Poll How many languages do you speak?

How many languages do you speak?

  • 1

    Votes: 21 26.3%
  • 2

    Votes: 27 33.8%
  • 3

    Votes: 27 33.8%
  • 4+ (Please, tell how many!)

    Votes: 5 6.3%

  • Total voters
    80

Capt_hensley

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NitPick here, just ignore, if you find yourself offended. My college education has lead me to understand the following:

Those of you who claim to speak English and are from, or learned the American Language in the Americas are speaking "North American English" or as it should be called "American" it's not really all English,[ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_english"]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_english[/ame] it's a conglomeration of several languages rooting in Latin/Roman, and including French, Spanish, Greek, and German(Deutsch) with a few words from other languages thrown in here and there. After all the United States was made up from several countries colonists and immigrants.(although many from England{GB})

Native American languages that the "North American Indians" used to speak are nearly lost. Sadly South American natives are slowly losing their languages to "North American English" or "Mexican"

Only the Britain's are permitted to call the language they speak as "English" and that would be a tame "Queens English" these days.

The "Native" language spoken in Mexico is "Mexican", the Spanish it takes it's root from was born in Spain and only Spaniards speak true "Spanish". Just put a native Spaniard next to a native Mexican and ask them to pronounce the same words. It's a dramatic noticeable difference.

However if you were born in one of the America's(as I was) and speak "North American" you may call "American" your native tongue. Let's not forget the Americas" are made up of several countries and languages(dialects excluded), just like Europe, or even the far east.

NitPick over, great diversification here. Would computer (IDE)languages qualify?
If so I speak C++, Java, HTML(ham tommato mutton and lettuce), and VB well enough to get what I need done.
 

storm

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NitPick over, great diversification here. Would computer (IDE)languages qualify?
If so I speak C++, Java, HTML(ham tommato mutton and lettuce), and VB well enough to get what I need done.

[ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_language"]Natural language - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

Wikipedia said:
Natural language is distinguished from constructed languages and formal languages such as computer-programming languages or the "languages" used in the study of formal logic, especially mathematical logic.

I think this thread is only about natural languages.

Capt_hensley said:
Only the Britain's are permitted to call the language they speak as "English" and that would be a tame "Queens English" these days.

That's not strictly true as far as I know. A language can have multiple dialects, and if you were being specific you can refer to the specific dialects, it would however still be valid to refer to the standard form of the language. For instance it would be valid for me to say that I speak English even though I learned English in the states.

Interesting page: [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dialects_of_the_English_language"]List of dialects of the English language - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

"Dialects can be usefully defined as "sub-forms of languages which are, in general, mutually comprehensible"(Wakelin, Martyn Francis (2008. First published 1978). Discovering English Dialects. Oxford: Shire Publications. p. 4).

Whereas cross intelligibility between distinct languages is known by: [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutual_intelligibility"]Mutual intelligibility - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]
 
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Eccentrus

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Chinese will start to spread when it becomes marketable/usable. Those funny characters just don't work that well. Too many, too complicated.

That said, I think it can be argued objectively that syllabaries are easier to learn and use than logographic writing systems, but there are also ways to transcribe languages such as Han Chinese into Latin script.

Those characters are not funny, it's actually beautiful, and is needed. CPC tried to put it into the bin and use latin script (a modification of) instead, and a linguistic scholar sent them a poem which was written (in Han Zi though) which are read as

shi shi shi shi shi shi shi shi shi shi shi shi shi shi shi shi shi shi shi shi shi (there should be more but I don't want to write more shi :p )

which means (roughly) A Lion was dead, went to the market and found ten lions instead. And one tone of shi can mean several things, because of the degradation from Old Chinese into the modern Mandarin some words like Shik Shin Shim and many others with Shi are degraded into just Shi, although most also retains their tone, and this is what complicate things very much in Chinese.

Pin Yin (the latin transcription) can only be used to teach people on the tone and readings of a character, but it can never be used to convey meaning in Chinese, because when people got lost in a conversation, they will say something like, "no the Tong is the Tong with a sword in the front and a cart in the second half" (the sword and cart refer to basic Chinese characters, on which the other more complex characters are a mixture of)

Chinese characters are complex precisely because one syllable, a single sound means a whole word in a western equivalent, which is why the writing has to be complex, for example, long words like "comprehension" is written with only a single character, this is why every book which is translated into Chinese lost half of its pages, it's the most condense writing system I've ever encountered. But of course it rose problems with attempts to simplify it, the simplified Characters used by PRC for example, conveys reduced meaning (at least for me) compared to the Ancient Characters (admit it, it's been in use for more than 2000 years :p ). For example the word Xiao (晓 in simplified, 暁 in Traditional) which means either understanding, or daybreak. I suspect daybreak is the older meaning of the character and syllable, evident in the form of the Traditional character which is composed of Sun (left half), mount/hill (right upper quadrant) and walking (right lower quadrant), there it's actually more pictorial and connected to the meaning rather than the simplified one, because the symbol used in the right upper quadrant of the simplified version holds no meaning and not used as an independent character.

