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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old Jun 14th, 2019, 08:14 AM Thread Starter
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Language learning

I notice a lot of us are learning foreign languages, so maybe we can discuss some of the languages we learn/speak/want to learn/are interested in here.

I speak English natively, and have a lot of knowledge of various Semitic languages (Hebrew, multiple dialects of Arabic, Assyrian Aramaic) to varying degrees.

I used to speak Spanish at an advanced level, but my level has really dropped over 7 years of zero usage.

I have a smaller degree of knowledge of Slavic languages, particularly Russian. I have very briefly studied Polish, Serbo-Croatian and Slovak too.

I have some knowledge of Persian too.

I also know bits of Greek, Hindi, Turkish, Armenian, Swahili and some others.

I am always interested in learning new languages, which explains why I have basic knowledge (but nothing more) in multiple languages

I am really keen on improving my knowledge of Assyrian, Russian and Hindi.

I am also very interested in learning Romanian and maybe some other different new languages like Bulgarian, Uzbek, Berber and others.

I occasionally get the urge to learn Chinese, but learning to write 22,000 characters just turns me off completely.



P.S. I think we need to crown Kiki "25 languages" Mladenovic as the Queen of this thread
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old Jun 14th, 2019, 08:18 AM
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Re: Language learning

Quote:
Originally Posted by ishgever View Post
I notice a lot of us are learning foreign languages, so maybe we can discuss some of the languages we learn/speak/want to learn/are interested in here.

I speak English natively, and have a lot of knowledge of various Semitic languages (Hebrew, multiple dialects of Arabic, Assyrian Aramaic) to varying degrees.

I used to speak Spanish at an advanced level, but my level has really dropped over 7 years of zero usage.

I have a smaller degree of knowledge of Slavic languages, particularly Russian. I have very briefly studied Polish, Serbo-Croatian and Slovak too.

I have some knowledge of Persian too.

I also know bits of Greek, Hindi, Turkish, Armenian, Swahili and some others.

I am always interested in learning new languages, which explains why I have basic knowledge (but nothing more) in multiple languages

I am really keen on improving my knowledge of Assyrian, Russian and Hindi.

I am also very interested in learning Romanian and maybe some other different new languages like Bulgarian, Uzbek, Berber and others.

I occasionally get the urge to learn Chinese, but learning to write 22,000 characters just turns me off completely.



P.S. I think we need to crown Kiki "25 languages" Mladenovic as the Queen of this thread
The grammar of Romanian language is quite difficult, but if you want to learn it, then some basics of Latin are more than welcome, also knowing Italian.
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old Jun 14th, 2019, 09:19 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Language learning

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The grammar of Romanian language is quite difficult, but if you want to learn it, then some basics of Latin are more than welcome, also knowing Italian.
Yeah, it looks quite different grammatically with the definite articles and cases. But I love how it sounds

Serbian is also on my list!

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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old Jun 14th, 2019, 09:23 AM
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Re: Language learning

I love languages, I only wish I wasn't too reserved to practice with native speakers as much as possible and my uptake of the language didn't take so long.

I speak my mother tongue, a number of local languages (we have more than 13 languages) including Afrikaans, and we were taught English as a subject at school and it is considered as an official language. Later on, after uni, I took on German and Spanish, I am more of a B1 level speaker as I tend to forget them over time. Afrikaans makes it easier to read some things in Dutch and Flemish. I wish I took a more interest in French, however I just found it difficult especially with their silent letters, I only know the basics.

I now only want to take classes to improve my German and Spanish.
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old Jun 14th, 2019, 10:24 AM
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Re: Language learning

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Originally Posted by ishgever View Post
Yeah, it looks quite different grammatically with the definite articles and cases. But I love how it sounds

Serbian is also on my list!
Have you ever heard Portuguese? It the language that sounds the most similar to Romanian. And if you already know Spanish it is pretty easy.

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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old Jun 14th, 2019, 10:25 AM
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Re: Language learning

I speak some German, but I really struggle at it, need more practice. I also know Spanish, but it is really easy for Portuguese speakers.

https://twitter.com/Lewis_Carroll32/...04634804015105

"Peace with Honour"

(I'm trying to improve my vocabulary, so I'll use some fancy words here, don't be afraid of correcting me)
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old Jun 14th, 2019, 11:50 AM
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Re: Language learning

I love it

Apart from native Portuguese, I speak Spanish which is pretty easy since we share 80% of our vocabulary and grammar. It is also a mandatory subject in schools in Brazil, English as well.
I know some basics of Hungarian which is such an interesting language, de túl nehéz
And recently I finally took on French, the most beautiful of them all. I wish I had started studying it earlier but things never worked out for it before.
Next I'd like to learn a Slavic language, probably Ukrainian, even though the cyrillic alphabet scares me.
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old Jun 14th, 2019, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Language learning

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Originally Posted by EkVraNaamEnVan View Post
I love languages, I only wish I wasn't too reserved to practice with native speakers as much as possible and my uptake of the language didn't take so long.

