CHAT Are You Comfortable in Another Language?

nehimama

Veteran Member
I'll go first:

In the mid-90s I was almost fluent in Japanese. I took several college-level courses. Got to the point that I could speak, read, write, understand the spoken language, and be understood when I spoke. I was able to call a bookstore, and have them put a movie or book on hold for me. I got addicted to a Japanese soap opera - had to get home by 4 PM to see my show! I could ride the trains way, way out of the English-speaking areas, and wind up where I meant to go.

One time in the airport, while waiting for a friend's arrival, I was sitting with my daughters in the common waiting area. Behind us were a few businessmen. One fellow told the others that a fellow co-worker was a Nichiyo Daiku. (Sunday carpenter) Delighted that I understood, I burst out laughing. Daughters asked me what was so funny, and I told them. They chided me for "listening in" to other peoples' conversations.

Several times I led a group of ladies to the Kappabashi (Kitchen district) of Tokyo. There were even Japanese ladies in my group! Once, I took a tour of historical places in the Tokyo area. I was the only "round eyes" on the bus. I understood the guide well enough to get back to the bus in time so as not to be left behind. Boy! The astonished looks I received from the Japanese tourists on that bus!

Another time, I accompanied (Japanese) friends to a Karaoke bar. Yes, lots of drinking! When it was my turn, I requested "Kanpai", a song written by Tsuyoshi Nagabuchi for a friend's wedding. As I sang, watching the words on the screen (Kanji characters) I overheard one of the other (Japanese) patrons whisper in amazement, "She is reading!" (Yomimasu!")

I also became a huge fan of the movie series, "Tora-San". Dear friends took me to see the place where the yearly episodes were filmed. Once again, I was the only "round eyes" in the place. It was an unforgettable experience! Tora-San was a national hero, and he was mine as well.

German, on the other hand, I had only a rudimentary facility in that language. I was with my daughters, aged 8 and 10, ordering our fruits and vegetables at the Obst & Gemuse shop in Biebrich, near Wiesbaden. The transaction took place in German. Walking out of the shop, the 10 year old said, "How does ANYBODY understand that gobbledygook?"
 
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et2

Veteran Member
That’s awesome. Always thought it would be wise to learn Chinese and Spanish. It sucks when a foreigner is speaking their language with another ... and they’re talking about you ... funny how you can tell.

Just speak the universal language :fgr2:
 

bw

Fringe Ranger
Spoke German fairly well. Spent a summer there in high school, and then the Army sent me there for my entire enlistment. I was always sure it was a mistake, sending me where I knew the language. When the American tourists came over in summer, I sort of enjoyed pretending I didn't understand them out in the wild. Couldn't fool the Germans though.
 

desertvet2

Veteran Member
When i am extremely intoxicated, i have spoken several foriegn languages...variations of arabic, korean, spanish....the looks and reactions from those thinking i did not understand were priceless...

My friends at the times it happened were dumbfounded...as i would hold lengthy conversations in whatever language....

Honestly, I have no clue as to how, just that i did.

In those countries... maybe my subconcious works better..
 

Meemur

Voice on the Prairie
It depends. I can read French and speak it well enough for basic transactions. I certainly couldn't express any deep philosophical thoughts. I don't intend to get any better. I need to get my Spanish up to that point.

The main thing is I can read road signs and understand enough of it if there is an emergency. That is highly useful in
Eastern Canada.
 

nehimama

Veteran Member
It depends. I can read French and speak it well enough for basic transactions. I certainly couldn't express any deep philosophical thoughts. I don't intend to get any better. I need to get my Spanish up to that point.
I hear you. Once, a friend and I took a road trip out of Germany into France. When we stopped to get a room for the night in a border town, I used my rudimentary German and a smattering of high school French to get us squared away. Good times!
 
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nehimama

Veteran Member
Used to be somewhat functional in (Ecclesiastical) Latin. We taught all our kids Latin when we homeschooled them.

Had a couple of years of Koine Greek in Seminary.
This! I love the study of words and their origins. Etiology, I believe it's called. Latin provides so many of the roots of our language. It's totally fascinating for me.
 

