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Languages (Advice?)
SunFlash 15 days ago
Manchester United, USA 16 3003

I know that many of you speak at least two languages, I seem to recall us having a polygot or two here as well.

I'm a born American and raised for ten years stateside and now slightly more than that in Canada. Both of these are basically exclusively English societies, although because my mother grew in as an Anglophone in Quebec, she speaks fluent French, some of which I have picked up here and there, but I would never consider myself competent in the language, and I've certainly never studied it.

However, as I've mentioned in Emre's thread, I am leaving the English-speaking comfort zone that is North America for Belgium in September, and will be there for 5 months at least and potentially a lot longer, depending on certain circumstances. Belgium speaks both French and Flemish Dutch, and the language I've been working to learn for the past 4 1/2 months is Dutch. It's...not going well. I do a little bit every day (thanks Duolingo) and when I have time use more structured course material. While I've certainly come a long way since I have started, my goal was to create a base of understanding that I could tap into when I arrived, so that I could hit the ground walking, so to speak. It's just not happening for me though, I can't turn off the English crap in my head whenever I study, and I need to hear/read it really slowly to translate/understand it. I tried to turn my FIFA into Dutch for example, and was just instantly lost, the only words I understood were the ones with a high degree of similarity to English (of which there are a bunch tbf). TV Shows are just as bad. It doesn't help that not only is English my native language, I have a degree of competence in the language that is significantly higher than most native English speakers, and it seems unlikely that even immersion for the rest of my life in another language would net me the same fluency (which is really disheartening).

So my questions to you all are: how many languages do you speak? When did you learn them? How did you learn them? How did you adjust to a new culture/language? Is it easy to pick up when immersed? Is it really this hard or am I just a lemon? Can you "turn off" your native language in your head? Are European societies more forgiving of poor language skills, given that there are so many? (e.g. you would get made fun of for bad English in the US).

I kind of feel like I missed out not learning a second one when I was very young, as by all accounts it is easier to do so as a child. Still, it is important to me to do well on this, so if you guys have any advice I would really appreciate it.

Sorry for the read. Thanks in advance!

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Comments
Madridista11 8 days ago
Real Madrid, Somalia 38 792

I think you're being harsh on yourself bro. It's not easy learning a new language whilst staying in your country/English speaking country. Once you go to Belgium it'll hit you hard at first but you'll be fine eventually.

I speak three languages, two of which I consider my native (Somali heritage and raised in the Middle East) so I guess I wouldn't consider those something I struggled with.

But for English, I'd say I was decent withing my first year. Yeah some grammatical errors here and there but those still show up.

I think the best advice I can give you is to not be afraid of looking stupid. Just throw yourself out there and don't let a few giggles or "stank faces" throw you off lol. Also, watch lots of tv.

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SunFlash 8 days ago
Manchester United, USA 16 3003

@Madridista

Good to see you again! We never did meet up irl :o

Appreciate the words. I'm very harsh on myself as a learner because it's something that I've both failed greatly at and had significant success with, and I learn way better the more pressure I put on, can't really explain it. I hope it will be better in Belgium, but I get a nasty feeling people are just going to want to speak English to me, even looking for accommodations all the advisers and such as trying to push me into international student dorms and such where it's more "safe" for an English-speaker, which is frustrating as I really want to try and immerse.

I am very afraid of looking stupid, so I suppose I'll have to lose that quickly! Or just accept it I guess.

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Madridista11 8 days ago
Real Madrid, Somalia 38 792

I'll be back in town in a couple months. Lmk if you're down

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expertfootball11 7 days ago Edited
Real Madrid, France 62 2610

French isn't as romantic as it used to be before... Now everyone speaks a distorted ugly language with so many English words in between them, and slur words

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French isn't as romantic as it used to be before... Now everyone speaks a distortes ugly language with sp many English words in between them, and slur words