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Being bilingual/multilingual?

NihongoyoNihongoyo 1724 replies530 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
Hey!

I figured I'd ask a quick question that I'm curious about.

Anybody on the forum bilingual or multilingual? Which languages do you speak? What's it like?
I want to speak another 3 languages but I'm not living in a place where it's easy to be immersed!!

I'm curious to know see your responses!
edited May 2012
33 replies
Post edited by Nihongoyo on
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Replies to: Being bilingual/multilingual?

  • decrescendodecrescendo 1113 replies47 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I'm trilingual, fluent in English (shocker! :D), Spanish, and Arabic. But that's by default, not from learning: I'm half-Hispanic, half-Middle Eastern haha.

    Btw, I wondering if this will help me at all in college admissions, anyone?
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  • stef1astef1a 362 replies58 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I'm bilingual. I speak English and a bit of Spanish.

    I want to learn German. Any suggestions?
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  • Breakdown16Breakdown16 5 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    English, French, Chinese here. English is a no-brainer, living in the U.S. my entire life. I picked up Chinese from my parents, but to be honest I never practiced it much, nor did I take Chinese lessons seriously. I learned French from consecutive years of school lessons.

    For suggestions at picking up new vocabulary, I'd suggest Smart.fm. Collaborators there have created vocabulary lists, and the Smart.fm program progresses in lessons of 10 words at a time to reinforce learning. I'm trying to pick up Japanese as well as improve my Mandarin, and I have found the site extremely helpful for (free!) learning.

    I've browsed around these forums somewhat before actually posting here, and I've seen some positive feedback for summer language camps. Since one is immersed full-time in the language, learning naturally comes much quicker. With some summer camps or courses, it's definitely feasible to grasp the equivalent material of a first-year school course or more.

    One such camp is Concordia Language Villages, which I discovered through this thread.
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  • pharmakeus01pharmakeus01 370 replies44 threadsRegistered User Member
    IF you are talking about Arabic, Chinese, or any language that does not seem to share some similarities with English, the learning process is going to be excruciatingly painful.

    My native language is Chinese and I've been studying it for all of my life, including 14 years of formal schooling in China. English comes to me as one of the life's most impossible obstacles that, after some 6 years of toiling in an immersion environment, I've finally came to pass, or at least, genuine near-native ability in processing reading and writing. Ever noticed those English-butchering Asian graduate students? Well, they've been learning English from their elementary school, and still, they are not good at it. Compare that to Europeans and you will find a VAST difference.

    To answer OP's question, it depends on what language you want to learn, and what language are you willing to maintain.

    If you study French, Spanish, or any European languages, the learning process is rather simple. You only need grammar and some memorization to be fluent in the language. For Chinese or Arabic, however, due to the immense cultural differences and geographical isolation (especially Chinese), there is no way you can learn it without rot memorization.

    Also, define fluency, fluency for me means that you can be parachuted into that particular country and find a job, a wife, and be decently well versed in the language. If you can't do that, you simply ain't fluent enough.
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  • decrescendodecrescendo 1113 replies47 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    ^ Very true. The only reason I'm fluent in Arabic and can read/write it is because my father is a Syrian immigrant.

    I speak Spanish because my mother is Hispanic, but it would be much easier to learn than, say, Arabic or Chinese. A friend of mine became fluent in Spanish over a 6-month period, and he's 100% straight-up White :P
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  • speedsolverspeedsolver 1903 replies16 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I'm multilingual as well. English was actually my fourth language, after Taiwanese, Cantonese, and Mandarin. I grew up in the States, but never learned English until elementary school.
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  • ansaransar 1973 replies98 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Sorta trilingual

    English, Spanish and French (picked it up pretty fast)
    Colombian immigrant, btw

    Being more than monolingual is interesting, in my opinion. I find that although I speak English better, since I grew up with Spanish I always feel more comfortable speaking it, like it feels right speaking Spanish. French is similar to Spanish, so it doesn't feel weird speaking French ~only a bit awkward when you think you're speaking great while the person is just staring at you like "What did you say?"

    I've been learning Korean recently and it's definitely weird. Feels like a totally foreign language :-/
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  • rockermcrrockermcr 14567 replies103 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I'm fluent in four languages and have a general knowledge of a fifth. I don't want to list them here because two are fairly distinctive (and I want to maintain some semblance of privacy). PM me if interested.
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  • airakunairakun 16 replies2 threadsRegistered User New Member
    I'm trilingual :D I'm Indonesian but I've lived in the Middle East for about fifteen years of my life (I'm currently turning 17 tomorrow). I speak Bahasa Indonesia, English and Arabic fluently. I'm semi-fluent in Bahasa Melayu (or the language they speak in Malaysia, and it's very similar to Bahasa Indonesia), Japanese (I can read and write in hiragana/katakana but not in kanji, that's a little hard for me T_T), and I did 2 years in high school of French, but I'm not very good at it - when we went to Paris I could understand a few of the conversations though. My next aim is Korean!
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  • NihongoyoNihongoyo 1724 replies530 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    you guys are inspirations! :)
    hehe
    I find french seems like it'd be fun/easy (well not EASY but enjoyable, at least!) to learn haha
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  • eastafrobeautyeastafrobeauty 2333 replies97 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    i'm bilingual...almost trilingual lingual :)

    i can speak:


    -english (obviously).

    -somali [ it's an afro-asiatic language; studies have found that the ancient egyptians used to speak a language very similar to somali; it's also a mixture of arabic and italian (colonizd by italy) thrown into the language).

    - some arabic [im almost there!!! :) ] --but i'm only 25% yemeni (arab) if that counts for anything :/ AND i used to live in the Middle East (U.A.E.) for more than half of my life(i only some ppl in my family...including my dad can speak arabic fluently)....i can read and write in arabic fluently because i'm muslim but my speak skills are OKAY..it's just beautifully broken arabic that i can speak :) most arabs should be able to understand what i say though....and i can understand arabic perfectly as well.


