Mobile menu

Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Question: Can you speak six or more languages?
Thread poster: carlywatt
carlywatt
English
Sep 13, 2007

If yes, I would like to speak to you!

My name is Carly Watt, I'm a Ryerson University student and I need your help for my Media Communications class.

I'm looking for someone who speaks six or more languages to interview about how they learned their languages, the benefits to knowing the languages, family life etc.

Any information at all would be extremely helpful!

Thank you in advance


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:39
English to Dutch
+ ...
Define level of proficiency Sep 13, 2007

Dear Carly,

I think it would be helpful if you could explain what you mean by 'speaking' a language.

I personally learned eleven languages (in varying levels of education and proficiency), but I'd say I can really speak two or three languages and have passive knowledge of four or five languages that could be made active if I really wanted to. The other languages I would have to learn anew if I ever wanted to really use them again. None of them besides Dutch are 'native level' (by my own definition of 'native', but that's a completely different discussion).

So do you mean: speak, as in: every day usage? Do you mean reading and writing skills as well? Active or passive use/knowledge? And what does all this have to do with Media Commmunications?

I think you'll get better/more useful answers if you ask a more defined question.

Good luck!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Rui de Carvalho  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 23:39
English to Portuguese
+ ...
to speak or not to speak Sep 13, 2007

Margreet is absolutely right. I use to say, overstating naturally, that languages were not meant to be spoken but to be written. I learned eighteen languages, but some of them I never spoke. I can speak six or seven, but I'm highly proficient in reading or translating languages I'll never be able to speak (German or Dutch) or would have extreme difficulty even to understand the verbal speech (Nordic languages).
When we learn a language without a professor, we never reach a talking level, but we can have a deep knowledge of the written language. This is especially true for ideographic languages, where the visual memory is a most, although Chinese is one of the languages I can speak (I learned with a Chinese professor, not only books).


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:39
Spanish to English
+ ...
Which came first... and how proficient? Sep 13, 2007

Rui de Carvalho wrote:

I use to say, overstating naturally, that languages were not meant to be spoken but to be written.


I find that a surprising assertion. Spoken language existed long before written language.

"Language" is derived from the word for "tongue" and is, at its root, spoken (or signed in the case of sign languages). Writing was an afterthought, and I assume there are still some languages that have no "official" written form.

In any case, the question that started this thread certainly needs to be qualified. I can ask directions to a train station in more than six languages, but that hardly counts as "speaking" that many tongues.

[Edited at 2007-09-13 15:12]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:39
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Try this site Sep 13, 2007

http://www.how-to-learn-any-language.com/forum/

Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxLatin_Hellas
United States
Local time: 00:39
Italian to English
+ ...
Same Tower of Babel, please specify Sep 13, 2007

I'm in the same boat, or tower of babel, as some of the previous posters.

I do the Mediterranean five, plus their ancient counterparts, and of course my native language, at various levels of proficiency in the several phases, but actually "speak" three fluently, though could get up to speed in all of them, depending on the circumstances. Plus I have studied to some extent, but abandoned, three others.

So, to repeat the question others have posed, what exactly do you mean by "speak"?


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 17:39
English to Russian
+ ...
If I may... hold your horses Sep 13, 2007

if you intend to answer... I'm afraid you are overwhelming our student. She is not about to sit any superprofessional exam in translating or examine you:-) Please take off your academic caps and gowns and don't scare her to death:-). I think she is much closer to a mere mortal level - yes, can you find you way to the train station, make friends or penpals in different countries, could you approach your foreign love at first sight and say something meaningful or at least not dreadfully stupid...

Her questions are quite simple - any(!) benefits, a multilanguage family, i.e. she is obviously interested in normal human contacts, at least among other things. Elaboration on proper academic skills and language as business can always be added. So be simple, admit that you are capable of chatting in 6 languages and enjoying yourself by being more comfortable in various parts of the world:-). This is something to be proud about indeed.

I can't swagger about my 6 languages as I don't have them so I can't answer her question:-)

Cheers,
Irene


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Timothy Barton
Local time: 00:39
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Does Valencian count? Sep 14, 2007

carlywatt wrote:


If yes, I would like to speak to you!

My name is Carly Watt, I'm a Ryerson University student and I need your help for my Media Communications class.

I'm looking for someone who speaks six or more languages to interview about how they learned their languages, the benefits to knowing the languages, family life etc.

Any information at all would be extremely helpful!

