Godango

How many languages do we cover?

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

Howdy friends.

I had a sudden burst of curiosity regarding how many languages may be represented on this forum.

I'm extremely envious of polyglots and have for a long time been in languages, but remain only fluent in my native English. I can follow along but not really contribute to conversations in Greek, studied Japanese in Primary (Elementary) and High School but have a pretty limited vocabulary, and have the most limited understanding of German that probably isn't worth even mentioning. The Greek and German are both due to grandparents, and since losing them I've lost most of my language comprehension over time.

Keen to hear how many we have covered, from the most common to the most rare, bring it on.

...oh, iyay alsoyay eakspay igpay atinlay. 

Edited by Godango
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hebrew, English, Japanese, a bit of French, a bit of Arabic, Und eine kliene Deutch gemachen zussamen, as we all know.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Greek and French (bilingual), English and a little better than basic Spanish and Italian.  I wish I could speak Japanese but ....

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fluent in American English, some Spanish (Tex-Mex version), a splash of Mongolian (in order to speak to Hakuho when I met him at the Aki basho in 2014 -- I still remember most of the phrases I learned, one of which was, "You are very handsome.").  Plus a little Russian which I studied at UCLA way back in 1971 (has pretty much faded away), and dim memories of French and German, both of which I studied in High School in 1966 and at UCLA in 1967.  I feel especially bad about German since I spent 4 years studying it. 

Just last week when my husband and I were discussing whether or not to fly to Dallas to see Gagamaru in person at the end of this month, I began to learn some Georgian from Youtube videos so I could at least say something to him in his native language.  The European Sumo Champion, who is also Georgian, is also scheduled to be there, so I figured I could at least get beyond basic greetings and learn how to say, "You are very handsome" to him (but not to Gagamaru - lol).  Ultimately, we decided to forego the trip to Dallas for various reasons so I didn't pursue my study of Georgian.

I am really embarrassed about my inability to learn Japanese, especially considering how many times I've been to Japan.  I can say a few basic phrases and I can make Japanese people laugh when they ask me questions in English and I answer in Japanese, especially when I explain to them in Japanese that I don't understand Japanese, or that I understand a little.  Part of my anxiety goes back to 2016 when I signed up for a Conversational Japanese class at a nearby university.  How was I to know that everyone in the class had either lived in Japan or had studied the language for at least 4 years?  They were all fluent so when I attempted to speak, there was a lot of eye-rolling and heavy sighs.  None of these students were Japanese.  It was traumatic and I finally dropped out.  Ever since, I feel very anxious when faced with Japanese which causes my mind to go blank.  Very strange that it's just that one language that has been such a challenge.  I had less of a problem with Mongolian which is considered a very difficult language to learn, although learning quite a number of phrases certainly doesn't equate to mastering the language.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, sumojoann said:

They were all fluent so when I attempted to speak, there was a lot of eye-rolling and heavy sighs.  None of these students were Japanese.  It was traumatic and I finally dropped out.  Ever since, I feel very anxious when faced with Japanese which causes my mind to go blank. 

This is very sad, people can be thoughtless sometimes. I would encourage you to gambarise!

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Raised in California, so some Spanish (more Mexican than Castilian:-)), French in school and from family; as a lark in High School. a friend and I tried to learn Afrikaans from Radio South Africa ("ek bestel see krief!")

When I retire from my job I will finally learn more than a little Japanese so I can sing J-Pop songs while playing acoustic guitar (finger-picking style) which I will also learn.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can recognise just about every language represented in geoguessr within a phrase or two. Learned how to read Cyrillic (Russian) characters, also for the purpose of playing geoguessr. I have some level of confidence in my spoken Japanese - was just two marks short of officially being N2 qualified (business-level fluent) in 2020... my kanji skills are atrocious unless I practice often, so they've waned again since then. Studied introductory Italian, Spanish and French, and I tend to understand snippets of conversations in these languages but can't really formulate anything anymore or even remember basic vocab. 

If Japan ever opens back up to a degree I'm happy with, I'll be considering that language qualification again and potentially moving there.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not to forget the most useful language for maintaining several sumo games:

SQL B-)

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

German - Japanese and English fluent and enough French to get around. I learned some basics of a few other languages, but mostly forgot that by now. I still haven't decided which language I'll try to learn properly next, there are plenty I'd like to learn, but no time for that.

