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Now this is some language skills!

EJ3

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I'd be in this category, although I'm surprised it's so low actually.

I knew a person about 20 years ago that could speak 8 fluent languages... I thought that was quite an effort and very much respected their talent in this regard.

It's best to start young if wanting to become fluent in multiple languages, however what helps the most is living in a country that speaks that language for at least a year.


JSmith
I have one female friend (whom I used to date in Salzburg, Austria during some of my 9 trips there [not including the trip in which I was concieved in Charleston, SC but born in Salzburg Austria]) who speaks 12 languages and is certified to teach in 8 of them. Many around Austria speak at least 3 languages fluently + English fairly well. She is currently living in what's left of the Nicaraguan rainforest. Another friend of mine (who owns a Taxi service in Singapore) also fluently speaks 12 languages (he is Singapore/Chinese, his wife is Thai). Most folks I know speak enough of 2 (other than their native one) to get around without much trouble in the countries that are near their countries borders. I am fluent in English & German and know when someone is talking about me in Mandarin & Korean.
 

dtaylo1066

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Merci beaucoup, @amirm,

Oh, to be a polyglot!
It would be worth a poll to see how many languages each of the members have mastered. (IMO - Nearing #3 below.)

Types:
  1. Monolinguals—40% of the world population
  2. Bilinguals — 43% of us (majority)
  3. Trilinguals — 13%
  4. *{?Quadrilinguals?} - x% 4 languages?
  5. VIP polyglots — 3% more than four languages.

All polyglots:
  • Queen Elizabeth I of England
  • Nikola Tesla
  • Ho Chi Minh
  • J.R.R. Tolkien
Fact or Fiction? “Polyglot personality shift
ADDED: *I did not find enough information on the 4th group (includes me)

To be nitpicky, 43% is not a majority, but a plurality -- the largest percentage.

Sadly, I am a monolingual, like most Americans. I probably took 4 years of Spanish in H.S. and college and only recall a small amount. I have an advanced degree and am an accomplished writer and am regarded as highly articulate. Yet trying to learn a foreign language was difficult for me, but for some it comes much easier. It is also far easier to learn another language when young. A number of my bi-lingual friends in the U.S. speak only in Spanish in their home in order to enable their children to become expert in two languages, which is smart.

The late Sec. of State Madelien Albright could speak English, Russian, Czech, French, German, Polish, and Serbo-Croatian. She also understood spoken Slovak.

Americans are very parochial, and we expect the rest of the world to speak English. For any young ASR members out there, do yourself a favor and learn Spanish or Chinese and you will make your future employment success far greater and more interesting.
 

dlaloum

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A coworker has family roots in Sri Lanka so she is fluent in Tamil. All I can say is "how are you?" in this language.
My English is fluent... sort of...but just when listening. Speaking or writing on the other hand is very difficult for me as there are only rare occasions for practice in my daily routine. Yesterday I had to speak to a "customer" on the phone and as his German skills were worse than my English we chose his mother tongue. Was many times lost for words because outside my job I never encounter tax terms. As soon as you leave the comfort zone of everyday conversations the challenge begins ...:D
Yes... a couple of my languages are primarily in "kitchen" form... not much in the way of sophisticated vocab!
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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And of course, english is english is english and completely comprehensible across all accents/dialects....

:) It is not just English though. I had a couple of people on my team one of whom was French Canadian on a trip in Europe. We got to the train station in France and had a very short connection to the Chunnel (train). Totally lost, we grabbed a lady and I asked her which direction we had to go. She responded with extremely broken English, clearly not understanding what I was saying. Thinking I had this taken care of, I proudly and confidently pointed to my French Canadian member and told him to ask in French. Which he proceeded to do. He finishes and the lady looks at him, then looks at me and attempts to still talk to me in broken English!!! She either didn't understand his French or didn't want to talk to him! We had to find someone else to ask for direction...
 

dlaloum

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:) It is not just English though. I had a couple of people on my team one of whom was French Canadian on a trip in Europe. We got to the train station in France and had a very short connection to the Chunnel (train). Totally lost, we grabbed a lady and I asked her which direction we had to go. She responded with extremely broken English, clearly not understanding what I was saying. Thinking I had this taken care of, I proudly and confidently pointed to my French Canadian member and told him to ask in French. Which he proceeded to do. He finishes and the lady looks at him, then looks at me and attempts to still talk to me in broken English!!! She either didn't understand his French or didn't want to talk to him! We had to find someone else to ask for direction...
"Mainland" French like to joke about Canadian French... but the really tricky one is Louisianna Cajun....

