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Bronezhilet

Lets talk about languages

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So we have a bunch of people running around who speak very different languages, and yet nobody is talking about it. Hmm.

 

To me, it's very interesting to hear experiences of somebody who does not speak two or more languages. I've been bilingual since I was 4 years old and I started learning my third language when I was 9. So I, more or less, do not have memories of speaking only one language, especially since I had an acceptable level of English when the internet really became a thing for me. 

 

As of today I claim to be fluent in three languages: Low Saxon (my native language), Dutch and English. I have a basic understanding of German, enough to read a few of Spielberger's books about tanks in German. I can read and understand South African, but not speak it. Lastly, I can generally understand the gist of texts written in Danish, Swedish or Norwegian, but I haven't bothered really learning any of those.

 

The language I'm really trying to learn is... *drumroll*

 

Russian. I don't know why, but I just love the sound of it. I'm still nowhere near a basic level, I'm still trying to become fluent in reading Cyrillic. So I guess I do know what it's like to be able to speak only one language.

 

So for the Russians on here, after I can properly read Cyrillic, what should be my next step? Reading and trying to understand news articles maybe? Or should I go a different route and listen to Russian radio stations?

 

As for people who only speak English, have you ever felt you were missing out because you didn't speak a certain language? Ever thought about learning another language? If yes, why?

 

I've been looking at Japanese as well, but you know, weeaboos and shit. So in the end I didn't bother. 

 

 

To add something myself, here are a few of my things on a few languages I speak:

(Dutch) Low Saxon

Some call it a dialect, some call it a language. Opinions differ, but it's generally considered a (regional) language. It's not a single language per se, but more or less made of various dialects which are all quite similar, but different as well. Saying you speak Low Saxon is like saying you speak Germanic. Which you can't because Germanic consists of various different language groups. Because you know English doesn't mean you know German. It's different with Low Saxon. I speak a Low Saxon dialect, which means I can understand all the various dialects, as well as a lot from our granddaddy language group Low German. I might not understand all the individual words, but I do know exactly what he's saying. I once tried it with a German who spoke a German dialect as well. He spoke his dialect, I spoke mine. We were able to understand each other perfectly. Which is freaking amazing. Why? Because he spoke a Low German dialect, and Low Saxon is part of Low German:

500px-Low_Saxon_Dialects.svg.png

(So I guess you know what part of the Netherlands I live in.)

Say I met an old lady from Berlin and we'd start talking to each other in our dialects, we'd be able to understand each other perfectly. I don't think English has the same thing. Maybe compare it to an American trying to understand freaking Welsh.

As for the language itself, I'm amazed that it cannot be written. Sounds strange, but it just doesn't have any rules at all. Which, in linguistics, means you can't write it. And yet it has survived for quite some time. But sadly, its time has come and less and less people are fluent. It's dying, and quite rapidly at that.

 

Also, it does not have a female word-form. "Officially" there is no difference what-so-ever between "his bike" and "her bike". Or "he went to the shop" and "she went to the shop". I can already hear the feminazi's partying because "finally proper equality between men and women", but alas, we don't say "her bike" or "she went to the sop", we just say "his bike" and "he went to the shop". Rekt.

 

If you want to get a lot of words across really quickly, learn this. It's very suited for talking fast, and most speakers do.

 

Dutch

It's a mess. Don't learn it unless you have a reason to do so.

- Its grammar rules are disgustingly irritating. Writing it can be a disaster. And guess what, it doesn't matter for pronunciation! Don't you love grammar rules like that? "Oh, I wonder, does this word end in a 'd', a 't' or 'dt'?" Guess what sucker, it doesn't matter! Except if you're a language purist, then fuck you. Of course, if you screw it up you'll get punished and people will point and laugh.

- Sentence structure is different from Dutch Low Saxon, so automatically it's inferiour. It also different from English, which is also inferiour.

