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What impresses you?

 Language Learning Forum : General discussion Post Reply
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crafedog
Diglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 4186 days ago

166 posts - 337 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Korean, Tok Pisin, French

 
 Message 25 of 73
14 November 2011 at 10:23am | IP Logged 
1. Someone who has studied a language that is not related to their own (i.e. from a
different language 'family'). If I meet someone who is Spanish and speaks Italian and
Portuguese then that's good but I'm far more impressed by a Spanish person who 'only'
speaks Mandarin or a German person who 'only' speaks Arabic or a Japanese person who
'only' speaks English.

2. Anyone who does/has done something in their second language that would normally
require a very high-level of mastery of the second language. For example, fanatic's
travels/speeches in Germany or Brun_Ugle's studying at a university level in
Norwegian.

3. I don't think it's too difficult to speak a language related to your own (because of
shared vocabulary/word order) but I do think it's difficult to speak any language
well/accurately regardless of it's relation to your native tongue. For example, I can
speak Spanish but I can't truthfully say that I speak it well as there are some areas
that I know where I would likely make mistakes in that I'm constantly on the lookout
for in native material. What I want to say in English would sound sloppy at best in
Spanish just because of subtle differences/mistakes that English speakers can make
without realising it (as I did when I was a lower level than I am now).

In regards to this, as I can only judge someone's English accuracy (as I'm a native
speaker), I'm always impressed by any forum member who writes English flawlessly when
English is not their native tongue (especially since I'm an English teacher). I don't
mean well; I mean flawlessly (posts I've seen by valkyr and mrwarper lately for
example have left me flabbergasted as to their levels).

4. Anybody who gets a C2/highest level in a language exam. It doesn't make you fluent,
nor does not having it make you not fluent (messy sentence) but it does require an
enormous amount of time, effort and knowledge and I'll be damned if I'll ever achieve
something like that.

5. The monumental effort and dedication some forum members put into learning their
target languages. Reading the entire Harry Potter series in Czech, Teango's 'fighting
windmills' L & R experience or the KoreaninKuwait guy's consistent effort.

6. (Personal) Koreans who speak English flawlessly and non-Koreans who speak Korean to
a high-level (can't judge if it's flawless) as I know how difficult Korean is for
someone who's not part of the culture and alternatively how different/challenging
English is to a Korean.

Edited by crafedog on 14 November 2011 at 10:54am

2 persons have voted this message useful



Iwwersetzerin
Bilingual Hexaglot
Senior Member
Luxembourg
christineschmit.com
Joined 4037 days ago

259 posts - 513 votes 
Speaks: French*, Luxembourgish*, GermanC2, EnglishC2, SpanishC2, ItalianC1
Studies: Russian, Dutch, Portuguese, Indonesian

 
 Message 26 of 73
14 November 2011 at 11:35am | IP Logged 
I'm impressed by:
- people who learn several totally unrelated languages to a high level
- writers who write beautiful literature in their second or even third language (Nabokov, Joseph Conrad, etc.)
- linguists who spend long periods of time with tribes somewhere in the jungle to learn and document their language in order to preserve some of it for posterity
- high-level conference interpreters
- Jodie Foster's flawless Parisian French accent
4 persons have voted this message useful



Jo15
Triglot
Newbie
United Kingdom
Joined 3196 days ago

13 posts - 16 votes
Speaks: English*, German, French

 
 Message 27 of 73
14 November 2011 at 3:30pm | IP Logged 
Fasulye wrote:
WHAT IMPRESSES ME?

I am generally very impressed by everyone who has a native level AND a native
pronouciation in his/her foreign language(s). Especially those people who haven't lived
in the foreign country for many, many years.

So people who impress me are my polyglot Skypies who have such a native level in
several languages and for example my Danish teacher who is Austrian but has never lived
in Denmark.

