bilingual people on Delcamp.

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astra69
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bilingual people on Delcamp.

Post by astra69 » Wed May 31, 2017 7:30 pm

I'm interested in foreign languages but I know how much pain it gives if you really want to perfect one of them. It's nice to know foreign languages but learning may be grueling and sometimes even depressing ! So I always envied people who could acquire two languages naturally. I'm sure there are some here, among us on Delcamp. Share your experience with us. Tell us how it is to know two languages like a native. Maybe there are some drawbacks a mononlingual person is unaware about ? I would be delighted to know :roll:

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singularity
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Re: bilingul people on Delcamp.

Post by singularity » Wed May 31, 2017 8:05 pm

I speak English, German, Russian and Serbo-Croatian which is my native language. I know enough Spanish to get in trouble though.
For me the breakthrough came as I was studying German at Goethe University, English afterwards was much easier to learn. I'm starting with my Italian studies, I have it "in my ear" it's just the matter of building the vocabulary.

It is very interesting to observe and listen to my family when I visit them in Germany, you'll hear Croatian, German, English and even some Turkish and everybody is switching between these languages obviously depending on what language they speak. German and English are the link between them all.

My recommendation for learning foreign language is just like with guitar practice. Go slow, practice and celebrate every little progress you make. Give yourself small goals and putt extra time in it and you'll be surprised by progress that you make. Visiting country of interest always helps. Plus, who doesn't like vacation? :P

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Re: bilingul people on Delcamp.

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Wed May 31, 2017 9:55 pm

I am learning Spanish as a practical exercise. Many of my patients are from Mexico. It's not hard, it just lots of time and practice. The beauty is that my patients love it when I try to speak Spanish. Instant rapport. They correct me and are thrilled that I try to learn. I have actually joined the Spanish speaking forums and have posted a few "mensajes". And I'm learning the names of the guitar's parts.

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Re: bilingual people on Delcamp.

Post by simonm » Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:54 am

I am in the camp that makes a distinction between "bi-lingual" and speaking two or more languages. For me bi-lingual means growing up in an environment where two languages are in use. I would not use it for people who learned the second language later on. Bi-linguals are often the product of families where the parents speak two different maternal languages; or where people grow up in locations where two (or more) languages are spoken - Süd-Tirol in Italy or Catalonia or the Balearic islands in Spain or much of Africa (where so-called "dialects" are often distinct languages); or the second generation of emigrant families who speak one language with parents and another with friends.

As to the question about learning languages, the real puzzle is how/why people do not learn languages. Small children pick up languages easily just by listening and being corrected by parents and those around them. I know it gets harder to learn languages as you get older but this is in part because social circumstances reduces the opportunities for immersion in the language. As an English speaker in environments it is even more difficult where the native population is motivated to practice their English for various reasons. The prime requirements for language learning as an adult is some level of curiosity and respect for those around you.

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Re: bilingual people on Delcamp.

Post by a human » Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:34 am

Duolingo is a nice free online application where you can learn and practice a foreign language. I think the first foreign language is the hardest and some are harder than others. Immersion drives the need to learn. If you are younger it is easier. In English, we have a phrase, "it's Greek to me."A friend of mine was in foreign language school for Greek some years ago and he told me they say, "it's Chinese to me.". Watching TV in your foreign language of choice is helpful, too.
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Re: bilingual people on Delcamp.

Post by lagartija » Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:05 am

I'm not bilingual, but I have always loved the study and the comparison of different languages. However, without constant practice, fluency disappears...just like my guitar repertoire! :lol:

When I was learning Spanish, it was because I was working on a project in Mexico and I wanted to be able to talk to the steel workers and electricians on site. Also, I wanted to be able to speak to my colleagues in their language while in their country, rather than expecting everyone to speak English when I was present. I got a "jump-start" by taking a two week total immersion course and when I returned home, I wrote emails to my colleagues every day in Spanish, with the English in a paragraph below in case my Spanish was unintelligible. Also, I joined the English-Spanish forum at WordReference.com where if someone asks a question in Spanish, you answer in Spanish, if they ask a question in English, you answer in English. You get better at expressing yourself with that sort of practice. For actually speaking a language, travel to where it is the native language is the best way. I have found in every country I have visited, people appreciate the effort you make to speak and are usually very kind and patient. :-D
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astra69
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Re: bilingual people on Delcamp.

Post by astra69 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 5:45 am

simonm wrote:
Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:54 am
I am in the camp that makes a distinction between "bi-lingual" and speaking two or more languages. For me bi-lingual means growing up in an environment where two languages are in use.
So am I. But I'm glad that this discussion has expanded on learning foreign languages as such. Talking abaout websites, I recommend memrise. It is a website, but there are parallel applications for android and iphone. It uses 'spaced repetition' algorythm to reduce the phenomenon known as 'forgettin curve'. It's basically for memorising vocabulary. I find it very useful, and yet another example is that you can apply 1 or 2 short sessions a day ( which takes about 15 minuntes) even if you are exhausted. Of course, then your work is somewhat 'automatic', but I'm sure it works even then. It gives you systematicality and keeps up motivation. Lack of motivation and getting discouraged is the biggest enemy of a foreign language learner. I also want to mention the phenomenon which has arisen with the development of technology. It's community tutoring. Means that people who speak your 'target language' get online and help you speak their language. It's either 'for nothing', or , more often, as exchange of languages. If you are interested, go to 'Speaky" (which is mostly about finding a community tutor) or Italki. The latter is more about finding a professional teacher (paid) but if you go to the tab 'community' it is also perfectly possible to find a community tutor. Practicing with a community tutor is not easy for many reasons ( for example difference in time zones, difficulty to correlate online meetings etc. ) but it's really great ! I'm teaching and learning this way a few times a week.

