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How many words do I have to learn ?

 Language Learning Forum : Advice Center Post Reply
70 messages over 9 pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 7 ... 8 9 Next >>
Recht
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4711 days ago

241 posts - 270 votes 
Speaks: English*, GermanB1

 
 Message 49 of 70
18 April 2009 at 6:51pm | IP Logged 
Iversen wrote:
There is no doubt in my mind that I ideally ought to strive for a
level comparable to that of a native speaker in each of my languages, but I'm not
willing to pay the price, namely that I would have to spend several months every year
in each of my 'language areas', and that I would have to work more than 24 hours daily
on perfecting them on a continuous basis. It can't be done, and I don't want to
restrict the number of my languages. Instead I have set myself some attainable goals:


Iversen, what distinctions do you make between high-level foreign fluency and native
fluency? You have an active, and no doubt passive vocabulary that exceeds the average
native English speaker's, and I've found perhaps two or three spelling errors in all
of your writing, which can be attributed to hastiness and not a lack of knowledge. Do
you not consider yourself at a native level in English?
1 person has voted this message useful



ghost
Newbie
Canada
mcgill.ca
Joined 4609 days ago

1 posts - 1 votes
Speaks: English*

 
 Message 50 of 70
18 April 2009 at 8:00pm | IP Logged 
This is interesting, please continue
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sprachefin
Triglot
Senior Member
Germany
Joined 4656 days ago

300 posts - 317 votes 
Speaks: German*, English, Spanish
Studies: French, Turkish, Mandarin, Bulgarian, Persian, Dutch

 
 Message 51 of 70
18 April 2009 at 9:06pm | IP Logged 
tricoteuse wrote:

You can go to your target language country with a shaky level. I went to France being able to slowly read novels (with a lot of effort, dictionaries, and not understanding everything) and hold quite awkward conversations, stayed for 10 months and took a 2 year high school diploma and came back fluent. It's amazing how much you can learn under pressure; I was writing 10 page essays on philosophy after 2 months.

I am not trying to say that just because you are going to the country requires native fluency. Going to a country for a learning experience for a few years is a fantastic idea, and I strongly encourage any person who has not had the best experience with traditional learning methods to do such a thing. However, people who plan to live in the country of their target language, should do as much as possible to be prepared. For example, how would you treat someone with limited [x language of your country] if they said they were a student staying for a couple of years versus if they said they had just moved there. Frankly, I am going to France in a couple of months to improve my French. Of course I would only be staying there for a few weeks. However, if I were living there, I would definitely make more of an effort to learn more French. This is not the case and again I apologize for my comments that were perceived as incorrect and I hope that, again, there are no hard feelings.
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tricoteuse
Pentaglot
Senior Member
Norway
littlang.blogspot.co
Joined 5588 days ago

745 posts - 845 votes 
Speaks: Swedish*, Norwegian, EnglishC1, Russian, French
Studies: Ukrainian, Bulgarian

 
 Message 52 of 70
18 April 2009 at 9:42pm | IP Logged 
Of course I won't argue with you there, sprachefin, learning as much as you can when you are going somewhere is rather obviously a good idea! However, that wasn't really the point I was arguing with to begin with, it was the "if you don't go for native fluency then don't bother" thing.
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Iversen
Super Polyglot
Moderator
Denmark
berejst.dk
Joined 5613 days ago

9078 posts - 16472 votes 
Speaks: Danish*, French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Esperanto, Romanian, Catalan
Studies: Afrikaans, Greek, Norwegian, Russian, Serbian, Icelandic, Latin, Irish, Lowland Scots, Indonesian, Polish, Croatian
Personal Language Map

 
 Message 53 of 70
18 April 2009 at 9:45pm | IP Logged 
Recht wrote:

Iversen, what distinctions do you make between high-level foreign fluency and native
fluency? You have an active, and no doubt passive vocabulary that exceeds the average
native English speaker's, and I've found perhaps two or three spelling errors in all
of your writing, which can be attributed to hastiness and not a lack of knowledge. Do
you not consider yourself at a native level in English?


That's precisely one of the differences: unlike native Anglophones who live in an Anglophone country, I mostly deal with formal language. My English is probably hypercorrect, loaded with oldfashioned - but hopefully correct - phrases, and I pick those expressions from all over the world instead of being loyal to one dialect and sociolect. Besides I probably have an accent that is coloured by not only all the kinds of English I hear, but also by my other languages - and I don't think that is limited to my native Danish. Finally I have some atypical opinions, such as resenting the English use of distorted foreign placenames (Milan for Milano, Venice for Venezia and so forth), and this will also color my language.

