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Are You Bilingual? How Did you Learn?

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153 replies to this topic

#Post 1 of 154 OFFLINE   pinksugar



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Posted 12 August 2008 - 01:42 AM

I've been thinking about this a LOT as I really want to go overseas for work experience late next year.

So I thought it'd be fun to ask you guys a few questions about languages!

A. Do you speak more than one language? what do you speak?
B. How did you learn? at home as a baby? at school?
C. If you learnt after childhood, how long did it take you to become fluent or reasonably fluent?

Now don't freak me out and tell me that it takes YEARS of hard study to learn! tell me it's not too hard and it won't take longer than 8 months, with 2 months of intensive study on top of that!! (If I don't get any responses to this, I'll know what you're all thinking )


#Post 2 of 154 OFFLINE   Karren



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Posted 12 August 2008 - 01:55 AM

I had 10 years of spanish in 2nd through 12th grades and I learnt enough to get around Spain and Mexico.... And order un quarto de libre con queso (quarter pounder with cheese) at Mc Donald's in Madrid... lol
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#Post 3 of 154 OFFLINE   Ashley



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Posted 12 August 2008 - 01:59 AM

Your school system taught a foreign language in 2nd grade Karren? That's cool.

I've had 3 years of spanish and I know nothing!

However, I do think it will be easier if you areinto the environment and forced to speak the language instead of learning on your own or only in a class.

Where are you thinking about going?

#Post 4 of 154 OFFLINE   xtiffanyx



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Posted 12 August 2008 - 02:01 AM

I could speak Cebuano, Bisaya(IDK what the proper name is) when I was little. A little over a year after we moved to the Philippines I was decent enough to understand and carry on conversations...so I guess I'd say it took about a year and a half to become pretty fluent. I guess being so young helped. We moved back to the US when I was 10 and I quickly lost it .

I took Spanish many years in Junior High and High School, but I'm nowhere near fluent. I've wanted to learn Russian for a long time...I had Rosetta Stone, but I didn't learn too much from it. I'd love to be able to speak Hindi so that I could watch Bollywood movies without the subtitles .

#Post 5 of 154 OFFLINE   ninalovesmakeup



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Posted 12 August 2008 - 02:09 AM

I use to be fluent in Korean when I was little, but after I move to the states it was all lost. I wish I would have kept up with it. I've had 5 classes in French. French 1, 2, 3AP and two years in college. I really want to become fluent in French. I love the language and would love to visit there soon enough.

#Post 6 of 154 OFFLINE   kcam125



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Posted 12 August 2008 - 02:14 AM

A. Do you speak more than one language? what do you speak? yes..Tagalog
B. How did you learn? at home as a baby? at school? at home as a baby
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#Post 7 of 154 OFFLINE   daer0n



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Posted 12 August 2008 - 02:20 AM

I speak spanish and english fluently, i was born in Mexico, and i lived there for 26 years till i got married to my Canadian husband. But i learned english just by watching tv, and talking to english speakers on the internet, mostly on msn, people that lived in England and the U.S, some in Canada. I started learning when i was 9 years old, we used to have cable and hbo and cinemax had closed captioning, it helped me to listen to the words as well as learn how to spell them, therefore i learned to speak it and write it correctly. I never took lessons anywhere, just by watching tv all these years and speaking to people on the internet, that's all, i understand portuguese, french, and italian, only written though, not spoken, as well as i speak a tiny bit of greek, and hebrew, i write hebrew as well, im just not fluent at all.

#Post 8 of 154 OFFLINE   kbella



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Posted 12 August 2008 - 02:33 AM

I speak quite a few...Darija (moroccan dialect), Arabic (official language), French (second language), English (Because we were forced to choose a third language in high school), Spanish (Self-taught...I did a lot of novelas watching )

My next target is portuguese (just coz i love Brazil)

To learn a language, you have to be determined, passionate and patient.(loads of practice)

Pinksugar if you really wanna learn a language you can do it in less then a year, depends on how focused you are..good luck!

