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Poll: At what age did you start learning your main source language?
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 06:17
May 22, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "At what age did you start learning your main source language?".

This poll was originally submitted by Christine Andersen. View the poll results »


Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:17
Turkish to English
+ ...
> 30 years old May 22, 2013

At the age of 31, I went off to teach English in Turkey, not knowing any Turkish, and so embarked on the road to learning Turkish, the fifth foreign language in which I eventually achieved fluency. Nowadays, this is my main source language.


Anne Carnot  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:17
Member (2009)
English to French
8 years old... May 22, 2013

... which was quite early by French standards, especially at the timeicon_smile.gif I remember the first songs I learned in English, I used to feel very exotic when singing them! I was living in Africa however, so I really don't think my accent was greaticon_wink.gif


Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:17
Hebrew to English
14 years old May 22, 2013



Teresa Borges
Local time: 14:17
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
< 5 May 22, 2013

I have 4 main source languages. I started learning French in kindergarten, English at 10 years old, Spanish at 43 and Italian at 54... I also learned German (almost forgotten by now) and I tried Swedish and Greek but… had to give up!

[Edited at 2013-05-22 10:04 GMT]


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
25-30 May 22, 2013

I never really formally studied Spanish to any great extent, although it is now my main source language.

I was introduced to French at primary school in Scotland in the 60s. We were lucky enough to have audiovisual facilities available to be able to see Parlons Francais on TV.

Later, in secondary school I studied French, German and Russian. After leaving school I worked and bummed around for a few years, as was customary and easier to do in those days, before eventually going to university as a mature student, where I studied French and Russian. In my final year, I needed what was designated a "half-class" to get the credits necessary for my degree, so I chose beginner's Spanish. The level was very elementary and I'm ashamed to say I attended very few classes, simply sitting the exam in June to see what it was like, then swotted over the summer and passed it in September.
After graduating, I moved to Spain to try my hand at TEFL, which is where I acquired my Spanish. I'm still here today, older if not much wiser, and the "lifelong learning" process continues...

[Edited at 2013-05-22 10:14 GMT]


Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:17
Portuguese to English
+ ...
5-9 May 22, 2013

I started English in second grade when I was 7icon_smile.gif


Maria Popova  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:17
Member (2011)
German to Bulgarian
+ ...
at the age of 14 May 22, 2013

In my country (which was a communist country at the time I grew up) we started at the age of 9 to learn Russian. However as my dad spoke fluently German I always wanted to learn German. To everyone's surprise I liked the music of that language . At the age of 14 I made it to the so called German High School in Sofia (I beat my competitors at the entry exams!) The school was very popular (and still is!) as half of the school staff were native German teachers from the former DDR and we got a genuine bilingual education. After I graduated from school I continued my German studies at the university. Today I feel the same passion for the German language as when I was 14.


Ikram Mahyuddin  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:17
English to Indonesian
+ ...
10-15 year old May 22, 2013

As far as I can remember, I began to learn English informally since I was 10-15 year old by reading books and other readings such as Reader's Digest owned by my father.


XXXphxxx (X)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:17
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Main source language May 22, 2013

It's quite difficult to say which is my main source language. Three of them are on a par and I started learning them at:
Portuguese - 1
French - 9
Spanish - 14

then Russian at 17.


Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:17
Member (2006)
German to English
round about 20 May 22, 2013

after I came to Germany.

It may have been an advantage that I spoke Afrikaans and Siswati as a child, but I managed to pick it up quickly and have kept "perfecting" it since.

[Edited at 2013-05-22 14:48 GMT]


Jose Arnoldo Rodriguez-Carrington  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:17
English to Spanish
+ ...
When I learned how to speak May 22, 2013

I have been bilingual since childhood. Both English and Spanish are equally my source/target languages.

[Edited at 2013-05-22 15:57 GMT]


Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
4 May 22, 2013

I was born in California, USA, shortly before my dad was stationed in Germany (Army). We lived there until I was four years old and then returned to the good ol' US of A. I spoke some English at home with my parents, but I went to a German school, had all German friends, and primarily spoke German. My English was somewhat lacking when we returned.

At the same time, a friend of the family from Mexico, would take me to visit her family which spoke no English, only Spanish. They are the ones that started me down this road all those years ago.

I spoke Spanish conversationally until I was 19 when I was given the opportunity to move to Argentina and serve as a missionary. I spent a lot of time interpreting and teaching English as a second language, and eventually Spanish to the newer missionaries. That was when I starting translating as well, mostly religious texts. I was there for two years, then I spent another two years working as an in-house interpreter and started translating legal texts. And finally, I've spent the last two years as a freelancer.

Most people take me for an Argentine when I speak in Spanish (it's the sh), but Argentines say that I still have a German accent. I have a slight German accent in English still, but only when I'm very tired, ill, or nervous. Sadly, I've forgotten my vast four year old German vocabulary.


Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:17
Member (2012)
French to English
11 May 22, 2013

I started learning French in my first year of Grammar School at the age of 11. I still have fond memories of slide shows featuring Marie-Claude and the family Bertillon, and the scary voice telling us to "Regardez, écoutez et répétez".


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:17
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
27 May 22, 2013

I started French at about seven, Latin at twelve or thirteen and German at sixteen.

I always regretted not picking up enough Marathi to be useful, but was obviously not motivated enough or exposed to it consistently enough... until the age of ten, when I was bundled off to school in England and more French if I really needed another language.

I did - I loved it, disliked Latin and enjoyed German.

Then I met this Dane... and at the age of 27 ended up in Copenhagen while he took a trip to Africa! Almost everyone spoke English in Copenhagen, except a few stubborn teachers at the language school icon_biggrin.gif But thanks to them I could speak some Danish by the time my husband came home, and a lot more when the baby arrived, so we brought our son up up speaking Danish the first couple of years! But at the age of three he suddenly started speaking English fluently to my mother, and never looked back.

I kept up my French and German intermittently, but not enough for professional use. Danish is a handy niche - Danes sell a lot more than bacon round the world!

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