What Languages Are You Studying?

Please feel free to update us on your current language learning endeavors, if they exist.

As for me:

English: Native speaker, no need to study anything. In fact, it’s unusual that I run across a word that I don’t know. The most recent one was analphabetism. I bet you don’t know what that means.

Spanish: I have been studying Spanish on and off since I was 6 years old. Studying Spanish is more or less of an ongoing thing with me. We have a lot of bilingual signs and prinouts in our area. I often read them with the English translations to bone up on my Spanish.

I could do better. There is a bilingual newspaper that is issued around here for free, but I never bother to pick it up.

Part of the problem is that when you are as good at Spanish as I am, learning more Spanish (such as reading Spanish papers) is really a serious drag. Spanish as written down especially in papers does not translate literally. Not only are there a ton of not commonly used words, but there are also a lot of figures of speech. In addition, there are lots of phrases, that, when looking at the Spanish and then at the English, one wonders how they managed to go from one to the other. The Spanish-English translation is not transparent at all.

As you learn Portuguese, French and Italian, it only helps you with your Spanish, though the assistance is not obvious. After a while, all Romance just starts running together. You might as well just study Latin and get it over with.

I speak Spanish to Spanish speakers around here on a regular basis. It’s a lot of fun, and they really appreciate if you can speak three words of their language, unlike the French.

The Spanish-speakers who are actually born in Mexico appreciate it a lot more than the ones who are born in the US. I am not sure why that is, but in so many ways, Hispanics who were born in Latin America are much better people than Hispanics who were born on the US. It’s popular to dog on Latin America, but Latin American Hispanic culture is much superior to US Hispanic culture.

There are deep elements of respect, pride, kindness, brotherhood, politeness and dignity present in Latin American Hispanic culture that are almost neutered in US Hispanic culture. US Hispanics are pretty much just typical asshole Americans, except that they happen to be Hispanics. And in many ways, such as the lumpenization of their culture, US Hispanics are actually worse than the rest of Americans.

I’m not sure what it is with US Hispanics, but something has gone terribly wrong. They’ve lost most of what’s grand about Latin American culture, and they’ve replaced it with what’s worst about US culture, in addition to concocting up various cultural poisons of their own. It’s cultural mongrelization of the worst sort, all of the bad, none of the good and a bunch of new innovations, almost all bad.

Portuguese: Past. I studied it a bit in the past when I was hanging around with this Brazilian woman. Now I’ve given it up. I am already studying Spanish and French, and after a while, you are just studying too many Romance languages. The words are so similar that you start getting them all tangled up in your head. You go to say a Spanish word and you say the Portuguese, Italian or French word instead. If you have some Spanish (especially), French and Italian, you get lots of help with Portuguese.

Italian: I study this language a little bit, but not too much. I am not very good at it, but it’s interesting. If you know some French, Spanish and Portuguese, you can go a long way with Italian.

French: My latest fetish is French. I am not very good at it, so I am at the point where learning the language is fun because you’re always learning new stuff. I have blown off verbs and just concentrate on vocabulary. Verbal conjugations in Romance languages suck anyway. Even in Spanish, they can be quite complex.

German: Past. Mostly I just picked up some basic vocabulary. Attempts to run beyond that, I am afraid, run into Hell. I understand that they still have case, and that the nouns are pretty crazy. There are supposedly other difficult aspects of this language, but I am not sure what they are. Learning basic vocabulary is pretty fun though.

That’s about it. For the most part, as a language learner, I concentrate on the Romance languages. They are difficult enough, believe me! Going beyond Romance seems like a gigantic PITA to me. You’re pretty much traveling to whole new planets. Why bother when Romance is hard enough as it is?

Please follow and like us:

18 thoughts on “What Languages Are You Studying?”

  1. I’m still trying at Spanish. I haven’t gone balls to the wall with it though. I admit, I’m lazy. Everyone speaks English and there is just no real push to learn Spanish even though I want to. I think I need to be dropped off in a Latin country for a while so I can sink or swim and then finally learn it. Took a couple years in high school so I can barely squeak by but I am awful. Can read it 10x as well as I can understand it spoken.