I speak my mother tongue, a number of local languages (we have more than 13 languages) including Afrikaans, and we were taught English as a subject at school and it is considered as an official language. Later on, after uni, I took on German and Spanish, I am more of a B1 level speaker as I tend to forget them over time. Afrikaans makes it easier to read some things in Dutch and Flemish. I wish I took a more interest in French, however I just found it difficult especially with their silent letters, I only know the basics.

I now only want to take classes to improve my German and Spanish.

What is your mother tongue?

I have tried studying Swahili, which I know isn't spoken in South Africa, but I thought about learning Zulu too since it's also Bantu.

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Originally Posted by LewisCarroll View Post
Have you ever heard Portuguese? It the language that sounds the most similar to Romanian. And if you already know Spanish it is pretty easy.
Yup, I love Portuguese too! I just haven't really thought about learning it. I found it easy to understand in writing when I was better at Spanish, but listening was like 10%

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Originally Posted by bud887 View Post
I love it

Apart from native Portuguese, I speak Spanish which is pretty easy since we share 80% of our vocabulary and grammar. It is also a mandatory subject in schools in Brazil, English as well.
I know some basics of Hungarian which is such an interesting language, de túl nehéz
And recently I finally took on French, the most beautiful of them all. I wish I had started studying it earlier but things never worked out for it before.
Next I'd like to learn a Slavic language, probably Ukrainian, even though the cyrillic alphabet scares me.

Cool!

Don't be scared of Cyrillic! It's super easy for us who come from the Latin script. Some letters are the same, same look similar to our letters but are pronounced differently, and some are different.

For example, some letters you already know:

а = a
б = b
е = e
т = t
о = o
к = k
м = m


Then you have some letters that look like our letters but have different pronunciations (slightly confusing in the beginning).

я = ya
р = r
у = oo
и = i
с = s
х = kh
в = v
н = n

Not so tricky if you study it for a day or two.

The rest of the letters are different, but they're not so hard to learn. Probably the hardest sound to learn is this one "ы", but this is in Russian - Ukrainian doesn't use it they have a similar sound but it's written differently. There are hard things about pronunciation like soft and hard sounds etc, but the alphabet itself is really not hard at all. Don't be afraid
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old Jun 14th, 2019, 03:25 PM
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Re: Language learning

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Originally Posted by bud887 View Post
Next I'd like to learn a Slavic language, probably Ukrainian, even though the cyrillic alphabet scares me.
I don't mean to discourage you, but I think you'd soon find out the Cyrillic script is the least of your concerns. Most non-native speakers of Slavic languages really struggle with their noun declension and extensive verbal system. But I imagine it can also be a lot of fun!
Ukrainian pronunciation rules are much more straightforward compared to the Russian, at least.
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old Jun 14th, 2019, 04:08 PM
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Re: Language learning

Well, I am definitely not a natural polyglot... I find learning learning new languages quite difficult, my mind is more mathematical (I see most things in mathematical patterns, even things like music and art).

That being said, I do speak some German and Ukrainian because of my parents, and my spoken French is decent since I spent a number of years in Québec (written is another thing entirely).

I truly wish I could pick up new languages as easily as people like Djokervic, but it is really a struggle for me.

Good luck to everyone learning whatever languages you're tackling... wish I could help, but, you know

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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old Jun 14th, 2019, 04:45 PM
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Re: Language learning

Quote:
Originally Posted by ishgever View Post
I notice a lot of us are learning foreign languages, so maybe we can discuss some of the languages we learn/speak/want to learn/are interested in here.

I speak English natively, and have a lot of knowledge of various Semitic languages (Hebrew, multiple dialects of Arabic, Assyrian Aramaic) to varying degrees.

I used to speak Spanish at an advanced level, but my level has really dropped over 7 years of zero usage.

I have a smaller degree of knowledge of Slavic languages, particularly Russian. I have very briefly studied Polish, Serbo-Croatian and Slovak too.

I have some knowledge of Persian too.

I also know bits of Greek, Hindi, Turkish, Armenian, Swahili and some others.

I am always interested in learning new languages, which explains why I have basic knowledge (but nothing more) in multiple languages

I am really keen on improving my knowledge of Assyrian, Russian and Hindi.

I am also very interested in learning Romanian and maybe some other different new languages like Bulgarian, Uzbek, Berber and others.

I occasionally get the urge to learn Chinese, but learning to write 22,000 characters just turns me off completely.



P.S. I think we need to crown Kiki "25 languages" Mladenovic as the Queen of this thread
It seems you are a true polyglot, or at least one in the making

As for Chinese: my sis has a half-Chinese friend and she says learning to speak Chinese is relatively easy, but the real challenge is the written version of the language. So can confirm your concerns here. From what I know, e.g. written Japanese is much easier.

