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

Blueangel 09.06.2016 10:31

How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
I'm very aware that the members of this forum aren't a typical group to poll from, but I'm curious to know...


How many languages do you speak fluently enough to work exclusively in that language?


I can speak bits of this and that, but no other language than English fluently. I strongly feel that British schools don't put enough emphasis on language learning and that could be detrimental to our economy if Brexit does happen. I also strongly feel that one of the best gifts you can give your children is to teach them a second language from a very early age if you are able to.

porsch1909 09.06.2016 10:43

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
0.5 or with a solid 9 hours, 0.7

Guest 09.06.2016 10:46

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Would one expect a Roman to learn Dacian and Lusitanian "just in case" he might be posted to one of those provinces?


When one speaks this century's dominant international language, how does one choose which language to learn next?

porsch1909 09.06.2016 10:53

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

Would one expect a Roman to learn Dacian and Lusitanian "just in case" he might be posted to one of those provinces?


When one speaks this century's dominant international language, how does one choose which language to learn next?
One might only need three words: civus romanus sum, plastered onto one's back.

Tom1234 09.06.2016 10:54

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Your poll is missing: I'm British and I don't speak English fluently.

dodgyken 09.06.2016 10:56

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

Would one expect a Roman to learn Dacian and Lusitanian "just in case" he might be posted to one of those provinces?


When one speaks this century's dominant international language, how does one choose which language to learn next?
It is important to learn just the key languages - so Cornish, Welsh and Gaelic cover the British Isles adequately. I get by in the Middle East with Sumerian and some pretty rudimentary Assyrian.

Latin means I can muddle by in much of southern Europe - and made learning Romantsch a doddle when moving here. Further North I'm finding it harder and harder with my Frisian.

When dealing with the colonies I dabbled in Karkin - but I wouldn't call myself properly fluent. There were great nights spent in the pub quaffing back cold beers chatting in Gaffat - 18 words distinct words to describe the visual appearance of breasts. Damned if I can remember half of them now.

There is English, of course, both native and for foreigners - the latter is basically just normal English without the long words, spoken both louder and slower.

And Kensitanian - obviously.

afreeswiss 09.06.2016 11:12

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
you're missing the option
"I'm British and I can't speak English properly"

Guest 09.06.2016 11:14

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
I used to be British. Now I am Swistish. Speak 2 languages fluently now. Thought it was totally pointless when growing up doing languages at school as I would never need them. :D Had a mother who wouldn't let me do German even though I wanted to. Forced me to do Latin which was as useful as a one legged man in an arse kicking competition.

smoky 09.06.2016 11:16

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Since living here I no longer speak any language fluently.:msnblush:

My speakability consists of either Genglish or Engerman.

Can`t even remember any Zulu or Fasi.

Blueangel 09.06.2016 11:23

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

When one speaks this century's dominant international language, how does one choose which language to learn next?
Well my grandfather spoke 7 foreign languages fluently and my great uncle spoke 15 because he lived and worked in many countries. My grandfather learned them so that he could understand to foreign radio broadcasts during WWII.

My OH speaks 3 completely fluently and quite a number of my friends have a second language. I feel a complete dunce by comparison, even though I studied French for 7yrs, German for 4yrs and Italian for a year. I was lazy and didn't follow through on this side of my education, which I regret now.

Guest 09.06.2016 11:32

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Blueangel (Post 2602420)
Well my grandfather spoke 7 foreign languages fluently and my great uncle spoke 15 because he lived and worked in many countries. My grandfather learned them so that he could understand to foreign radio broadcasts during WWII.

My OH speaks 3 completely fluently and quite a number of my friends have a second language. I feel a complete dunce by comparison, even though I studied French for 7yrs, German for 4yrs and Italian for a year. I was lazy and didn't follow through on this side of my education, which I regret now.

You needn't, you are fortunate enough to speak fluently the language of commerce, politics, science, technology, travel, entertainment and sport. Anything else is just a bonus.

Veltliner 09.06.2016 11:33

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

Would one expect a Roman to learn Dacian and Lusitanian "just in case" he might be posted to one of those provinces?


When one speaks this century's dominant international language, how does one choose which language to learn next?
Exactly. It's also interesting to see how different countries' curriculum treat (different) languages: in Zürich, English is mandatory from 2nd year of primary school, French from the 5th. Only recently has "a" language been a requirement of Key Stage 2 in the UK, in comparison.

Why? English is taught as a "necessity" to non-native children. There is a high probability that it will be required or will be helpful at some point - travel, work, other.

Whilst to the majority of English-speaking natives, how do you know which language will come in useful where your life takes you, at a school age? The one you choose may give you more opportunities, but that's just it - a bonus. And that's if you can keep the standard up before the opportunity arises (I did not, with my German).

That said, I am a firm, firm believer in the value of languages: the "soft" benefits of being exposed to different cultures, and the ability to survive in different countries from pure observations and linguistic analysis - I may not speak as many languages as some of my friends, but I'm better at figuring out what is going on when dropped somewhere with no knowledge of the native language by dissecting everything I read or hear.

