bilingual people on Delcamp.

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Rasputin
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Re: bilingual people on Delcamp.

Post by Rasputin » Sat Jun 03, 2017 8:50 pm

Just kidding :lol: Took you out of context too. It's quite a list though.

I can speak English and French but only smatterings of other languages - enough to get by on holiday but not enough to follow a film or even the TV news.

It's fascinating how flouncy French seems for the first five minutes and then how crude English seems when you switch back. I guess other languages also have their own personalities but I don't speak any of them well enough to know. Still the blunt practicality of English does suggest a pragmatic outlook, and maybe a degree of obstinacy - so perhaps there is a relationship between the character of the language and the character of the nation. The French love of complexity for complexity's sake also shows up in their architecture and cuisine.

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bear
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Re: bilingual people on Delcamp.

Post by bear » Sat Jun 03, 2017 9:04 pm

I spoke Chiricahua and Spanish fluently as a child. English was my third language and the one I have used most often for most of my adult life. Since my wife is Italian, I've picked up enough to get by. I learned some Martial Arts related Japanese.
I have also learned American Sign Language and have taught Amerind Sign Language. Since retiring I don't have occasion to use much more than English. My wife and I will occasionally speak to each other in Italian or Spanish.
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wchymeus
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Re: bilingual people on Delcamp.

Post by wchymeus » Sun Jun 04, 2017 5:47 am

I left France 20 years ago and since then I mostly speak English (well, I think...). I guess I picked up a Californian accent; when I am in the UK they think I am a native from the US (funny that saying native American doesn't work when you are American...). In the US, they think I am from "somewhere" they can't really guess... often people say that I am from the UK, or after sometimes they think I am from Germany...
The real fun is when I go back to France. Indeed I have my natural Parisian accent but now I don't have the phrases... I have the feeling I speak old French as it's hard for me to understand my niece and her friends :-)
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Andrew Fryer
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Re: bilingual people on Delcamp.

Post by Andrew Fryer » Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:55 am

wchymeus wrote:
Sun Jun 04, 2017 5:47 am
The real fun is when I go back to France...I don't have the phrases... I have the feeling I speak old French as it's hard for me to understand my niece and her friends
Idiom is tricky. You can have too little and you can have too much. Learning idiom when you read is difficult, as in this area dictionaries are often poorly organised. I remember when I was learning French, I found the Shorter Oxford to be better than the full-sized Collins.

But too much idiom is very annoying - I've known a few Dutch people who get too good at English and throw in an idiom every other word. I suspect from Family Guy scripts that Americans have observed the same phenomenon (although for laughs they tend to stress the errors in the overusage). That not only makes them sound like crazy hippies, but as new idioms come, old idioms go, and you must drop them or sound old-fashioned, and these bilingual Dutch people make the double blunder of not only using too much idiom, but also achieving it by dint of retaining all the obsolete stuff that they should have jettisoned. When you learn a language among people, you really need to learn when to shut up and use your ears.

Trying to make jokes in a foreign language is usually a no-no too - it is way too easy to be misunderstood and to offend. My advice, don't even try it. Just laugh at others' jokes if you want to ingratiate yourself. German is the only language I have ever been good enough at to crack jokes.
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kirolak
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Re: bilingual people on Delcamp.

Post by kirolak » Sun Jun 04, 2017 10:38 am

I'm also bilingual ( or maybe tri on good days :) with English, Spanish & German plus some Thai & Portuguese. I find that idioms change very swiftly in spoken spanish, & modern slang. . . but some words have an inherently a national character, I think & can't be translated comfortably - for eg flojo (weak, lazy, ineffectual) in Spanish, or Schadenfreude (joy in another's misfortune) in German. I'm learning Finnish obsessively & doubt I'll ever get to the stage where idioms make sense to me, it's so alien to my mindset :(

As for jokes, my occasional odd usage of German is more than entertaining to native speakers, I fear!

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Sobers
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Re: bilingual people on Delcamp.

Post by Sobers » Sun Jun 04, 2017 4:09 pm

You want to know about 'bilinguals' or 'Polyglots'?
I speak 6 languages. I have degrees and diplomas in French and Spanish. Apart from English (2nd language), Bengali (mother tongue), Hindi and Sanskrit (from School). I can understand several other Indian languages speak one or two but can't read or write them. I could read and write Italian and Portuguese, now lost touch but can sing songs. I started Chinese and Russian but stopped due to time problems. I'll continue them in future.
About learning a foreign language you have to apply theory (verb conjugations+vocabulary+making sentences) and practical (speaking+listening to audios+watching movies etc.) together.
Keeping in touch with several languages is the greatest challenge in this game if you have other priorities.. else learning them is pure bliss. You won't regret a single second of that.

