Fluency in languages ? How multilingual is the FT Community ?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by milchap, Apr 18, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. milchap
    Original Member

    milchap Gold Member

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    This community never ceases to amaze me for the various areas of expertise shared on FT.

    Hence my question: What languages does the FT community speak/understand/read/write ?

    Fluency is a tough concept to nail down.

    Here is a template to help us reach a common understanding of the concept:

    Novice (Beginning)
    A novice has extremely limited vocabulary and grammar, understands very little of the language when spoken normally, has difficulty making self understood by native speakers, and thus has serious problems in an immersion situation. A novice may be able to order food in a restaurant, buy a train ticket, and find lodging for the night, but only with great difficulty.

    Survivor (Intermediate)
    A survivor converses using basic vocabulary (time, date, weather, family, clothes); uses the present, past, and future tenses more or less correctly; and is aware of difficult grammar topics (e.g., subjunctive, relative pronouns), but either uses them incorrectly or awkwardly rearranges sentences in order to avoid them. Still needs to tote a dictionary and/or phrase book around, but can survive in an immersion situation: order food, give and receive directions, take a taxi, etc.

    Conversationalist (Advanced)
    A conversationalist has the ability to converse about fairly abstract ideas, state opinions, read newspapers, understand the language when spoken normally (on TV, radio, film, etc.) with slight-to-moderate difficulty. Still has some trouble with specialized vocabulary and complicated grammar, but can reorganize sentences in order to communicate and figure out the majority of new vocabulary within the context.

    Debater (Fluent)
    A fluent speaker can participate in extended conversations, understand the language when spoken normally (on TV, radio, film, etc.), figure out meaning of words within context, debate, and use/understand complicated grammatical structures with little or no difficulty. Has good accent and understands dialects with slight-to-moderate difficulty.

    Native speaker (Mother tongue)
    Someone who has spoken the language from at least the age of 5 (this age limit is subject to some debate: I've heard theories that a native speaker can have started learning the language as late as any time up to puberty). In theory, understands essentially everything in the language: all vocabulary, complicated grammatical structures, cultural references, and dialects. Has a native (i.e., invisible, "normal" in his/her region) accent.
     
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  2. TravelBear

    TravelBear Gold Member

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    Survivor in Spanish. I took 2 years in high school, 2 semesters in college and spent 6 weeks at a language school in Granada, Spain taking classes about 16 years ago. When I lived in FL I was the only therapist in outpatient that spoke spanish so I got all of the spanish speaking patients. I would offer to get an interpreter as is required but the patients thought my spanish was good enough. Since moving to NC I don't have have near the opportunity to speak spanish so I am quite rusty.

    Funny story. My partner and I went to Costa Rica and we stayed in a town just outside of San Jose. We caught a cab at the airport and the cabby spoke no English. I sat in the front and had a conversation with the cabby while my partner sat in the back. We got to our hotel and my partner says to me, "I have never heard you speak Spanish before....it was sexy!". We had already been together ~12 years by then and he had never heard me talk to another person in Spanish. So, if you wanna bring the sexy back with your other half, learn another language!!
     
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  3. milchap
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    milchap Gold Member

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    Fluent in French and English.
    Spanish, Italian and German to various degrees of comfort.....fluency is directly proportional to number of glasses of wine.
    Quite rusty in an African dialect spoken 32 years ago
     
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  4. Jimgotkp
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    Jimgotkp Gold Member

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    Survivor in Spanish and Korean.
     
  5. Gargoyle
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    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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    Advanced Italian and English
    Native Speaker 'merican
     
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  6. TravelBear

    TravelBear Gold Member

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    At one time I could argue somewhat in Italian only because it was close to Spanish. The details we will leave for another time. :rolleyes:
     
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  7. Gargoyle
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    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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  8. TheBOSman

    TheBOSman Silver Member

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    Native speaker, English without a Boston accent, somehow :D

    Survivor/Novice in Portuguese, Novice in Spanish, 4 words and a bunch of profanity in Parisian and Quebec French, and two words of Korean! Will be taking Spanish at a formal level for the next 2-3 years though, hopefully will improve that there, and am going to Brazil next month and South Korea in October so I'm guessing I may pick up more Portuguese and Korean before then (would like to be advanced in Portuguese/Spanish/Korean as a long term goal). Forgot to add, I would be considered Survivor (maybe even Survivor/Conversationalist) in Latin as well, and I can read Greek, technically, not overly well though, with very limited understanding of what I'm reading.
     
