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How many of us are polygots?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by oldsomeman, May 15, 2019 at 4:29 PM.

  1. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    Besides English I have very, very basic words in German,French and Spanish but not really enough for conversation.
    Just being nosey as i was watching a guy on youtube who could speak 18 languages plus many less familiar ones. Just wish I had the skill.
     
  2. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    I'm dyslexic - does that count ?
     
  3. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    My wife speaks about 12 languages - most of them fluently
     
  4. BertieBassett2

    BertieBassett2 Lead commenter

    Conversational French and a smattering of Dutch - crazy language to learn!
     
  5. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Lead commenter

    Some French and Spanish. I can read and write much better than speak and listen.
     
    oldsomeman likes this.
  6. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    English, Swiss German and A level French (now somewhat rusty)
    My Dad speaks six languages fluently and can get by in about five or six more. Awesome!
     
    oldsomeman and agathamorse like this.
  7. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    French, German, Italian. All to a reasonable standard.
     
    oldsomeman likes this.
  8. burajda

    burajda Star commenter

    Quite good French, Some spoken Dutch as I worked there for 18 months, some German, basic conversational Spanish and Italian and some Bhasa Indonesia. And enough Turkish to have a limited conversation with my local corner shop keepers and barber.
     
    oldsomeman likes this.
  9. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    I don't regard myself as a polyglot if that implies the ability to conduct a conversation moving seamlessly and effortlessly into and out of multiple languages. I studied French and German to first-degree level in the late 1960s and taught both languages from the seventies to the noughties. I can read both languages fluently even nowadays, but my listening, speaking and writing skills have grown very rusty of late. Trips to Switzerland have also convinced me that the Swiss version of spoken German is impenetrable, at least to me, while the language spoken in Germany and Austria is much easier to follow.

    In retirement, I still tinker with other languages as a means of pursuing my hobbies and interests. The thorough grammatical training I received in foreign languages back in the 1960s enables me to dip into online and printed texts related to my leisure pursuits and written in languages as diverse as Russian, Chinese or Hungarian. Judicious use of online tools such Google Translate and Linguee can be very effective with unfamiliar languages if one has a strong grasp of the subject matter of the text and a willingness to accept nothing at face value. I'm only interested in the oral side of other languages nowadays if I plan to visit the country where they are spoken. In that case I make the effort to learn the courtesies such as "please", "thank you", "good day" in the foreign language and how to put together phrases to shop or buy train tickets.
     
  10. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    I use to be able to converse fairly well in French... benefited from living there for four years.

    But lack of use has rendered my linguistic muscles feeble.
     
  11. friedgreentomatoes

    friedgreentomatoes Senior commenter

    I have very basic French, German and Spanish. I couldn't have a conversation but I can make myself understood (and understand others) in the usual tourist situations.
     
    oldsomeman and agathamorse like this.
  12. agathamorse

    agathamorse Occasional commenter

    French, German, Italian and a smattering of Bulgarian and Spanish.
     
    oldsomeman and lanokia like this.
  13. Jude Fawley

    Jude Fawley Star commenter

    English, some French words in relation to food and love and some German words in relation to machines.

    A smattering of propositional logic and predicate logic and a wistful desire tempered with fear to look into modal logic.
     
    agathamorse and lanokia like this.
  14. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    I can do tourist French, Italian and German, after a fashion - but rarely get any practice as we always take city breaks in Europe, where those continentals only want to show off their English and have no interest in my poor but valiant attempts to speak their language.
     
    agathamorse, oldsomeman and colpee like this.
  15. bevdex

    bevdex Star commenter

    I can translate french to english and vice-versa but in conversations i spend so long translating from french to english, formulating a reply then translating it back to french that the conversation has moved on.
     
    agathamorse likes this.
  16. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

    Are these related languages?
     
    agathamorse likes this.
  17. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    English, Spanish and Glaswegian
    Spanish is probably a bit Allo Allo, but I can get by.
     
    agathamorse and magic surf bus like this.
  18. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Bahasa Indonesia (fluently) and Arabic.

    I did start learning Afrikaans a few years ago but gave up.

    I failed GCE 'O'-Level French...

    ... abysmally.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2019 at 7:59 PM
  19. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter



    I'm in awe! When you say fluently, do you mean he has near native skills in those six languages?

    My degree is in French and German, which I taught for over 30 years.
    I got an A* in GCSE Spanish, a few years ago. I can hardly string a sentence together, now. Use it, or lose it!
     
  20. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    I got CSE Grade 2 French at school - twice. I now speak:

    Enough French to live there independently for at least a month, and hold a basic conversation with a non-English speaker. An evening class helped, but most of it I picked by just going to France.
    Enough Italian to get by as a tourist - I did a year's evening class in it, which was excellent.
    Hardly any Spanish - I forgot pretty much all of the 12 week evening class. I don't like Spain that much anyway.
    Not as much German as I'd like but the evening class was deadly dull.
    Danish - total non-starter. They all speak better English than me.

    I'd like to learn Latin but the evening class is taught by the same person who did German.

    Understanding foreign road signs is a huge help, and I find I learn a hell of a lot in supermarkets, just by comparing their words for the same things as ours.
     

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