CHAT Are You Comfortable in Another Language?

school marm

Contributing Member
I got my B.A. in Russian, lived in the Russian house for a year, and did two months of study abroad in Moscow, Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), and Kiev. I received a fellowship to pursue a master's in Russian at Ohio State, but my future husband made me an offer I couldn't refuse. I then worked as a translator for about three years.

My oldest son served as Russian-speaking missionary in Ukraine for two years. If he can ever get well enough to return to school, he has just a few classes to finish up a B.A. in Russian as well. My oldest daughter was trying to figure out a class to add to her schedule three years ago. I suggested Russian, and on a whim, she signed up. She absolutely loved/loves it. After struggling so much with her major classes (agronomy and crop science), she's thrilled to have something come so easily to her that she hardly has to study at all.
 

Dennis Olson

Chief Curmudgeon
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I loved the limited instruction I took in Russian. It’s a beautiful language and the alphabet is very elegant.
 

dioptase

Senior Member
Dennis, that's what I thought too; it is a beautiful language. Sadly, I have trouble with the alphabet now. Maybe I should brush up on that, if for no other reason than to keep the brain cells active.

(Back in the day when I was studying it, all the homework was done handwritten. My instructor complimented me on my handwriting... Little did he know that after I did the homework (in the sense of solving it), I went back and carefully re-wrote everything to be handed in. Challenging alphabet!)
 

Satanta

Stone Cold Crazy
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I can barely speak English and, with my hearing issue plus having been around a lot of Spanish Speakers, there is absolutely Zero chance of me getting more than a few words in any other language. I couldn't even learn 'May I have some Cheese please?'
 

Sid Vicious

Veteran Member
I know Sign Language, I have hearing impaired kids.
Some people don’t see this as a language.
In the past I worked quite a bit with blind and deaf people. Everyone should at the least learn to say hello, nice to meet you and goodbye. I ran into a deaf girl at the grocery store (checkout) recently and it made her day just by saying hello.
 
I grew up hearing Texas Hill Country German (Texasdeutsch) from all my Grandparents. When I took German at University I already knew the basic sounds so I did very well. Over many years of disuse I have lost much of it. :(

I tried Russian while at University - also many years ago. While the words themselves were not too hard to learn, I realized that I would never sound any better at speaking it than someone with a strong German accent. So I gave it up. Still remember some random words and phrases after all these years.
 

fish hook

Veteran Member
Please stay with it. You will surprise yourself!
I intend to. I have friends that are Spanish speakers. While they do speak some English, there are times when we run into something that is hard to express. I think we would all profit from the added capacity. When i develop some basic knowledge we will be able to help each other.
 

SouthernBreeze

Veteran Member
I speak perfect Southernese, the drawl dialect. I've also picked up a bit of German from Cary. I can understand German, somewhat, but can't speak it very well.

Cary is fluent in German. He was born at Ft. Benning, GA. His dad got stationed back to Germany shortly thereafter. So, Cary grew up in Germany. His mom was German. Mom and Dad met and married in Germany during the reconstruction after WWII.
 

night driver

ESFP adrift in INTJ sea
Brother is sufficiently fluent in both French and Russian that:
a) he can seamlessly swap from ont to the other because he THINKS in the language involved
b) His last year at school, he had 3 letter agencies "stopping to chat" about every two weeks. "NO" didn't seem to translate well...LOL
Since he was at Hamilton, Foggy Bottom also was in the mix.
He went to Law instead of language, where his BS was.



I on the other hand am reasonably sure that I won't starve, sleep in the rain, pee or otherwise excrete in the street (except in those smaller Italian towns where that is a thing, still) in any Francophone country OR romance language country. Now I may have issues with what I actually asked for in the food or drink arena but I won't starve or die of thirst.
 

PghPanther

Veteran Member
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.
Ich auch.......(me too).........

......took 2 years in HS and 3 years in college...........