Blue 5

Veteran Member
I spent my junior year of high school as an exchange student in Germany. By the time I came home I was often complemented that I sounded native. I often had dreams in German.

I volunteered to take my first Air Force assignment in Germany. Got paid extra to be a translator. Loved being back over there.

Over the years I've forgotten a lot of vocabulary but can still carry on a basic conversation. I certainly wouldn't have any trouble traveling over there.
 

Meemur

Voice on the Prairie
I hear you. Once, a friend and I took a road trip out of Germany into France. When we stopped to get a room for the night, I use my rudimentary German and a smattering of high school French to get us squared away. Good times!
Many of the French people understand English, but if you don't botch their language too much, they would much rather speak French, and I've gotten much better service, at least in Canada, when I used French.
 

nehimama

Veteran Member
I lived in San Antonio for several years (Thank you, USAF) but I never felt inclined to learn Spanish. My loss.
 

Millwright

Knuckle Dragger
_______________
Took a coupla years of Spanish in high school.

Worked at learning German when I was there. It's almost gone.

If you don't use it, you lose it.

My Spanglish is barely enough to get "friendly" status at the local messican joint. They give me credit for trying, I guess. :lol:
 

Dennis Olson

Chief Curmudgeon
_______________
I started taking French in 9th grade. I took it all the way through HS. As a senior, I won my school’s excellence in foreign language award. I was VERY accomplished in both spoken and written. My accent was that of southern France (more of an Italian accent.)
 

nehimama

Veteran Member
Once, I decided to take the Japanese proficiency exam at a university in Tokyo. Walking from the train station to the university, I fell in with a Japanese fellow from South America who was also taking the exam. He spoke no English, and I spoke no Spanish. Our only common language was Japanese. We understood each other quite well, BUT......... I FAILED the exam! *SOB*
 

fi103r

Veteran Member
speak read and write German
if you have some facility in a foreign language use the internet to keep it up
also took two semesters of spanish in jr high flunked both did retain the ability to read most of the romance languages as I already knew a fair bit of Latin
Much prefer German, it was basicly my first language.
When I come out of anstetic it is what I talk in for quite a bit appaently SWMBO has had to explain this a couple of time to suprised nurses and a Jewish doc ( we had a chat
in of all things Yiddish >snicker<)
 

ShadowMan

Crusty ol' Codger
Growing up in SoCal we started Spanish in the 3rd grade and every year after that. By the time I was in high school I'd say I was 90 to 95% fluent, reading, writing and speaking Spanish. In high school my junior year I switched to German. I ended up about 80-85% fluent reading, writing and speaking German. However since I rarely ever used both or practiced either I've pretty much lost most of that ability in both languages. I know a smattering of Japanese, Korean and Thai. At least enough to order food, drink and ask how much and where the bathroom is.....very important!!

I also speak navy, Marine, army and a smattering of air force and coast guard. I also can read, write and speak medical-ese.....as well as can read doctor's hieroglyphics.

My DW is fluent of course in American English and very fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, and Arabic. With a bit of Finnish added in.

Our Son In Law, being Finnish also speaks, Swedish, German, French and Italian. Our daughtersd both can speak, read and understand of course American English, Finnish and Spanish.
 

moldy

Veteran Member
I can converse well in Southern. I read and converse in doctor's scribbles (worked as a nurse long before computer charting was a thing). I can also speak the botanical form of Latin binomials which makes me sound like Harry Potter.

Alas, very little of any helpful language.
 

Squib

Veteran Member
This! I love the study of words and their origins. Etiology, I believe it's called. Latin provides so many of the roots of our language. It's totally fascinating for me.
Etymology - Study of word origins.

And yes, you’re correct, some say as much as 40% of our language is Latin based.

Besides, Japanese is much more difficult to learn for us than Latin...

Do you keep up on your Japanese language skills? Seems the Internet would be most helpful in that.
 

Sid Vicious

Veteran Member
Could speak Icelandic at a 3 year old level. Could get by in Faroese ok as well. I was studying Russian for a thing. Might get back on that. A Russian friend of mine was a little freaked out that I can nail a Moskva accent pretty well.
 