I actually think that the very reason the Chinese was able to prosper in the past (before the Neo-Confucian blunder) is because of this very efficient method to transcribe knowledge. Remember that in the past paper is much more expensive than now, and people use Silk to write for messages which has to endure long voyages under changing weathers, in this condition, the more compact the message is, the more efficient it becomes, and this holds true as well for the books and other stuffs, which also explains why Latin and Old English is much more compact than their descendants, but even in the old stage, the Old Chinese (Classical Chinese) is still more compact than Latin in its transcription, precisely because of the characters, and the use of a brush rather than a stylus which permits more flexibility.

And this comes also with an extra which is caused by the pictorial nature of the characters, which is the extensive library of Calligraphy art that derives from Chinese Characters (including the Japanese) which inspires some of the style of modern Mangaka as well.

So there, practically my argument for people who keep saying that "Chinese will perhaps replace English in the future"
 

4throck

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Those characters are not funny, it's actually beautiful, and is needed.

I meant funny as in cute/ artistic, like a company logo. I perfectly understand the points you stress (artistic / cultural value, condensation of ideas, etc).
They are valid, but my opinion still is that Chinese language is still too connected to Chinese culture to spread independent from it.

Just out of curiosity, how long does one take to learn how to read and write Chinese at school? In my native Portuguese, it's two years, because you don't cover the "nh" or "lh" sounds (similar to Spanish "ñ" or "ll" until the second year. After that you can read and write every word (even though you might not know the meaning)

---------- Post added at 11:14 ---------- Previous post was at 11:06 ----------

That's not strictly true as far as I know. A language can have multiple dialects, and if you were being specific you can refer to the specific dialects, it would however still be valid to refer to the standard form of the language. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutual_intelligibility

All languages have dialects.
For example Latin America spanish X european spanish, brazilians portuguese x european portuguese, etc, etc.
The difference can be striking.

But what matters most is what happens in practice. I'm not a native English speaker, but I can understand with no difficulty American English or BBC English. But Scottish accent took me sometime to get used to (about 30 minutes listening to a local....) and also some of London's street talk is hard to follow.
So as long as I can understand it, it is the same language :)
 
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Urwumpe

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Some languages have more dialects than others though... In case of German, the consonant shift in the language history is pretty much the reason why we have now 4 or 5 dialects, which would be better counted as separate languages since mutual understanding is pretty hard in many combinations. Standard German is rather the lingua franca among many different German languages.
 

Lord Wasteland

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I know, English, Hebrew, Latin, French, and besides the point want to learn Mandarin. It is so confusing!
 

ky

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English, some phrases/sentences in Spanish, and [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamaican_Patois"]Jamaican Patois[/ame] (Not so much of a language, but a dialect).
 

mojoey

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I know English, very little spanish, sparse german, and french fluently. I surrender.
 

Napalm42

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Fluently I can speak English, Spanish, and French. I also have a spattering of Italian, Japanese, Portugese, and just a little bit of Icelandic dialect.

English is kinda a giveaway considering my nationality. Spanish (Rather the hokey Cuban dialect) is from my parents and family. I know proper Spanish, I just choose to speak the dialect (much more fun.) French was the result of giving three years of my high school life to one Jose Piedra, but I had fun.

IMO, Western Languages will probably stay as international languages for the foreseeable future.
 

fireballs619

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NitPick here, just ignore, if you find yourself offended. My college education has lead me to understand the following:

Those of you who claim to speak English and are from, or learned the American Language in the Americas are speaking "North American English" or as it should be called "American" it's not really all English,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_english it's a conglomeration of several languages rooting in Latin/Roman, and including French, Spanish, Greek, and German(Deutsch) with a few words from other languages thrown in here and there. After all the United States was made up from several countries colonists and immigrants.(although many from England{GB})

Native American languages that the "North American Indians" used to speak are nearly lost. Sadly South American natives are slowly losing their languages to "North American English" or "Mexican"

Only the Britain's are permitted to call the language they speak as "English" and that would be a tame "Queens English" these days.

