how many languages...

david   Saturday, September 11, 2004, 05:10 GMT
how many languages do you all speak? or by that i mean to ask, how many languages are you fairly competent in and/or fluent?

i'm just curious and am strangely compelled to make myself jealous of others by asking such a question.

Mxsmanic   Saturday, September 11, 2004, 08:58 GMT
I speak only two (French and English), but I speak them well. Being somewhat of a perfectionist, I tend to prefer achieving a very high level of fluency in a small number of languages to achieving low fluency in a large number of languages. In practical terms, I rarely have occasion to speak more than these two languages, anyway, so I'm not strongly motivated to learn more. I've considered studying other languages, but I've not had motivation enough for any of them to press me to study them seriously and at length—I always wonder what I'd _do_ with them, even if I learned to speak them fluently. I just don't meet very many Japanese or even Italians.
Tom   Sunday, September 12, 2004, 01:56 GMT
I speak Polish and English and my attitude mirrors that of Mxsmanic. I also believe that everyone should just learn English and stop wasting everyone else's time :)

Steve K speaks like a million languages. Perhaps he could tell us if he has found it worthwhile and possibly convince us to take up more languages.
Steve K   Sunday, September 12, 2004, 02:46 GMT
In declining order of proficiency, I speak English, French, Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish and Swedish fluently.I speak German, Cantonese and Italian quite comfortably but not fluently. I am only able to maintain a limited conversation in Korean and Portuguese but am working on them.

The more languages I learn the better I get at learning languages. I was essentially unilingual English at the age of 17. I was fortunate in being able to take my university training in France (Sciences Politiques) and then live in Hong Kong and Japan. My efforts at language learning consisted mostly of sporadic periods of intense learning varying from 2-8 months in length when I just listened and read a lot and built up my vocabulary of words and phrases to a level where I could actually enjoy reading in the language, listening to audiobooks and going out to meet people of that culture. From that point the learing ceased to be an effort. However, at the beginning of any language learning adventure, intensity is essential.

Most of my professional life I have been a businessman in the lumber trade. I sell or have sold in Japan, France, China, Germany, Italy, Korea and Spain. I buy or have bought in Sweden, France, Germany, Austria as well as Canada. I have always used my languages and this greatly benefited my business. The rewards to me, socially, culturally and professionally from langauge learning are immeasurable. I do not think there is anything one can do that brings so much richness to one's life as learning languages.

Partly for this reason I wrote a book on the subject and have invested a good portion of the last two years and a lot of money in a website that creates the ideal language learning environment for motivated learners. We only offer English for now but will offer other languages in the future.

I very much enjoy being on this forum and hearing the views of learners, linguists and teachers. I hope I am not too opinionated at times.
mjd   Sunday, September 12, 2004, 03:13 GMT
English (native)

Portuguese (2nd language) Mxsmanic says, this is the language that I'm motivated to study, speak, read and learn. While I find other languages interesting, I'm not motivated to study them in the same way I am with Portuguese.
Damian   Sunday, September 12, 2004, 07:53 GMT
ENGLISH (natively fluent)

French (schoolboy proficiency....sufficient to get by in normal everyday situations)

Rubbish (all of the time)
Ambition: Greatly improve my French
Gain a working knowledge of Spanish, a major world
Scots least make an effort, and also
compare it with Irish and Welsh, the true British
languages usurped by Great God English in these

<<I also believe that everyone should just learn English and stop wasting everyone else's time>>

Wow...Tom! ... Surely a tongue in cheek?
Doogle   Monday, September 13, 2004, 00:36 GMT
I am fluent in English and fairly fluent in Spanish. I have also just started learning Russian and am improving rapidly. Russian is an awsome but quite dificult language but i suggest to all taht you learn it.
Franco   Monday, September 13, 2004, 01:59 GMT
Hablo muchos idiomas pero ningunos de ellos hablo muy bien. JAJJAJJAAJJAJAJjAJaJa. Inglés es mi idioma natural y no puedo hablarlo bien tampoco. Soy tan tonto como se puede ser.
Random Chappie   Monday, September 13, 2004, 07:03 GMT
English= Natively fluent.
French= Schoolboy proficiency; write it better than I speak it. Actually, I've never really used French in real life. I have nothing but an "A" grade for GCSE French to attest my abilities in using the language.
Mandarin= Working on it; minimal proficiency.
Italian= Working on it; minimal proficiency.
Bayou Rover   Monday, September 13, 2004, 07:40 GMT
English and French (Native)
Italian and Spanish (Moderate)
Latin (Less than moderate)
Japanese, Hebrew, Arabic, Russian and Yoruba (Poorly, only basic grammar and vocabulary)
Also, I am good at ASL but since you don't really "speak" it, I guess it doesn't count.
David Winters   Monday, September 13, 2004, 07:42 GMT
English is my native language. I used to study Italian before I realized how terrible it was (anyone who actually enjoys speaking this language should have all ten fingers smashed with a hammer). I'm starting to get into Japanese and Korean, but I'll be buggered if I can find the time to study between going to work and pissing the weekend away with my mates.
Denis   Monday, September 13, 2004, 07:53 GMT
Russian, Ukrainian - native
English - to be fluent soon
German - used to be intermediate but now almost forgotten :(
Italian - beginner
Lettish, Georgian etc. - very little

Honestly, I love languages but I can't afford travelling now so there's no practical use to learn any but english. I used to study several languages before but I forget the most of what I learn without practice so I've stopped.

