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View Diary: How many Languages do you know? (129 comments)

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  •  English, basics of Spanish. (5+ / 0-)

    I had 3 years of Spanish in High School, and did well enough speaking and reading at that level.  That was 20 years ago.

    Now I'm lost outside of the Present Tense.  But I could order a meal and generally make myself understood even today.

    -7.75 -4.67

    "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

    There are no Christians in foxholes.

    by Odysseus on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 08:09:26 PM PST

    •  Me too! I had Spanish in high school (4+ / 0-)

      and even took a Spanish Lit class in college, in which I think I was the only person who wasn't either a native speaker or a former resident of a Spanish-speaking country.  Got an A though!  Love that Miguel de Unamuno (lol)

      Now I've forgotten most of it.  Totally could not conjugate a verb any more.  Still, I think I could make myself understood, and can read moderately well.

      Had a business dinner with some Europeans last weekend.  The guy is from Luxembourg and speaks French, German, English, and I think some Italian and Russian.  The woman is from Germany and speaks seven languages fluently.  I always feel so inadequate when I am with them!  

      •  Europeans learn languages as a matter of course. (6+ / 0-)

        My Finnish friend spoke Swedish, French, English, modern Greek and Esperanto as well as Finnish and some Karelian.  His daughter, he said, spoke more languages than he did. (Her English was perfect.)

        He told me that in the 1950s when he was in the merchant marine (not sure what they call it) even the Finnish sailors were amazed that when they arrived in remote ports the little uneducated street boys who served as guides could switch from language to language without a breath; they frequently had working knowledge of a dozen or more languages.

        Too bad we don't take advantage of this country's rich immigrant heritage to expose our own children to some of the many languages spoken here.

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