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What language is your mother tongue and what others do you speak?

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  • What language is your mother tongue and what others do you speak?

    Yo folks!

    People who know me well know that one of the things I've commited myself to most is th ejoy of languages. I've made a business out of it, I've made a hobby out of it, and communication in general is an important aspect of many of the things I do and services I provide in my everyday life. Whilst Norwegian is my native tongue, English is the secondary language of choice, a language which was self-taught almost exclusively through the broken translations and text found in video games of decades past. I do speak several other languages too, to various degrees, but these two are the ones that pays my bread and butter, whilst also serving as my main forms of communication in everyday life.

    Now, oddly enough, making myself understood is also one of the odd things I struggle with at times and I feel it's often easy to blame it on linguistic barriers -- even in cases where it's my native tongue that is failing me, mainly due to a train of thought that mostly resembles a trainwreck in motion.

    Either way, I've noticed quite a lot of writing styles and nationalities on these forums (especially an increase in the multi-lingual department lately), so I'm a bit curious about what languages people speak and to what extent they speak them (skill level / how it was taught / why it was needed / etc.)


    So ... spit out!
    23
    Yes
    52.17%
    12
    No
    47.83%
    11

  • #2
    Originally posted by Carnivol
    Now, oddly enough, making myself understood is also one of the odd things I struggle with at times and I feel it's often easy to blame it on linguistic barriers -- even in cases where it's my native tongue that is failing me, mainly due to a train of thought that mostly resembles a trainwreck in motion.
    Same here.

    I always struggle to express what I have in mind and since I make some pretty simple or informal sentences, people might think I'm just a regular stupid guy on the internet :p Or am I?

    Anyway, I've always been interested in learning languages and sharing with people from other cultures. French is obviously my native language, but I learned English and Spanish at university. I'm also about to spend 4 month in Spain this semester and then I will move to Czech Republic for another semester, so I hope I will improve my skills in Spanish and English and learn a bit of Czech aswell.

    Even though I think my English level is decent but not stellar by any means, Spanish is a different thing. It's been 4 years since I learned Spanish and I've never had the chance to practice since then. It will probably be difficult to speak correctly at the beginning of this semester, but hopefully my level will improve gradually.

    If you learned English only thanks to videogames, then I must say that your level is impressive, Carnivol! I always thought North European folks had easiness in learning English. To the contrary, most of the French are terrible English speakers.
    Last edited by Grem; 01-10-2014, 02:30 PM.

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    • #3
      ^ I can relate with you guys. It can get frustrating when I know exactly what I want to say, but can't seem to find the right words to use to express myself properly. Like, sometimes I'd be already done with typing up a post here on the forums, and I would find myself making a bunch of edits to it, since I realized that I could have used this term to be more succinct, or I could have expressed myself with fewer words overall (run-on sentences are a bitch).

      Learning English is part of the school curriculum here, and children are taught the language from a very early age. Unfortunately, the language is not really used much in day-to-day conversations, so not a lot of people get a chance to practice speaking it. You'll find that most people here are capable of understanding the language perfectly, but have a hard time speaking it since they don't get to do so on a regular basis. I suppose I'm a bit more fortunate in that regard since I've been typing away at videogame messageboards and IM clients since I was 12 years old (lol), so I'd like to think I've had my fair share of practice with the language (not exactly speaking, I know, but it helped me form sentences on the fly). Honestly, I think videogames, movies and the internet have all done a better job at teaching me the language than school ever did; immersion has and always will be the best teacher.

      I suppose if there's one regret that I have, it's that I wish I had more people to talk to in English face-to-face. Outside of the internet, the only time I get to speak the language is when some of my native-speaker relatives come to visit and during job-related stuff (which is rare). For the record, my native tongue is Filipino/Tagalog.
      Last edited by biohazard_star; 01-10-2014, 04:07 PM.
      Seibu teh geimu?
      ---

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      • #4
        Interesting topic

        English. I've always felt a secondary language has to be more of a means to an end, so it took me until I was at least 20 to find that "something" which had enough value to warrant me learning a language. At which point I learnt some basic Mandarin Chinese knowing nothing about linguistics, though now I've been learning both Japanese and Korean for awhile and things have clicked.

