Weekend Question Thread

Do you speak another language besides English? What is it?

(If LOLcat counted I could say yes to this one. I have a tin ear for languages. Mr. A, on the other hand, went to Brazil for like three days and came home speaking Portuguese.)


30 thoughts on “Weekend Question Thread

  1. German and Latin here. Amazingly useful! No, really!
    Working on Russian, too. Might actually make some progress someday.

  2. I’m Cuban, so Spanish was my first language. It comes in useul here in Arizona.

  3. Poquito Espanol.
    Mostly from hearing it every day living in Texas, particularly So. Texas where I grew up. I think hearing it spoken routinely taught me more than the couple of semesters I took in college.
    I can understand spoken and written Spanish fairly well, but can only speak it in a rudimentary “donde es la biblioteca?” kind of way.
    I could also probably hold a lengthy conversation in BlakNo1’s native tongue

  4. Nine years of and a college refresher course in Hebrew, a couple of years of French. The Hebrew really only helps with reading the prayer books, mostly. Maybe if I were immersed in Israel for a year or two, I’d have a lot of it flooding back to me…
    Yeah, wishful thinking.

  5. Something with a different character set – Russian or Mandarin Chinese. Or Mexican.
    A, you might be interestedin this, just as another item for the “don’t get it” file.

  6. French. Sort of. Kind of. And because it’s from 5 years of middle school/high school, and a year in college, I read it WAY better than I speak it. ( Also tried to learn Klingon from one of those cassette tapes, but it didn’t pan out.)
    I leave you with the brilliance of Aaron Sorkin and Sports Night:
    Casey:(to Alyson the PA) Alyson, did you know I speak four languages?
    Dan: You speak *three* languages.
    Casey: I speak four languages.
    Dan: You speak French, Spanish, and German.
    Casey: I dabble in a little English.

  7. After five years of German in middle and high school, you’d think I’d speak it better than I do. I remember all the verb conjugations, but beyond that…
    I tried learning Welsh from one of those cassette tape things, and all I remember is how the woman said, “Teach Yourself Welsh!”
    Accents, though, are my thing. Stick me next to somebody with an accent, and I’ll be bloodied for making fun of them in 15 minutes. And if I try to avoid it, I end up sounding like I’m from southern Alabama.

  8. Espanol, poquito y despacio.
    My son’s majoring in Russian in college, on top of three years of French in high school; the other boy took three years of German. This in West Texas, where even the English has a Spanish lilt…

  9. Enough Greek to order a meal in Greece, ask for directions (and follow them), say please and thank you, and otherwise get around the country. Wish I could do more, but when my father (first generation Greek) tried to teach me as a young child, I refused to cooperate. Many regrets here and now for my bullheadedness!

  10. Enough Spanish to get me into trouble. BuggyQ’s comment cracked me up. I have the same problem – I worked for 2 Bavarians for a while and found myself ending all my sentences in Ya?

  11. i claim dislexia. can’t remember shit. tho habla un piquino(a-according to Prican co-worker) espanol. and i do remember a few very important danish words. cream/1/2&1/2-flød and butter smøre. and how to pronounce the ø. and thank you-tak

  12. Ozarkese. My dad spoke it fluently, and I picked up most of it from him. But, as I get older, and farther from my home state, I seem to lose much of it.

  13. I hadna ortna said it like that. Now that I’m a fur piece from my home state…

  14. Habla espanol suficiente para un enfermera en la sala de emergencia.
    Okay, not totally enough for an ER nurse, but I learned a fair bit so I could proceed somewhat instead of being stared at by someone in pain while waiting for a spanish speaker.

  15. I can say “I can’t speak xxx” in six languages (besides English, of course).

  16. hoppy,
    it’s amazin’ how much ozark sounds like deep east Texas.
    Especially if the speakers are over 30.

  17. I can understand and speak enough French to get by if I had to, but it’s nothing like true fluency. I am very jealous of the multilingualists I know – especially those who have wildly divergent languages (like Russian, Italian and Mandarin, for example) – and especially of those lucky enough to have grown up in multi-lingual homes. My friend T. grew up with a Japanese mom and English-speaking Dad, and his whole perception of the world seems interlaced and faceted, with the languages reflecting off each other and heightening his understanding.
    French + English gives me a tiny sliver of that, but not to the depth of true polyglots.

  18. I should have added, being another Arizonan here currently, yeah, picking up some Spanish would certainly make a lot more sense.

  19. Survival French and a little Spanish. When I visited Morocco I was surprised at how much French I was able to remember when getting to Rabat from Casablanca would’ve been impossible without it.
    During my stay, I had an interesting conversation where I was translating a local’s French into English while a friend replied to said local in Spanish, which he more or less understood as well…
    Didn’t even try Arabic, although I learned a couple of words…

  20. Je parle francais comme tous les Canadien(ne)s anglophones, comme on dit “cereal box French.” Nous sommes quelquefois bilangues.
    Hablo un poquito de Espanol tambien, pero hay olvido mucho. (Se llaman mi ciudad “Londombia” por que es muchas gentes de Colombia aqui.)
    Gam ani medaberet ktsat Ivrit. Ani ohevet Ivrit me’od!
    I have forgotten most of my university Japanese, but I can still make small talk well enough to impress Japanese tourists. 🙂 Watashi no nihongo wa, totemo heta desu, yo!

  21. Redneck. I can understand almost all of the southerners. Speak it to if I want corn bread and flour gravy for breakfast.

  22. I used to have enough Spanish left from high school to talk to taxi drivers, but most of them are from Ethiopia around here so it’s getting rusty. (The Ethiopians have replaced the Sikhs who seem to have moved on to better things.)
    I have a bit of French. It started with menu French at French restaurants, but I learned a lot more on a trip to France, and I’ve added to that by reading French comic books. (I’ll recommend La Sultane Blanche.) The French consider food to be very important, so when I talked to waiters and sommeliers, they realized that I was trying, and they helped me. All the wine terms are just literal translations, even though vanilla in wine doesn’t really taste like vanilla in cookies. I even managed to follow a researcher as he explained how they make eaux d’vie and chatted and joked with an old armagnac maker at his place. (I bought a bottle of the good stuff, from 1946!) The folks at the used bookstores were great, and let me practice my French even though they spoke excellent English. I have no idea of where the stories about Gallic reserve and irritability come from, though I’m sure that it helped that I liked their food.

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