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Thread: Second Language vs Native Tongue

  1. #1
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    Second Language vs Native Tongue

    Trouble is of course, if English is your native tongue, and it is the automatic first choice for most others as a second language, what language do the English speakers learn as the natural second language???????

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    Rear Admiral Appassionata Muza's Avatar
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    Spanish!!! (Or at least in California)/ although I personally would go for Chinese
    Why waste money on psychotherapy when you can listen to the B Minor Mass? ~Michael Torke

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    Spanish possibly, Italian a nice language in any event, French is high on the list of contenders, Portugese perhaps? German maybe? Chinese - Extremely hard, How about Russian? or other east European languages. Or what about things like Urdu?

    For my sins so far, I've learned some French and some German. Not brilliant in either but a reasonable passing knowledge that enables me to travel and feed myself, and get a room, and a good deal than that. What I know I know well, but my ability is limited by lack of vocabulary.

    I'm seriously thinking about learning some Italian. That would be fun I think.

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    Rear Admiral Appassionata Muza's Avatar
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    I think so too, I would love to learn Italian. When I was talking about Spanish and Chinese, I was going for the necessity, rather than anything else. Although German, Russian, Urdu are all great and cool to know (for traveling purposes, personal satisfaction, whatever) - the most useful in California would most definitely be SpanisH... and well you know, Chinese might come in handy when they take over the universe
    Why waste money on psychotherapy when you can listen to the B Minor Mass? ~Michael Torke

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    Well you do have a fair sized hispanic population in the US and then again you do border onto Mexico. As to the chinese taking over the world. well they do have Most of the money now - well most of America's money anyway. Over a trillion Dollars of reserves now and US Gvt IOU's? Ouch that's a lot of bargaining power. No wonder schumer and Graham keep getting on their hobbey horses, and no wonder the chinese take no notice...

    I Love the Italian language. It sets beautifully to music, sounds magical when spoken.

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    Rear Admiral Appassionata Muza's Avatar
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    xactly!!! you got my point perfectly! but, yeah, I've always had a thing for languages. I speak Russian fluently, I used to speak a little German (I used to study it in school, but then I forgot it ). If I were to study a language now, I would probably go for French, and then Italian.

    Oie Oei
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    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEB View Post
    Trouble is of course, if English is your native tongue, and it is the automatic first choice for most others as a second language, what language do the English speakers learn as the natural second language???????
    I think the proper answer to that, at least in America, is "English" with special emphasis on grammar, punctuation and spelling. We in the US have gotten very sloppy with our own language that we shouldn't be trying to learn another one until we have learned our own. Case in point, I also moderate an online wiki where people ask/answer questions - you wouldn't believe the spelling and grammar errors ... I've never seen so many different spellings of the word 'pregnant' in my entire life. So, what's the good of learning another border language if we ourselves don't know our own well enough?

    On a side note, it fries my rear end to be subjected to multiple languages on food packages these days ... how the heck did everyone buy stuff 20 years ago? Yup, by reading English ... imagine that ... but now in present times we can't "offend" anyone anymore ... . My family had to learn English when coming into this country (they were born in Denmark) so can everyone else.
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    Rear Admiral Appassionata Muza's Avatar
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    I very much agree with you Krummhorn, you say wise things! This political correctness really makes me crazy sometimes. And yeah, the grammar - you said it!

    When I just came to America and went to high shool - I could not believe how I speak, write, spell so much better (not to be boastfull or full of myself) - kids would ask me how to spell simple words like circle... (It was just kinda funny to me how there is this great emphasis on the Spelling Bee, but people cant spell simple things...).
    Why waste money on psychotherapy when you can listen to the B Minor Mass? ~Michael Torke

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    Vice Admiral Virtuoso rojo's Avatar
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    Well, I'm quite used to having English and French on all packaging here in Canada. Of course, we're a bilingual country, so it's not the same thing. Here in Quebec language is a huge issue- look at Bill 101, the Office de la Langue Fran├žaise... lots of people complain about how the French language gets butchered by it's own speakers here.

    But these days, (speaking of political correctness,) the big issue is 'reasonable accommodation'...

    I'm with you, NEB and Muza; I'd love to learn more languages. But I think I'd rather learn more music first... maybe someday I'll get to learning another language.