And since we are into other types of languages as well, PROLOG was the best for me to prepare for learning Japanese.

Edit: Latin was 2nd foreign language at school, but I don't count that as it is a so called dead one

Edited by Akinomaki

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jakusotsu: Hey Gaijingai,what do you call someone who speaks three languages?

Gaijingai: Trilingual!

Jakusotsu: And speaks two  languages?

Gaijingai: Bilingual!

Jakusotsu: And one language?

Gaijingai: I don’t know. What?

Jakusotsu: An American!

 

 

 

  • Like 2
  • Haha 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Native language is Portuguese. Started learning English when I was around 12 or so; my dad forced me to take lessons, but I did get a lot of practice playing videogames all day and watching pro wrestling. It did turn out to be a good idea, thanks dad. (Laughing...)

Started learning Japanese by myself in college, again due to pro wrestling but also because it was such a different language from the ones I knew and, well, I had nothing better to do. That also turned out to be a good idea since I wound up moving to Japan and getting a job here.

I also speak some half-assed Spanish due to being a native Portuguese speaker (and we did have Spanish classes in high school).

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

How insistent are you on the distinction between a language and a dialect as the former having a navy?

English is my primary language, but reasonably fluent in Chinese (all aspects) and Cantonese (spoken only). Passing familiarity with Malay vocabulary - and by extension some Bahasa Indonesia as well - from classes in secondary school that I've since returned to the teacher. Can speak and read Japanese well enough to get by but would die of shame and embarrassment if asked to actually hold up my end of a Japanese conversation, since my kanji reading is largely a cheat code from knowing Chinese. Also enough of a passing familiarity with Romance etymology via English and Latin to comprehend bits of Romance language vocabulary, although language grammar is my weak suit, and I'd probably get screwed over by false friends.

Familiarity with Asian languages (other than the obvious Japanese) seems to be a bit rarer here. 

CS-wise, Python and SQL as well.

Edited by Seiyashi
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My native language is Italian, but I am good enough also in Venetian due to, well, cultural contamination. Being born in Venice and such. For anyone interested, just like most Italian dialects Venetian is much more than Italian spoken with a funny accent. Grammatically is closer to French (être-en-train and things like that) but phonetically is much like Spanish. Venetians most often speak directly Venetian while on vacation in Spain and locals pretty much understand them. Tried this myself with a Spanish colleague and he said he understood everything I said. Italian (which is mostly a rending of Florentine and Roman dialects) is a step away from this.

Passing to "serious" languages, I am quite fluent both in English and French (although I am told I keep a heavy Italian accent while speaking French). I also know some German and Greek albeit in a really, really basic fashion. Learnt them to read the language, not to speak it. Archaeological stuff. I also have some knowledge of ancient Greek, Latin, and Egyptian pretty much for the same reasons. Lucky me, no one is going to ask me for a chat in these languages ever.

Last line, I have somewhat of an A2 in Japanese from my college years, but it is mostly gone by now. I however still enjoy trying to understand whatever I can while following bashos. Not very much, to be honest.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beautiful thread :-) I'm Czech and that's also my mother tongue. This allows me to understand Slovak very well (these two languages are very close to each other) and, to some degree, Polish (in a conversation, both sides have to put some effort into making themselves understood, though). The clarity of other Slavic languages is decreasing with distance. As I spent my youth in Communist Czechoslovakia I was made to learn Russian at school, too. I still remember some pearls, such as "The Pioneers were going to the Artek camp," or "Comrade Lenin used to like birds." :-D

I'm fluent in both English and German, I know reasonably well Latin, some rudimentar ancient Greek and was briefly interested in Italian and Esperanto in the past.

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Hankegami said:

I also have some knowledge of ancient Greek, Latin, and Egyptian pretty much for the same reasons. Lucky me, no one is going to ask me for a chat in these languages ever.

A friend from Grad School told me he once interviewed for a job with the Central Intelligence Agency.  When they asked him what foreign languages he knew, he said "Latin."  The response: "What are you going to be, 'Our Man in the Vatican'?"

I imagine knowing all those Latin cases might help with Italian, which kept a good number of them (according to my son, who thought "learning Italian will be just like learning Spanish":-().

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Yamanashi said:

I imagine knowing all those Latin cases might help with Italian, which kept a good number of them (according to my son, who thought "learning Italian will be just like learning Spanish":-().

