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Old 17.11.2010, 14:47
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Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

OK - you decide to go and live in a new country, or your Company sends you there - can you really spend 6 months, 1 year, 2, 3 or 10 - and not bother to learn the language? (not talking about the use of the subjunctive here - but good communicative language).
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Old 17.11.2010, 15:15
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

Yeah, I've been here 3 years and not learned the language. While I like languages I don't really have an interest in German and have never felt the need to learn German.
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Old 17.11.2010, 15:22
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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OK - you decide to go and live in a new country, or your Company sends you there - can you really spend 6 months, 1 year, 2, 3 or 10 - and not bother to learn the language? (not talking about the use of the subjunctive here - but good communicative language).
Some people have more difficulty picking up laguages than others. An acquaintance of mine is hard of hearing and this makes it very difficult for her to learn to speak any new language although she understands quite a bit, probably through lip reading.

Also, some professionals may be so busy with work that they don't have the time to commit to learning.

However, if it all possible I think people should at least make an effort as they miss out on so much if they don't speak at least the bare basics of the local language.
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Old 17.11.2010, 15:23
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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OK - you decide to go and live in a new country, or your Company sends you there - can you really spend 6 months, 1 year, 2, 3 or 10 - and not bother to learn the language? (not talking about the use of the subjunctive here - but good communicative language).
Yes - if the language is impenetrable, cannot be written and most of the population also speaks, or understands, a language that you are comfortable with.

Enough about living in Glasgow, lets talk about Switzerland.

(boom boom)
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Old 17.11.2010, 15:24
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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OK - you decide to go and live in a new country, or your Company sends you there - can you really spend 6 months, 1 year, 2, 3 or 10 - and not bother to learn the language? (not talking about the use of the subjunctive here - but good communicative language).
Yeah, those are exactly my sentimonies!
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Old 17.11.2010, 15:26
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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OK - you decide to go and live in a new country, or your Company sends you there - can you really spend 6 months, 1 year, 2, 3 or 10 - and not bother to learn the language? (not talking about the use of the subjunctive here - but good communicative language).
Well, I guess the most common excuse is the good old "Everybody speaks English everywhere anyway these days".
Personally I've always loved languages and made an effort to at least be able to apologize for not speaking the local language and ask if we can speak English, French, or something else, in the local language wherever I went. It would feel rude to just show up and not make an effort. But that's just my opinion.
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Old 17.11.2010, 15:27
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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OK - you decide to go and live in a new country, or your Company sends you there - can you really spend 6 months, 1 year, 2, 3 or 10 - and not bother to learn the language? (not talking about the use of the subjunctive here - but good communicative language).
Yes actually, there may be many reasons why someone hasn't 'bothered' so try not to be overly judgemental.

In my case I'm deaf so normal classroom learning doesn't work, nor does audio CD. I would require a specialist 1:1 teacher which is both incredibly expensive, and work makes getting the time difficult.


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Yeah, those are exactly my sentimonies!
What language are we talking here
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Old 17.11.2010, 15:29
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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OK - you decide to go and live in a new country, or your Company sends you there - can you really spend 6 months, 1 year, 2, 3 or 10 - and not bother to learn the language? (not talking about the use of the subjunctive here - but good communicative language).
Yes! if the language happens to be Dakota/Lakota /Nakota

Last edited by cannut; 17.11.2010 at 17:00.
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Old 17.11.2010, 15:29
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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Yeah, those are exactly my sentimonies!
Yep, my sediments too.
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Old 17.11.2010, 15:30
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

I've been here nearly 8 years and am by no mean fluent in German. ( or French ). But I've enough to get by for day to day living. I'd like to speak more fluently, but that would require time away from contributing to the Swiss economy - and of course my own.

It is a bit irritating when you're with people who've been here a long time, and they can't even order food at a restaurant in the local language.

If I'm dealing with officialdom, I take a friend along to translate. It's too easy to miss important nuances.
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Old 17.11.2010, 15:31
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

I have a hearing issue as well and cannot for the life of me make out what people are saying...even simple phrases. It's quite frustrating. People at work are suprised when I say something in German, they act like parents admiring their newborns first poop.
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Old 17.11.2010, 15:32
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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Some people have more difficulty picking up laguages than others. An acquaintance of mine is hard of hearing and this makes it very difficult for her to learn to speak any new language although she understands quite a bit, probably through lip reading.

Also, some professionals may be so busy with work that they don't have the time to commit to learning.

However, if it all possible I think people should at least make an effort as they miss out on so much if they don't speak at least the bare basics of the local language.
This applies to me ,I know all about it
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Old 17.11.2010, 15:33
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

6 months to 1 year - not much point if you'll be leaving then. 2 years+ then I think it's very lazy not to at least learn the basics... especially any Germanic or latin-based language that native English-speakers can poitentially learn much easier than other languages like Chinese or Arabic etc.
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Old 17.11.2010, 15:34
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

But if you want to make your life easier and understand the culture and the people, it is always good to learn the language.

Mindestens, Sie können Dich nicht mehr verkaufen !
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Old 17.11.2010, 15:35
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?
Sure, if you work in an English language environment, and hang out with expats, and have no desire to learn the local language, that's a pretty good excuse. Especially for assignments of known short length, the effort may simply not be worth it.

I did want to learn it, and made quite an effort in my first year or two keeping a notebook in my pocket and writing down problem words or new vocabulary as the day went on, studying each night. But there's no right or wrong, even if it's almost 100% certain that learning the language would enrich anyone's experience here, it boils down to need and personal preference.
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Old 17.11.2010, 15:40
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

I don't think I would have gotten by without learning the local lingo.

How would I fix things (talk to repairmen, builders), shop (ask where things are, or for the correct size or even order my laptop when it wasn't in stock), read directions for cooking, communicate with my kid's carers and teachers, communicate with doctors (3 operations, 2 babies, over 3 weeks hospital stay in total), get my car serviced/fixed or understand and vote at the house owners annual meeting for my area. Even my job needs german - i'm in IT and not all my users speak English - the lady that sits next to me doesn't either.
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Old 17.11.2010, 15:42
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

My problem has been more I work in a pure english environment and its uncertain whether I'll be here in 6 months (3 years on with that thought) - so I've always felt that you can never make the commitment of time to learn a language when you're putting 100% in elsewhere.

I know enough to get by, but not for a good long conversation..
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Old 17.11.2010, 15:42
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

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Yep, my sediments too.
And my sanctimonies?

However, have a thought for those who are posted to a different country once every two or three years. Someone on EF once said they stopped trying to pick up the local language after the fourth or fifth country they were sent to.

Recently a colleague of my other half found out too late (he had already signed a rental contract) that he has to take something like 100 hours of German lessons a year in order to continue living in the canton of Lucerne (new rule). And he works long hours.
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Old 17.11.2010, 15:47
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

I don't think you really need an excuse do you? Still it must be pretty hard not to pick up the language after being here a while. I just sort of soaked it up and I was rubbish at languages at school
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Old 17.11.2010, 15:49
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Re: Is there ever any good excuse for not learning the language?

Go figure, I came here to learn German. I arrived here 3 months and 2 weeks ago and I started my German classes after 2 weeks of my arrival.
I have been wanting to learn German since I was in Gymnasium but most of the schools in my country offer English, French, Latin, some even Russian, German-not so many schools, unless you go to a School or High School that have German classes or everything is in German. I learned English, French and bit Latin.
Anyway, none of my friends speak German so I was watching TV programmes in German which I liked and I was keep saying that I want to learn German, it sounds so nice, I like the writting bla bla.
So I said ''Ok, I really want to learn German and I have to do something about it''. So I came here. Before coming here I was saying ''Oh I will learn it quite fast, I understand a bit, I know the basic words'' so I was enthusiastic and open to everything that my German course and teacher would offer me. Of course I know and I have been told by so many people in my country and even here that German is not an easy language and why do I really want to learn it? Well, I just want to.
Now, after 3 months, what do I know?- waaaay too less things than I expected!! I think I expected too much from my self!! I can not believe that after 3 months of German classes I am cr@p. I understand, I read quite well, I write well but my speaking sucks. I have no words, I don't know how to make a right sentence and I am confused.
I even have some people in my class that have been living here for 4yrs or 6 yrs and they don't speak German! I didn't ask them but the reasons in my opinion are: they have a job that doesn't require German, their friends and families don't speak German and they preffer to speak their native language, when they go shopping they just pick things from the shelf or search for them untill they find it, instead of asking for help, and they just pay on the way out, if they need help somewhere they will just use their English.
In my case I want to apply for UZH but apparently they only have 1 German test a year, in January 2011, and I have to get to a B2 level by then, for me it is impossible! I am going to an A1 level eventhough all the tests I am taking (online) say I am an A2 towards B1 level (maybe they are wrong) but I am so dissapointed because I can't apply next year and I will lose a year just like that, that I don't even have the drive to learn German anymore, I feel I came here for nothing and it will take me so much time to learn it that I will get bored of it. In fact I am bored on my German class because everybody is slow and I don't like being slow, I want to progress. I think I will change the class/level or take a break.
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