Is anyone else boggled because you're surrounded by language enthusiasts?
All my life I've been fascinated by foreign languages. I remember back in childhood (way back!)...
- I'd try to listen, any time I'd hear someone speaking another language.
- I always wanted to be an interpreter. I joined the military as a linguist.
- In high school I took both German and Spanish simultaneously - it was all they offered. I envied the kids in neighboring districts who could take Latin or Russian.
- I thought that Middlebury was just a few steps away from Heaven.
I was over 30 before the internet became available. Until I joined the military, I never met ANYONE who was excited about foreign languages. Just me. And now, this forum, it just makes my head spin!
- I am interacting with people who are not simply learning another language, they're learning eight of them!
- One person knows a few phrases in Greenlandic. A bunch of people are eager to learn Irish. People talk out-of-hand about languages I've never heard of, like Occitan and Saamic.
- People dispute which is the most beautiful script, and post cartoons about Asian scripts.
- Languages I've always considered very exotic, like Thai or Finnish, around here are considered mundane.
- Someone posts a link to Lexicity, a resource for ancient languages, and several people binge on the site.
I always considered myself a language geek. Around here I'm just a piker! I cannot tell you what a thrill it is to be surrounded by so many people who share my passion, and who are so much farther along on the trail than I am. I am boggled.
with the pirates
join the ship
as we search
in Greenland and even out to the Faroes
tus poemas son hermosos
y muchas sonrisas
no soy poeta
I think this is the best one I've seen so far :) (well, it includes pirates and puffins how could it not be great?)
I feel this way! I want to be a valuable resource to people, but I'm barely 6 months into learning Spanish, and I have no knowledge of any other languages except English.
Maybe after 5 years of being on this site I can start to join the ranks of the truly-gifted bilinguals, working in their own way to become trilingual. The fun never ends!
Oh, but you are! Fluent in brightening people's days. :)
It's funny how our perspective changes though; I remember when I first started Immersion I looked in awe at the rank 3 and 4s, one day I even saw a rank 14... I was shocked! Who was I, a mere rank 1, to question their expertly typos?
Now I'm rank 13. Still making typos, but living and learning.
Also, this group on facebook is chock-full of active language members https://www.facebook.com/groups/omniglot/ The group diverges into many many other little smaller groups, about certain types of languages or conlangs or linguistics or whatever, and it is awesome. More language communities!
That's one reason I hang around. I am surrounded by multi-linguals, but none are as excited about it as the folks around here. If I ever need to talk about even the most minute excitement or curiosity there is bound to be someone else here to engage me - and that's pretty cool. :)
Boggled? Sometimes, yes. Most of the time I am just grateful, though. I have always struggled to find people with similar interests; passion for languages, unfortunately, seems to be a rare phenomenon. Being a part of the DL community means that I get to to discuss and debate with people who share my passion. That is priceless, so I do not mind being boggled every now and then.
I identify completely. I remember taking French in school, and being surround by people with the attitude "Why do I have to learn this? I don't want to go to France." When my husband and I went to Germany I was killing myself to try and learn the language, and my mother-in-law threw her hands in the air and said with exasperation, "All you need to say is, 'Sprechen sie Englisch?'" It seems that actually wanting to learn languages is a rare trait indeed. Even my husband, who is completely supportive of my learning and would never ridicule me about it, still has no interest of his own in becoming fluent.
My husband was the same way when I wanted to improve my Spanish a couple of years ago for a trip that I was going on. We were going to be in Mexico for a whole day, and my husband was like "they all speak English in the tourist areas anyway." Well, going there was just an excuse.
I still have a long way to go... but things that even baffled me six months ago feel more natural before. The German that I learned in school is less rusty.
I do have another language forum that I go to, but this one is great because it has a school attached to it.
"In high school I took both German and Spanish simultaneously - it was all they offered. I envied the kids in neighboring districts who could take Latin or Russian."
Are you me?
Maybe I am! In my school, band was a big deal - we'd won state championships, etc. But taking two languages simultaneously created a schedule conflict - they wouldn't expect any student to take BOTH languages. In the same year, no less! So I had to quit band and join the color guard instead. Oh, the price to follow your passion!