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Andrew Fryer
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Re: bilingual people on Delcamp.

Post by Andrew Fryer » Thu Jun 01, 2017 6:32 am

I make a distinction between speaking languages and reading them.
My recommendation for learning: -
1. The most important is to learn as much vocab as possible.
2. After that learn more vocab.
3. Finally, learn vocab.
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Re: bilingual people on Delcamp.

Post by zupfgeiger » Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:38 am

I am a German native, but English and French are my daily working languages. I am quite fluent with both but have my flaws, of course. Living in Brussels, I envy those people who really grew up bilingual. That happens quite often in the capital of Europe. I know a lot of couples coming from different countries (Member States in EU jargon) and speaking different languages with their kids. Good friends of mine are German/French. It's amazing to watch their two kids switching between the two languages as if this was the most natural thing on earth. Growing up bilingual is an absolute asset in a globalised world. And for kids it's so easy.
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Rick Yzaguirre
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Re: bilingual people on Delcamp.

Post by Rick Yzaguirre » Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:52 am

I grew up in South Texas and I'm not sure if I learned English or Spanish first. But I tried learning Tagalog, which is the Philippines language, and I picked up a lot of the basics from one of the popular programs. They teach you in pictures, not in translations, so you learn the way a child would. It was really interesting.

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Re: bilingual people on Delcamp.

Post by simonm » Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:29 am

zupfgeiger wrote:
Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:38 am
... I envy those people who really grew up bilingual … And for kids it's so easy.
Agreed. I may have mentioned a couple we used to hang out with back in one of my previous existences. Austrian/Chilean within a group where the adults spoken English/Spanish/German as first language but the kids were going to a kindergarten/junior school where the other kids spoke Gallego and that is what the kids spoke with each other. So 4 languages active at the same time time. English would have been their weakest at the time. As adults the kids completely forgot Gallego but remain try-lingual in Spanish/Germany/English. No doubt they also "learned" some other language in school later on. :-)

(rant)
Over the last 2 centuries the school systems have been very guilty of destroying the innate ability to learn languages. This had been due to a combination of nationalism, and language snobbery. Nationalist (and colonists too ) wanted to stamp out anything that was not associated with their framework - language was a "nation building" tool. Germany and Italy did their best to stamp out dialects and promote the official version of the language. (Some Italian "dialects" might would have ranked as languages). Franco tried to get rid of Catalan, Basque and Gallego. European colonists push their languages into Africa and demoted the local languages to "dialects". Hollywood, TV and the internet pretty much put the final touches to the death of local dialects. (/rant)

If you are fortunate enough to speak a dialect still or a minority language, look after it!

Rasputin
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Re: bilingual people on Delcamp.

Post by Rasputin » Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:25 pm

zupfgeiger wrote:
Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:38 am
Growing up bilingual is an absolute asset in a globalised world.
I would say it can be an asset in a world in the early stages of globalisation.

I know people who are Welsh/English bilingual. Speaking Welsh may be important to their sense of identity, but it has no real impact on their life chances.

In the later stages of globalisation, I don't see there being more than one language.

simonm
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Re: bilingual people on Delcamp.

Post by simonm » Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:41 pm

Rasputin wrote:
Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:25 pm
....

I know people who are Welsh/English bilingual. Speaking Welsh may be important to their sense of identity, but it has no real impact on their life chances.
...

Over the years I have come to the conclusion that this is not the case. Being bilingual means that they will have a very different attitude to learning a new language - the know it is not a big deal - they know it is normal to express yourself in more than one language. Welsh being a different language family means that from the beginning these bilinguals are used to handling quite different structures. So in the sense that it could be beneficial to their life chances as they will be better able to learn other languages which will be directly useful. Maybe the sense of identity in itself is useful too.
Rasputin wrote:
Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:25 pm
In the later stages of globalisation, I don't see there being more than one language.
That will be a very sad world.

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zupfgeiger
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Re: bilingual people on Delcamp.

Post by zupfgeiger » Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:49 pm

Rasputin wrote:
Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:25 pm
zupfgeiger wrote:
Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:38 am
Growing up bilingual is an absolute asset in a globalised world.
I would say it can be an asset in a world in the early stages of globalisation.

I know people who are Welsh/English bilingual. Speaking Welsh may be important to their sense of identity, but it has no real impact on their life chances.

In the later stages of globalisation, I don't see there being more than one language.
Well, Welsh is an extreme example as it is a minority language. In general your prediction might not be far off reality. In Brussels people firecely discuss the pros and cons of a more simple EU language regime. Reducing communication within the EU institutions to one language, English of course, would end a huge amount of problems stemming from the fact that the EU has three working languages (English, French and German) and 24 official languages. But as you said: Languages are a most important part of the identity and culture of a nation, abandoning the EU language regime would have a very negative impact as well. The UK will leave the EU but we all switch to English? Hmmmm. Anyway the French speaking community would never ever allow an official takeover of English as the only working language of the EU. Although in reality English has long been the pre-dominant language. At least since the big bang enlargement in 2004 French has lost its importance.
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Hotsoup
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Re: bilingual people on Delcamp.

Post by Hotsoup » Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:15 pm

I have a B.A. in French, did a semester at Laval University (Quebec) and taught English at Chateau-Thierry (France) for about a year. I loved learning French but realized I would never approach anything like native fluency when beginning in my late teens/early twenties. I worked very hard on my accent too and got a lot of compliments--it's just something you have to learn young to be truly native. Still, a worthy endeavor and I don't regret it.

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