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  9. aptraveler

    aptraveler Gold Member

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    Kudos to you Milchap for creating this thread. You are so right about one being amazed at how diverse this community is. I am now conversationalist in German, even though I went to a German school when I was a kid. It's a hard language to keep up with in Houston. And fluent in French, Portuguese and Spanish.

    Sent from my iPhone using Milepoint
     
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  10. TravelBear

    TravelBear Gold Member

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    WOW!
     
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  11. viAAjero

    viAAjero Active Member

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    American English - Native
    Spanish - Native-level proficiency (my second language, but I speak multiple dialects and am mistaken for a native speaker constantly)
    Italian - Conversationalist
    Russian - Survivor
    German - Survivor
    French - Novice

    +advanced reading proficiency in two languages that are no longer spoken
     
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  12. MSYgirl

    MSYgirl Gold Member

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    Survivor in Spanish, embarrassment in French. :( It's a goal I need to work on.
     
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  13. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    I speak Jive.
     
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  14. Schali

    Schali Silver Member

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    Native German and kinda fluent in English.
    (Coffee and beer ordering skills in Italian and Spanish)
     
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  15. MSYgirl

    MSYgirl Gold Member

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    This reminds me of the jive scene on Airplane! the movie. :D
     
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  16. YULtide

    YULtide Gold Member

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    English native speaker;
    French conversationalist;
    Studied some German, Spanish, Russian, Latin, and two ancient Greek dialects in school, but not much chance to use any of these day to day (especially Classical Greek!)

    A few phrases and pleasantries in Korean, Cantonese and Kirundi (Burundian language).

    Have successfully navigated Italian restaurants (in Italy), and can order Dim Sum in Cantonese.

    Can manage Russian, Greek and Korean alphabets.
     
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  17. skyvan

    skyvan Gold Member

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    Native Speaker in English. Intermediate in spanish. Food ordering skills in French as well.

    But people still tell me I'm an ignorant American.
     
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  18. Waldisbe

    Waldisbe Active Member

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    Native in German, fluent in Englisch and French. Survivor in Spanish
     
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  19. wrxmom

    wrxmom Gold Member

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    You so beat me to it! :)
     
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  20. HiIslands
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    HiIslands Silver Member

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    English = Native
    Chinese=Fluent
     
  21. tomh009
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    tomh009 Gold Member

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    Native Finnish.
    Advanced English.
    Novice French, German, Spanish.
    Pre-novice Japanese. :(
     
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  22. TravelBear

    TravelBear Gold Member

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    Does
    Does "pre-novice" mean you reeeeally want to learn it but just haven't yet?
     
  23. Jenny & Curt
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    Jenny & Curt Gold Member

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    Both of us: Native English
    DH: School German
    DW: Decent French, Childish German (went to Kindergarten there, so have a good command of native grammar structure with abysmal vocab.)
     
  24. tomh009
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    tomh009 Gold Member

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    Want to learn, yes, but realistically not likely to learn. I know a little bit but words and phrases is as far as I get. I'm working on being able to read some key items on menus ...
     
  25. Tad's Broiled Steaks

    Tad's Broiled Steaks Silver Member

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    Conversationalist in Spanish, Japanese and Chinese

    Survivor in Indonesian (more useful in negotiating and eating scenarios)

    Rather fond of reading other languages such as Chinese, or at least trying to- that's where Korean and Russian come to mind. With my background in Chinese, reading Korean is much easier than speaking it. Put another way, you have the word "importante" in Spanish, and "important" in English. If you know one, you don't necessarily know the other, though you probably know quite a lot of another language if you just flipped through a newspaper, website or (if you're in the Pacific Islands) proselytizer's handbook. Then again, if your native language is Finnish, good luck finding common ground there, but you probably know some English (or Russian, or Swedish) anyway...
     

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