    Portuguese…I want to badly learn this language but like above, I haven’t dug into it but have learned at least how to pronounce words properly even if I don’t know their meaning. My only reason for wanting to learn this is because I love Brazil, would love to explore the country more one day and would love to eventually marry a Brazilian woman.

    Recently I’ve been taking an interest in Germany, and the language and culture. I think I’d like to learn it. At least a bit to have basic conversations. I’ve been dissecting it a little and I don’t think it’s as hard as people think if you already know English. I was surprised how many cognates there are. Despite the stereotypical harshness we like to attribute to German since the Nazi era, it can also sound very pleasant when spoken from a polite female. I just love the sounds of words like “schniztel” and “Hofbräuhaus”. Plus I have a number of German buddies to visit at some point.

    French is one of those “would be nice to know” languages, but I don’t plan on studying it anytime soon.

    Beyond that, I don’t think I’d bother with any other languages. I hope one day English is spoken by everyone, in addition to their native language, sort of the way it is in most of N. Europe. Once again, I admit I’m lazy and selfish. I want to be able to fly to the most remote part of the world and still be understood.

  2. English: As far as I’m concerned, its my first language. It’s the language I think in.

    Hindi/Urdu: Technically my first language(s) and while I’m reasonably profficient at verbal communication I can only read/write them at the level of a third grader.

    Gujarati: It’s gotten a lot worse due to lack of use. I can’t read/write it at all

    I’m interested in Farsi as it shares a whole lot of vocab with Hindi/Urdu and its grammar lacks annoying gender inflections. German seems pretty interesting too. I’m pretty lazy. I think I’ll start with Farsi.

  3. You know what I’ve learned? There’s no getting around verb conjugation. None. Force yourself to learn it. It helps with comprehension.

    People seem very interested in how to say things in a different language, but what’s more important is whether you understand what you are hearing.

  4. Robert, you seem like the type who might take an interest in artificial language. My own project, Ceqli, has a blog here
    and a set of lessons here
    and, of course, I have an Esperanto cartoon blog here

    Anyhow, I know Esperanto fairly well, enough French to make Pharmacists laugh in France, and smatterings of Spanish, German, Russian, and Urdu.

  5. At the moment I am studying Arabic, adding another language to my several other ones. I love learning languages and have had advantages in life by knowing them.

  6. English is my mother tongue. I have studied Spanish at a community college although I’m not very good at using it. My writing can usually be understood though it contains many mistakes, I speak Spanish at a very low level and struggle to understand spoken Spanish.
    On my own I have learned some Afrikaans, Swedish, a very light smattering of Finnish, and I have just begun learning Italian.
    I speak and write Afrikaans slightly better than I speak and write Spanish, though I still make too many mistakes and, since I live in Washington state, I have more opportunities to write Afrikaans than to speak it.
    Swedish I can write basic messages and the grammar sometimes seems close to English but my pronunciation is quite poor so I can’t claim to speak Swedish yet, but I enjoy Swedish so much that I intend to eventually learn it to a high level.
    Finnish pronunciation and spelling are simple but the grammar isn’t. Over the past two years I have studied Finnish occasionally, partly and can’t write or say anything other than the most basic sentences.
    In Italian I am still a complete beginner and can’t yet say or write even basic thoughts, but I love it and will continue to improve.
    BTW This blog is very thought-provoking, I really enjoy reading it; I especially like the linguistics and psychology posts.

  7. There’s a big esthetic component to language learning, and it’s probably largely subjective. What I find esthetically attractive is: the musical sound system of Japanese, the scrumptiousness of many Russian words along with its medieval-feeling root combinations, just about everything about Urdu, the playfulness of Esperanto, the delightful, almost baby-talk grammar of Mandarin, the rhythm of Italian, and the Old-English-like basicness of much of German.

  8. Mick33.. så du har lärt dig svenska. Coolt. Am Swedish w.Finnish parents,so I speak both fluently. I am therefore impressed when you say Finnish is easy. It is one of the hardest languages in the world to learn to speak and if you are not immersed in it for a long time,it is indeed very hard. My American husband has been w.me 10 years and knows only some of the commands I say to the dogs. Lol.
    Keep at it!