I did 5 years of German and 3 of Spanish (my school went 7-12). I'd have done 6 of German, but they scheduled AP math at the same time as the advanced German class, so I wound up taking a study hall and sitting in on a lower level class as a sort of teacher's aid my junior year.
Linguist = person who studies "Language". For instance, I study sociolinguistics,
the study of the interrelationship of language and social structure; linguistic variation; attitudes towards language. ---Clayton Valli, Ceil Lucas, and Kristin J. Mulrooney. Linguistics of American Sign Language: An Introduction. 4th Ed. p.2
Aka how language affects society, culture, and interpersonal interaction.
(Though, I study it very casually, a book here and there, so I won't call myself a linguist at this time.)
I think what we have here are mostly (not exclusively) language learners and polyglots. :)
Point taken. I edited the title to "language enthusiasts." But I must add that I've encountered plenty of linguistics enthusiasts here as well, and since that is another passion of mine, I find it thrilling.
I admit I do get frustrated with that term. A linguist is someone like John McWhorter or Deborah Tannen. But in the military I was a "Korean Linguist," someone whose job entailed a knowledge of Korean (my knowledge of Korean was pathetic, but that's a different story). And among the general public if I say, "I like to listen to Anne Curzan, a linguist," they think she talks about foreign languages.
Changing the title is totally up to you, it's not mandatory. :)
I was imagining Duolingoers who weren't familiar with the term going out into the world conflating linguist with polyglot. /O.O and then I was imagining 60million Duolingers doing it. And then dictionaries begrudgingly adding it as a synonym. And then of academic linguists hating Duolingo foreeever. I couldn't imagine not saying something at that point. (My imagination is a bit dramatic ^_~)
And yes, there are toooooooons of linguists on Duolingo. :D
You reminded me of the commercials at http://listosaur.com/entertainment/5-best-directv-get-rid-of-cable-commercials/ , like, "Don't have your house explode. Get Direct TV."
I'm amazed that people are able to keep multiple languages straight in their heads. A few years ago, I tried to learn Spanish, and found that bits and pieces of my long-forgotten high school French kept popping up, so I said "trois" instead of "très" and so forth. As a result, I am now focusing exclusively on French. Umberto Eco has a character in his novel, "The Name of the Rose," a monk, who babbles away in multiple languages at once. I related to that character. Tell me, how do you keep all of your languages straight?
They all just... feel different. I mean there is always the odd occasion where I'll want to use a word from a different language because it better fits the idea I'm trying to express than any word I can think of in the language I'm using, and this happens more with my secondary/tertiary languages since my vocabulary is necessarily smaller, but occasionally it happens even when speaking English and there's a good word in another language that there just isn't a corresponding word for in English. I never really get them confused though. I always know what language everything belongs to.
The closest I get is with spelling. Occasionally I forget that tallerken is spelled with an 'a' since Teller is spelled with an 'e' for instance. That's about it, though.
Dan, I know several languages and have a bit of a time keeping them straight. Probably it's because I do not speak any of them very often. My history--2 years of Spanish in high school. 1 week of French, which I stopped because the teacher was overbearing, impatient, and rude. Even as a high school kid, I knew that kind of behavior wasn't conducive to learning. I took a couple of courses of Russian my first year of college but never had anyone to speak with. I then served an 18 month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) in Germany and became fluent in German on a basic level. I'm now trying to learn Spanish because I have a lot of Hispanic friends and work with a lot of Spanish-speakers. When I try to speak Spanish and can't think of a word my brain tends to panic and go into "grab a foreign word" mode which usually means I get a German word, but occasionally a Russian one pops up. I think that as I become more fluent in Spanish, the words I use will coalesce and I'll be able to think and communicate in Spanish. I've watched young (3-5 year old) bilingual Spanish/English children speak and they often use both languages, "mixing them up" as it were. Eventually their minds sort it out and I'm hoping that, with practice, mine will too. I hope this, at least, sort of answers your question. :)
I'm still a kid, 2 years of duo. I was inactive. I am waiting for Turkish. I love languages. At such a young age too.