#Post 9 of 154 OFFLINE   LittleMissLilo



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Posted 12 August 2008 - 02:58 AM

I speak Vietnamese, but that was my first language even tho I was born in the states. My parents hadn't perfected their english speaking yet, so instead they had to communicate with me through Vietnamese. I also went to school for it when I was kid so I could learn how to read and write aside from speaking. My mom is french and speaks it fluently, so when I was a kid she used to talk to me sometimes. As I got older I was already speaking two languages so it got kinda hard, but now I'm practicing again. I've had 7 years of french, and can sorta speak it fluently altho it takes me a long time.
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#Post 10 of 154 OFFLINE   pinksugar



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Posted 12 August 2008 - 03:01 AM

holy cow, some of these stories are pretty inspiring! I can't believe how language-talented our MUTers are! I feel so lame only speaking english, lol!

I want to go to Italy


#Post 11 of 154 OFFLINE   Jinx



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Posted 12 August 2008 - 03:01 AM

I hope to pick up at least 2 languages in the next couple years; Spanish is in high demand where I live so that's my current goal- I am curious how y'all picked up spanish watching TV?
I used to watch Univision all the time and the language is so quick, I just basically watched the pictures, lol!!!
I would love to learn French, but there is no one here to communicate with so it wouldn't stick for me, I suspect, unless my kids learn it too.
I wish our public school system was just- SMARTER!!!! The assumption that all we needed was English to get by in the world shows an unbelievable level of arrogance.
To learn another language here is a privelidge (sp??), and that makes no sense. It's a necessity!!
The kids across the street from us go to a private academy have Spanish as part of the school's regular curriculum (they don't have to sign up for it, they don't have to pay extra for it, they don't have to get instructor approval for it. It is as much part of their day as math and spelling); they've been learning since 2nd grade, I think.

#Post 12 of 154 OFFLINE   pinksugar



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Posted 12 August 2008 - 03:31 AM

Jinx, I kind of agree with you. learning since childhood would be MUCH easier than having to learn in adulthood. Although most places speak english, I think languages are really important in terms of cultural identity. I hate the thought of countries losing that because they use english a lot more.

I've been trying to surround myself with Italian as much as possible, just turning onto the Italian language option on my dvds, but they speak SO FAST! I hope I can learn to keep up! eek!


#Post 13 of 154 OFFLINE   La_Mari



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Posted 12 August 2008 - 03:46 AM

I was born/raised in Los Angeles, and back then our school taught us in Spanish, so that was my first language, and obviously my parents and family spoke it to me.

Then when I was 6 we moved here to Washington, and I pretty much stayed quiet in school and my cousin translated most things to me English to Spanish. So I learned English in 1st and 2nd grade. I too think it's easier when you are forced to speak it. And actually I used to get like the highest spelling scores in school because it was so much easier when I would sound it out in Spanish.

I don't have a Spanish accent anymore, maybe on a couple things, like "don't" but I think I speak Spanish a little funny. Some people say I speak it really well, but I get shy if I talk too much because I don't want to say something stupid lol. As in gramatically wrong.

I did take like 3 years of German almost 6 years ago, I can only recognize the basic stuff.

#Post 14 of 154 OFFLINE   CellyCell



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Posted 12 August 2008 - 03:50 AM

I so was gunna post a thread like this today, Rosers... get out of my mind. Haha.

I speak Spanish and English. Technically, and according to my mother, Spanish is my first language but as I started to attend school at the tender age of 3 - it turned into broken Spanish and grew to a few words here and there and I only spoke English for some years.

I moved when I was 7, started a new school a year later that forced me to speak Spanish (in effin' AMERICA?!) which totally pisses me off till this day. Yeah, I learned to speak another language but it was a horrible experience my first year. So in this school (in AMERICA!! gah) I was taught only in Spanish for about 4 years. I can read, write and speak Spanish without an accent (doesn't sound "white washed") but I can't have full conversations because it's been so long since I've actually done things only in Spanish and it's difficult to memorize words. Although, I don't think I'd want to learn more of it - I know enough to get by in a Spanish speaking country so I'm good with that.

