Who else can understand foreign languages, but can't speak a word?

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by HollowHead, Feb 27, 2020.

  1. HollowHead

    HollowHead Firm member

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    I understand what Germans and Italians are saying to me, but I'll be damned...all I can do is nod. HH
     
  2. Grabbrass

    Grabbrass

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    Well I've been learning Japanese since 1985, lived there for two years in the early 90's. Got married to a Japanese girl in 2000 and we've been together over 20 yrs if you count the time before we got married. And over those 20 years we've developed a mix of English and Japanese we speak at home, but my verbal capabilities ... my ability to actually speak in whole sentences outside the comfort zone we've made ... is very limited. But we watch a lot of Japanese TV and movies. A couple hours every night. So yeah, my comprehension of spoken Japanese is off the chart compared to when I lived there. I don't even need subtitles, unless the show uses some specialized vocabulary for a particular profession or is a historical drama with archaic words. So whenever we go there to visit, I can hold a conversation with people I meet just fine, so long as they're content speaking to a 7 year old.

    What has to happen is immersion, where you're forced to speak and think in the other language. Then all that vocabulary you know turns into speech you can transmit, not just receive.
     
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  3. Intolerant

    Intolerant

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    I can relate to Grabbrass... i`m 100% Italian, i cant barely speak Italian intelligently, nore can i read it and understand that good, but i know what my family is saying to me when they come over from Italy to visit. They actually speak better english than i do Italian, and english is a very hard language to learn. But of course they are a whole lot smarter than me, so.... :(
     
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  4. Just_plinking

    Just_plinking

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    Mas cervezas por favor, andale, speedy gonzales, gracias muchacho.

    That's about the extent of my foreign language skills.
     
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  5. Intolerant

    Intolerant

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    rotflmao.... thats good....lol
     
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  6. oldmick

    oldmick

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    I can speak enough of the following languages:

    German
    Japanese
    Portuguese
    Spanish

    to order a beer, order another, ask where to find the restroom and greet people in the morning, afternoon and evening. That's about it.

    I tried to learn Spanish, Portuguese and Japanese, but just couldn't get it done.
     
  7. Rotn1

    Rotn1

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  8. bdcochran

    bdcochran

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    Yes. Girlfriend - French native. speaks fluent Spanish (worked for Mexican air line); speaks fluent English (lived in USA most of life). Me -English, had to speak in German dialect to grandma, some Japanese, can understand Spanish, two French classes today. With a sense of humor - speak only French to pan handlers outside supermarkets; speak Hindi to telemarketers (greeting them as asshats). Visited late wife's relatives in the hills of Sicily. After visiting for four hours and leaving, I asked what language I had been speaking and why. I had been speaking Spanish as that relative had lived in Venezuela for 8 years. Pressure causes performance.
     
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  9. k9medic

    k9medic

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    I survived 4 years of Spanish is school (2 HS and 2 college) as well as a girlfriend who was a true Puerto Rican (born in PR not NY.)

    I can read and write spanish and correct grammar but trying to speak spanish with a native speaker has me saying "pudea hable mas despacio por favor."
     
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  10. Glock 17L

    Glock 17L

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  11. Upgrayedd

    Upgrayedd

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    Well, they all have a lot in common because they are based off of common previous languages. Sentence structure is different, but the words are all rooted in Latin.
    Add in the information you get from tone and body language, and you can understand pretty well.

    I don't speak Japanese, but I've watched so much Zatoichi that I can tell what he's saying. So as long as I'm in the Edo period, I'm good. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2020
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  12. Gfive45

    Gfive45

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    ¿Puede hablar mas despacio por favor?
     
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  13. uhlawpup

    uhlawpup l'Italia s'è desta

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    You might add “¿Donde estan los servicios?” to that, especially after the third cerveza.
     
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  14. SC Tiger

    SC Tiger As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

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    I think it's more common to be able to speak them but not understand them in real time. Most people speak so fast that it's hard to know what they are saying if you don't REALLY know the language. But speaking it you can plan out a little bit.

    Obviously - if you've only learned it through reading or if it is a dead language/language that isn't spoken anymore this changes things. But German and Spanish hardly qualify.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2020
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  15. k9medic

    k9medic

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    Siri doesn’t speak Spanish... lol.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  16. azbuckeye

    azbuckeye

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    The company I work for is a large international organization that has a proprietary system used throughout the world. Although English is our standard form of business communication, messages sent within a country are entered in the local language. Over the last 20 years, I've achieved a basic level of understanding for most European languages without benefit of translating, but the Asian languages leave me scratching my head. Thank God for Google translator.
     
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  17. FullClip

    FullClip Native Mainiac CLM

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    I can get by in Spanish OK if I have an idea of what the subject matter is, but if somebody just walks up and starts out of the blue rattling on about something, it takes me a while sometimes to get the jist.

    I worked in Spain and Argentina on and off for 15 years but never got fluent. Never even tried with the correct tenses.
    One little thing I said sometimes to break the ice and usually got a laugh from a native speaker is. "Por favor. hablame como un idiota"
     
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  18. Berto

    Berto woo woo

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    Some Deutsch sprechen, night sehr gut.
     
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  19. Maccabeus

    Maccabeus

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    Yes, but not the way you mean. I'm into ancient/dead languages. Koine Greek, Latin, Biblical Hebrew. I can translate & read them to varying degrees, but can't speak them. (And they don't help much communicating in modern Hebrew or Greek. For the most part, there are way too many differences).

    The teaching method is the problem. Instead of immersion, most schools teach details of grammar and syntax. We learn to parse all the details of a Latin Perfect Passive Particle, but that's different from using one fluently. Most people couldn't define a participle if their life depended on it, but they use them correctly and naturally every day in their native tongue.

    I once knew some Japanese, but it's almost completely lost now. I can ID it when it's spoken, but not what is spoken other than very basic things. (I.e., That guy just introduced himself. She said something about a car. Etc.)
     
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  20. Hannie Caulder

    Hannie Caulder Diva extraordinaire

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    Exactly. I can speak Spanish (and some Portuguese thanks to Luisa), but have a hard time keeping up when listening.

    I have the highest respect for anyone who is fluent in more than one language.