  9. I have been learning Turkish for several years and basically, it’s the fact that it’s WAY out of the usual orbit, linguistically speaking. The language is built like a tank, it’s got a Subject-Object-Verb structure, with several nested participle levels. Remember Reverse Polish Notation when you used to have a Hewlett-Packard calculator? Well, it’s similar to that. The culture is fascinating – and learning it is worth it just so that you can understand the incredible folk songs and poetry. I happen to believe that the harder the language, the greater the benefit, cognitively speaking, since it will force you to develop new neural patterns.

  10. Latin – This was the first language I ever studied. I started teaching myself in 8th grade, when I ran across an old textbook. I just loved it.
    German – Same as the above. I found an old textbook in 8th grade, and started teaching myself. It was pre-war, using the fractur orthography. I didn’t see modern German until I started high school.

    I studied Latin and German all through high school and college, and still read them frequently.

    In college I added
    Greek – Wonderful language, but very complicated verb system. Reading Homer in Greek is an experience I’ll always be grateful for.
    French – I’ve found French to be the easiest language to learn. My latin background may have helped with this.

    Since college I’ve added Russian and Icelandic. My knowledge of these is limited to reading.

  11. English really is all I ever study.

    I’m also a part-time KGB op and so my Russian is good. 🙂 I try to keep my German well seeing as how I lived there and managed to get integrated (I doubt I’ll ever go back to live there). It’s a great language and an impressive culture much like Japan in East Asia where social rules and loyalty are concerned but the price for all that is steep.

    I had about 3 years of French and sometimes I amuse myself by reading and listening to French radio. My knowledge of that is basic. If I only had someone to practice with I’m sure I could do much much better.

    Spanish is a wonderful language but I can’t move beyond greetings. It’s neat and pleasant to the ear.

    I have the same basic knowledge of Italian and I often confuse the two.

    I took Japanese when I was in the country and it was really hard for me to grasp. Now that I married a Chinese woman I get to speak Mandarin all day and I really appreciate the little Japanese I was able to pick up before especially Kanji/Hanzi. I have even bought a Rosetta Stone Chinese levels 1-5 though I am not really impressed with that.

    Hebrew and Arabic are my new personal ambition but I doubt I could ever start those in all seriousness.


  12. I’m a native speaker of Icelandic and I’m trying to learn Russian on my own, because I would love to learn Northeast Caucasian languages (Avar-Andic-Tsezic languages) and unfortunately I’ve never seen anything about these languages ​​that were not published in Russian

  13. I’m going to take a guess at analphabetism meaning something along he lines of illiteracy. If I’m right I’d like to thank my ninth grade English teacher for making us learn a bunch of Greek and Latin roots.

    Languages I’m learning/know.
    English: my first language and I have some kind of fetish for grammar and obscure words; when I was administered an IQ test and there was portion with word meaning I blew the examiner away by only missing one.

    French: I’ve studied on and off since age 4. Both my grandfathers are heritage speakers who elected not to teach there children. My great-grandmother died when I was eight and she only spoke French, so I had to learn some to know what she said to me. Subsequently I studied French in elementary school, dropped the language, and picked it up again in the eleventh grade. I currently study French as part of my major.

    German: German is the language I began studying when I dropped French, and continued even after resuming French. I also study German as part of my major.

    Russian: Russian has interested me as a byproduct of a love of Russian history and culture. I’ve been trying to teach myself since grade nine, and recently picked up an old copy of Teach Yourself Russian. I’m not very far into, due to a lack of free time, but I’m hoping to get further. I anticipate I will end up reading Russian far better than I’ll ever speak or comprehend through listening. I do know Russian speaking people, however none live near me and two prefer not to speak Russian.

    Persian: Persian is a language I would like to learn, though I’ve put in very little study as I haven’t found many resources that lend to teaching oneself. I know two Persian speakers, but neither is forthcoming in assistance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)