It's better that than being my sister who knows nothing of Spanish and has silent conversations with my Grandma while I laugh.

I think, if you live there and was sorta "forced" to speak another language - you can get it in a year or even less. Especially Romance language because a lot of words translate and have the same meaning. Like Problem in Spanish is Problema and so on.

Mari! We can relate, haha.

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#Post 15 of 154 OFFLINE   laurafaye



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Posted 12 August 2008 - 03:59 AM

I've studied French for about 6 years, I think I'm alright, I still have loads to learn though. They speak so fast as well I find it pretty hard to keep up when watching a French film or whatever. I'm taking it for another 2 years so I'll see how it goes.

#Post 16 of 154 OFFLINE   Andi



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Posted 12 August 2008 - 04:45 AM

I´m fluent in German (my 1st language) and I´d say almost fluent in English. If my parents would have taken the time you could have added Slowenian to the list. My entire family on both sides is bilingual (German and Slowenian) due to our geographical proximity to the Slowenian border, and we´re also part of an Austrian/Slowenian minority. But, my parents were lazy, so my brother and I are the only non bilingual people in our family. Sucks for us, huh!

I´ve had to study English for 8 years total, and I was a good student, but my 6month exchange student program in high school is what made me lose almost all of my foreign accent. What made me say almost fluent is that of course I might not know a word here or there, but most people wouldn´t notice that cause I´d just use a different word that I know.

I also had 6 years of Italian in school, and I was the best of my class, but after spending 6 months in the US I wasn´t all that interested in the language anymore. And just 6 months of not practicing made me forget so many words. I can still understand most, but speaking...forget about it. It´s pretty sad actually, cause it wasn´t all that easy to learn

#Post 17 of 154 OFFLINE   emily_3383



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Posted 12 August 2008 - 11:37 AM

I speak Spanish.

#Post 18 of 154 OFFLINE   BeachBarbie



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Posted 12 August 2008 - 11:44 AM

I'm fluent in French.
I took all four years in high school and placed into senior courses in college, so i received credit for lower levels, thus finishing my minor requirements in the first year. woo!
I took to the language really easily, but when i went to Catholic school, they had one of their nuns from Guatamela teach us Spanish in 7th and 8th grade. I could not learn Spanish to save my life!
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#Post 19 of 154 OFFLINE   LilDee



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Posted 12 August 2008 - 11:46 AM

yep, Dutch and English..

I was born in Holland.. and we spoke it at home..
But I moved to Canada the first time at one year old.. so I did part of my elemantary school here.. and basically grew up speaking English everywhere but at home..

Then.. i moved back to Holland and did up to grade 11 there (Havo4).. and I finished my grade 12 here in Canada.. and have lived here for the past 5 years..

So it was kind of important for me to be fluent in both languages..

#Post 20 of 154 OFFLINE   magosienne



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Posted 12 August 2008 - 12:07 PM

french is my maternal language. i also speak english. when we enter junior highschool (11-12 years old), we learn our first foreign language (compulsory), and i took english. i had a good teacher and a good book, so it helped me get good bases since the first year. i never ceased practising it until i finished high school. although i have a terrible, french, accent.

i also took spanish classes, starting from the third year of junior high, when i was about 14. but i lost it all since i entered uni, as i didn't have the same opportunities to speak in that language. i still have some vocabulary and basic sentences. shame because i was really good at it.

i also took some latin classes, which are only used in law as we have some expressions in latin.

i think it is totally possible to learn quickly a language, especially when you're in the foreign country.

what also helped me a lot, and frankly i regret no one has told me that earlier, is to watch as many movies/tv series as you can (even with subtitles). same goes with music and books. from books you get the vocabulary and the grammar help, and from the movies and music you get the sound of it. i've started this when i was finishing high school, thanks to my teacher who lent me some books and told me where to buy them in english.