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How do you feel about knowing English as a second?

I mean all people they are no native English speakers and know English pretty well. Just as good as they could using it all the time and learning other languages by using English even if it isn't their native.

If I am talking about you.. tell if you feel 'more' or 'less' because of knowing it?

Knowing English is one '+ more' to your languages but in the same time you are not native so you don't know such many words and you sometimes trouble using English. Native English has easier.

How do you feel about that?

September 12, 2017



English is my second language (my first is Swedish) but I've read over 2000 novels in English by now and don't really consider it a second language so taking a course from English here does not feel as an added complication.

What I have recently noticed after starting my first course from German (which I did both to learn French and to continue learning German) is that when I do that course, I have a tendency to respond in English instead of German as I'm supposed to, out of habit (even when I know what the German would be).


I've noticed when i'm doing Spanish-German or German-Spanish course, i'm responding in English as well:)) Although my native is Russian.


native french, mostly learning from english and when i switched to spanish in order to learn catalan and try guarani it was rough! english really is the language i feel most comfortable learning from.


Don't swedish kids have to learn english in school?


Oh yes they do, from grade 3 or 4. I didn't mean that I learned English purely from novels, just that after reading that many novels in a language it doesn't really feel like a foreign language anymore.


It was in the 2nd grade in the end of the 90's when I grew up.


Perhaps I'm not the best person to give an opinion here since I've been learning English since I was six (a little more than twenty years, so yep you can kinda guess my age) and I think I have a fairly decent grasp of it. Thus, I have far less trouble than what I thought I would have at first using English as the start language here in Duolingo.

Funnily enough, though, I have a bit more trouble in the course I do with Spanish as the start language since it is not the Spanish I am accustomed to (I'm from Spain and the Spanish used in duolingo is a sort of Standard Latin American Spanish, which has a lot of different expressions from the Spanish I know), but then I guess that my case is probably an exception.

(Plus you have so many more courses from English that the effort of thinking in not one, but two languages different than yours is worth it. At least in my opinion.)


I never thought about it, up until now. I think it's cool I can express myself and understand others in language that is widely spread as first and second language in the world and that I got access to so much material about different topics that I couldn't be able to find in my mother tongue (especially language learning material), but there is always this emotional barrier for me. To be more precise I don't feel strong emotional connection to something I'm reading or listening in English. Though, ironically I can explain my emotions better in English. I guess I'm just more rational and restrained when I think and express myself in English.


i feel generally very happy and proud of my english. unless i'm feeling tired and end up struggling, with some french spelling contaminating my writing, using english is a pleasure and a gift.


I learned English a very long time ago and i use it a lot so its quite easy for me by now but when i need to talk in English i have a bad accent because i don't need to talk in English a lot i just use it on the internet and for tv.


I'd say it's a matter of how well you speak English.

Personally, I have spoken it to a degree where I naturally switch between them in case of need, as it is with all languages you learn well.

As an example: When taking a language class, you will learn words to form sentences. At this point you can go to a location where you need to speak said language to communicate, and you will be able to make yourself understood. Sure, there will be a lot of pauses as you need to remember some words, and occasionally one of your native words might slipp inn whenever you can't faintly recall the word you are looking for, but it works. However, stay there a year, you will find yourself speaking this language so much that you eventually stop thinking about what every word mean. At this point, seeing the object will bring the foreign word to your mind instead of the word for said object in your natural tongue. Here, your pronunciation might not be perfect, (depending on skill and age) but your understanding will (given a bit more time) be almost at pair with those native to said language. Sure, some words might still be foreign to you, but I too run into words in my native language that I don't know the meaning off. It's just a matter of what topics you've been exposed to, (those native to a language have had the length of their life to learn, but that's all the difference there is).

The same practice you can also attain just by forcing yourself in situations where you have to learn. (IE: Regularly watching a movie in a foreign language, and either turning off the subtitles or turning them on in said language. Or maybe like me: Participating in way too many discussions on the net in said language.)

Apart from the time where I had just started taking my first lesions in English, the only time I have had issues with it being my 2nd language was actually when I got to the duolingo forums, and realised I should do the "Test your language skills in Norwegian"-thing, just to get a badge for it. See, I came here to re-learn french as it was my 3rd language in school. (Unlike English, I have not worked to keep it alive after graduation.) And at the start it went fine. But after doing the Norwegian test, I had issues for the next 3 days where I would type inn the translation for a french sentence, only to be told it was incorrect because I translated it to Norwegian. See, when you use a language without thinking about it, it's not easy to get into a habit of having to actively remind yourself which of the 2 you are to use, when all you hear/read is your 3rd. So yeah, unless I have also been taking a class in another language, having to type in English is no stress. However, for a person with less skills in English, doulingo is not a place to go, unless you intend to strengheten your own English by taking the course for your native language.

