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-   -   When can you say you speak a language? (https://www.englishforum.ch/language-corner/98695-when-can-you-say-you-speak-language.html)

Karl 02.03.2011 19:50

Re: When can you say you speak a language?
 
When you know the German word....and can't remember what the English equivalent is...

Guest 02.03.2011 19:55

Re: When can you say you speak a language?
 
When you are talking or watching TV or a film, and it takes you a few seconds to know which language. Or when regional accents or expressions don't phase you anymore.

Guest 02.03.2011 20:32

Re: When can you say you speak a language?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Karl (Post 1122572)
When you know the German word....and can't remember what the English equivalent is...

Beware though - I knew a British lady who'd lived in French speaking ch for a VERY long time. She never really achieved fluency in French, and yet had 'lost' her English as she had very little contact with 'back home'. Languages do need practice even your own. My mil was born in South Africa and her mothertongue was Afrikaans. When she developed Alzheimers, she totally reverted back to Afrikaans and could not speak a word of English (she lived most of her life in UK and taught English).

jacek 02.03.2011 20:59

Re: When can you say you speak a language?
 
Quote:

Beware though - I knew a British lady who'd lived in French speaking ch for a VERY long time. She never really achieved fluency in French, and yet had 'lost' her English as she had very little contact with 'back home'. Languages do need practice even your own. My mil was born in South Africa and her mothertongue was Afrikaans. When she developed Alzheimers, she totally reverted back to Afrikaans and could not speak a word of English (she lived most of her life in UK and taught English).
Well, I don't know if it's just me, but longer I listen to the people speaking corporate lingo at work, I start using sophisticated words in my daily vocabulary. It really sounds awkward and unnatural when I listen to myself at times, but I think this is inevitable impact of working like a robot in Roboland. I need few days at home away from the office or surrounded by native speakers to get my fluency and colloquial lingo back. Elements of humour, jokes and chit-chat with drink in one hand help to restore the old good mood.

Sometimes if I speak German for much too long and need to switch to English immediately, I lose the fluency and choke in short pauses in search for the correct word in the latter. Anyway, there are certain psychological gaps which mind can not cope with. As life has it, there is lack of spontaneity and joy at the workplace, culture of introvert and reserved individuals. Some even spend the whole day in front of the monitor in the office seldom uttering even few words. Such environment and attitude can make you forget tongue in your mouth.

Fluent is relative state of speech, there are days when cheerful mind make you want to speak with vigour and sometimes it refuses ending up in incoherent bubble.

swedishguy 02.03.2011 21:10

Re: When can you say you speak a language?
 
Well "speaking" a language doesnt mean you have to speak it perfectly.

I would define it as the ability to communicate and reach mutual understanding in any given situation in an efficient and smooth fashion.

Speaking it fluently though, would be doing the above without thinking and spontaneously.

The next level is to truly master the language, to be able to express the same thing in 10 different ways, apply sarcasm, humor and nuances combined with a minimum of foreign accent.

Guest 02.03.2011 21:17

Re: When can you say you speak a language?
 
Got to stage 2 almost - but does it count if I have a Welsh or South African accent.:D:msngrin: Kamarate, hopefully we will meet sometime this year and you'll have to hear for yourself!

HarryBosch 02.03.2011 21:25

Re: When can you say you speak a language?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Karl (Post 1122572)
When you know the German word....and can't remember what the English equivalent is...

Happens to me more and more often I'm afraid.

Guest 02.03.2011 21:32

Re: When can you say you speak a language?
 
Worst thing is, when it does happen, people sometimes think you are 'posing'!;)

Lejoker 02.03.2011 21:33

Re: When can you say you speak a language?
 
Based on my personal experience, I can say this:
If you grow up speaking multiple languages -let's say 3- then you're usually pretty flexible with any new languages...

Guest 02.03.2011 21:35

Re: When can you say you speak a language?
 
So true - some of the kids I used to teach in the UK came from multilingual families and found it so easy to learn French or German. I so envied their wonderful talent.

Kamarate 02.03.2011 21:50

Re: When can you say you speak a language?
 
Quote:

Worst thing is, when it does happen, people sometimes think you are 'posing'!;)
I experience this with my mother tongue, though! Some members of my family have quite a pronounced Isle of Wight accent, which I picked up as a child (at least elements of it). I used to get the piss ripped out of me, so I made a conscious effort to make sure the occasional words I pronounced with that accent were no longer pronounced that way. However, when I've had a few drinks, I slip back into it. I am then consequently accused of "putting it on"! (There are a few words/sounds which I can't help but pronounce the IOW way e.g. well or "waw" - also goes for the number "twawve" - and a few others which are impossible to write "phonetically" if that were ever possible in English).

