Parles vous Francois? Sprache de Deutche?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Collingwood Nick, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. Collingwood Nick

    Collingwood Nick Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jan 28, 2002
    As you can see I am not any good at either. :rommie:

    I have been speaking Greek and English (and BASIC and C) for as long as I can remember and I've decided that it might be jolly fun to expand the repartoire and pick up a couple of new languages. French and German .. as an English speaker I'm halfway there already.

    Has anyone here ever learned a new language before? As a 'mature ager' I mean. How did you find the experience? What is a good way - or a not so good way - of going about it? I am thinking of using podcasts, at least until I find some native speakers to spar with. Not really able to afford proper lessons at this point.

    I seem to recall reading that we have a polyglot on this forum somewhere, but I can't remember who it was ....
  2. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Jan 20, 2007
    inside teacake
    Why not learn Italian instead, at least there are tons of people you can talk to, newspapers you can buy.. unlike French and German which are rarely heard here.
  3. trekkiedane

    trekkiedane Admiral Admiral

    Jan 12, 2005
    I'll let you know when I get there.
    I have no answers to your questions -apart from the obvious: move to a place where they only talk that language- but am going to subscribe to this thread as I NEED to pick up Spanish this spring :rofl:
  4. Felidae

    Felidae Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    Nov 20, 2012
    My native language is Dutch, Nederlands dus ;) and my english is good, has to be since my Master studies in Medical Biology is in English. My classes, tests, books, everything is in english. Also, I read my books (for fun) mostly in english, somehow it seems that most books I'm interested in are originally written in english.
    I did have a boyfriend in england for a while.. that's very good for learning to speak another language. First time there was weird, but after a while you don't have to think about turning your own words into another language. After a week or so you think in english.

    I can understand german pretty well, but speaking it, hell no. French.. had that for six years in highschool and now I don't speak more than a few words anymore. ;)
  5. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Premium Member

    Nov 29, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    Some people can pick up a new language just by immersing themselves in a culture where that language is spoken. Others do better with formal instruction. As for Spanish, it's one of the easiest languages to learn. I had two years of Spanish in high school but, in spite of living in L.A., I haven't used it that much. I can converse in Spanish with two people if their names happen to be Pablo and Luisa and if one of them has a cold.
  6. Shaytan

    Shaytan Vice Admiral Admiral

    Feb 17, 2007
    Fluctuat nec mergitur.
    What worked for me was to find something I'm interested in on the internet (for motivation) and then to read a lot.
    The next step was was to find a place where I could communicate in English. That's why I'm here ;)
    Everything is a question of pratice, regular practice, and motivation.
  7. Collingwood Nick

    Collingwood Nick Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jan 28, 2002
    I don't have the luxury of moving to another country at this stage ... but finding an internet forum where they speak in that language might be the next best thing! Thank you internet!
  8. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

    May 10, 2005
    The visitor's bullpen
    I used to know a fair whack of the German language but I don't remember a lot of it now. :sigh:

    Right now I'm like Korben Dallas in The Fifth Element - I only speak two languages, English and bad English. :D
  9. cooleddie74

    cooleddie74 Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Apr 25, 2001
    The Warped Sector of the Demented Quadrant
    My native language is English (American South, Virginia/Mid-Atlantic region) but I took three years' worth of German courses in high school and a year of Spanish before any of that.

    My German is a little rusty because I didn't study it again when I was in college and I haven't had that many opportunities to use the language over the years, but if I had to lay claim to a second language it'd be German.

    Frohes neues Jahr, mein freunde!
  10. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    My native language is Polish. I speak English, Russian and Ukrainian, although haven't used the latter two for years, so I'm rusty when speaking. I still understand and read them fluently. I also speak and read some Chinese (Cantonese). Ukrainian and Cantonese are languages I learnt as an adult, not a kid. I started learning Russian when I was 12, but really learnt it when I was in early twenties (I studied it). English - when I was 14.

    I was also learning French, German, Czech and Latin, but can't say I know those languages.
  11. Intelligence

    Intelligence Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    May 11, 2001
    Bremen, Germany, Europe
    I speak German natively and through work I'm fluent in English. We have a lot of cooperation with French and Swiss-French people, so I tried learning French earlier this year, but failed. However, a colleague from work introduced me to the concept of conversation groups. I realised a lot of people had no problem to learn German within months (mostly Spanish who came to Germany to find work). This made me start transforming my school-learned Latin into Spanish almost with ease, I understand it, but can only produce very simple sentences. So if you happen to be able to join such conversation groups, do it, it is great for learning languages and also brings you down thinking about your own language when after two times repeating a sentence nobody understands you. You have to try hard simplifying your mother tongue, which is a real brain teaser.
  12. SmoothieX

    SmoothieX Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 12, 2004
    This pretty much sums it up for me.

    I've only been in non-English speaking places a few times, but mainly in touristy places where the locals knew enough basic English to have a simple conversation.

    Trying to chat with the innkeeper in the middle of nowhere in Iceland was not as easy. The no man's land halfway between the Canadian border with Vermont and Quebec City was no fun either.
  13. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

    Oct 27, 2005
    the Frozen Wastes
    Was the title deliberately ungrammatical? If so, well done that man.
  14. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

    Apr 14, 2003
    Norfolk, VA
    I speak Italian decently (not great) because I studied it for four years in College. I can read a bit of French because of the large number of overlap between it and Italian and English. However, it's a complicated language, to say the least. I don't think it's possible to learn it without formally being taught.

    In my opinion, the most important thing is dedication. You have to be willing to study and practice several times a week. Immersion can be helpful, but only after you've already mastered the basics of the language.
  15. Haggis and tatties

    Haggis and tatties Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Dec 27, 2002
    I speak two langauges....Scottish and Glaswegian.

    I was running after the bus the other day and i managed to catch it by the handle.

    I wis running fur the bus thi other day and managed to catch it by the honnal.

  16. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 30, 2009
    Northern Ontario, Canada
    I'm technically French-Canadian, but I speak more English than French these days, being surrounded more with English. I find one of the easiest ways to learn a language is to put on a foreign news channel, where there are a variety of topics. You often get to see pictures associated with what they're talking about, making some things a little easier to pick up on. The downside though is that sometimes they'll talk so fast making it hard to understand unless you're already familiar with the language.

    For anyone interesting in the roots of languages, or English in particular, I recommend "The Mother Tongue: English and how it got that way" by Bill Bryson. It's a humorous look at the roots of the English language. Quite a fun read.
  17. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

    Sep 15, 2006
    Italy, EU
    I wholeheartedly support the idea of learning Italian, but French and German are definitively more useful. :p

    That's pretty much how I see it. I learned English in school, and used it extensively in university, but it was always "academic" English: pretty stiff and inexpressive.

    This place is the reason my written English sounds pretty natural. If only I could translate this proficiency into spoken English! :alienblush:
  18. Davros

    Davros Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Mar 8, 2001
    Kaled bunker, Skaro
    I may have minored in German but it has been so long since I have used it that my skills have greatly declined.

    But my standard use these days is to joke.
    Alles must in Ordenung sein!
  19. rhubarbodendron

    rhubarbodendron Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    May 1, 2011
    milky way, outer spiral arm, Sol 3
    Human(-oid) languages:

    native language: high German.
    learned as a child: Bavarian, English, Latin (fluent in all 3), Czech (only very basic)
    learned as an adult: Turkish, Klingon & Italian (basic), Mandarin Chinese (read & write decently, speak little), Dutch (understand all but speak only little - am still fighting with the L pronounciation).
    Currently learning French and Welsh and working on improving my Italian and Dutch.

    Computer languages:
    BASIC, Q-BASIC, Milan, PASCAL, C, C+, C++, PHP, HTML, Java.

    I find learning in general easier as an adult than I did as a child. We older ones recognize the patterns and the basic structure, something younger people can't yet. This way older people often get an intuitive grasp of grammar without having to learn the rules explicitly. We know that every language has a smooth flow and when it sounds 'bumpy' there must be an error.
    Much the same goes for computer languages: Once you grasped the concept it's easy. You just have to think in 0 and 1 and remember that for a programme there is nothing between both.

    Learning vocabulary, on the other hand, gets more difficult with time as the memory is weaker in older people.

    Crivens! Reading Haggis' post I realize that I forgot to mention that I understand Scots sufficiently to read and enjoy Robert Burns. :) And I understand a tiny bit of Irish Gaelic. A side effect of singing in a Celtic Folk band for 30 years :D

    @Davros: Ordnung is massively overrated - remember the universe is ruled by chaos!
  20. Collingwood Nick

    Collingwood Nick Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jan 28, 2002
    ^ That's been my experience so far. Grammar kind of works itself out without too much effort. But vocab - forget it. I need practice and ideally immersionm which is kind of overkill for just a hobby.