How many languages do you know?

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How many languages do you know?

1
5
13%
2
16
42%
3
5
13%
4 or more.
12
32%
 
Total votes: 38

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EmptyMan
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How many languages do you know?

Post by EmptyMan » Sun Nov 07, 2004 10:21 pm

I only know one so far but I am ambitious and plan to learn at least 7 before I die, most of them dead. By asking "how many languages do you know" I mean to say "how many languages are you so confident in that you can sit down and read a book?"
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Post by PeterD » Sun Nov 07, 2004 10:33 pm

There is a fellow listed in the Guiness book of world records who speaks over 100 languages! I wonder if he speaks English?

btw, which language has the fewest irregular verbs?
Fanatical ranting is not just fine because it's eloquent. What if I ranted for the extermination of a people in an eloquent manner, would that make it fine? Rather, ranting, be it fanatical or otherwise, is fine if what is said is true and just. ---PeterD, in reply to IreneY and Annis

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Post by ingrid70 » Sun Nov 07, 2004 10:38 pm

I have to be honest, I can read a book in German mostly because of its similarities to Dutch, not because I remember much of the 5 years of high school German (with the most abominable teacher there ever was :( ).
I have once been able to read books in French...when I was 16 or so.

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Turpissimus
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Post by Turpissimus » Sun Nov 07, 2004 10:53 pm

btw, which language has the fewest irregular verbs?
Turkish has apparently the fewest irregular verbs. Only the verb to be is irregular. I imagine as a Greek, Peter, you would be minded to put that down to some special kind of mental infirmity on their part.... :)
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Post by annis » Sun Nov 07, 2004 11:05 pm

Turpissimus wrote:Turkish has apparently the fewest irregular verbs.
Chinese has none at all. No conjugation. :)
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τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;

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Post by Bert » Sun Nov 07, 2004 11:44 pm

I have forgotten my Dutch and I don't know English yet.

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Post by Yhevhe » Mon Nov 08, 2004 2:40 am

I can read a book in spanish, but I dunno if I can read a REAL book in english... I mean, the other day I tried to read 1984, and I just had to find the translation... I got quickly confused.

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Post by primitive » Mon Nov 08, 2004 3:33 am

i know 1 and a quarter languages. english and some latin. eep...
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Post by masuro » Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:24 am

English and Korean. My Korean reading ability is pretty good but it depends on the subject. I can get through the 'easier' pages in a newspaper like 'society' or 'travel' but the politics page is too difficult. And I'm not interested so it's no loss. :) I picked up a grade 12 Korean book one day and read through a story or two without too much trouble.

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Post by mingshey » Mon Nov 08, 2004 5:01 am

Korean and English. Native Korean. Write English as I write in this forum.
Talking in English is rather harder partly because I often find some of the words that fit don't come quickly.
Read a bit of Classical Chinese. But the pronunciation is one adapted for Koreans ages ago. It was for Korean as Latin is for English.
A little bit of German. But I couldn't get through Einsteins paper on Special Relativity very easily even after I majored in physics.
Took an elementary course of Japanese, though I forgot much of it.
Scratched on Biblical Hebrew, Latin, and Ancient Greek but made no substantial progress in any of them. Now learning Greek again.
Old Norse and Old English, French, Sanskrit, Arabic, Akkadian are on my list of Languages to learn. Sumerian is one that I couldn't find a resource good enough to learn it. It is said to be another agglutinative language as Korean is. (I had to look fo rthis agglu- word. It's h*ll difficult to memorize this. :? )

P.S.
As for reading, I could read Harry Potter with no real difficulty. But couldn't easily get through Lolita. And the English alive, that people post on forums and news groups, is sometimes hard to keep up with. And look! I missed the last part of this topic. :oops:
Last edited by mingshey on Mon Nov 08, 2004 5:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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klewlis
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Post by klewlis » Mon Nov 08, 2004 5:26 am

Turpissimus wrote:Only the verb to be is irregular.
Is there a reason why the verb for "to be" always seems to be irregular???