The "Native" language spoken in Mexico is "Mexican", the Spanish it takes it's root from was born in Spain and only Spaniards speak true "Spanish". Just put a native Spaniard next to a native Mexican and ask them to pronounce the same words. It's a dramatic noticeable difference.

However if you were born in one of the America's(as I was) and speak "North American" you may call "American" your native tongue. Let's not forget the Americas" are made up of several countries and languages(dialects excluded), just like Europe, or even the far east.

As already stated here, I don't think this is correct. Different dialects are not the same as different languages, so people are fine calling what is spoken in the United States 'English'. No need to specify :thumbup:
 

Linguofreak

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it's a conglomeration of several languages rooting in Latin/Roman, and including French, Spanish, Greek, and German(Deutsch) with a few words from other languages thrown in here and there.

Not quite. The grammar and core vocabulary of English is Germanic, and shares a common ancestor with that of German. For non-core vocabulary, English has borrowed heavily from other languages, principally Latin, French, and Greek (meanwhile, French is a direct descendant of Latin, which imported a fair number of words from Greek (but was not directly descended from it)).

There is actually very little in the way of German loanwords in English, almost all the Germanic vocabulary in English comes form English's direct descent from proto-Germanic, rather than from other Germanic languages.

the United States was made up from several countries colonists and immigrants.(although many from England{GB})

The immigrants contributed a few words, but nothing near the number of loans that Latin and French have contributed.

Only the Britain's are permitted to call the language they speak as "English" and that would be a tame "Queens English" these days.

British and American English speakers can generally understand each other with little difficulty (though it depends on which exact British and American dialects you're talking about), which means that British and American English are, in linguistic terms, the same language.
 

Urwumpe

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Not quite. The grammar and core vocabulary of English is Germanic, and shares a common ancestor with that of German. For non-core vocabulary, English has borrowed heavily from other languages, principally Latin, French, and Greek (meanwhile, French is a direct descendant of Latin, which imported a fair number of words from Greek (but was not directly descended from it)).

There is actually very little in the way of German loanwords in English, almost all the Germanic vocabulary in English comes form English's direct descent from proto-Germanic, rather than from other Germanic languages.

Exactly, English grammar is actually almost the same as low German grammar. And many words are spoken almost the same in the low German dialects as they are in English.

But there are of course differences to English as well, because of the different history. Languages are living beings... Tolkien understood that well.
 

Ghostrider

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I speak Italian, English and French. French should have been my second language, but English took its place when I discovered computers and found out the majority of cool magazines were in English (back in the early '80s) so I fast-tracked through it.

Trying to learn Japanese now. Mainly to watch anime in the original language.
 

Thunder Chicken

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I'm a native English speaker and I have studied French, Russian, and Latin. Latin is actually very helpful as I can get a general understanding of many written Romance languages through it. I can get by in Spanish and Portuguese for basic needs, but a conversation would be difficult for me.

I'm afraid that my French and Russian skills are very poor due to lack of use. I don't run into many French or Russian people, and when I do their English is generally much better than my French or Russian.
 

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I'm only fluent in English, but I'm in the beginning stages of Russian.
 

Marg

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Proper russian language is a challenge, if not spoken since childhood.
Also I have read that chinese linguists say there is big advantage for those who have dyslexia, using chinese characters.
 

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I speak mostly French...but very often.

On the same subject:

"In international surveys, the French students are not hardly accustomed to shine. A European study on language skills - the first of such magnitude - conducted at the initiative of the European Commission to 54,000 students in 14 countries, yet the line strength: the French rank last ... or almost. According to the results published on June 21, they are only 14% to obtain a good level in their first foreign language, English "LV1", and 11% in the second language studied, the Spanish "LV2". Only 40% have a "base level" allowing them to grasp the meaning of phrases and sentences. In other words, to be understood.
Cold comfort: the English are worse - only 9% are in control of their "LV1" (French) and 6% their "LV2" (German). The vast majority of Europeans have nothing to language genious: 42% are proficient in their first foreign language, 20% in the second, leading the investigation led by the University of Cambridge....
..."

It's here but in...French...:lol:

http://www.lemonde.fr/education/art...re-en-langues-etrangeres_1736714_1473685.html

Nevertheless, the complete study is there, in French, Spanish, German...

http://www.surveylang.org/Project-news-and-resources/Project-news-and-resources.html
 
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