I speak English (native), Chinese (native spoken; reading and writing less so), German (enough to read the news and handle finances / health etc. but awful when it comes to small talk), and I can understand and read French enough to get by.

JagWaugh 09.06.2016 11:36

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by smoky (Post 2602408)
Since living here I no longer speak any language fluently.:msnblush:

My speakability consists of either Genglish or Engerman.

Can`t even remember any Zulu or Fasi.



I find this particularly so for about 2 weeks (after arriving and returning) whenever I go on vacation to where I grew up. I call it "Languagelag"


Just got back, so still I'm in the middle of the transition... dialled 94 94 this morning when 49 49 is the number written down.

Guest 09.06.2016 11:41

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Wonder how many here have dual nationality?

slammer 09.06.2016 11:50

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Define fluent.
If by fluent you mean that a native speaker will not be able to hear that you are from another country, then in my case it would be German, if you mean hold a conversation, add Spanish, if you can get what you want and not starve then Danish, French and Italian.

sudeepta 09.06.2016 11:58

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Most Indians, working abroad can speak English, Hindi and their native language (If they aren't from the Hindi heartland). So 3 will be a very common answer among Indians I guess. However English fluency is debatable.
regards

Guest 09.06.2016 12:04

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by slammer (Post 2602445)
Define fluent.
If by fluent you mean that a native speaker will not be able to hear that you are from another country, then in my case it would be German, if you mean hold a conversation, add Spanish, if you can get what you want and not starve then Danish, French and Italian.

Sh1t, that means I can't even count English....

Guest 09.06.2016 12:04

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
What if you are fluent but have a non-standard accent- eg oft accused of being Welsh or South African ;)

Blueangel 09.06.2016 12:28

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by slammer (Post 2602445)
Define fluent.
If by fluent you mean that a native speaker will not be able to hear that you are from another country, then in my case it would be German, if you mean hold a conversation, add Spanish, if you can get what you want and not starve then Danish, French and Italian.

Fluent as in can speak, read and write fluently in another language.

Quote:

What if you are fluent but have a non-standard accent- eg oft accused of being Welsh or South African ;)
I'm always accused of speaking German with a Dutch accent. Apparently, that's what a Lancashire accent sounds like in German. :D

amogles 09.06.2016 12:43

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by porsch1909 (Post 2602380)
One might only need three words: civus romanus sum, plastered onto one's back.

or romani eunt domus?

Merrylegs 09.06.2016 12:47

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

Wonder how many here have dual nationality?

Or triple?

st2lemans 09.06.2016 12:49

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

Wonder how many here have dual nationality?
I did, but now I don't.

My kids have triple.

Tom

amogles 09.06.2016 12:53

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
German - good enough that many Swiss think I'm German
Dutch - pretty good
French - good enough to have conversations
Spanish - good enough for basic communication
Hungarian - good enough to get blank stares of horror
Japanese - about 10 words, 6 of which I pronounce wrong. The other 4 may actually be Hungarian.

FelipeT 09.06.2016 12:57

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
So what do you guys consider fluency?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common..._for_Languages

I consider B2 fluency but some people will get offended if you say you're fluent without reaching C2

Samaire13 09.06.2016 13:01

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
(Swiss) German native, English fluent (IELTS 9, CPE, uni degrees from UK and 10+ years of professional experience in MNCs with teams who speak no German whatsoever). That's it. I speak four other languages, but far from (what I qualify as) fluently - Spanish, French, Italian, Russian.

Fluency for me is at least C1, rather C2. I'm very critical when it comes to this, though.

No dual nationality, just Swiss.

meloncollie 09.06.2016 13:09

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
The only language I can claim fluency in is my mother tongue - if an American can lay claim to English fluency, that is. ;)

I live my life almost completely in German, but am at best functional. I always say that my German is good enough to know that it isn't good enough. Fluency is still on the very distant horizon, but as I'm only passing through reaching true fluency isn't at the top of my 'to-do' list.

I read French thanks to years of blood, sweat, toil and tears at school, but cannot speak it beyond ordering from a menu.

I worked without too much difficulty in Putonghua (standard Chinese)... but in a very narrow setting where my limited vocabulary was sufficient. I got by only because my colleagues were very kind - and far too polite to laugh when I would order a bowl of sugar as a first course.

(Sadly, most of the Putonghua I had was lost in my effort to acquire German.)

These days I'm putting most of my linguistic efforts into brushing up on my Hoosier. ( :eek: )

FelipeT 09.06.2016 13:10

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
I get what you mean. Learning languages means you have to constantly correct, criticise and push yourself further in order to reach that level you want.

But for me this is fluency: "Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party". Mainly because if I hear someone speaking in my native language like that I subconsciously consider them fluent straigh away.

But about myself:

Portuguese (native)
English (C1/C2)
Italian (B2)
French (B1)

curley 09.06.2016 13:34

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Blueangel (Post 2602477)
Fluent as in can speak, read and write fluently in another language.