And then there are the various snob/status issues :rolleyes:
 

pseudoid

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:) She either didn't understand his French or didn't want to talk to him!
We had to find someone else to ask for direction...
I mean no(t much) disrespect but I've notice that the native french speakers (intentionally or otherwise) seem to become hard of hearing the instant they detect a broken accent! Sometimes things get worse, if they think you are an American. << IMHO >> I have had few instances where even the simple answer "Non" actually received a hand-cupped-ear and asking for repeat. Maybe a national quirk????
In Mexico, one is cautioned to taking directions with a grain of salt. The reasoning is that if you are truly lost in BFE (Mexico-style) and you ask directions on how to get somewhere; the person giving you the directions may not know where BFE is but is just wanting to help a lost tourist as best as they can.
No, Really!:oops:
 

dlaloum

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When tourists come to Australia... we just smile and give them a Vegemite sandwich;


... makes things much easier. ;)


JSmith
Especially if you tell them that it's "Australian Nutella"....
 

GD Fan

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:) It is not just English though. I had a couple of people on my team one of whom was French Canadian on a trip in Europe. We got to the train station in France and had a very short connection to the Chunnel (train). Totally lost, we grabbed a lady and I asked her which direction we had to go. She responded with extremely broken English, clearly not understanding what I was saying. Thinking I had this taken care of, I proudly and confidently pointed to my French Canadian member and told him to ask in French. Which he proceeded to do. He finishes and the lady looks at him, then looks at me and attempts to still talk to me in broken English!!! She either didn't understand his French or didn't want to talk to him! We had to find someone else to ask for direction...
I've always felt sorry for the French. They never seem to understand their own language spoken poorly, whereas I usually decipher poorly spoken English happily, helpfully, and just fine.
 

bloodshoteyed

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The late Sec. of State Madelien Albright could speak English, Russian, Czech, French, German, Polish, and Serbo-Croatian. She also understood spoken Slovak.

a dying breed of good politicians...

this one's been officially defunct for a bit over 30 years now, yet i still can't really count it as the three languages that it is technically known as now (at least i got a bonus 2 more in my CV...)

I've always felt sorry for the French. They never seem to understand their own language spoken poorly, whereas I usually decipher poorly spoken English happily, helpfully, and just fine.

if you've ever witnessed a french and a canuck trying to communicate...damn, it didn't even sound as if they were from the same planet :)
 

LTig

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:) It is not just English though. I had a couple of people on my team one of whom was French Canadian on a trip in Europe. We got to the train station in France and had a very short connection to the Chunnel (train). Totally lost, we grabbed a lady and I asked her which direction we had to go. She responded with extremely broken English, clearly not understanding what I was saying. Thinking I had this taken care of, I proudly and confidently pointed to my French Canadian member and told him to ask in French. Which he proceeded to do. He finishes and the lady looks at him, then looks at me and attempts to still talk to me in broken English!!! She either didn't understand his French or didn't want to talk to him! We had to find someone else to ask for direction...
I once sat in a restaurant and listening to the conversation on the neighbor table I could not detect if it was English or French. Found out it was Canadian French.
 

VintageFlanker

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American tourist visits a foreign country: Even fully knowing that the person(s) they are speaking to do NOT understand English; they continue to speak English but they slow down their speech.... like that is going to make the person(s), all of a sudden, start understanding English.
It's a classic.:D
I observe this behaviour just every day in Paris. Wherever the tourist comes from or the associated language...:facepalm:
 
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dlaloum

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I observe this behaviour just every day in Paris. Whatever the tourist comes from or the associated language...:facepalm:
With my French cousins, it is difficult to get a French word in edgewise - they are all so keen to practice their English!!
 

mansr

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I've always felt sorry for the French. They never seem to understand their own language spoken poorly, whereas I usually decipher poorly spoken English happily, helpfully, and just fine.
And that's why English is the lingua franca of the world. I suspect part of the the underlying reason here is that the structure of English is more forgiving of mistakes.
 

Kuppenbender

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How does the US go below 1 o_O.
This…?
A8B0E0B6-7854-48C5-81B0-E2D58AEE128F.jpeg
 
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