    I've enjoyed watching some of the Scripps National Spelling Bee some years; pretty impressive spellers there.
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    Ah yes - I remember many years ago arriving in Montreal on a train from the northern US. I was in transit and touring around seeing the sights as I went. Quebeq at the time was particularly millitant, and against that backdrop I went shopping for a few souvenirs and presents to take home.

    I went into a large store and was at the counter and spoke to the lady in English. I knew she spke perfect english because I had just heard her speaking it so no problems there. She heard my English accent and immdiately turned and was extremely rude about me to her colleague (dumb English - even worse than the Americans - that type of thing) but in French of course presuming that I could not understand.

    I did of course understand not least because I had spent that last two years working in France and my French was pretty good and sounded fluent to many (sadly it's not so good now - use it or lose it...). I immediately responded to her in her own language and told her she should be more respectful to her customers.

    You can immagine what colour she turned and how the rest of the conversation panned out.

    I didn't buy the item. The store gave it to me for my trouble....

    That is my single most overriding memory of Canada. Oh that and a tour of the parliament building in Ottawa

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    Captain of Water Music C5Says's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krummhorn View Post
    I think the proper answer to that, at least in America, is "English" with special emphasis on grammar, punctuation and spelling. We in the US have gotten very sloppy with our own language that we shouldn't be trying to learn another one until we have learned our own. Case in point, I also moderate an online wiki where people ask/answer questions - you wouldn't believe the spelling and grammar errors ... I've never seen so many different spellings of the word 'pregnant' in my entire life. So, what's the good of learning another border language if we ourselves don't know our own well enough?
    Very, very true. I am perplexed myself.

    Philippines has been known to be hospitable. Too hospitable we try to adapt to anyone's language. Imagine, a Filipino going to USA or Italy or France will learn English (American), Italian, or French but an American, Italian or French coming to the Philippines use their own and still the Filipino gets to be the one learning how to adapt to understand what the other is saying.
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  12. #12
    Captain of Water Music C5Says's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEB View Post
    I went into a large store and was at the counter and spoke to the lady in English. I knew she spke perfect english because I had just heard her speaking it so no problems there. She heard my English accent and immdiately turned and was extremely rude about me to her colleague (dumb English - even worse than the Americans - that type of thing) but in French of course presuming that I could not understand.

    I did of course understand not least because I had spent that last two years working in France and my French was pretty good and sounded fluent to many (sadly it's not so good now - use it or lose it...). I immediately responded to her in her own language and told her she should be more respectful to her customers.
    It could have been a good video!
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    Quote Originally Posted by C5Says View Post
    Very, very true. I am perplexed myself.

    Philippines has been known to be hospitable. Too hospitable we try to adapt to anyone's language. Imagine, a Filipino going to USA or Italy or France will learn English (American), Italian, or French but an American, Italian or French coming to the Philippines use their own and still the Filipino gets to be the one learning how to adapt to understand what the other is saying.
    It's not so hard to understand when you consider that English tends to be the most common international language. For example, I have a good Swiss friend, and good Polish friends, several good French friends, Numerous good German friends, and they all learned English in school automatically as their second language. As a native English speaker I'm already at a disadvantage since there is no other language that is as widely used. In fact, in order to achieve the same flexibility from my second langauge that they do, I need to learn maybe 5 or 6 as my second tongue, where they only need learn one, and even then...

    Of course I have the advantage of it being my native langauge, but equally, If I do not learn several second langauages I'm tarred with the brush of can't be bothered, arrogant perhaps? Not as well educated possibly, or whatever other critique might be thrown.

    It's a no win situation.

    On the other hand, It is also true that very many can't be bothered, are semi illiterate, do have an arrogance about speaking English, don't make any kind of effort, just expect others and so forth. That's always a little sad to me I'm afraid.

  14. #14
    Captain of Water Music C5Says's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEB View Post
    ... don't make any kind of effort, just expect others and so forth. That's always a little sad to me I'm afraid.
    This is more likely the case...expecting others to understand them instead.

    Actually, English has been my mother language and my native language, my 2nd. I don't know all the rules (for both native and English languages) but because I was taught as I grew up, I learned by experience. For all the rest, I made the effort to learn from a lot of reading. I still don't know the rules up to now.
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    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Regulator Note:
    Just so you all don't think your eyes are playing tricks on you, this discussion did get moved by yours truly into the Open Debate Forum area and a title added. The topic is better suited to debate as opposed to where it was taking place before.

    Great thread, btw.
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