        My Japanese is by far the best of those and I can read through a bunch of native material and get the general gist of it (though exact nuance escapes me a lot for complex stuff without proper context). I love the fluidness of Kanji and Kana together. A few days ago I was playing through Xenogears on PS1 in Japanese just looking at how they express certain sentences I've always enjoyed, and I realized how much I had progressed and the positive way it has affected my thinking. It becomes particularly apparent when you start sub-vocalizing the foreign language in the same way (and with the same feeling) as native speakers/dramas/movies.

        I would argue that you non-native speakers sometimes have far better English than the native guys on here. Carnivol sometimes makes some simple spelling/typing mistakes (I can see one now) but I thought he was always on track with the thinking of his posts (which is most important). I think it's because of the exposure you guys had to English when you were young and also perhaps a decent environment/education system more equipped for bilingualism? I always try to recommend learning another language to people around me as its quite easy, and as someone once said "Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own".

        And the "something"? Haha, actually, I'm not even sure now, I can list a dozen things, my life is forever entwined with them now. I definitely want to be fluent in Japanese and Korean, I would love to add something like Russian or German but life is too short IMO!

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        • #5
          Native = Russian

          Secondary = English

          Been living in United States for 10 years now, so it's an everyday language. But I remember as a kid my first attempts to learn English were while playing Phantasy Star 2 on Genesis. I was searching for separate words in a dictionary, trying to figure out what those town's people were saying.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Carnivol View Post
            Now, oddly enough, making myself understood is also one of the odd things I struggle with at times and I feel it's often easy to blame it on linguistic barriers -- even in cases where it's my native tongue that is failing me, mainly due to a train of thought that mostly resembles a trainwreck in motion.
            Can only speak for myself, but from my point of view the key is to find a proper terms which connect your native meanings to foreign language.

            My native lang is Russian, but since late 90s, having a computer and internet and playing video games... There were no other options but to learn [english] to use all this stuff.

            On the other hand I'm too lazy to learn any other language which I have no use for. Back in school I was studying Frencn and was pretty good at it. Forgot it completely after graduation. All I blame is lack of use and practice.

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            • #7
              My native language is Dutch.

              I've lived in the US for quite a few years now. Watching TV shows and movies (and playing video games of course) in English have immensely helped me with learning it. But it's still not perfect of course. Sometimes I worry about getting my point across fully, so I might over-explain things or use too many words. I also might repeat something but phrase it differently. It's still pretty good though. And I almost sound 100% American.

              I know some Spanish.

              I also know the katakana form of Japanese and a few Japanese phrases, plus my Japanese pronunciation is good, but that's about it. I'm too lazy to learn more. And I'm scared of kanji.

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              • #8
                Native: Portuguese.

                Secondary: English. Learned some in elementary/high school, took an English course for two years and a lot of videogames.
                Last edited by alexdz; 01-11-2014, 09:05 AM.

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                • #9
                  Native: English

                  Secondary: German. Still learning process though, everyday. Grammatical cases/genders don't really exist in English anymore, so I kind of struggled with that. Mostly self taught, haven't really spoken with too many Germans though. Wikipedia articles/ der spiegel have helped quite a lot . Would like to try Dutch later on in my life, can read it pretty easily, being another west germanic language.
                  Last edited by ; 01-11-2014, 03:53 AM.

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                  • #10
                    I live in Czech Republic so my native one is Czech. I'm also very good at Slovak language and not THAT good at English as most of you already experienced here
                    Spoiler:

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                    • #11
                      I wish somebody would teach bzork or get someone translate for him or her first before posting,
                      I can hardly understand a sentance, it's engrish at it's worst, I'd rather have them type in their own language.