Marshall Dixon
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Re: bilingual people on Delcamp.

Post by Marshall Dixon » Sun Jun 04, 2017 5:50 pm

bear wrote:
Sat Jun 03, 2017 9:04 pm
I spoke Chiricahua and Spanish fluently as a child. English was my third language and the one I have used most often for most of my adult life. Since my wife is Italian, I've picked up enough to get by. I learned some Martial Arts related Japanese.
I have also learned American Sign Language and have taught Amerind Sign Language. Since retiring I don't have occasion to use much more than English. My wife and I will occasionally speak to each other in Italian or Spanish.
bear - I wasn't going to reply to this post as I'm not bilingual, but when I saw you spoke Chiricahua Apache, and know sign language, I perked up.

The language I heard at home during my earliest years was as likely Sicilian as English.

I lived in Germany 5 years between the ages of 5 and 12. Started learning German in kindergarten and continued through high school. I'd be lucky to conjugate 10 verbs now. Living in SE Arizona (near the Chiricahua mountains) after that, all of my friends were bilingual; so I got started on some basic Spanish, improved a bit over the years and continue with feeble attempts whenever the chance occurs. I was told once while travelling in Mexico that I spoke Spanish with an Italian accent. Go figure.

Have you read this book -"The First 100 Years of Niño Cochise, co-authored by A Kinney Griffith?" Ciyé "Niño" Cochise was the grandson of Cochise and a member of the part of the tribe that escaped the forced relocation march of the Chiricahua Apache to the San Carlos reservation. Quite a story. Another one - Apaches: "A History and Cultural Portrait" by James Haley. Very well done.

In my mid 20's my landlord and next door neighbor was deaf from birth. He had degrees in 4 languages, used sign language, and travelled throughout Europe. He couldn't speak.

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bear
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Re: bilingual people on Delcamp.

Post by bear » Sun Jun 04, 2017 9:54 pm

Marshall Dixon wrote:
Sun Jun 04, 2017 5:50 pm
bear wrote:
Sat Jun 03, 2017 9:04 pm
I spoke Chiricahua and Spanish fluently as a child. English was my third language and the one I have used most often for most of my adult life. Since my wife is Italian, I've picked up enough to get by. I learned some Martial Arts related Japanese.
I have also learned American Sign Language and have taught Amerind Sign Language. Since retiring I don't have occasion to use much more than English. My wife and I will occasionally speak to each other in Italian or Spanish.
bear - I wasn't going to reply to this post as I'm not bilingual, but when I saw you spoke Chiricahua Apache, and know sign language, I perked up.

The language I heard at home during my earliest years was as likely Sicilian as English.

I lived in Germany 5 years between the ages of 5 and 12. Started learning German in kindergarten and continued through high school. I'd be lucky to conjugate 10 verbs now. Living in SE Arizona (near the Chiricahua mountains) after that, all of my friends were bilingual; so I got started on some basic Spanish, improved a bit over the years and continue with feeble attempts whenever the chance occurs. I was told once while travelling in Mexico that I spoke Spanish with an Italian accent. Go figure.

Have you read this book -"The First 100 Years of Niño Cochise, co-authored by A Kinney Griffith?" Ciyé "Niño" Cochise was the grandson of Cochise and a member of the part of the tribe that escaped the forced relocation march of the Chiricahua Apache to the San Carlos reservation. Quite a story. Another one - Apaches: "A History and Cultural Portrait" by James Haley. Very well done.

In my mid 20's my landlord and next door neighbor was deaf from birth. He had degrees in 4 languages, used sign language, and travelled throughout Europe. He couldn't speak.
I've heard about "Nino", no comment other than; he was not at Ft.Sill. neither was Christopher Rocancourt.
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Hallex
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Re: bilingual people on Delcamp.

Post by Hallex » Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:57 pm

I live in Brazil, near Uruguayan border, and so I speak portuguese and spanish with no problems. I also speak, write and read in English, but just training with my daughters that studies in a multi lingual school. Understand Italian and a lot of words in german (only to don't get lost in a travel).

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Rick Hutt
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Re: bilingual people on Delcamp.

