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Poll: Can you remember the first words/phrases you learned in your acquired language(s)?
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 20:22
Sep 19, 2009

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Can you remember the first words/phrases you learned in your acquired language(s)?".

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Anne Carnot  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:22
Member (2009)
English to French
with embarrassment Sep 19, 2009

I was 8, the only beginner in the group, and we learnt an English song about bottles lined up on a wall... my accent was really bad!!!
Now it's much bettericon_wink.gif


John Cutler  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:22
Spanish to English
+ ...
Useful words Sep 19, 2009

I’m not sure I’d say I remember them fondly, but they do seem a bit humorous to me at this point. I originally came to Spain 24 years ago to spend a year helping restore an old country house. It meant a lot of working in the gardens and orchards.

So my first words in Spanish were things like azada (a hoe with a short handle) and zanahoria (carrot). I guess you could say they were hardly earth shattering, although they were quite useful at the time. Another early phrase and one that I'd bet is definitely useful in any language was ¿Dónde está el lavabo? (Where’s the bathroom?)icon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2009-09-19 08:59 GMT]


Alan Johnson  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:22
German to English
Useful first words Sep 19, 2009

A friend said to me (31 years ago), "Oh you're going to Germany" and taught me the most important words you need to know. Eins, zwei, drei, vier, fünf, kleine Bier, große Bier, ich liebe dich. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, small beer, large beer, I love you) I thought that was pretty good and they came in useful when I got to Germany! Never forgotten them.


Interlangue (X)
Local time: 05:22
English to French
+ ...
I can... Sep 19, 2009

... easily remember for Russian (the whole of the first dialogue), not quite so for any other language I studied in classes, and none at all for the ones I picked up in other circumstances, except for the "no noes" I learnt from foreign friends when visiting them.

[Modifié le 2009-09-19 12:33 GMT]


Joan Berglund  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:22
Member (2008)
French to English
other Sep 19, 2009

I can remember early phrases from junior high French and Latin - not sure they were the first words, but early, like "gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres" and "avez-vous un(e) ami(e) dans la classe de français? Interestingly, I have no memory of the first words I learned in Japanese or German, and that was much more recent.


Laureana Pavon  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:22
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...

Not one of my working languages but... Sep 19, 2009

I remember when I began studying Italian, the first phrase I learned was

"Prego, si accomodi"

I still use it at home, I love how it soundsicon_smile.gif



Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:22
Flemish to English
+ ...
Yes Sep 19, 2009

English : "This is Rip, Rip Van Winkle" (in 1972)
Spanish: "Con algo hay que empezar" (in 1980), a universal truth.
French : "Bonjour, je m'appelle xxx." (in 1972)
German: "Guten Morgen, Frau Müller" (in 1978).

Languages of interest (not acquired):
Russian : "Zdravudje, minja zavut Sveta (in 1995)
Italian: "Ciao bella"(in 1986)
Japanese: attended a course of Japanese: Konnichi wa, watashi wa xxx des. Watachi wa berugi jin des...
Chinese: Ni hao. Wo xin william.

[Edited at 2009-09-19 14:54 GMT]


Heike Kurtz  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:22
Member (2005)
English to German
+ ...
French Sep 19, 2009

At the beginning of my very first French lesson, I was 10, the teacher opened the door, strode across the classroom to the window, opened it, then pointed at it and said

"voilà la fenêtre".

Then he closed it again, said "fermée", opened it, said "ouverte" until we understood.

After that, he went to the desk, pointed at it, said "la table", then sat on it "SUR la table", got off the desk and crawled under it, declaring "SOUS la table".

I will never forget the picture of this middle-aged man, opening and closing the window, jumping on the desk, then crawling under it repeatedly until the whole class had understood what "sur" (on top of) and "sous" (under) as well as "ouvert" (open) and "fermé" (closed) means.

And then the pure beaming joy on his face when he waltzed down the aisle to shake the hand of a student in the last row "Bonjour, je suis Monsieur XY. Comment allez vous?" (Hello, I am Mister XY, how do you do?" I am not sure, but I guess he did not say more than two or three sentences in German during the whole lesson.

Oh, and I know the "Gallia est omnia divisa in partes tres" thing, too.

[Bearbeitet am 2009-09-19 15:08 GMT]


Tina Vonhof
Local time: 21:22
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
English - with some embarrassment Sep 19, 2009

When I entered an English school at age 8, knowing only a little bit of English, the first activity of the day was a dictation. Every time the teacher said 'comma' or 'period' I wrote it down faithfully, not realizing what it meant. So these were not my first words in English but certainly the ones I remember best.


Rick Henry  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:22
Italian to English
+ ...
Not the first word but... Sep 19, 2009

I DO remember the first song I learned in Spanish:

Mocedades was big at the time and the song was "Eres Tu".



Local time: 00:22
Spanish to English
+ ...
Bonjour ! Comment allez-vous? Très bien. Sep 19, 2009

My first language lesson in French.


Louise Souter (X)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:22
Spanish to English
+ ...
Some confusion Sep 19, 2009

My parents assure me that that my first words in French (when I was three) were "bonne nuit" but the first word I remember saying was "tricheur"; my parents used to play cards with their French friends and there was always a lot of cheating going on.

Heike's comment reminds of how we were taught the imperfect ending of -ar verbs in Spanish (aba). Since she had already taught us spelling rules, the lecturer danced around the room singing "Waterloo".


Alexandra Speirs  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:22
Italian to English
+ ...
lots of poems Sep 19, 2009

I can still remember all the French poems we learnt in first year of High School.
And lots of songs too.
They stuck in my mind much more than the Italian ones, even though I now know Italian better than French.


Hedwig Spitzer Cáceres  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:22
Member (2018)
French to Spanish
+ ...
Voilà Marco Boni ! Sep 19, 2009

We used to learn French with the Mauger Rouge (Le français est la vie). Voilà was my first word and it took me several months to understand what it meanticon_smile.gif We had to memorize and repeat all the dialogues (structuralism worked because I still remember them, how absurd!!)

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