Thank you in advance


Well, if you count Valencian and Mallorcan as well as Catalan, then yes! If not (they're just different varieties of the same language), then I'm afraid I fall one and a half short really. Though I did try to communicate in Italian while on holiday in Italy, I was really speaking Catañolalian. The half language is Occitan. I can hold a basic conversation, but my vocabulary is very limited. I'm sure you'll find someone on here though.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
a-me
Chinese to English
* A Vote & A Candidate Sep 14, 2007

Steven Capsuto wrote:

Rui de Carvalho wrote:

I use to say, overstating naturally, that languages were not meant to be spoken but to be written.


I find that a surprising assertion. Spoken language existed long before written language.

"Language" is derived from the word for "tongue" and is, at its root, spoken (or signed in the case of sign languages). Writing was an afterthought, and I assume there are still some languages that have no "official" written form.

In any case, the question that started this thread certainly needs to be qualified. I can ask directions to a train station in more than six languages, but that hardly counts as "speaking" that many tongues.

[Edited at 2007-09-13 15:12]


I would tend to agree with Steven here. While not nearly as neat and regulated as the written form, the original and the soul of languages shall certainly be attributed to the spoken form.

As for poor Carly who's had to receive ambiguous feedback, here's someone who openly claims to "speak 9 languages fluently"--that's Steve Kaufmann at http://thelinguist.lingq.com/. He seems like a nice guy

Best wishes,

a-me
Friday afternoon
Guangzhou CHINA


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 01:39
Turkish to English
+ ...
Yes, but ... Sep 14, 2007

At various times in my life, apart from my native language of English, I have been a fluent speaker of French, German, Polish, Russian and Turkish. Some of these I can still speak well, but others have decayed because I haven't used them for years. I was starting to gain some conversational fluency in Sinhalese when I lived in Qatar a couple of years ago because I mixed a lot with Sri Lankan people there!Sinhalese is my favourite, actually, even if I don't know it very well - in fact, it is rapidly disappearing from my memory. It sounds very musical to me, and I love the script. Nowadays, I am trying to acquire at least some basic Greek. I can also read Dutch fairly well, but the spoken language is unintelligible to me.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Timothy Barton
Local time: 00:39
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Clarify Sep 14, 2007

bale002 wrote:
I do the Mediterranean five, plus their ancient counterparts,


What are the Mediterranean five? Spanish, Catalan, French, Italian and Greek? Arabic? And their ancient counterparts? Latin and Ancient Greek?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Seamus Moran  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:39
Member
German to English
+ ...
5 out of 6 ain't bad or was it 2 out of 3? Sep 14, 2007

Hi, i'm not sure if it's of any use but here are my languages:
English, German, French, Italian, Gaelic and this is where I struggle because i did learn a little Polish but, to be completely honest, can't speak it as i've forgotten the little I knew. You can write to me if you like.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Andres & Leticia Enjuto  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 19:39
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Great site TampaTranslator! Sep 14, 2007

Carly will certainly find many polyglots there and I will certainly go through the site as I love languages.

Personally, I'm fluent in Spanish and English, I can hold a basic conversation in French, and I should take up again Hebrew and Chinese so as not to forget what I've learned so far... I can understand and read Italian and Portuguese, but I can't speak them yet

Have a nice day everyone!

Letty


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tsogt Gombosuren  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 16:39
Member (2004)
English to Mongolian
+ ...
I translate from English, French, German and Russian into Mongolian and Kazakh Sep 14, 2007

But I can't speak (verbally) fluently with Germans and French.
So, I can say that I speak 4 languages, i.e. Mongolian, Kazakh, English and Russian.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxLatin_Hellas
United States
Local time: 00:39
Italian to English
+ ...
Mediterranean Five Sep 15, 2007

Timothy Barton wrote:

bale002 wrote:
I do the Mediterranean five, plus their ancient counterparts,


What are the Mediterranean five? Spanish, Catalan, French, Italian and Greek? Arabic? And their ancient counterparts? Latin and Ancient Greek?


Hi Timothy,

To clarify, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian, and Greek, then Latin and ancient Greek.

A bit eurocentric of me, apologies, especially since languages like Hebrew & Arabic (and their ancient counterparts), Coptic, even Slavic and a few others, certainly qualify as Mediterranean.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Question: Can you speak six or more languages?

Advanced search






LSP.expert
You’re a freelance translator? LSP.expert helps you manage your daily translation jobs. It’s easy, fast and secure.

How about you start tracking translation jobs and sending invoices in minutes? You can also manage your clients and generate reports about your business activities. So you always keep a clear view on your planning, AND you get a free 30 day trial period!

More info »
SDL MultiTerm 2017
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2017 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2017 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs