QUOTE(july @ Mar 13 2006, 03:41 PM)
p.s. And I don't have a German accent when I speak English or an English one when I speak German. Have been told that this might have to do with being musical and hearing the nuances! No idea how true this is, but it's a flattering statement!
Probably also has to do with learning it from a very young age. The nicest English accent I have ever heard (including English people's!) was a Norwegian girl's who'd been learning English from a very early age and had lived in London. To speak to her, one would not have known it was not her mother tongue - exquisite accent and idiomatically rich, too, quite sickening!
QUOTE(stevensfo @ Mar 13 2006, 02:45 PM)
Wife is Polish and I can speak just enough to survive and chat with the in-laws, but I'll never be fluent. It's an incredibly hard language! The grammar was invented by a sadist. There are 3 genders, Masc, Fem and Neuter, but the masc. is divided into Inanimate/Animate, so in fact there are 4 to learn, each has its Sing. and plural, 7 cases to learn for each!
Then there are the adjectives which have to agree with the.......
Even to say 'I go' isn't straightforward. It depends on how you go and whether it's something you do regularly or not.
Ahhhh no, Slavonic grammar is WONDERFUL! Verbs of direction! Aspect! Cases!
My mother tongue is English, I also speak (though it's rusty *sob*) Russian which I studied at Uni.
Those are the only two I could really claim to speak, and be fluent in, though Russian is a lot less fluent than it was. Give me an hour chatting in it though and it's amazing what comes back.
Other languages I have studied or learned bits of: it's a long list!
I'll do it chronologically:
Learned French from 2st year of secondary school up to 1st year of uni... can still get by/make myself understood, though I never got to grips with the grammar (much prefer the sadism of Russian to the vagueness of French!!) - I can understand spoken and written much better than I can speak or write it! Though I do tend to speak it with a Russian accent apparently...
Spanish I have some holiday Spanish and can get by when asking for prices or ordering food, (or I could, anyway, it's been a while since I tried!) I did a term of it in school in my first year and then was official family translator on holidays forever even though I wasn't very good at all. My grammar is totally non-existant and if people talk fast or about anything more than prices and food I'll be lost!
German I did for 2 years at school, another language I can understand more than I can produce, I have had several conversations with people where they have spoken German and I have understood but have not been able to contribute. It's a bit embarrassing! I can get by, count(!), order food, ask for (and sometimes even understand
) directions. My grammar is non-existent again!
Mingled in around school years are 3 words here and half a dozen there of anywhere I have gone on holiday - I collect bits! I can say the basic hello, please, thank you, bye, or some random collection of basic words like that with sometimes something completely mad thrown in, in quite a few languages where I can't understand a word else... Italian, Greek, Arabic, Polish... previously Estonian though I'd have to remind myself, ditto Maltese... There may be others...
I forget. Oh and music terms - the usual! And I can make some sense of ecclesiastical latin having sung various Glorias, Masses, Pie Jesuses(!), Nunc Dimittuses and Magnificats.
Moving on to uni: Russian! Of course... Also studied beginners' Croatian, never had a chance to use it but probably better than my holiday Spanish and in some respects more comfortable than my rusty French. Given the chance I *think* I could get by - more so if I had a chance to refresh it before I went.
Japanese - a 6 month evening class in my 4th year - most of which I have forgotten save the odd word. Probably less fluent even than my terrible Spanish, and that is saying something. But I can introduce myself and ask how d'ye do, how are you, etc, basic politesse. If I revised I could probably have a simple conversation about my town, tell you what the time was, and that the train to Tokyo was due to leave soon
Polish, Ukrainian, generalised "UberSlavonic" - I went to Poland for 10 days a couple of weeks after the end of my degree, and ended up chatting with lots of people who *said* they spoke Russian but didn't really. (one old man spoke the equivalent of someone saying they spoke English and then talking to you in German with every 10th word said loudly and slowly in English....!!!) As a result I had a crash course in how to piece together the meaning of what someone might be saying in a language somewhat related to Russian or Croatian, and forever confused my poor brain. To say I could speak Polish or any other Slavonic language besides Russian and a bit of Croatian would be a big fat lie, but I can (or could - it's been a while since I had the chance) do a pretty fair job at understanding and can have a crack at making myself understood. I picked up a few words of Polish along the way, but my knowledge of real Polish is teeeeeny.
So yeah... I like languages a lot. But like my music, it's jack of all trades, master of none - I'll have a crack at any language someone may make the mistake of letting me know they speak, but only two are any good and I sometimes can't even speak English in a way that makes sense to anyone else
QUOTE(cheeble @ Mar 13 2006, 07:49 PM)
I speek Engleesh.
I learn it from a book..