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What other languages do we speak


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Finnish (native), English, Thai (both in use every day) and I have also studied the following which due to non use are now mainly passive vocabulary: Swedish, German, French, Chinese and I have also studied the following, but my knowled in them is very limited: Korean, Japanese, Cantonese, Spanish

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  • 1 year later...


Ziad Fazah is the world's greatest living linguist to date. He speaks 58 languages fluently.

I have no proven current figures for Donald Kenrick, but in 1980 he was close to 50, and I get the impression he hasn't been lazy since then.

I got the figures from a friend of mine, Erik Gunnemark, like me living in Göteborg, Sweden, who is good or rather good at a mere 24, and fair at some additional 16.

I've too many languages and too few years to go to threaten them (or the late Prof. Pent Nurmekund, who translated from 80).

Anyway, I'm a native speaker of Swedish, and translate professionally from English, German, Dutch, French, Norwegian and Danish. I read Spanish (and it works spoken), read Italian (but speak it very haltingly). Reading comprehension excellent to acceptable in Afrikaans, Fries, Portuguese and Catalan (in that order). Two university semesters of Arabic didn't make me speak it, and I'm not good at reading it. Good on grammar, though. The same amount of time for Hindi was slightly more successful. One semester of Bible Hebrew is helpful in judging the accuracy of people's claims of what the Bible really says (and don't get me wrong: I'm an atheist, but try uni Religious studies).

And I'm in 3rd semester Chinese. Beginning to acquire reading comprehension, but we concentrate on reading and grammar here, so I hope I'll be going to China in the not too distant future to get the speaking and listening parts as well.

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I'm a Singaporean, of course i speak Singlish haha :mrgreen: Okie let's see.

Mandarin: mother tongue

English: compulsory language, a must-know.

Hokkien: fluent but lack vocab, learnt from my Ah Ma.

Cantonese: Can listen and speak abit, Mummy's dialect group.

Japanese: Learning now.

Would like to learn Teochiew, Malay, Korean...

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I see an this is an old thread, resurrected, but I´ve never responded so here goes:

English: native

Mandarin: fluent

Spanish: fluent

I´ve been living in Argentina almost a year now and my progress in Spanish has discouraged me. Why, because I made almost as much progress in one year as I did with 5 years of living in China and learning Mandarin. I can testify that Mandarin is much more difficult than the romance languages for native speakers of English. You can pick up a romance language, but it´s difficult to pick up Mandarin, especially if you live in one of the many Chinese cities where even the natives speak it as a second language (speaking a dialect as a first language).

God bless us, all , everyone, and may we all become formidable polyglotz!

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English - native (although my friends' influence has recently resulted in some unconscious Singlish-style laaaahhh's :D )

Mandarin Chinese - 7~8 years but getting rusty

French - 7 years, also getting rusty: can read OK, but I suspect my speaking ability has gone down the drain.

Korean - intermediate-beginner? Apparently I can write like a primary school kid :mrgreen: but my speaking/listening abilities are pretty sketchy.

Cantonese - currently learning. Can understand some (simple) conversation and pick up stuff from knowledge of Mandarin, am familiar with common 'Cantonese characters', but my speaking is probably worse than a 3 year old kid's :wall I can sing some songs in karaoke though :mrgreen:

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German - native

English - fluently with flaws

Chinese - well, still studying...3+years and i suck

Japanese - just started 4 months ago

Latin - sure, its a dead language but it helps with lots of european language vocabular.

7 years of latin in school.

donec eris felix multos numerabis amicos :wink:

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Russian - native.

English - fluent. Self-study, Uni, used for work, then migrated to Australia. Well, it's still a foreign language for me.

German - (used to be) fluent, now just advanced level, losing it after many years but still OK to read novels, understand TV news and movies, can communicate, lots of brushing up to do, if necessary. Majored in German a while ago, had good practice in Germany.

French - good level of school program, know all the vocab and grammar required at the end of high school (French being a foreign language). Self-study, 2 semesters at Uni.

Polish - used to be fluent as well, achieved by self-study, tarvelling to Poland and talking to Polish friends, this language is very close to Russian.

Japanese - lower intermediate or intermediate. Studied for a few of years on and off, can commnucate, read emails.

Mandarin - beginner still, 700-1,000 characters., good with grammar, currently learning.

Ukrainian - never bothered to learn, it's too close to Russian but I lived in Ukraine (you can get by just using Russian), read in it, listened to it. If I have to speak I would mix heavily with Russian but Ukrainians normally would understand me.

Updated in June 2006:

Recently added 2 more language to the list of what I am learning or attempted to learn:


I am only a few weeks into learning it but it's very interesting. Able to make simple sentences, coping with reading, grammar and pronunciation.


I familiarised with the language, wrote a conversion tool. Can read Hangul, very similar to Japanese. Put this on a back burner for a while.

End update

Languages I had a go with but didn't spend enough time, although I had a chance to use it with native speakers: Czech, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Italian, Spanish, Cantonese.

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Chaozhouese -- father's native tongue. I know all the swear words. Understand about 30% when two people chat in Chaozhouese. I wished my father has taught me when I traveled in Thailand.

Cantonese -- Have spoken since birth. But still mispronounced certain words like "silver" and "cow'.

Shanghaiese -- father-in-law talked to me when he was alive (I replied in Cantonese). Understand about 20%. IMO its swear words too mild.

Mandarin -- six months of bopomofo in Grade 9 but all given back to teacher. Improved and refined during college years to solace the lonely hearts of Taiwanese co-eds. Now able to communicate effectively with any Mandarin speakers.

English -- learnt it and used it for over 45 years. Everyday in heavy use with engineers, lawyers, old American ladies (who called to chat for 45 minutes which totally unrelated to work)....etc. But somehow still find it hard to grasp.

Japanese -- 7 semesters. Got a scholarship at Keio University but didn't go (still regret). Simple conversation managable. Lots of chance to practice in Hawaii (last week chatted with a Japanese couple in Chinese restaurant and was shared with two orders of XiaoLongBao).

Korean -- 6 semesters. Able to use it to ask Korean girl to dance in Seoul.

German -- 2 semesters and 1 year at Geothe Institute. Able to tell other tour group members in Austria that the coach driver had gone the wrong way.

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  • 4 weeks later...

English: Melbourne, Australian native speaker

Mandarin: Basic conversation (hopefully improving); reading and writing OK.

Biblical Greek: Ancient language - they don't speak it at my local fish'n'chip shop. Used purely for reading. Especially enjoy the Gospel of John.

Babytalk: I've been practicing for about 14 months now on a young man that now lives at our house.

Wannalearn: Hebrew, latin and Danish (my Mum is Danish).

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