My husband speaks about 15 different languages with varying levels of fluency. I'm always amazed at how he can keep them all straight! He basically has taught himself most of them, with the help of any willing native speakers, and has learned them very well. I learned some German in high school, and a little Welsh after we got married, but now I'm trying to learn French. I'm plugging away at it. A desire to make sure that my kids had a chance to learn foreign languages led us to homeschool our kids. (The local schools don't really start languages 'til high school - too late in my opinion.) Over the years they've studied Latin, Spanish, Chinese, German, French, Greek, and Russian. Oh, and a little Welsh. Sitting around our dinner table can be quite fun. :) Yay for polyglots!
oh, sorry for freaking you out with the scripts cartoon. ^^ however, I can't entirely agree with you. Duolingo is more of a language learners' community. there are actually rather few linguists in here. being one of them I have to say I'm having a field day almost daily, all those neophytes and wannabe Pokemon masters. :3
may I ask, what languages did you study?
Freak me out? Heavens no! I've already shared the cartoon with four IRL friends. I put it in my rotation for desktop images.
In high school I studied 4 years of German and 2 years for Spanish. In the military I studied Korean but my knowledge of it was pathetic. In adulthood I dabbled a little in Greek just to see how it works, and I wrote two curriculum books on Latin & Greek roots - one on basic roots and the other for high school biology. Since about 2006 I've been improving my Spanish for the joy of it.
What is the characteristic that makes someone a linguist and just language learner?
In high school I took French and German. Latin used to be offered but they discontinued it. Ukrainian was offered but I couldn't take it, but one time I overheard a student and a teacher talking in the hallway. The boy was asking the teacher about how to say "How are you?" in Ukrainian. It went something like "Yak shih my ish". I remembered it and repeated it to two girls, one of whom knew Ukrainian and she said I said it perfectly.
Most of the kids in high school were taking French because they had to, not because they wanted to. Most of the kids in my German classes already spoke German or Dutch at home, so they had a lot more vocabulary than I did, but I had the highest marks in the class because it was mostly all grammar and they weren't so good in the grammar. All these years later, I've totally forgotten German grammar, but I used to know it in school, (dative, accusative, etc ) so it'll come back to me.
One time in Social Studies class the teacher was showing us a film about WW2 and there was a scene where Hitler was yelling in German. The boys all started laughing and jeering and the girl who sat behind me, poked me. When I turned around, she asked me, "What's he saying?" but I replied, "He's talking too fast" so I couldn't understand what he was saying, but the boy who sat across the aisle from me, immediately started laughing hysterically.
Well, after all these years I have a video from Youtube which has a scene of Hitler screaming and the only word I can understand is "Jugend". It has English subtitles.
I can totally relate! I made a list of how to say "goodbye" in other languages. Once on TV I saw someone say "goodbye" in Irish Gaelic and I felt like I'd found a legendary Beanie Baby for my collection (no, I don't collect Beanie Babies). Forty years later, I still remember the word.
Ah, these kids now days. If they want to talk to someone in Mongolia, they can find someone in two minutes. Back in my day we had to walk 10 miles to school in 10 foot snowdrifts in bare feet, uphill both ways... and we were grateful!
When I was a kid, I always used to hear stories about how far the previous generation had to walk to school. My father was born in 1902 and died in 1984. He used to say that he rode horseback to school and never walked to school. He said they wanted to learn French but the teacher couldn't teach it because she didn't know it. He started learning Ukrainian when he was 16 because he used to walk two little neighbor girls to school and their parents didn't speak English. I think they were Polish or something. He never took any courses in Ukrainian or went to school about it. Every chance he got to practise his Ukrainian, he took it. At the end of his life, in the hospital, they wrote on his record when he was asked which languages he spoke, "English and Ukrainian" but they had a question mark beside "Ukrainian". I think he must have told the nurses he was bilingual or something, but he wasn't Ukrainian, but apparently had no trouble speaking, reading, or writing in Ukrainian.
He just picked it up during his lifetime. Some years after he died, I overheard some guys talking about my dad and saying that he spoke Ukrainian just like a native speaker.
