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Languages (Advice?)
SunFlash 2 months ago
Manchester United, USA 16 3015

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 2 months ago
Real Madrid, Somalia 38 796

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 2 months ago
Manchester United, USA 16 3015

@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 2 months ago
Real Madrid, Somalia 38 796

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

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expertfootball11 2 months ago Edited
Real Madrid, France 62 2615

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

Emrecan_58 2 months ago
Besiktas, Portugal 141 3206

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)

Hahah nice one. But I think Madridista is right and you're being too harsh on yourself. It takes time. Even when you know it like 9/10, you will still think or say things in your native language. I started learning French, and I have a book resource in pdf, if you want I can share
the best ones with you (French, Dutch, German, Russian) whatever you'd like. We two can also practice, like until we go there or after we go there. You will also introduce your girl to me anyway lol :D

@IHEARTfootball He actually knows Turkish pretty much. I don't know if he used a translator but he onced reviled against me with a nice Turkish lol. Marcus is like a mix up of different cultures :D.

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_Pelle_ 2 months ago Edited
83 5546

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

I agree on this. But it’s the same thing with all languages... they all become ”distorted” with time... kind of evolve if you want. But even if it is saddening it is also how it works.

If you look at the evolution of languages you will notice that they constantly change and will always change as society changes... who would know anything about all the technological words we use today if you go back 50 years?

The only ”right” language for each and every one of us is the contemporary language(s) that surrounds us.

The most important thing about a language is not the words used... it’s how easy and logic its structure/grammar is. If it is well structured then it doesn’t really matter how you say ”hello/hey/hi/wazzup/etc...”

Having said this my best advice is to practice practice practice... try not to cheat by using english and don’t be afraid of doing mistakes as we learn the most from them.

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  • History
Showing previous versions of this text.

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

I agree on this. But it’s the same thing with all languages... they all become ”distorted” with time... kind of evolve if you want. But even if it is saddening it is also how it works.

If you look at the evolution of languages you will notice that they constantly change and will always change as society changes... who would know anything about all the technological words we use today if you go back 50 years?

The only ”right” language for each and every one of us is the language(s) that surrounds us.

The most important thing about a language is not the words used... it’s how easy and logic its structure/grammar is. If it is well structured then it doesn’t really matter how you say ”hello/hey/hi/wazzup/etc...”

Having said this my best advice is to practice practice practice... try not to cheat by using english and don’t be afraid of doing mistakes as we learn the most from them.

Elizabeth 1 month ago
Bayern Munich, USA 0 1

But it’s the same thing with all languages... they all become ”distorted” with time

Also, linguistically not related languages (from different language families) tend to gradually mix with each other. Have a look at Russian dominating and slowly absorbing Finno-Ugric languages spoken by Komi and Udmurt tribes. That being said, basically all languages are influenced by English and Spanish.
When I was deciding what languages to learn, I thought that such international languages as Spanish and Portuguese are definitely worth learning. Besides, Chinese is likely to come in handy no matter what your field of expertise is. My guess is that these three are the best options for native English speakers.

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

Based on my personal experience, immersive learning is the best way to master the language, so don't be afraid of looking silly!
Another excellent way to work on your second language is writing. Whatever you choose to write, either a diary or texting a foreign friend, it is such a great opportunity to deepen your knowledge!
Whenever you hesitate, simply google that questionable part, use it in context, and you will most likely remember it.
P.S. Hope you enjoyed your trip to Belgium!

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Ledley 1 month ago
Celtic, Australia 29 1014

Welp, looks like Sunflash girlfriend decided to chime in. Run for Antwerpen fast my friend she has found footyroom :p.

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SunFlash 1 month ago
Manchester United, USA 16 3015

Welp, looks like Sunflash girlfriend decided to chime in. Run for Antwerpen fast my friend she has found footyroom :p.

Lol, definitely not her.

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