3 - German, English and French ..... 4 actually, I can do it all in Swiss German too (and no, Swiss German is not a dialect:msnmad::p)
Italian if I need it daily - that used to depend on the clientele I had, funny enough as soon as I don't use it it's "lost" - but don't write in Italian.
I understand several more languages but don't speak them (either can't or am too embarrassed like Dutch - or Nigerian pidgin English).
Double citizenship, Swiss and Peruvian (courtesy of Peru for having incarnated there;) ..... lost Spanish skills but understand a lot still.

curley 09.06.2016 13:40

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by amogles (Post 2602484)
or romani eunt domus?

Little would we know without Monty Python

Guest 09.06.2016 13:49

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
I'm fluent in US English. Oddly, i've been asked many times in Switzerland and the Netherlands if I'm from the UK. I think it's because I don't have much of a regional US accent.

My German is atrocious - mostly I speak Gerglish. I know lots of words, no idea how to put them together.


Sadly I can no longer replicate my native Pittsburghese/yinzer speak. Been away too long.

I absolutely love Northern UK, Scottish, Welsh and Irish accents.

Blueangel 09.06.2016 13:57

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

My German is atrocious - mostly I speak Gerglish. I know lots of words, no idea how to put them together.


Sadly I can no longer replicate my native Pittsburghese/yinzer speak. Been away too long.
Same here. I know tonnes of volcabulary but the grammar sends me doolally

I slip back into my hometown accent a little too easily. Even my OH couldn't understand me on the phone this week. :o

Capo 09.06.2016 14:49

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Wait, a poll about how many languages a British can speak fluently and it has more choices apart from the choice "zero"? :D

EastEnders 09.06.2016 15:31

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by curley (Post 2602526)
3 - German, English and French ..... 4 actually, I can do it all in Swiss German too (and no, Swiss German is not a dialect:msnmad::p)

THAAAANNNKKKK YOU !!

I am the same.
Swissgerman is my mothertongue, the luuverly and wonderful Bernese variety of it and I am fluently writing and speaking (what we call) High German and English and good, fluent convo skills in French, but writing french is not soooo good,only standard letters and the like.

So quadrilingual,l I dare say.....and.....I can lip-read all of them too.

Corbets 09.06.2016 16:39

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

I think it's because I don't have much of a regional US accent.
I get it a lot too, but I figure it's just because many non-native speakers don't have any idea what a Midwestern accent sounds like compared to the British mangling of the language. After all, how many Americans could really identify whether a German speaker is Swiss, German or Austrian?

Faltrad 09.06.2016 17:39

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

When one speaks this century's dominant international language, how does one choose which language to learn next?
The one you like...?

amogles 09.06.2016 17:42

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Faltrad (Post 2602726)
The one you like...?

back in the day, many years before I was even born, my mother was learning Russian. Not for any political reasons but because she was interested in the literature and art. She was told by her boss in no uncertain terms that her interest was refelecting negatively on her and could be construed as political sympathy and was told that if she sought promotion she had better stop learning it.

She was working in the administration of the local town council, so not really a place that the KGB was likely to seek to place spies or anything.

Kittster 09.06.2016 20:16

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Can I throw a hissy fit for not having a "I have dual nationality and speak [x] languages" option? :p

Medea Fleecestealer 09.06.2016 20:58

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Sadly, I speak only English. In my part of the States languages were never mandatory and I only took a year of French because none of the other optional classes appealed to me.

I've tried on and off over the years to learn more, but never get past the very basic speaking ability. I can read and understand more than I can speak so I constantly annoy our doctor's receptionists by using translated e-mails to ask for appointments when I should be calling them. :o

I can tell my American accent has changed over the years. When I first moved to the UK I was definitely American to other people, but as the years went on people started asking me which part of the UK I was from. Funnily enough it was never the part I was actually in at the time. If I was in London they thought I came from either the north or west, if I was up in the north it was south or west and so on.

Still, the occasional Americanism slipped out. I remember when I was working at the BBC and for some reason tripped over my waste bin by my desk. I said rather loudly "Damn trash can!". A moment of stunned silence then the whole office burst out laughing. :p

ZuriRollt 09.06.2016 21:13

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Am involved in a major new programme at a big bank, and for the first time I'm having to interpret our colleagues from the New York / New Jersey region into useable business requirements.

Was already well used to Chicago, and had previously lived quite a while in Texas. Was never a problem.

But understanding the whole semantics of my new colleagues since a few months from the New York / New Jersey region almost completely escapes me. I honestly feel over-challenged.

Faltrad 09.06.2016 21:20

Re: How Many Languages Do You Speak Fluently
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ZuriRollt (Post 2602862)
for the first time I'm having to interpret our colleagues from the New York / New Jersey

From their English into yours or from English to another language?
Interpreting is a whole thing in itself. I speak and practice quite a few languages but I don't do interpretation jobs ever. One needs a natural talent for it. I just understand, translation/interpretation is just strange to me. I admire those who can do it well, it's a special gift on top of hell of a lot of work.


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