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Fluent in 11 languages!

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Fluent in 11 languages!

Postby Kay » Tue 21 Feb 2012 08:35 GMT

Look at this guy! Impressive or what?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17107435

I struggle with foreign languages. How about you? Do you have a talent for it?
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Postby Dave » Wed 22 Feb 2012 02:04 GMT

I'm hugely envious! I thought I was doing pretty well with one language at degree level, one at A-level and three at O-level, but he makes me sound monolingual. He really does appear to be fluent in his various languages, too.
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Postby Graeme » Wed 22 Feb 2012 02:12 GMT

Wow, I could only dream. I have to get fluent in English first. :lol:
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Postby ruggie » Wed 22 Feb 2012 12:02 GMT

Amazingly good accent and general flow in the languages I have any chance of judging. They say that when we learn language as young children, we develop sound filters that make it difficult to learn unrelated languages later in life. Does he have a mode for each language that he switches off and on?

His comments on Dutch vs Afrikaans suggest that he also operates at a higher, cultural level when switching languages - I guess that's also marginally true for me, even with my limited knowledge of French. Even when you can think in two different languages, it is often difficult to translate from one to the other.
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Postby Dave » Wed 22 Feb 2012 15:40 GMT

ruggie wrote:Even when you can think in two different languages, it is often difficult to translate from one to the other.

True. Each language has its own grammatical/syntactic structure and associated way of thinking - switching from one to the other can be a bit of a wrench. Especially when the word order differs radically.

For instance, most languages (including English and the vast majority of other Indo-European languages) have a basic SVO (subject-verb-object) order, but Irish has VSO, and Bengali has SOV. Many learners of German struggle with the word order in subordinate clauses (SOV or OSV).
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Postby ruggie » Thu 23 Feb 2012 21:28 GMT

The word order problem can certainly be a strain. But I'd like to show that video to a few Afrikaner friends. They tend to belittle their language because of its limited vocabulary (much as we might belittle Dorset dialect, or Americans the language of the Ozarks) because it is the language of farmers. He praised Afrikaans for being lyrical, versus the cold formality of High Dutch. I'm not qualified to judge, but I have to admit that I don't know the names of any Dutch poets or playwrights.
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