However, I'm still determined to get proficient at least in two more European languages and two Asian (Georgian and Chinese or Japanese - I haven't decided yet).
Easterner   Monday, September 13, 2004, 08:44 GMT
Hungarian- native
English, Serbian - close to native-like (but can you ever say THAT???)
French, German - fairly fluent (but sometimes having difficulty understanding spoken French)
Russian, Italian, Spanish, Dutch - literate (can understand and compose written text, with some basic level speaking skills - can use them in everyday situations with a little effort, if necessary)
For the most part, I nowadays use English and German and sometimes French for "international" communication. Taking up Spanish more seriously in the very near future - it needs a little push to get started, but wanting to keep going steadily afterwards. :-)
Jordi   Monday, September 13, 2004, 09:49 GMT
I speak Catalan, English, French and Spanish at native level since I'm taken as a native speaker in these four languages. The reason is I spoke them before I was 10, having lived in France and Australia in a Catalan family. We moved back to Catalonia when I was a teenager.
I have a M.A. degree in Translation and Interpreting in those four languages plus Italian, which I also speak quite fluently and I can be taken as a native Italian speaker in short passages. I also have a B.A. degree in Tourism Studies. I can also speak Occitan fluently, since it is closely related to Catalan and I learnt the medieval literary language in university courses and modern Occitan in rural Occitania (France).
I have studied Portuguese and I have a good accent but for lack of practice I should spend a few weeks in Portugal to brush it up. I do read quite a lot in Portuguese
My 8th language is German, which I studied for two years although my level is lower than the other languages. I've never been too motivated with Germany and I agree with Steve K. about motivation. I spent a month in the Netherlands and learnt more Dutch there than German in a year! The reason is, of course, motivation. It's a long personal story.
Last but not least, I studied Latin for a few years in school and it has been really useful in all senses. So if you count that it means nine languages at speaking level.
I find Romance languages extremely easy for me and I have read texts in Sardinian, Romanian and even Rheto-Romanic dialects and found them quite easy. I think Romance language speakers can achieve this easily (inter-comprehension at least) and that is our greatest asset, which we should put to our advantage. Intermediate level Latin should be taught to all Romance language kids and a second Romance language apart from their own. The other language should be English, as a major world language, because it's half Romance anyway. (LOL)
One could use similar structures to make learning much easier, saving lots of time.
I find it quite easy to learn new languages but, since I turned 40, I have decided to spend my time in other things unless I should decide to move to a country where a new language (for me, of course) is spoken. I remember interpreting in conferences in former Yugoslavia and picking up a bit of Hungarian and Serbian, which I have totally forgotten. Learning somebody's language is the best way I know to tell him I love his country and her people.
By the way Tom, growing up in Australia I remember attending Catholic mass in Polish for quite a few years. Call it motivation if you will but the reason was it was the first mass on Sundays and I could carry on with my morning. I've always been an insomniac and that makes my days much longer. Many of the parishioners ended up believing I was the son of a Pole. I still remember a couple of chants but I've almost forgotten the few sentences I learnt. It has made me love Poland dearly. I don't go to mass on Sundays now but I am hardly surprised with a Polish pope who speaks. perhaps, a dozen languages. It seems so natural to me.
I work, at top executive level, in the tourism trade and I travel widely all over Western Europe. I try to spend as much time possible studying the peoples and the cultures of the languages I know, since a language is much more than sounds. When younger, I worked a few years as a teacher, both in primary and secondary schools.
My parents spoke several languages (I often spoke French or Spanish with mum, Catalan with dad and French or English with my older or younger brother and sisters). My children speak four languages (at different levels) although Catalan is the language with my wife and first language with my children.
I also work as an occasional qualified sworn translator and interpreter.
And, yes, I'm a strongly opinionated person although I'm easily convinced if the other opinionated person proves me I'm wrong. This has happened quite a few times. I thank God for that.
Mi5 Mick   Monday, September 13, 2004, 11:58 GMT
I speak English and French fluently as I grew up and was schooled in both of them. I also know many computer languages. hehe! :P

I'm interested in learning Asian languages, particularly Mandarin and Cantonese. Their written and spoken aspects fascinate me as a virtual, complete outsider.