BTW, also spoke to another Chinese woman and asked her about possible similarities between Chinese and Vietnamese (there are many folks of Vietnamese origin in Europe) and she said "it’s a completely different language".
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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old Jun 14th, 2019, 05:46 PM
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Re: Language learning

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Originally Posted by ishgever View Post

For example, some letters you already know:

а = a
б = b
е = e
т = t
о = o
к = k
м = m


Then you have some letters that look like our letters but have different pronunciations (slightly confusing in the beginning).

я = ya
р = r
у = oo
и = i
с = s
х = kh
в = v
н = n

Not so tricky if you study it for a day or two.
That's a nice and helpful summary.

My favourite mnemonic for learning ALL the letters of the Russian alphabet is the following rhyme, which was used at some Czechoslovak schools in 1980s:

А Б В Г Д Е Ж вот читаю я уже, (Look, I can already read)
З И К Л М Н О не смотрю совсем в окно, (I'm not looking out of the window)
П Р С Т У Ф Х ох, наука не легка, (Oh, what a hard task to do)
Ц Ч Ш Щ ъ не запомню я никак, (No way I will forget this)
Ы Ь Э Ю Я азбуку всю знаю я (I've just mastered the whole of Cyrilic)

Anyone can learn this pretty fast and call themselves an expert on the Russian language
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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old Jun 14th, 2019, 05:57 PM
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Re: Language learning

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Originally Posted by ishgever View Post
What is your mother tongue?

I have tried studying Swahili, which I know isn't spoken in South Africa, but I thought about learning Zulu too since it's also Bantu.
Otjiherero also Bantu. Swahali I only know the words similar to my languages or bits I picked up from friends and a few visits in Nairobi.
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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old Jun 14th, 2019, 08:34 PM
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Re: Language learning

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Originally Posted by Petronius View Post
That's a nice and helpful summary.

My favourite mnemonic for learning ALL the letters of the Russian alphabet is the following rhyme, which was used at some Czechoslovak schools in 1980s:

А Б В Г Д Е Ж вот читаю я уже, (Look, I can already read)
З И К Л М Н О не смотрю совсем в окно, (I'm not looking out of the window)
П Р С Т У Ф Х ох, наука не легка, (Oh, what a hard task to do)
Ц Ч Ш Щ ъ не запомню я никак, (No way I will forget this)
Ы Ь Э Ю Я азбуку всю знаю я (I've just mastered the whole of Cyrilic)

Anyone can learn this pretty fast and call themselves an expert on the Russian language
I imagine non-Russian speakers will lose it at the 4th row.

Apart from English and Serbian, I do speak Russian, but lately it is kinda off. My mother is a university professor of Russian language and I have it running in the family, but not using a language on a daily basis is a real killer. Then again, I work in English and my accent improved a lot (I phone US all the time) that sometimes when I am having a good day, my US colleagues can not notice I am a foreigner.

I would like to learn Hungarian language (I am in Hungary as I write this post ). I know some basics, but it is not enough to read signs on the street to learn a foreign language If I could master it, I would be eligible to apply for Hungarian citizenship, so it would be a win-win situation. I have a feeling it is not hard to learn the language, at least not for me, as I come from Hungarian speaking environment and I have the language "in the ear", as we like to say it here in Serbia xD
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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old Jun 15th, 2019, 02:16 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Language learning

Quote:
Originally Posted by EkVraNaamEnVan View Post
Otjiherero also Bantu. Swahali I only know the words similar to my languages or bits I picked up from friends and a few visits in Nairobi.
Oops. Sorry for guessing you lived in South Africa

Bantu languages are so cool! Swahili was fun but I had literally nobody to speak with, sadly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Do It View Post
Apart from English and Serbian, I do speak Russian, but lately it is kinda off.
How did I not know this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petronius View Post
It seems you are a true polyglot, or at least one in the making
Just a wannabe

Quote:
As for Chinese: my sis has a half-Chinese friend and she says learning to speak Chinese is relatively easy, but the real challenge is the written version of the language. So can confirm your concerns here. From what I know, e.g. written Japanese is much easier.
Totally true from what I've heard, except the tones of Chinese do scare the f out of me.

Japanese is honestly so hard to write - they use three alphabets in the one sentence. They have two native alphabets (Hiragana and Katakana) which aren't too difficult, but then they ALSO use the infamous Chinese characters (Kanji). You need to know how to read all three systems to read Japanese it's terrifying.

Quote:
BTW, also spoke to another Chinese woman and asked her about possible similarities between Chinese and Vietnamese (there are many folks of Vietnamese origin in Europe) and she said "it’s a completely different language".
Yeah, they are from completely different language families. However, Vietnamese takes a looooooot of its vocabulary from Chinese (around 50% I think). I think this may be of some help, but I'm not really sure. Have you ever tried learning it?

To me, Vietnamese sounds like one of the hardest languages to actually pronounce. The sounds that the Vietnamese tongue produces just seem like a test of human limits
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