- Dutch is totally and absolutely unfit for shouting. Shouting Dutchies are the silly. The language and pronunciation of words just doesn't suit it.

 

English

If Dutch is a mess, English is a trainwreck. Seriously, I only speak it because it's the main language of the world. If French had the same status, I would be speaking French, but I don't. And I quite dislike French. Your grammar rules are disgusting, so is the pronunciation, whoever came up with all the fucking rules must love torturing people. Who the fuck came up with the fucking silent-E? Seriously, fuck him. It's like Dutch, but waaaay worse. If I could advise against learning English, I would.

Also, fuck English for invading other languages even though half of English is fucking French. It's slowly strangling other languages, which infuriates me. Seeing a language die first-hand isn't funny if you're any type of linguist.

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The trick to understanding English is to realise that:

1. There are no rules.

2. Pretending like hell that there are is nigh obligatory.

 

With the above sorted, you are well on your way to having pointless arguments over the correct use of the oxford comma, the semicolon, or whatever else makes your autism flare up.

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As a Dutch speaker, how easy was it to pick up German? Written Dutch looks like German with extra 'o's and 'a's to me, and I can understand some of it. I assume it would go the other way too, but I've never had the chance to ask someone who didn't also have German as a mother tongue. 

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As a Dutch speaker, how easy was it to pick up German? Written Dutch looks like German with extra 'o's and 'a's to me, and I can understand some of it. I assume it would go the other way too, but I've never had the chance to ask someone who didn't also have German as a mother tongue. 

From Afrikaans (which is Dutch-derived), German is reasonably easy to understand so long as the person speaking it goes slow and keeps it to a primary-school level.

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As a Dutch speaker, how easy was it to pick up German? Written Dutch looks like German with extra 'o's and 'a's to me, and I can understand some of it. I assume it would go the other way too, but I've never had the chance to ask someone who didn't also have German as a mother tongue. 

For me it was easy, but I cheated a little. My native dialect is more related to German than to Dutch. While it's more related to Low German than High German ('Official' German), the combination of speaking Dutch (a Low Franconian language) and Low German (an Ingvaeonic language (No, I dont know how to pronounce that either)) makes German rather easy for me. 

 

EXCEPT FOR THE ANNOYING DER-DIE-DEM-DAS AND WHATEVER OTHERS THERE ARE

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For me it was easy, but I cheated a little. My native dialect is more related to German than to Dutch. While it's more related to Low German than High German ('Official' German), the combination of speaking Dutch (a Low Franconian language) and Low German (an Ingvaeonic language (No, I dont know how to pronounce that either)) makes German rather easy for me. 

 

EXCEPT FOR THE ANNOYING DER-DIE-DEM-DAS AND WHATEVER OTHERS THERE ARE

Yeah, we just use 'die' for everything.

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From Afrikaans (which is Dutch-derived), German is reasonably easy to understand so long as the person speaking it goes slow and keeps it to a primary-school level.

How close is Afrikaans to Dutch? I can't tell the difference in written, but I don't know either language either.

 

 

For me it was easy, but I cheated a little. My native dialect is more related to German than to Dutch. While it's more related to Low German than High German ('Official' German), the combination of speaking Dutch (a Low Franconian language) and Low German (an Ingvaeonic language (No, I dont know how to pronounce that either)) makes German rather easy for me. 

 

EXCEPT FOR THE ANNOYING DER-DIE-DEM-DAS AND WHATEVER OTHERS THERE ARE

There's seven unique definite articles in total if you don't count dessen and deren. Such a huge pain for the small return of being able to put nouns in any order.

 

 

Also, there's a handy mnemonic I learned

RESE

NESE

MRMN

SRSR

Where the rows are nominative, accusative, dative, and genitive, and the columns are der, die, das, die.

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It's kind of scary how you can just totally forget languages, even primary languages, if you don't use them. I had a professor from Lithuania who hadn't spoken Lithuanian in so long that he couldn't even recognize Lithuanian. 