A friend of mine spoke it well in college also.......so when we were freshman we'd go to high school football games played at our college field on Friday nights hehe..........and spoke German to each other the whole time..........we did it to look helpless and the hotest HS chics would feel sorry for us and help us out...........we ended up picking up a lot of girls that way our freshman year and when they found out it was a fake they either howled in laughter at the joke or got jokingly pissed off at us...................it was a lot of fun.
 

SouthernBreeze

Veteran Member
Ich auch.......(me too).........

......took 2 years in HS and 3 years in college...........

A friend of mine spoke it well in college also.......so when we were freshman we'd go to high school football games played at our college field on Friday nights hehe..........and spoke German to each other the whole time..........we did it to look helpless and the hotest HS chics would feel sorry for us and help us out...........we ended up picking up a lot of girls that way our freshman year and when they found out it was a fake they either howled in laughter at the joke or got jokingly pissed off at us...................it was a lot of fun.
Imagine me when I met Cary's mom and dad for the first time. He took me over to their house after church one Sunday. She had made lunch for all of us. They all spoke German. I felt like a fish out of water, because I couldn't understand a word being said. Cary didn't warn me on purpose, lol. The joke was on me. Cary's mom could barely speak any English, but Cary and his dad did a good job.

Learning English spelling and grammar were hard for Cary to comprehend. He still has problems with both even today.
 
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CaryC

Veteran Member
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.
That works the other way as well:

My parents sponsored a cousin to come from Germany. He started out working in a car wash, became VP of Swiss Air. Any way born and reared German, Came over in his 20's,early 30's and did speak some English, and worked on it so it would not be a factor in employment. This in the early to mid 60's.

He got a couple of weeks off, while a sales rep. for Swiss Air, to visit his mother, his father had already passed, maybe during the war. While in Germany he had a car wreck. Not bad, but the police were called etc. When the police showed up and started asking him questions, he showed them his US drivers license. AND more importantly, made out like he didn't speak, or understand a word of German.

They finally gave up out of frustration, and let him go on his way.
 

willowlady

Veteran Member
Five years of my childhood were spent in Germany, post war. I was very young the first trip, 7-9 on my second trip. We lived in Freising then. I have retained very rudimentary ability to converse in German. When we took our month-long trip to visit my brother in Leipzig in 2010, I got along perfectly well, without my brother to translate a bit of the time. My most frequent observation was that I would ask a question in German and the person would start rattling away and I couldn't keep up. Ich habbe kleine Deutch. Not correct grammar, but they got the message and would switch to English (American). They often commented that my accent was too good to have so little of the language. I'm sure part of the reason I got by was because it didn't bother me to look/sound like an idiot. After all, I was an idiot in German.
 

lisa

Veteran Member
I am very impressed with your Japanese language skills...Japanese is a catagory 5 language..very difficult not to mention 3 different alphaberts with thousands of characters in kanji. I lived 7 years in Japan as an adult and I can't claim that I became fluent. Partly, because of age...my memory isn't as good as when I was young and partly because of my hearing. Being able to hear and pronounce EXACTLY as a Japanese person is essential. Japanese are not used to hearing foreign accents and will not understand...except for taxi drivers. I do understand much more than I can speak and I speak enough to get by for essentials. I manged to get all around exploring and I loved living in Tokyo.
I am now back living in Panama again and I am very fluent and comfortable in Spanish. I have been speaking spanish for over 30 years now though and it is a much more forgiving language than Japanese.
 

Grumphau

Senior Member
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.
There are also languages related to Finnish in Siberia, such as Khanty and Mansi. Did you know that some Linguists theorize that Sumerian is distantly related to Finnish as well? True story and maybe even plausible.
 

meezy

I think I can...
Nope. Had Spanish classes in HS and college. Now I might be able to recognize a word or two. I sure could have used it this fall when we got our shop's building painted.

My daughter is an ASL teacher, though! (Proud mom!)
 

amarilla

Veteran Member
I speak Spanish fluently. (Also read, write, understand) We homeschooled the kids and raised them bilingually. Well enough that the one who is in the army frequently gets asked "Where is your mom from? I can't quite place your accent." Middle child will be a nurse in May if CoVid doesn't stop classes. She uses it in the hospital as a tech and gets asked the same question. Their writing is weak but the rest is fluent. DH's last name makes it clear he isn't Hispanic of any sort. Those two hated me for making them learn growing up but now are happy about it.