Guest 02.03.2011 22:10

Re: When can you say you speak a language?
 
Same with my Neuchatel accent!

Lejoker 02.03.2011 22:45

Re: When can you say you speak a language?
 
Quote:

Same with my Neuchatel accent!
Swiss-French does sound bizarre -Sorry, I don't mean to be mean lol

When I am in Lausanne, I often hear: J'attends sur toi as they have translated ? it from Ich warte auf dich?? and nenante neuf et huitante et septante -but that's also Belgian :D

ecb 02.03.2011 22:59

Re: When can you say you speak a language?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Karl (Post 1122572)
When you know the German word....and can't remember what the English equivalent is...

Isn't that called consecutive monolingualism?:D or (in my case) old age?

Faltrad 02.03.2011 23:00

Re: When can you say you speak a language?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Lejoker (Post 1122840)
When I am in Lausanne, I often hear: J'attends sur toi as they have translated ? it from Ich warte auf dich?? and nenante neuf et huitante et septante -but that's also Belgian :D

German is not the (only) explanation. A small north-eastern part of France says the same in "country" French, not school French.
Attendre sur toi, attendre après toi are regional variations like many others with preposition (it's called valential prepositional object) and used to be far more usual than in modern central French (the official one), where valential objects tend to be reduced to direct objects and indirect objects with the preposition à. There are also variation between those two categories, where regional French will have aider à quelqu'un (valential prepositional object with à) and standard French aider quelqu'un (direct object).

Nonante/septante is perfectly standard older French from north to south of France. It is unknown why they were replaced by vingesimal system in standard French, but the latter was vivid in north.western, Normandy (old norse, old danish and modern danish had/have it too). Speculation about number system in base 20 in Gaulois have never been proven right or wrong. In older days, one had octante or ottante for 80, but huitante appeared later.

Guest 02.03.2011 23:01

Re: When can you say you speak a language?
 
Ah but if you were truly bilingual you would realise that Neuchatel, Fribourg, Geneva, Vaud and Valais have very different accents. it's like saying that Brummie, Geordie, Mancunian and Scouse are all just 'Northern accents'.
BTW Vaud is the only one that use 'huitante' - Swiss French way of counting is so much more logical than counting in scores (and 10).:msngrin:

Lejoker 02.03.2011 23:04

Re: When can you say you speak a language?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Faltrad (Post 1122870)
German is not the (only) explanation. A small north-eastern part of France says the same in "country" French, not school French.
Attendre sur toi, attendre après toi are regional variations like many others with preposition (it's called valential prepositional object) and used to be far more usual than in modern central French (the official one), where valential objects tend to be reduced to direct objects and indirect objects with the preposition à. There are also variation between those two categories, where regional French will have aider à quelqu'un (valential prepositional object with à) and standard French aider quelqu'un (direct object).

Nonante/septante is perfectly standard older French from north to south of France. It is unknown why they were replaced by vingesimal system in standard French, but the latter was vivid in north.western, Normandy (old norse, old danish and modern danish had/have it too). Speculation about number system in base 20 in Gaulois have never been proven right or wrong. In older days, one had octante or ottante for 80, but huitante appeared later.

Hmm thanks for the explanation -I know I have to take your word since you proved me wrong last time :P

I started saying huitante too, it's just much easier and more convenient ;)

Lejoker 02.03.2011 23:09

Re: When can you say you speak a language?
 
Quote:

Ah but if you were truly bilingual you would realise that Neuchatel, Fribourg, Geneva, Vaud and Valais have very different accents. it's like saying that Brummie, Geordie, Mancunian and Scouse are all just 'Northern accents'.
BTW Vaud is the only one that use 'huitante' - Swiss French way of counting is so much more logical than counting in scores (and 10).:msngrin:
I am tri-lingual. But you have a point there. It isn't the accent as much as it is the 'melody' if you will. I also hear it in Jura -I hear a mountain-dwellers accent? which isn't exclusive to Francophones in CH or anywhere else. It has to be the air pressure :D

Guest 02.03.2011 23:13

Re: When can you say you speak a language?
 
Hence my British accent being Welsh - a mountain girl forever!:msngrin:

As one of my students one said 'but Miss, why can't you speak proper like what we do?' - but that was a very long way from any mountains.

Lejoker 02.03.2011 23:16

Re: When can you say you speak a language?
 
Quote:

Hence my British accent being Welsh - a mountain girl forever!:msngrin:
I have never seen such a diverse place in my life as is Wales. Around Cardiff, I'd say that in each 2-3 square miles, I heard a different accent. Wow! which one of the 800 Welsh accents have you picked? :D


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