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benissimus
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Post by benissimus » Mon Nov 08, 2004 5:39 am

Apparently the Indo-European word "to be" was irregular and so its progeny preserved that irregularity to some extent. Actually, I'm not sure that there even was a specific word for "be" or if it is just a collision of different words ("grow", "become", "exist", etc.).

Just 2 languages here by the way.
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae

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Post by Lucus Eques » Mon Nov 08, 2004 8:25 am

benissimus wrote:Apparently the Indo-European word "to be" was irregular and so its progeny preserved that irregularity to some extent. Actually, I'm not sure that there even was a specific word for "be" or if it is just a collision of different words ("grow", "become", "exist", etc.).
The oldest Indo-European (as evidenced by Sanskrit) had the verb "to be;" though, just like the other classical languages, apposition of stative nouns and adjectives to create nominal sentences was always possible. One can easily pick out the roots of countless IE tongues just by the conjugation of the verb as:

I am = asmi
thou art = asi
he/she/it is = asti
we are = smas
you are = stha
they are = santi

Indo-European isn't the only linguistic branch with irregularity in "to be," however; Japanese is surprisingly irregular when it comes to certain usages with the verb, inter aliis. Exactly why "to be" is irregular, though, is the same reason that any words are irregular: common usage corrupts, and therefore the more common a word is used, the more chances there are for people to get it wrong. Moreover, most languages are rather structured in their grammatical declensions and conjugations. Most of the time this is helpful and beneficial to the language and is a natural extension of it; but sometimes these sophisticated grammatical devices become combersome and impractical. Thus the Sanskrit word is asi not assi, and santi instead of asnti. Believe it or not, practical aesthetics govern language more than any other factor: effectiveness of communication is the lord of all linguistics.



I'm only truly fluent in five or so, but I've studied at least two dozen others in detail. Languages rock.
L. Amadeus Ranierius

SCORPIO·MARTIANVS

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Jefferson Cicero
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number of languages

Post by Jefferson Cicero » Mon Nov 08, 2004 11:46 am

I clicked on '4 or more' because I've got two years of Spanish with little to show for it, fairly good German (spoken ability but little in reading), Swiss German (spoken only) counted as a separate language from standard German, and reasonably good Latin (reading only).

I have rudimentary French (reading only) and rudimentary Attic Greek (reading only), but not enough of either to really count.

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Jefferson Cicero
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'to be'

Post by Jefferson Cicero » Mon Nov 08, 2004 11:58 am

Middle Egyptian had a word sometimes translated as 'to be', 'is' etc., but it was far weaker in meaning. Generally, Egyptians used words with meanings like 'grows', 'blooms', 'exists', 'stands' etc., instead of this weak quasi-'be' word, which, properly understood, really is not, stricktly speaking, a counterpart of Indo-European words that mean 'to be'. Now if I could only remember what that word was!

Wine sometimes has this effect on one's memory. I'm loose as a goose right now.

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Post by PeterD » Mon Nov 08, 2004 1:21 pm

Turpissimus wrote:
btw, which language has the fewest irregular verbs?
Turkish has apparently the fewest irregular verbs. Only the verb to be is irregular. I imagine as a Greek, Peter, you would be minded to put that down to some special kind of mental infirmity on their part.... :)
:wink:
Annis wrote:Chinese has none at all. No conjugation. :)
William, you are correct. But the language I had in mind was Esperanto -- it has no irregular verbs. :)
Fanatical ranting is not just fine because it's eloquent. What if I ranted for the extermination of a people in an eloquent manner, would that make it fine? Rather, ranting, be it fanatical or otherwise, is fine if what is said is true and just. ---PeterD, in reply to IreneY and Annis

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Post by annis » Mon Nov 08, 2004 1:31 pm

PeterD wrote:But the language I had in mind was Esperanto -- it has no irregular verbs. :)
Vi pravas, sed mi kredis ke EmptyMan demandas pri naturaj lingvoj.

