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Are you Multi-lingual??

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    Are you Multi-lingual??

    In many countries it is fairly common to speak two languages fluently, in some cases more, in other countries mono-lingualism is the norm.
    Here on CVF I believe we have several members that are effectively bi-lingual, maybe even truly multi-lingual, but how many can speak 9 languages??:

    Just listen to this guy talking and he sounds like he is actually fluent in that many and able to switch between them with ease. (I have problem switching between two)

    Multi-lingual,no.But sometimes in my deep Pays d'Auge when I chat with my neighbour the farmer,I can understand few words of what he says.Not all that he says,of course,but few words.


    • wherrygirl
      wherrygirl commented
      Editing a comment
      My dear Yves, will you forgive me if I just put one little thing right in your post? It is only because, as we are talking about languages, one thing in
      I can understand few words of what he says
      means the opposite of what I'm sure you intended, and also it shows up one of the many quirks of English where you can too easily get it wrong by something so simple that you would never dream that it mattered.
      I don't think that I can clearly explain why, but if one says "I can understand few words....." that is equivalent to saying "I can understand very, very little...." or "I can't really understand anything much....". Yet the insertion of "a" before "few" means something much better. "I can understand a few words of what he says. Not all that he says, of course, but a few words." So that tells me that you get the gist of what your neighbour says.
      Your English is so good (I'm not flattering you), that it is worth my being pernickety about it .
      As I said somewhere recently, my French is of the schoolgirl variety, and is good enough only for reading where I can understand a few words, whereas to speak it would result in my having few words at my command(!). I'm constantly delighted at the command of excellent, colloquial English on the forum, spoken so naturally, and so often forget that we are French, Norwegian, German, Dutch, Swedish, (I haven't listed American or Aussie as you both had an advantage from the start!). I wish that I were as fluent in other tongues as you all are. I was once quite at home in Spanish, and now that I'm trying to get Dutch under my belt with the great help of Thijs (whom I have bullied into writing all his emails in Dutch and he is equally stern with correcting my replies) the Spanish word comes to mind in a flash despite the years of not using that language and I have to close my mind to it and concentrate for the Dutch version. But it is such fun.

    • yvneac
      yvneac commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you for this grammatical information,my dear Ivy.Very helpful to progress and express properly my thoughts.The nuances of a language are its greatness but what a work to do!
      As for my "so good English", you are very kind about it...but it remains a doubt, I'd say.At least!

    I'm fluent on Swedish, Finnish and I guess English. Get along fine with Norwegian, can read Danish. Have a clue about what people in Germany are discussing and can make good guess about the talk in Estonia and Netherlands.So I guess I'm quite multilingual.


      In my young days we were learning English in 6th & 7th grad only. It was thaught by a Norwegian teacher and with Norwegian as the media of instructions.
      Two years of that gave me a very basic grounding in the language, enough to learn by practicing when I went to sea and had to use it to get around in English speaking countries.
      Even in non-English speaking countries it was usually possible to find someone with a smattering of English, incl. in China, Japan, Russia etc. Less so in French speaking countries in Africa.

      At the time a lot of the crew on Norwegian ships were Spanish, mostly from the NW part, were they speak Galician. I learnt to speak some sort of Spanish from them, but with a distinct Galician accent. The last year in Maritime Collage we had to take Spanish as a third language "to be able to communicate with the crew". I got a lot of corrections for my pronunciation, which was still Galician.
      I tried to argue that since most of the crew were Galicians it made more sense to learn their dialect, rather than Castillian. But no, that was not accepted, so I had to learn the "correct" Spanish.
      I never sailed with a Spanish crew after that, so I never got to practice my newly acquired "High Spanish". It got largely lost over time. (Working with Mexicans lately, I notice that I can still understand a bit though)

      After moving to S.E.Asia I was sailing with Singapore Chinese, Malay and Indonesian crews. Being Chief Officer, I had to learn how to communicate in "Bazaar Malay", which was the lingua franca at the time. Working extensively in Indonesia later, that changed to Bahasa Indonesia, which I got quite good at.

      When sailing with Kanaka crews I also learnt to make myself understood using "Melanesian Pidgin". Sample of that language has been featured here on CVF earlier. (Ivy is near fluent)

      In the last 20 years or so many things have changed. More people in the region speaks English and I hardly ever deal directly with non-English speaking people, so my need to use any other languages has diminished. Therefore I seldom speak any other language, unless in dire need, so my ability also diminish.
      (Lots of individual words, but impossible to hold a conversation)

      What is the moral of the story? If you don't use a languish you loose it. That even applies to their mother thong for some people. (I'm not there yet)