    ----

    im learning french at school but it's mediocre...haha.
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  • ThrowingMusesThrowingMuses 110 replies24 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    It definitely would be a plus.

    But Mandarin was just by default since both my parents are native Chinese and I'm able to converse and read advanced Chinese, but my writing skills do lag behind quite a tad. I actually haven't grown to like English until I was eleven but I always approach my interests with a feverish air thus my English shot up really fast (I was the only student the Dean of my previous college allowed to skip the prerequisites for English).

    Learning French; just a note, self-studying is a terrible option (but my father's really picky about money). Eh, I know the basics, the vulgarities, the pick-up lines, eat, ****, sleep, et cetera.

    Also, since I lived in Singapore, I do know the foundation of Bahasa Melayu (which is very similar to Bahasa Indonesia), and basic Korean since I attended international school for a while (a third of the kids were Koreans) plus I'm a sucker for mindless Korean sitcoms. :D

    I do intend on learning Arabic though since it is a huge plus to my major. (:
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  • JulietKimJulietKim 28 replies2 threadsRegistered User New Member
    This is such interesting thread!

    I was born in South Korea but came to the US six years ago and became a citizen here! It was extremely difficult to learn English let alone speak it! I still find it very difficult~>_<

    I am multilingual, my parents pushed and forced me and my siblings to take many language courses but it was for my bettering so I am okay with it, I actually enjoying learning more and more!

    I speak Korean for the most part, which is not too good knowing I will be living in dorms next year and must get used to English !! Also I learned Mandarin while studying in Korea as well as elementary English. I love Japanese culture and went to visit while taking Japanese courses.

    When I came to America I had to take a foreign language class in high school and they didn't offer any advanced Japanese courses so I took Spanish! When you know Japanese and are trying to learn Spanish it is a bit easier (in my opinion) because the way you pronounce the vocabulary is almost identical! I have many friends who are Hispanic and I love hearing them speak, they teach me more along the way but hopefully I will become fluent very soon!

    I am now self studying Cantonese, I really want to learn it!

    When learning any language I recommend finding and being around people who speak it fluently, that way you will be accustomed to the correct sounds and pick up on many new things! Good luck!
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  • HotChocolateHotChocolate 160 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    As a second-generation Filipino, I understand Tagalog pretty well from my parents but I can't hold a real conversation. I can usually hold my own when being spoken to in Tagalog (and replying in English), but I find myself having to ask for a translation every now and then.

    I've always wanted to learn Brazilian Portuguese though, because I listen to bossa nova music (Brazilian jazz) and I've always had an appreciation and curiosity about the culture. Has anyone ever used Rosetta Stone to pick up a new language? How well does it work?
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  • LunaCowLunaCow 101 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Fluent in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. My parents are Mexican, and I just picked up Portuguese from a friend and reading a lot, watching movies and listening to music also helped a lot. I learned French at school, but not much at all. French class was really when I did my work for all of my other classes because the teacher gave out busywork that was boring. I wasn't enthusiastic in learning it anyways.

    I really would like to learn Arabic. It seems like a really important language to learn. Need a good computer program to teach me. I never tried one, but hopefully they'll do a good job.
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  • decrescendodecrescendo 1113 replies47 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I really would like to learn Arabic. It seems like a really important language to learn. Need a good computer program to teach me. I never tried one, but hopefully they'll do a good job.

    It's a wonderful language. I like speaking it sometimes just because it sounds so cool, haha. It's difficult for non-native speakers to learn, but with continuous practice, you could be semi-fluent in a year or so, fluent in two years. You should learn it!
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  • eastafrobeautyeastafrobeauty 2333 replies97 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    ^ agreed. Arabic is a beautiful language :)

    ^^ umm....if you really want to learn arabic i'd highly recommend/suggest that you start off learning the eygtian dialect...since it's the easiest to pick up on + any arabic speaking person would be ale to understand it (most singers and actors use thata dialect). I also think Khaliji (sp? you know what the gulf arabs speak) arabic is fine too. But DON'T learn the lebanese or syrian dialect just because it's confusing for me to understand them :/ (example: how are you in normal arabic: keef halik; lebanese dilect: keefik?) lol.

    it was easier for me to transition into learning arabic because in the somali lnguage a little over 50% of the words are arabic.

    once im done and have mastered arabic i would love to learn how to speak Italian (apparently my dad can speak italian since he went to an italian based hostel/boarding school as a kid...back when the country was colonied by italy..and he can speak arabic too :) ).
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  • stressedIBgirlstressedIBgirl 30 replies9 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Russian, English, German, French here. Russian family, English self evident, German - lived in German speaking Switzerland for 5 years, French - studied at school and outside of school because I love it. A minuscule amount of Spanish from one course.
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  • decrescendodecrescendo 1113 replies47 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    umm....if you really want to learn arabic i'd highly recommend/suggest that you start off learning the eygtian dialect...since it's the easiest to pick up on + any arabic speaking person would be ale to understand it (most singers and actors use thata dialect). I also think Khaliji (sp? you know what the gulf arabs speak) arabic is fine too. But DON'T learn the lebanese or syrian dialect just because it's confusing for me to understand them :/ (example: how are you in normal arabic: keef halik; lebanese dilect: keefik?) lol.

    Haha. I speak Lebanese/Syrian Arabic. And to be honest, unless you're a native, don't even bother. It's weird and very difficult to learn. This is probably a better route to take. :P
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  • KaiserinSisiKaiserinSisi 143 replies30 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    English is my native language, I'm advanced in Spanish, though quite quite fluent, and I can carry a simple conversation in German.
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