;)
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τίς πατέρ' αἰνήσει εἰ μὴ κακοδαίμονες υἱοί;

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Turpissimus
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Post by Turpissimus » Mon Nov 08, 2004 1:33 pm

Apparently the Indo-European word "to be" was irregular and so its progeny preserved that irregularity to some extent. Actually, I'm not sure that there even was a specific word for "be" or if it is just a collision of different words ("grow", "become", "exist", etc.).
Turkish isn't an Indo-European language, but I'm sure everyone reading this thread knows that. Actually, it belongs to the Ural-Altaic family of languages, which includes Finnish, Hungarian, Lap and, if some are to be believed, Japanese and Korean.

The Japanese, however, don't like being told that their language is not an isolate. So I wouldn't mention it to one of the Emperor's subjects. But there are two trivial non-facts which readers may find interesting:

1) The only naturalized Japanese citizen ever to sit in the Diet was a Finn.

2) The Finnish question particle ko looks a bit like the Japanese question particle ka

Dull facts with which you can bore those sitting next to you.
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Post by 1%homeless » Mon Nov 08, 2004 8:17 pm

Swiss German (spoken only) counted as a separate language from standard German
Really? If you read formal written Swiss, can you tell if it is Swiss? Anyway, it's all German to me. :) Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish is another issue all together though, because the language names are tied to the country's name...

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Post by yadfothgildloc » Mon Nov 08, 2004 8:51 pm

I only have English (native) and lotsa Latin. Biblical and Modern Hebrew, Attic Greek, some Italian and the eensiest bit of Aramaic. I want fluency in Hebrew and Better skills in Greek, Latin and Aramaic before too much longer, and I want to start in on Sanskrit and learning what I can of PIE.

I tried Lojban, but it was too goofy for me to take seriously.

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Post by Emma_85 » Mon Nov 08, 2004 9:11 pm

Well, I'm bilingual in English and German, I can understand Dutch without a problem, reading is a bit more difficult that hearing though sometimes, but it depends what I read really. But say Harry Potter in Dutch, don't think it would be much of a problem so I voted 3 :P . Otherwise Latin and Greek, and I once tried to learn modern, but I think I can say now that I've failed, because I've just forgotten everything I once knew and have no practice. Old English, well, same really, old those old Germanic tongues I once tried to learn, forgotten nearly everything. And don't even mention French... all those lessons and I can't even tell the time in French :roll: , let alone read a book :shock:
But I'm going to learn Italian soon, so then it'll be 4.
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Post by Bert » Mon Nov 08, 2004 10:32 pm

Emma_85 wrote:Well, I'm bilingual in English and German, I can understand Dutch without a problem, reading is a bit more difficult that hearing though sometimes, but it depends what I read really.
That's strange.
I can read German a bit but I would have a hard time understanding it spoken. Unless it is lag Deutsch (sp?).

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Post by Amy » Mon Nov 08, 2004 10:48 pm

I guess two even though I can't get through two pages of don quixote... Is the universal "booK" here like Harry Potter? My american friend started Lolita by the way and she stopped because the language was too confusing.
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Post by chad » Mon Nov 08, 2004 11:21 pm

for me it's just 1, only english: that's the only language i can think in. i feel fluent in a tiny part of greek only: as i've said before, i can think on the spot certain arguments in greek by mirroring exactly a few of plato's argument structures in the parmenides and substituting certain words. so now i can read those original arguments pretty fluently (but it's just a few pages, not much at all). i also go to alliance classes for french and i can read at a basic level pretty comfortably but i can't think in french yet so i don't really know it. i think if you can't think in a language (and therefore can't speak it) you don't really connect with what you're reading, you're just working it out piece by piece.