Yes and no. Latin is far more complex, having declinations like German and Greek. Let's say that Italian is to Latin what Dutch is to German. Dutch also abandoned declinations (formally in 1945, in spoken language much before). I have some splash of Dutch and the two languages have clear differences. So, knowing Latin is useful yet somewhat limiting for learning Italian.

Also, there are vocabulary differences between Latin, Italian, and also Spanish. Keep in mind that for Romance languages Latin is the '1.0' vanilla version over which multiple Germanic, Greek, and Arab influences added substantial patches. Despite phonetic similarities, Linguists found out that Italian and Spanish share 'only' 81% of their respective vocabularies. Just saying, this datum rises up to 89% between Italian and French. So yes, whoever would confide in their Spanish to learn Italian could get a cold shower. As I said, knowing French would make a better deal (accent differences notwithstanding).

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well if we can participate....the languages understood by the main people in this company include:

Native level:

English / Japanese / German / French / Romansh / Hebrew

Various levels of fluency:

Irish / Italian / Spanish / Portuguese / Québécois / Kiswahili 

Then - if you include occasional contributors - there are all kinds levels of languages understood such as Yoruba, American Sign Language, Hawaiian, Russian, etc

>99% of the work we do is in either Japanese or English though so apart from in background music few of those languages get heard on the regular.

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am loving these replies and am in awe of all of you. 

Can't resist a CS poke, for me it's C++, Python, SQL, M/DAX, Django and a dated fluency with javascript, css and the like. I'm a back end dev recently transitioning to Full Stack so it's a bit of a dumpster fire tbh.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

English natively, Tamil semi-natively, have spent years of my life learning French, Spanish, and Hindi and can perhaps conjure up a few dozen words from the three combined.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to be able to put together basic sentences (advanced tourist level) in Thai, Tagolog, and had some very rote Korean phrases. Can't freestyle simple sentences in those anymore, but can do it in Spanish, Mandarin, can get by as a tourist in German and Japanese, and am a native English.despite some of the sentences I've mangled on here.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, Joann thought I should weigh in. I'm a bit of a polyglot but only fluent in English. I can carry on rudimentary conversations in French, with folks who are a little patient and actually want to talk. I can. fix , or cause, small problems in Dutch, Spanish, Japanese and Italian. I can order food and make a general nuisance of myself in handful of others, but hadn't ought to claim any of them.

I have tons of stories. There is a chapter on languages in a book I published last year with some of my favorite language tales, as well as a chapter on my experiences as a sumo fan. I don't think I should post the info here (it may be somewhere on the forum in an appropriate place), but anyone who is interested can message me.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 12/08/2022 at 07:16, Gaijingai said:

 

Jakusotsu: An American!

On my last trip to Japan, in January 2020, a couple of months before the gates were closed, I came down to breakfast at the Dormy Inn in Kanda. I sat down near a European couple who appeared to be finishing up a pretty good cut at the buffet. When they said hello, I detected a Dutch accent so I played a little Dutch game, and returned my comments in their native tongue. That always surprises the Dutch or the Chinese, I've found. Shortly thereafter a French woman came down and joined the table, and the Dutch and French woman continued a conversation in French. At one point, the Dutch gal hadn't heard something that the French woman had said and I quickly translated it into Dutch (it was something rather simple), rejoining their conversation briefly. The Dutch husband, who had heard me greet the maitre'd in Japanese and exchange a few words, then turned to me, and in English, said, "Aren't you American?" One of the best backhanded compliments I've ever received. 

I responded, "Ja, maar niets een normale Amerikaan."  "Yes, but not a normal American."

Edited by Kaminariyuki
  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Kaminariyuki said:

I have tons of stories. There is a chapter on languages in a book I published last year with some of my favorite language tales, as well as a chapter on my experiences as a sumo fan. I don't think I should post the info here (it may be somewhere on the forum in an appropriate place), but anyone who is interested can message me.

If the mods don't object, I'd like to mention Kaminariyuki's book, "Seduced by the Horizon", about his travel experiences.  It's a fascinating and hilarious read, especially the language stories and the chapter on sumo.  All of the reviews on Amazon are 5 stars.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've just bought it. It might sit on a pile for a while because I've got a bit of a backlog, but on the other hand...

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now