thought it was your Mother Tongue.
True bilinguals are rare.

Sandgrounder 10.11.2019 10:29

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sky (Post 3118742)
True bilinguals are rare.

Not sure itís that rare, to be honest. If youíve got two parents who speak two different languages to you from birth (like loads of people here), you canít help but be bilingual.

My son speaks English like me, even mirroring my accent and occasional word-play, and speaks Swiss German like his dad.

Belgianmum 10.11.2019 10:38

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sandgrounder (Post 3118744)
Not sure it’s that rare, to be honest. If you’ve got two parents who speak two different languages to you from birth (like loads of people here), you can’t help but be bilingual.

My son speaks English like me, even mirroring my accent and occasional word-play, and speaks Swiss German like his dad.

I agree, in this day and age where multilingual families are common, truely bilingual people are not rare at all.
For my parents’ generation, on the other hand, it would have been really rare and exotic.

McTAVGE 10.11.2019 10:53

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
If Scottish-English counts and if singing in Swiss-German rather than speaking it counts, then 5.:)

NotAllThere 10.11.2019 12:00

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Odile (Post 3118137)
B2 is a good level, but definitely not fluent.

Depends on your definition of fluency.

I'm considered by some native speakers to be fluent in French and in German - since I speak relatively quickly, without too much hesitation. However, my grammar isn't necessarily correct and I've got lacunae in my vocabularies (especially in German). What matters to those hearers is that they understand me and I understand them - even if I have to ask for clarification of certain words.

Sky 10.11.2019 12:13

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sandgrounder (Post 3118744)
Not sure itís that rare, to be honest. If youíve got two parents who speak two different languages to you from birth (like loads of people here), you canít help but be bilingual.

My son speaks English like me, even mirroring my accent and occasional word-play, and speaks Swiss German like his dad.

I thought the same.
Itís a posit though discussed by linguists that itís actually very hard to be a true bilingual. I suppose in the sense of being able write and formulate like Greenmount for whom English is not her native language.
A true bilingual has the capacity to converse and write in both languages identically.

Iím fluent in English, French and Italian, but I only translate from French and Italian in to English. Iíd love to say Iím a true bilingual as per a linguistís definition as I write, speak without a foreign accent and can think naturally in French especially, but I canít because I sometimes become frustrated when seeking the right words in French, and I consciously need to think of grammatical structures.

Blueangel 10.11.2019 12:23

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sky
Itís a posit though discussed by linguists that itís actually very hard to be a true bilingual.

I've heard the same because there's a belief that one of the languages will suffer and one will become dominant. OH is currently refreshing his Greek using Duolingo because he's neglected his written Greek for years but has recently had a number of legal docs to deal with, and as you wrote, he finds himself mentally searching for words.

swisscanmom 10.11.2019 12:41

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Don't think it is that rare. All depends on how often you use both languages. I consider myself truly bilingual and use English at home and German/Swiss German at work. I don't think there is a dominance in any one language.

Belgianmum 10.11.2019 13:14

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by swisscanmom (Post 3118774)
Don't think it is that rare. All depends on how often you use both languages. I consider myself truly bilingual and use English at home and German/Swiss German at work. I don't think there is a dominance in any one language.

Our son is exactly the same.

Sky 10.11.2019 13:17

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Depends on the definition I suppose.
Yes, there is a dominance in one language.
It’s easily tested.
Translate a few sentences from one language to the other, and then vice versa, and one can quickly feel the difference in effort.
In fact, professional translators prefer to translate towards their own native tongue, due to the dominance of the one language over the others.

Sandgrounder 10.11.2019 14:01

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
I think even if you are mono-lingual you still experience occasional lapses in recalling a word. If someone who is multilingual does that I think itís unfair to immediately assume itís down to a weakness in one of their languages.

The amount of times I call something a Ďwotsití or Ďthingummybobí is down to my lack of concentration rather than a linguistic failing. Iím not bilingual by any means but sometimes the German word for something pops into my mind before the English word, and itís purely down to context.

Odile 10.11.2019 14:05

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sky (Post 3118785)
Depends on the definition I suppose.
Yes, there is a dominance in one language.
It’s easily tested.
Translate a few sentences from one language to the other, and then vice versa, and one can quickly feel the difference in effort.
In fact, professional translators prefer to translate towards their own native tongue, due to the dominance of the one language over the others.

In my case, it is the contrary. My Degree and professional life were mosty English speaking - although my MT is French. I left aged 19. Much easier and quicker to translate from French to English. Also prefer teaching English rather than French or German.

Blueangel 10.11.2019 14:13

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sky (Post 3118785)
Depends on the definition I suppose.
Yes, there is a dominance in one language.
Itís easily tested.

I can test it every Sunday.
OH has just got off the phone with his mum, which means that he'll begin a conversation with me in Greek several times today, and I'll have to remind him "English please!" It's happened every Sunday for the last 8+yrs. :D With his brothers, they slide from English, to Greek to Afrikaans in one sentence, all the time. They also do a weird thing where one brother will ask a question in English and the other two will both answer in Greek or Afrikaans without consulting each other.

ZuriRollt 10.11.2019 18:38

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Blueangel (Post 3118799)
I can test it every Sunday.
OH has just got off the phone with his mum, which means that he'll begin a conversation with me in Greek several times today, and I'll have to remind him "English please!" It's happened every Sunday for the last 8+yrs. :D With his brothers, they slide from English, to Greek to Afrikaans in one sentence, all the time. They also do a weird thing where one brother will ask a question in English and the other two will both answer in Greek or Afrikaans without consulting each other.

Well, this kind of gets back to Skys post about what can be considered fluent.
This post certainly wasnít right.

RufusB 10.11.2019 18:54

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sky (Post 3118742)
True bilinguals are rare.

Nope. There are four in my daughter's primary school class alone : Spanish, Polish, Persian and Punjabi.

A friend of mine is "truly" bilingual, by Sky's definition, she speaks, writes, thinks and dreams (so she tells me) in both English and Japanese. Fluentmin both French and Italian.

NotAllThere 10.11.2019 18:54

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
I just wanted to add. All three of my kids are fluent in English and German. One of them is fluent in dialect as well.

Only one of them is good at translating! It almost as if the different languages exist in different personalities within their brains. Certainly the youngest (and most fluent) is the least patient with my bad grammar... :D

ZuriRollt 10.11.2019 21:07

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
had a chat with the woman who works in my local Coop last week. She and her children can converse very well in German, portuguese, Spanish, Swiss German and english.


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 05:53.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.1.0