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Post by Yhevhe » Tue Nov 09, 2004 2:23 am

Oh Amy don't feel sad, make a normal and common person in Spain or Latin America read the first chapter of Don Quijote and they will understand less than you :D

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Post by Emma_85 » Tue Nov 09, 2004 1:24 pm

Bert wrote:That's strange.
I can read German a bit but I would have a hard time understanding it spoken. Unless it is lag Deutsch (sp?).
Well, it depends how hard I listen and if I can keep my concentration up. We have some Dutch TV channels and I know that if for one moment I don't pay attention I'm totally lost, lol :P . Radio is far easier to understand as they talk more clearly (and don't say too much). :) Dutch just sounds like a mix between German and English to me, hehehe maybe because that's what it is... :wink: . I think it's probably easier to understand Dutch if you know not only German but also English. It might be harder for you to understand German than it is for me to understand Dutch as you only know say '70%' of German from Dutch, but I about '80% or 90%' of Dutch from knowing German and English. Something like that anyway... :roll:
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Post by MyIlium » Tue Nov 09, 2004 11:19 pm

Well, I clicked 2, but its more like 1 and two halves. I know English (at least I hope so!) I have a peasant's education in Mandarin -- I can speak but not read. And then there's Latin, which I can read -- somewhat. Plus smatterings of other languages, too small to be useful.
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Post by dominus sciurorum » Fri Nov 12, 2004 12:18 am

I'm only confident in English and French. I can read...Cambridge Latin with no problem. But I don't suppose that really counts. I read Bonjour Tristesse and some poems by Jacques Prevert last year, and now my French class is reading more poetry.
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Post by Tancredo » Fri Nov 12, 2004 4:14 pm

Spanish, French, English, Latin. I can read Portuguese and Italian because of their similarities to those mentioned. Beginning with Greek, and some day, Deo volente, Sanskrit.
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Post by Episcopus » Fri Nov 12, 2004 4:24 pm

UN. CYMRAEG :D
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Post by Tancredo » Fri Nov 12, 2004 4:26 pm

Yhevhe wrote:Oh Amy don't feel sad, make a normal and common person in Spain or Latin America read the first chapter of Don Quijote and they will understand less than you :D
Yeah, I had to read it at high school and several words were archaisms. Lucky me that the book I bought had notes about those words and the different fantastic names of people and countries there appear.

And Amy, that book together with 100 Años de Soledad (100 Years of Loneliness)? are the masterpieces in Spanish Literature, so both are really worthy to read, in their original language at least. :D
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Post by Clemens » Fri Nov 26, 2004 7:38 pm

Really? If you read formal written Swiss, can you tell if it is Swiss?
You can tell, because they don't use ß and write ss instead. But that's the only difference (maybe except for some special words but I can't think of an example right now...).

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Post by rimon-jad » Sat Nov 27, 2004 9:52 am

I can fluently speak my native language and Czech. I´ve been studying English for eight years or so, the only problem is that I sometimes have to open the dictionary. Communication in German makes me some problems - I don´t use it very much. This spring I tried to teach myself a bit of French, but I found out I prefer "odd" languages: Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew, Latin, Coptic, Akkadian. In the future I intend to start in on Sanskrit, Aramaic, Mycenean Greek, Hittite. I´ll see how it´s going to work out.

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Post by Bert » Sat Nov 27, 2004 3:18 pm

What is your native language, rimon-jad?

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Post by Moerus » Sat Nov 27, 2004 9:51 pm

If you really want to know, ....

Dutch, my native tongue and also the language of my mother
Frensh, the language of my father
English
German
Latin (also speaking the old languages)
Old-Greek
Italian

And next semester I will be introduced in a course of Indo-european languages. Next year there will also be a course of Sanscrit. And I also want to know Modern Greek, Hebrew and Russian some day. I still have a long way to go, but I'm trying to learn to speak one language each year. If I can achieve my goal, I think it will be enough languages ...

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Post by rimon-jad » Sun Nov 28, 2004 9:22 am

Bert wrote:What is your native language, rimon-jad?
Slovak.

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