But this raises a point: should an advanced learner of a language accept this, because it basically means that I have dropped the notion of native fluency as my goal. Spies and actors and singers may wish to learn to imitate 'genuine' Anglophones perfectly, but I have other priorities, such as learning even more scientific terms.

EDIT: I have just corrected two spelling errors, socialect and langues, - and the last one is interesting as I may have overlooked the missing letters because the word is correct in French. If you want to sound and write like the average Anglophone then errors like this one will immediately unmask you as an imposter.


Edited by Iversen on 19 April 2009 at 6:57am

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Recht
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4711 days ago

241 posts - 270 votes 
Speaks: English*, GermanB1

 
 Message 54 of 70
18 April 2009 at 9:58pm | IP Logged 
Iversen wrote:
Recht wrote:

Iversen, what distinctions do you make between high-level foreign fluency and native
fluency? You have an active, and no doubt passive vocabulary that exceeds the average
native English speaker's, and I've found perhaps two or three spelling errors in all
of your writing, which can be attributed to hastiness and not a lack of knowledge. Do
you not consider yourself at a native level in English?


That's precisely one of the differences: unlike native Anglophones who live in an
Anglophone country, I mostly deal with formal language. My English is probably
hypercorrect, loaded with oldfashioned - but hopefully correct - phrases, and I pick
those expressions from all over the world instead of being loyal to one dialect and
socialect.


I expected this would likely be one of the distinctions. If I spoke to my grandfather
in the language I use with my friends, he would likely not know what we were talking
about. In that sense, he is not fluent in my English slang, at least not actively. On
the English language as a whole, however, of course he is. There are very many
Americans who use "old fashioned" and formal language(yours does not strike me as
such, merely precisely articulate), for example Prof. Arguelles, and this is really
simply an indication of a preference in speech mannerisms. There is an unfortunately
large number of Americans who would comprehend, for lack of education, your written
word.

So, I think for all purposes you have "native" level fluency in vocabulary, structure
etc, but probably not as you mentioned in the field of pronunciation. I'm sure you
could learn to speak with a Texas or New York accent without much trouble though!
1 person has voted this message useful



sprachefin
Triglot
Senior Member
Germany
Joined 4656 days ago

300 posts - 317 votes 
Speaks: German*, English, Spanish
Studies: French, Turkish, Mandarin, Bulgarian, Persian, Dutch

 
 Message 55 of 70
18 April 2009 at 11:51pm | IP Logged 
tricoteuse wrote:
Of course I won't argue with you there, sprachefin, learning as much as you can when you are going somewhere is rather obviously a good idea! However, that wasn't really the point I was arguing with to begin with, it was the "if you don't go for native fluency then don't bother" thing.


Well I apologize for seeming quite abrupt when saying that and I didn't mean it in that way even if it may have come across. Sure if you are going to learn only one language, you should strive for fluency of a native speaker in that language. But, many people on this forum are polyglots that have basic fluency in many languages. It would probably be personal preference if one wanted to be perfectly fluent in all of their languages. That is my preference, but maybe someone wants to tour the world. Basic fluency in many languages would be appropriate, and simpler to do. If someone just wants to be a polyglot, then basic fluency is an ideal goal. I apologize for degrading those who are satisfied with basic fluency.
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Iversen
Super Polyglot
Moderator
Denmark
berejst.dk
Joined 5613 days ago

9078 posts - 16472 votes 
Speaks: Danish*, French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Esperanto, Romanian, Catalan
Studies: Afrikaans, Greek, Norwegian, Russian, Serbian, Icelandic, Latin, Irish, Lowland Scots, Indonesian, Polish, Croatian
Personal Language Map

 
 Message 56 of 70
19 April 2009 at 7:16am | IP Logged 
I'm not quite happy about that formulation, "those are satisfied with basic fluency". Ideally I would like to have either native fluency or something close to that in every one of my languages. But I recognize that such a lofty ambition would make it impossible for me to learn and maintain a wide array of languages.

Nevertheless, from the moment you have attained basic fluency it is mostly a question of exposure and attentiveness to move steadily upwards, and with time, more travelling and the development in the electronic media this process ought to be almost automatical. Basic fluency is for me the explicite and immediate goal because it is both feasible and sufficient to satisfy my needs. Advanced fluency will come by itself if I really need a certain language.



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