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Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
Poll: Do speak more than 2 languages fluently?
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 20:27
SITE STAFF
Nov 16, 2011

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do speak more than 2 languages fluently?".

This poll was originally submitted by Indonesiana. View the poll results »



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neilmac
Spain
Local time: 05:27
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Nov 16, 2011

I can understand a few quite readily, but my output capacity (i.e. speaking) dwindles in line with the amount of time spent away from the language in question.

For example, my French is very rusty, as I only really use it a couple of times a year and the last time my friends had a good laugh at how much my pronunciation had deteriorated. I think this is normal though, as I'm mostly speaking either English or Castellano 24-7.

If there was an elegant way to say the opposite of "practice makes perfect" I'd probably finish off with that....


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Allison Wright  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 04:27
Member (2010)
German to English
+ ...
Do *you* speak... Nov 16, 2011

The old fluency question. No, I do not speak more than two languages fluently, but I can translate more than two languages fairly fluently. And depending on how long I have been sitting at the desk translating, I may be hard pressed to *speak* my mother tongue fluently, but be quite happy to continue writing or typing screeds...

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:27
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Define "fluently" Nov 16, 2011

We've had several discussions about this before, but to answer your question, it would help to have some benchmarks.

In any case, I feel safe in saying 3: English, Portuguese, and Spanish, in that order.


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patriciacharnet  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:27
English to French
+ ...
that's a difficult question to answer to Nov 16, 2011

although I could speak more or less "fluently" a few languages, even English which I master fairly well I would not consider myself like a true native speaker - there are still on very rare occasions some concepts which I don't grasp straightaway or cultural notions that I don't have yet. However, in the booth, I can only do interpreting in 2 languages at high speed for medical conferences French and English. But that does not prevent me from going to Spain or Italy and engaging into everyday conversations with ease. German is more difficult for me although I understand more than I can speak it.

that's a tricky question to answer to I'm afraid

[Edited at 2011-11-16 09:37 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-11-16 09:37 GMT]


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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:27
Member (2006)
German to English
yes, but no Nov 16, 2011

I frequently have to listen to a third language and have a good understanding of it when my wife speaks Hungarian with the children, but I can´t speak it very fluently.

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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 05:27
English to French
+ ...
No Nov 16, 2011

I used to be fluent in 3 for long years and a 4th (not always the same) for several years, but that is now history. Ageing + the lack of practice did it.

Though others consider I'm fluent in at least 3, I know how hard it is to find the right word or structure in the right language when I'm dead tired. To me, that is not fluency.


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Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:27
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
Not quite Nov 16, 2011

I was brought up with Italian and, as long as the speaker is from the Tuscany area, I can understand everything without making any kind of special effort. I struggle a bit with other regional varieties through lack of exposure. Sadly I don't speak Italian fluently any more; it takes much more effort than it used to and my childhood Florentine accent has been supplanted by a Spanish one.


neilmac wrote:

If there was an elegant way to say the opposite of "practice makes perfect" I'd probably finish off with that....


"No practice makes imperfect"?


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lidija68  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 05:27
Member (2010)
Italian to Serbian
+ ...
Does it make 2 or 5 foreign languages? Nov 16, 2011

I can speak fluently italian and german, and I speak english like anyone else who learned it in the school.
But as all other translators from ex Yugoslavia I also speak serbian, bosnian, croatian and montenegrin (if we just want to, we are able to understand each other perfectly).

Does it make 2 or 5 foreign languages?


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Suzan Hamer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:27
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Use it or lose it? Nov 16, 2011


neilmac wrote:


If there was an elegant way to say the opposite of "practice makes perfect" I'd probably finish off with that....


Maybe not so elegant.....

[Edited at 2011-11-16 10:54 GMT]


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Antonio Fajardo  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:27
Member (2011)
English to Spanish
+ ...
4 Nov 16, 2011

Spanish, Catalan, French and English.

Spanish and Catalan as mother languages. French with my couple and English with friends and in business, so I also use them everyday, even more than Spanish and Catalan.

Of course, the fact that I can speak French and English fluently doesn't mean that I don't make mistakes (and I guess I make a lot).


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Michaël Temmerman  Identity Verified
Costa Rica
Local time: 21:27
English to Dutch
+ ...
4 Nov 16, 2011

Dutch (mother tongue), English, French and Spanish, so far in that order, but that will change in time as I live in a Spanish speaking country now.
I'm very fluent in all of them, but of course there's small mistakes here and there.

I get to speak them regularly, so there's no problem of "losing" them (French might become more difficult as we only have a couple of French friends here).


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Nina Khmielnitzky  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:27
Member (2004)
English to French
I used to... Nov 16, 2011

I used to speak Russian fluently as a child, then for various reasons, I switch to French, then learned English in school when we moved to Canada. Now, I regret not speaking Russian. I still understand it, but cannot hold a conversation.
I used to be at ease in Spanish, but haven't spoken it since 1993, so I forgot most of it.
I used to be able to chat in German, but lost most of it for lack of practice.


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Liliana Rogers  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:27
Member (2007)
English to Romanian
+ ...
How do we define "fluently"? Nov 16, 2011

I find the concept of "fluent" rather subjective. As a simple, straight-forward answer, I would say 2 languages. But then, I find that my Hebrew skills improve each day, so I guess I should add that to my list as well. On the other hand, there are those late evenings, or those bad headache days, when no language seems to come out as it should - go figure ...

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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
3 Nov 16, 2011

And I'm not the least bit squeamish about saying "fluently". I grew up speaking English and came to Spain and learned Spanish and Catalan by total immersion. I have to conduct myself in every type of daily situation from basic conversation to dealing with technical and complex social situations. I don't have any trouble understanding people and they don't have any trouble understanding me. That's fluency as far as I'm concerned.

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Poll: Do speak more than 2 languages fluently?






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