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                      • #12
                        English is my native language.
                        I am currently learning Japanese. I started learning when I went to live there in 2007. My dedication really dropped off in about 2009. I've since picked it back up - I'm now reading grammar books and using memrise.com
                        sigpic

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                        • #13
                          I speeck portugueez, Engrish, and of course I are fluent in cat.

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                          • #14
                            My native language is English. Having grown up with a variety of international media and influences, all North American, British, and other commonwealth dialects are perfectly intelligible to me, and have allowed me to build a multi-regional lexicon.

                            My second language is Japanese. I've been studying this language since the turn of the millennium, and have in recent years added Korean and Mandarin Chinese to my repertoire. Just for fun, I've been learning Classical Chinese and additional modern varieties (like Cantonese) as well. As one might infer from my list, I feel naturally drawn to languages that employ Chinese characters, as I am more morphemically rather than phonetically inclined.

                            Carnivol, being half Norwegian myself, I've visited relatives there before and noticed that most educated Norwegians have little trouble, if any at all, understanding Danish and Swedish. Is this situation the norm up there? I'm assuming that you, with your love of language, can understand other Scandinavian/Nordic languages as well.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Scream View Post
                              I would argue that you non-native speakers sometimes have far better English than the native guys on here. Carnivol sometimes makes some simple spelling/typing mistakes (I can see one now) but I thought he was always on track with the thinking of his posts (which is most important). I think it's because of the exposure you guys had to English when you were young and also perhaps a decent environment/education system more equipped for bilingualism? I always try to recommend learning another language to people around me as its quite easy, and as someone once said "Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own".
                              Ahah. Always manage to sneak in a few typos (slight sync issue between left and right hand whist typing, maybe?)
                              I guess the biggest and most important factor as far as the Nordic territory and English goes is our general exposure to English. For anything but entertainment for kids, we prefer subtitles to dubbing and such, and video games in Norwegian used to be a rarity up until recently too.

                              Something I'm seeing quite often these days that makes me a bit sad is parents who basically "protect" their children from exposure to foreign languages. Nothing's a better learning tool for languages than going through some sort of intermediate medium the person is interested in.

                              Originally posted by Enigmatism415
                              Carnivol, being half Norwegian myself, I've visited relatives there before and noticed that most educated Norwegians have little trouble, if any at all, understanding Danish and Swedish. Is this situation the norm up there? I'm assuming that you, with your love of language, can understand other Scandinavian/Nordic languages as well.
                              The Nordic languages are all pretty close to one another, and in most cases it's not hard to make oneself fully understood with your own language in one of the neighboring countries. The most challenging to deal with for most people would probably be Icelandic and the Faroe language, since they're both sort of archaic in certain ways (but with a bit of context and in written form; it's usually fairly easy to get the grasp of the overall message being communicated, just not all the nuances). I read some article with a few poems and written texts on Wikipedia or something some time ago, with pretty nice comparisons between Icelandic/Old Norse/Norwegian/English, and it's really fascinating to see how incomprehensible some of it is when you have no reference for it, but the moment you grasp the concepts or see the similarities ... everything just falls into place.

                              Now ... Finland's the Nordic oddball (but I love their language and pronunciations), since Finnish is a completely different beast all together from the rest of the Nordic languages, same goes for the Sami languages and their many dialects, but at least Finnish people tend to know some basic Swedish (taught in schools -- and again; Finnish Swedish > Regular Swedish pronunciation ;D) -- of course, I guess English might be replacing Swedish as their middle-ground language now, since it's slightly more global in our modern age.

                              But as far as Norwegians and general understanding of our neighboring countries' languages goes, I'd say the many dialects of Norwegian, easy access to Swedish/Danish TV broadcasts, and the teaching of the oddball variant of Norwegian known as "Nynorsk" greatly helps in terms of getting exposed to languages that are similar to your own, but not quite the same.

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