Post by Rick Hutt » Tue Jun 06, 2017 3:18 pm

Amazingly fascinating subject. I am third generation Mexican American, grandmother Spanish fluent, mother bilingual, me: had to study it in school because my Dad (French Canadian) did not speak it and we did not live close to my grandmother. I am a trained singer and can sing in Italian, German, and French. Because we have to convey the meaning of the aria or song, we have to diligently work on accent and subtext. Over the years I have become more adept, but I am sure any native speaker of those languages would instantly know that I am not a native speaker. Just as when I listen to Bernstein's "West Side Story" with Jose Carreras as Tony. It is obvious he is a Spanish speaker, even though I know that he is conversant in English, because I have spoken with him.
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zupfgeiger
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Re: bilingual people on Delcamp.

Post by zupfgeiger » Tue Jun 06, 2017 3:45 pm

I have recently watched a programm on super polyglot twins from Manchester, UK, who can learn a new language within a week. They speak 20 languages. And there is a translator in the EU Commission speaking 32 living languages, but I don't know whether he plays the guitar...
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Tomzooki
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Re: bilingual people on Delcamp.

Post by Tomzooki » Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:06 pm

I was born and always lived in Quebec city, so I speak french. Though I am by no means "bilingual" I am fluent enough in english to read (in fact most of the time I read in english) and have a conversation, and even "think" in english. But I have a hard time to understand movies where characters "marmonnent" or use slang or speak too fast. I had a "101" spanish course; though I am totally unable to speak it, since those lessons I can understand a bit of what spanish speaking people says.
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Smudger5150
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Re: bilingual people on Delcamp.

Post by Smudger5150 » Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:43 pm

I'm not bilingual so you don't want to hear from me, strictly speaking....but I couldn't resist commenting!

As a native English man I obviously know English but I have been learning Greek for many years due to having a Greek wife and I can hold a very basic conversation. I was actually told be a Greek visitor to my workplace that, after having a brief but reasonably successful conversation with them, that my level is like a Greek infant ! :oops:
Main problem for me/us is my wife can speak English perfectly so we hardly ever try to speak in Greek.

However, I very recently read a book 'fluent forever' which has lots of good tips, I think, on how to learn a language efficiently.
I was trying to incorporate them into my daily life when our little boy came along and everything time-wise has gone 'out the window'!

So finding time to practise guitar, let alone Greek (which is lower down the list), is always a challenge!
Too many times when I have an opening (when everyone else has gone to bed) I find myself getting drawn into delcamp threads...like this one!!!

However, the ideas the book (and site) outline are things like the using flashcards with spaced repetition methods (Anki is a free tool that does this) along with targeting the most used words in a language 1st as well as a few other good ideas.
The spaced repetition idea (which I think someone mentioned earlier in this thread) is really the big thing, for me, which could/should help someone to learn a language. The basic idea being that if you test yourself on the things that you are just about to forget or have just forgot, then you will get them into long term memory by testing your recall when this happens. But like everything, you still need to put time aside to get started (my problem at the moment - setting the flashcards up in anki...) and then continuing to use the method.

Interestingly, the subject of whether my wife should speak Greek to our child whilst he is young has come up. She thought that learning Greek might not be very useful seeing as we live in England but I have heard many times how children pick up languages much more easily than adults so I've hopefully persuaded her that she should try so we can give him at least 2 languages and be, hopefully, bi-lingual-ish when he's older.

I did French at school and my wife did German so if we dust off our school books then maybe we can get our little one up to 4 languages!
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ddray
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Re: bilingual people on Delcamp.

Post by ddray » Wed Jun 07, 2017 12:50 am

I'm learning Spanish, and I'm finding that the best way to learn is immersion. Being around native speakers.
Last edited by ddray on Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

astra69
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Re: bilingual people on Delcamp.

Post by astra69 » Wed Jun 07, 2017 8:04 am

Sobers wrote:
Sun Jun 04, 2017 4:09 pm
You want to know about 'bilinguals' or 'Polyglots'?
I speak 6 languages. I have degrees and diplomas in French and Spanish. Apart from English (2nd language), Bengali (mother tongue), Hindi and Sanskrit (from School). I can understand several other Indian languages speak one or two but can't read or write them. I could read and write Italian and Portuguese, now lost touch but can sing songs. I started Chinese and Russian but stopped due to time problems. I'll continue them in future.
About learning a foreign language you have to apply theory (verb conjugations+vocabulary+making sentences) and practical (speaking+listening to audios+watching movies etc.) together.
Keeping in touch with several languages is the greatest challenge in this game if you have other priorities.. else learning them is pure bliss. You won't regret a single second of that.
As I said, initially, I wanted to hear from people who picked up two languages as children, without intentional learning. But this discussion has grown interesting. And learning foreign languages is, we all must admit, such a difficult process that all the reflections are inciteful. Judging from the amount of responses, it's not only me interested in the subject 8)

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