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It's kind of scary how you can just totally forget languages, even primary languages, if you don't use them. I had a professor from Lithuania who hadn't spoken Lithuanian in so long that he couldn't even recognize Lithuanian. 

...I recognise languages I don't even speak.

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It's kind of scary how you can just totally forget languages, even primary languages, if you don't use them. I had a professor from Lithuania who hadn't spoken Lithuanian in so long that he couldn't even recognize Lithuanian. 

True.

 

I think our brains run on much more of a 'use it or lose it' basis than anyone is comfortable thinking about.

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I speak English. I speak/read Russian/Ukrainian which is my first language, but since I do not need to use it everyday (and I am old) I forget things often. I have a slightly more than basic functional understanding of Irish and I know enough French, Spanish, and German to get by as a non-asshole tourist. 

 

 

My best advice for learning Russian is to be around Russians. If you can read Cyrillic, you should start listening to how people speak those letters naturally.  TV and radio are a good place. If you have a large enough Russian community, just go to a restaurant or cafe and listen to people talk.  You can to try to talk to people when you order, believe me, if you are doing it wrong, they will tell you.  

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When I was little, I picked up phrases here or there from neighbors speaking Russian, Polish, Hungarian, etc. I got all worked up later in life about forgetting languages and lost youth and all that, but I never really realized until recently that I was more just repeating things rather than learning languages. When I went to take Russian in college, one of my older friends who spoke it heard of my troubles and told me not to bother getting really worked up over the conjugation since most people will know what you're talking about, which made a lot of it easier.

 

Otherwise, I've gotten kind of interested in the Amish languages/dialects. Last year, I tried to ask the Amish people at the markets a few phrases, as it kind of sounds like a Dutch tape put on rewind.

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Pretty solidly monolingual here. How can I describe it?

I think the best way is to talk really slowly and loudly at those who speak a different language while sounding out the menu items you want to order phonetically. 

 

YO QUEE-YER-O UN SERVASA POUR FAVOR!!!

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I think the best way is to talk really slowly and loudly at those who speak a different language while sounding out the menu items you want to order phonetically. 

 

YO QUEE-YER-O UN SERVASA POUR FAVOR!!!

 

WHERE KING OF BURGER BYLAT

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EXCEPT FOR THE ANNOYING DER-DIE-DEM-DAS AND WHATEVER OTHERS THERE ARE

 

The great virtue of English: fuck gendered nouns and cases. Half the grammar is optional to being understood, it's fantastic for being understandable on a minimal grammar knowledge. Then we overcompensate by having seven words for everything just in case you want three alternate meanings to line up for puns or subtle gradations of meaning.

 

It's a great language for learning to speak badly and we frankly deserve no better.

 

 

Pretty solidly monolingual here. How can I describe it?

 

I'm pretty monolingual, I'm reasonable with languages until I get to cases and genders and my brain just says no. I forgot Spanish three times and had to learn conjugation three times but the nouns only once. I get enough German exposure that it wants to stick somewhat but half the reason I listen to so much music in that language is because I don't understand it so I can use it as familiar noise when reading. Otherwise it's lose it rather than use it for me.

 

I think part of it is just that the simple aspects of English make it harder for me to deal with structures I never really picked up. Gendered nouns suck to learn because I treat words as atomic things rather than really associating an article with them.

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Have you ever wished you had access to a pool of information, but didn't because you had no way to understand it?

There have been times that I had access to a pool with the Troika of Russian sisters where the blonde and two brunettes were under 22 and weighed under 350 pounds (combined) and who were fed up with the loveless relationships they were in and looking to party.

 

(I guess they could have been Ukrainian). 

 

If I knew a little Russkie, my odds with them would have been higher. On the other hand, my odds were pretty good as it was but I refrained since I am fairly certain that the married-soon-to-be-divorced one was married into the Russian Mafia.

 

Thank you monolingualism! 

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