Was good enough in German in high school to win a National Award and scholarship $.

The kids all had 7 years of Chinese school, once a week, but that was more so they could learn to hear tones. They never had enough to be fluent.
 

Just Plain Mom

Veteran Member
I speak Spanish well. Enough to work in it, to talk to my in-laws, whatever.

I took quite a few years of French and German in high school and college, plus Japanese and Italian. Languages were sort of my thing.

NEVER assume someone can't understand you!! My husband, who is from Mexico, is lighter in complexion than I am. When he speaks, his English is almost perfect, with such a slight accent that few people can meet him and figure out where he's from. He uses words that many native-speakers don't know or use (and he only went through the 6th grade). He and I have heard so much that some rude person never guessed we understood. smh
 

nehimama

Veteran Member
Some time in 2005 or 2006, I accompanied a German-American friend to a nearby military base. We decided to lunch at a dining facility on base. We carried our trays to a long table which was occupied by a few other people. (Shared seating). It quickly became apparent the others were speaking German, and so my friend joined in the conversation. My grasp of German being only rudimentary, I was lost at sea, so to speak. UNTIL my friend told the others that when drunk, her husband's eyes look like pig's eyes. I caught schwine and augen, and I burst out laughing. Ilka looked at me in amazement/horror and said, "You understood that?"
 

mrrk1562

Veteran Member
Russian I learned via a living dictionary my Russian girl friend ..I did pick up the inflections of a speaker from Moscow.the living language if you will with all the slang
 

nehimama

Veteran Member
I have enough trouble with word recall (anomic aphasia) in English, much less learn another language.
I feel for ya. Happens quite often for me. Sometimes I can think of a synonym, then google synonyms for that particular word. Works okay while online, but not so much in a face-to-face conversation.
 

Marie

Veteran Member
I have enough trouble with word recall (anomic aphasia) in English, much less learn another language.
I have the same problem from a tbi.
I can still slightly speak English.
Before I could speak Southern backwoods drawl, central plains English, sign language, Spanish, some Italian and the eloquent language of equine and canine.
Now I can barely write or speak any language :D
 

FaithfulSkeptic

Carrying the mantle of doubt
I have the same problem from a tbi.
I can still slightly speak English.
Before I could speak Southern backwoods drawl, central plains English, sign language, Spanish, some Italian and the eloquent language of equine and canine.
Now I can barely write or speak any language :D
There's very specific pathways involved. Genetic deficiency (my case I suspect) or damage to the LAF can cause it.
300px-DTI_Brain_Tractographic_Image_A_panal.jpg
 

nehimama

Veteran Member
Ha Ha! (laughing at myself.) Once, I took a bus tour from Germany to Holland. At one of the stops, I was poking around in a Dutch dep't store; I think by accessories and such. A nice employee approached me, and asked in German if I needed assistance. I replied, "Danke. Ich sehe mich nurum." Literally: "I'm looking myself around." Astonished, she replied in English, "Oh! You're American!" I guess I did not have a Wiesbaden accent.
 

Marie

Veteran Member
Oh Nehimama and Faithfulskeptic don't be sad! It couldn't have been a better person to happen to. I worked extensively with special education population for nearly all my life. I can find humor and beauty in everything I experience. No worries!! And Spellcheck saves me from the spelling nazi. :lkick: :groucho:
 

AlfaMan

Has No Life - Lives on TB
I'm fluent in southern redneck (Georgia dialect) but can converse in other dialects fairly well. I have a working knowledge of Yankee, but I talk too slow to be fluent.
I can read and speak a bit of Russian, absolutely refuse to learn anything Spanish, and can read French reasonably. Well.tried once to learn Hangul (korean) but it failed miserably. American tongues are not designed to wrap around Asian words.
 

bev

Has No Life - Lives on TB
I had a couple years of French in high school, but I could never get the genders right - table is female, for example. So that was the end of that.

I wonder how many genders the French now use. :rolleyes:
 
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