Nowski

Veteran Member
I speak decent conversational Russian. Currently studying another
course that should increase my Russian vocabulary to
about 1200 words and phrases.

The new course also teaches, how to read and write Russian.

I can also converse in jive and Ebonics.

Please be safe everyone.

Regards to all.

Nowski
 

nehimama

Veteran Member
I had a great time teaching conversational English to a group of businessmen at the Olympus factory in Tachikawa, Tokyo. All of the fellows had name plates in front of them, and they were astonished that I correctly read and pronounced their names. I was told I had a nice, Tokyo accent.
 

fish hook

Veteran Member
Had 6 weeks of Spanish in the third or forth grade, back in the dark ages. Learned to read fairly well but not speak it. Last week i started a Spanish class at our church. At my age i don't know if it will penetrate.
 

nehimama

Veteran Member
Had 6 weeks of Spanish in the third or forth grade, back in the dark ages. Learned to read fairly well but not speak it. Last week i started a Spanish class at our church. At my age i don't know if it will penetrate.
Please stay with it. You will surprise yourself!
 

ShadowMan

Crusty ol' Codger
Besides, Japanese is much more difficult to learn for us than Latin...
Oh if you think Japanese is hard you should try Finnish. It's not a Scandinavian language. It's not a European language. Finnish is so unique that there are only two areas in Europe that speak anything near Finnish....Estonia and a small place in Hungry and the next nearest language on this planet to Finnish in structure....is Japanese? WTF???

Personally....I suspect Finns are ALIENS!! Like from another planet. I mean that in a good way.
 

nehimama

Veteran Member
Growing up in SoCal we started Spanish in the 3rd grade and every year after that. By the time I was in high school I'd say I was 90 to 95% fluent, reading, writing and speaking Spanish. In high school my junior year I switched to German. I ended up about 80-85% fluent reading, writing and speaking German. However since I rarely ever used both or practiced either I've pretty much lost most of that ability in both languages. I know a smattering of Japanese, Korean and Thai. At least enough to order food, drink and ask how much and where the bathroom is.....very important!!

I also speak navy, Marine, army and a smattering of air force and coast guard. I also can read, write and speak medical-ese.....as well as can read doctor's hieroglyphics.

My DW is fluent of course in American English and very fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, and Arabic. With a bit of Finnish added in.

Our Son In Law, being Finnish also speaks, Swedish, German, French and Italian. Our daughtersd both can speak, read and understand of course American English, Finnish and Spanish.
Knowing how to ask the location of the bathroom is very, very important! Once, on a bus trip into Tokyo from Fussa, I needed the restroom badly. I mean, IT WAS AN EMERGENCY! I spoke to the Japanese bus driver in a quiet voice, "Sumimasen. Ah, no, O-te arai wa, totemo hitsuyo desu ke do. Do shiyo ka na?" "Excuse me, but it is vital for me to find a restroom. Whatever shall I do??" It worked! He pulled off the main thouroughfare to a rest area, and I was spared much embarrassment.
 
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dioptase

Senior Member
I had 3 years of Spanish in high school. Then I went to college, where I had one year of Russian. (The instructor said he learned from someone with a "Georgian" accent.)

In grad school, I had to take enough German (at least one course, maybe two) to at least be able to fumble-my-way translate scientific papers.

Fast forward many decades.... Lost most of the German, lost most of the Russian, retain some of the Spanish, probably because various garden helpers were/are Hispanic. I was never fluent enough to be able to follow a conversation (spoken Spanish is just way too fast for me), but I can, to a (very) limited extent, speak very basic stuff.

An amusing aspect of this... The summer after my first year of college, I worked in a belt factory, where 97%+ of the workers were Hispanic and spoke mostly Spanish, with little or no English. I remember trying to say something in Spanish, getting a blank look from whomever I was talking to, and then realizing that I had unthinkingly mixed in or substituted Russian! :eye:

I don't know what it says about me, but of the three languages, I liked Russian the best. Learning a new alphabet was daunting; at least half of the class dropped out during the first week. I still get excited when watching a movie (or reading a book), if I understand any part of the Russian.
 
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