Whenever my dad wanted something, he told me that if he asked them in Ukrainian instead of English, he'd get on their good side better and get what he wanted. One time my friend, my dad, and I were walking past a house where there were flowers and my friend wanted some flowers. My dad asked the old woman in Ukrainian if she could have some flowers and the old woman was very friendly. Afterward, my dad told me that if he'd asked for the flowers in English, the woman would probably have told him to get lost.
He also told me that about a hundred years ago, the people where he lived, called Ukrainians "Galeetians" . (the first immigrants from the old country). I don't know the spelling but it was pronounced like that. They had their own towns at first.
Anyway, about 10 or so years ago, I met a man who was from present day Ukraine and he told me that the Ukrainians here in Canada are "different". Yeah, he seemed different to me too.
Canadian-Ukrainians have preserved their language and culture. In Edmonton there's been a Ukrainian bilingual kindergarten since the 1970's and they have the Ukrainian zbaba show on CFCW on Sundays from 7 to 9 PM which is of Ukrainian music. There are Ukrainian dance groups such as Shumka, etc. which do traditional Ukrainian dancing. Last, but not least, Ukrainian food such as cabbage rolls, and perogies, (which my mother used to call "perohe") is eaten and made in Canada. In the Chinese restaurant where I used to work in the 1980's the old Chinese woman used to make a Chinese version of Ukrainian cabbage rolls, but the boss there drew the line at Ukrainian perogies. He said his Chinese version was better. In the Chinese version they use rice flour and put meat, shrimp, etc. but I still prefer the Ukrainian perogy. Oh yeah, a few years ago, in the local town library I met an extremely friendly and talkative man who was from China and said he had been living in Canada for 5 years and he gave me a long lecture about how and why the Chinese dumpling was better than the Ukrainian perogy. I could hardly understand what he was saying because his English wasn't perfect, nevertheless he was fascinating. At the time I was on Livemocha, helping people with English and, this was just like Livemocha, but in person.
Thank you for your post, it reminds me how wonderful it is to be able to so easily find people of the same interests thanks to the internet. I've taken for granted that not everyone speaks at least 4 languages and has an interest in lingustics! haha
Where's that guy whose native language is Esperanto? That's pretty sweet.
I finally landed on some normal place. That what I thought when I first visited on this site. until now whoever I had met were not interested in other languages and were thinking me a sort of strange person. They used to tell that it's pointless to learn. So, it's like home to me here, having so many understanding people here.
I am a language nerd, but I can't compare to some I have met on facebook or here. Hyperpolyglots are common in the groups that I am in, and I have met many "local"(to our groups) celebrities who have been on television and things, or make youtube series about languages. It is an awesome new world.
What do you consider a Hyperpolyglot? I have heard various numbers of languages you have to know be one. I have also never heard of how well you have to know all or some of the languages you "know."
I basically consider anyone with roughly B2 knowledge of more than 6 languages a hyperpolyglot.
Even though I am not a bilingual(yet) I am inspired by everyone who is. Each and every person that has learned a second language has inspired me that it IS possible to learn another language. They have proven that Hard work and dedication not only pay off in learning a language, but in everything.
I love learning languages but I decided to take the easy path. I've just finished the Portuguese tree because I had studied the language before and it was only natural for me to get the chance to review and learn a new thing or two. Very similar to Spanish. And I'm more than halfway through with the Italian tree. Again, very similar to Spanish, but not so much and it was my very first exposure to it. A great experience. My son is going to an Italian school (that's the main reason I joined Duolingo, I NEEDED to learn a little Italian to possibly help with homework) and at the opening ceremony on the first day at school, some of the authorities spoke in Italian. I was excited to find just how much I understood having only studied the language for around five months. So far I'm fully bilingual and a professional translator English-Spanish, but I'm hoping to add Portuguese-Spanish and Italian-Spanish to my portfolio of services one day. Not until I get very comfortable with them, though. As a side note, I started the French tree but didn't get past lesson 3 or so. I was already mixing languages when taking Portuguese and Italian at the same time, and I kept making silly mistakes with articles. I would type "una" instead of "uma" or "la" instead of "a" in the Portuguese exercises because those are the correct Italian and Spanish articles. So I thought a third Romance language would be just too much.