Fasulye


I agree, I speak English and French fluently and am now learning German. When I speak
French I speak it with an English accent and when I speak German I speak it apparently
with a French accent!! I don't know what the difference is as I can't hear it myself
and I hope I can make my accents better in both languages. Do you guys know the German
actor Christoph Waltz ( he was in Inglorious Bastards with Brad Pitt) he can speak
English, French , German perfectly and he even spoke Italian really well in that
movie.It was so impressive!
2 persons have voted this message useful



Delodephius
Bilingual Tetraglot
Senior Member
Yugoslavia
Joined 3771 days ago

342 posts - 501 votes 
Speaks: Slovak*, Serbo-Croatian*, EnglishC1, Czech
Studies: Russian, Japanese

 
 Message 28 of 73
14 November 2011 at 5:14pm | IP Logged 
I have no idea what impresses me. In terms of languages or something else. Never came
across anything that impressed me. I guess I just consider everything to be normal. If
someone speaks one language or 20 obscure ones makes no difference to me.

Edited by Delodephius on 14 November 2011 at 5:15pm

1 person has voted this message useful



Arekkusu
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Canada
bit.ly/qc_10_lec
Joined 3749 days ago

3971 posts - 7745 votes 
Speaks: English, French*, GermanC1, Spanish, Japanese, Esperanto
Studies: Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Estonian

 
 Message 29 of 73
14 November 2011 at 6:28pm | IP Logged 
I think there is a difference between what impresses me in real life and what impresses me on a global scale. The Internet has made the world such a small place that it's become difficult to impress anyone as so many people which such great achievements are easily accessible.

A superficial knowledge of many languages no longer impresses me as anyone with a little determination or thirst for attention could do it, but I certainly would be happily surprised if I met someone like that at a dinner party. Nevertheless, this falls more within the category of hobby, which is much less impressive than mastery. So many people give up at good enough.

Few language learners reach a level of proficiency where they can thoroughly manipulate a language and express complex ideas concisely, with little hesitation, and -- and this I care about -- with a near-perfect accent.

I'm sometimes impressed by people who do that in their own language. For instance, Stephen Pinker's surgical precision in English can sometimes impress me, as was the case the other day in an interview with Stephen Fry.
2 persons have voted this message useful



fomalhaut
Groupie
United States
Joined 3271 days ago

80 posts - 101 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: German

 
 Message 30 of 73
14 November 2011 at 6:46pm | IP Logged 
I'm impressed by anyone who takes the time and effort to learn a new language. or to learn anything.

i'd hate to belittle the hopes, goals or dreams of anybody anywhere.
5 persons have voted this message useful



WentworthsGal
Senior Member
United KingdomRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3256 days ago

191 posts - 246 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Swedish, Spanish

 
 Message 31 of 73
14 November 2011 at 7:00pm | IP Logged 
I'm not sure if it's because of my view on English people as being lazy at learning languages, but I'm still impressed when meeting someone with a different native language and being able to speak English to a high standard. Even though there are so many people out there who study it from childhood, I'm still impressed by it.

I'm also impressed when I see someone in a film etc and then find out they're actually not speaking in their native language or they're using a different accent. E.g finding out Collin Farrel was Irish not American, Alexander Skarsgård was Swedish, also not American.
1 person has voted this message useful



PaulLambeth
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3741 days ago

244 posts - 315 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Icelandic, Hindi, Irish

 
 Message 32 of 73
14 November 2011 at 7:16pm | IP Logged 
WentworthsGal wrote:
I'm not sure if it's because of my view on English people as being lazy at learning languages, but I'm still impressed when meeting someone with a different native language and being able to speak English to a high standard. Even though there are so many people out there who study it from childhood, I'm still impressed by it.

I'm also impressed when I see someone in a film etc and then find out they're actually not speaking in their native language or they're using a different accent. E.g finding out Collin Farrel was Irish not American, Alexander Skarsgård was Swedish, also not American.


I noticed that with Colin! The first film I watched with him in was Phone Booth, in which he was a New York businessman and I was convinced he was American. The second was the considerably better In Bruges, and I marvelled for the first 5 minutes about his Irish accent until I was told he's actually Irish. Leonardo Di Caprio can be commended for this too - he pulled off a decent (to my English ears) South African accent in Blood Diamond. Of course, these two examples are just dialects of English, but it's still an achievement, and you have to be brave to do it in front of a camera to millions of people.

I'm equally constantly impressed by the fact that I have fluent English conversations when almost all my friends are from other countries. I'm not sure it's that we're lazy, just not motivated or encouraged. Other peoples' perfection of English was the primary reason I got interested in foreign languages - I don't want to be the one who always has it easiest in a conversation.

Edited by PaulLambeth on 14 November 2011 at 7:16pm



1 person has voted this message useful



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