Bonus: The reason I learned English so well yet forgot all French, despite speaking neither was because I forced myself to (as far as possible) only using english when I googled. Doing so I discovered that I found way more articles, and thus the habit stayed. Might be hard to replicate in another language, but at least it's a personal tip as to how you can force improvement and learn advanced words. One might also try to just read a newspaper local to said country. ;)


That's encouraging even for a native English speaker (U.S.), but fellow language-learner! For a few other ideas that other language students might find helpful:

1) I recently set my computer and phone UI's (user-interfaces) to the language that I'm currently studying (Modern Hebrew). I even sometimes use Google Android's GPS navigation in Hebrew, although the directions are somewhat limited outside of Israel.

2) I also began writing most of my daily tasks primarily in Hebrew, which might be slow at first but quickly becomes easier.

3) I also listen and read to whatever I can in Hebrew (articles, books, news, YouTube, etc.). If there are any books that you're familiar with in your native tongue, then you can read (or listen to) them in the language you're studying. For instance, I typically read the biblical Scriptures(/Writings) in their original languages (i.e., Hebrew and Koine Greek, except for the Aramaic portions), but I found a rather good Hebrew translation and audio recordings of the New Testament (הברית הדשה) published by the Bible Society in Israel.

Anyway, I don't want to hijack this thread, so I'll just say thanks for the encouragement to all of the non-native English speakers in this thread. English may be my native language, but I'm still learning too! Just try listening to or reading an author from a different area of study, a different dialect, or a previous time-period in history (e.g., William Shakespeare and John Milton).


For some reason english was the easiest language for me I feel great about knowing it, bc there are sooo many articles and videos in english on the internet and I have access to so much information C: and a lot of games ofc


I was 8 years old when I began to learn English. I know many people around the world, and I have lived in the US and being married to an American woman. I'm also high educated which means that using Academic English is mandatory most of the times. This is why it feels like English being a second native language. I even struggle to remember words in my native language.


Oh, that's a good point. Well, like any not-native guy, in my first days learning this language, I almost freaked out. It's hella hard, and if I stop for some days without study (like 6-8 days) I feel my english totally rusty. And I feel like an idiot when I see my friends (or other people, here, in the internet) speaking normally. I don't know the reason why, but if I sudden stop my english will became worse.


I wish my Spanish or German were as good as my English.


I think it's great to have a global lingua franca, but I don't think English will have the success that Latin had centuries ago because the world really moves very fast nowadays. IMO the next lingua franca will be Asiatic, even though my dream would be that the next language of choice would be an artificial one like Esperanto or Lidepla. I wouldn't mind also to learn some kind of simplified version of a natural language as an IAL, for example pidgin Japanese or pidgin Chinese.


I do really hope this too, I wish the world agrees to create and use a language that is made up of the most influential languages in the world (Chinese, English, Hindu, Korean, Spanish, French, Turkish, etc, etc, etc) as much languages as possible and the language has to be as easy as possible.

What I don't like about Esperanto is that it's very Latin-centered so I think it's not going to work, I've never heard of Lidepla I'm going to do some search.

I think what we want can become a reality because Asia is becoming so prominent, China is going to be the most influential country in some decades so I guess they won't want to keep using English as the international language (soft power) and they will want to either spread Chinese everywhere or replace English with something neutral, more Chinese-friendly.


Lidepla is very interesting, I've been studying a bit of it and I came across some Chinese words. From wikipedia:

Lingwa de planeta (also Lidepla, LdP) is a constructed international auxiliary language,[1] whose development began in 2006 in Saint-Petersburg, Russia, by a group of enthusiasts, with Dmitri Ivanov being the project leader. The basic version of the language was published in June 1, 2010.[1] Lidepla is based on the most widely spoken languages of the world, including Arabic, Chinese, English, Spanish, German, Hindi, Persian, Portuguese, Russian and French.


Interesting, though I don't like that it just uses Latin letters, though that can be easily solved. I'd like to see a universal language with letters from different cultures.


Yes, only Latin letters. What you would like, wouldn't it be similar to the Russian alphabet? Or maybe to have a total neutral alphabet, this should be a totally new one, some kind of Hangul?


May as well go with IPA.


hanspersson That's remind me that I should keep studying the Memrise IPA course, and get passed the "boring" part, which are the English sounds! lol


Yes, I think it would be better to have an alphabet with letters from diverse cultures.

Asian alphabets have many complicated symbols to write, but I guess some of them are easy to write so they should be included as long as they don't make the writing more difficult for everyone, so for sure Asian alphabets should be part of the alphabet of a universal language.

Maybe 3 Latin letters, 3 Chinese letters, 3 Arabic letters, 3 Samoan letters, 3 Korean letters, etc, etc.


I think this would be a mess, the pieces don't fit. On the other hand, you are over-representing the Korean culture with only 77 millions of inhabitants (the planet Earth has 100 times more population) and Samoa only has 200,000 inhabitants. Furthermore, there are about 6,000 languages in the world, if for every language you took a word to construct a "universal" language, every inhabitant of the Earth would get 1 known world and 5999 unknown words. Ergo, minorities cannot be represented in an universal language. And if you represent only a bunch of minorities, you are discriminating the rest...


It is always a problem. It's impossible to use every language to create a new one. So option is to base of few or to make it from scratch. Of course there are less writing systems. Using only these writing systems (probably not all of them). Like 36 letters when using only one of each:


If it is a way to connect them..

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