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What impresses you?

 Language Learning Forum : General discussion Post Reply
73 messages over 10 pages: 1 2 3 46 7 ... 5 ... 9 10 Next >>
Ari
Heptaglot
Senior Member
Norway
Joined 4950 days ago

2314 posts - 5695 votes 
Speaks: Swedish*, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, Cantonese
Studies: Czech, Latin, German

 
 Message 33 of 73
14 November 2011 at 7:57pm | IP Logged 
PaulLambeth wrote:
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.

Actually, you have it significantly more difficult than we do. Seriously, if you grow up in a modern Western
country, learning English is a piece of cake. It's not at all comparable to a British person learning, say, French. At
least over here, I'm really surprised when I meet a fellow Swede whose English isn't at least conversational. I live
in Sweden and apart from one Australian friend to whom I send an email every other month or so, I have no
native English-speaking friends. And I still use English as much as Swedish in my daily life, if not more. The
Internet is in English (there's a single website in Swedish that I use with any regularity), most software is in
English, all documentation and writing at work is in English, maybe 80% of the movies in the cinema and the
shows on TV is in English, my university textbooks were in English, the RPGs I play with my friends are often in
English, computer games are in English, half of all advertising is in English and many of my friends use English
phrases regularly in their speech. Every kid growing up in Sweden is in English immersion. Now, how many
people do I know who speak French? One, and he was born in Congo. How many who speak German? None.
Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Mandarin, Japanese? None none none.

The truth is, we're just as bad at foreign languages as you guys are. It's just that we've got one and a half native
language. So don't beat yourself up.

Edited by Ari on 14 November 2011 at 7:59pm

9 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 34 of 73
14 November 2011 at 9:14pm | IP Logged 
Ah yes Ari, you made a good point there... On one hand it's great that we know English here without having to "learn" it so we have natural access to everything using English, but on the other hand it's such a shame we don't have a different language and grow up with English as the "half language"...
1 person has voted this message useful



Bao
Diglot
Senior Member
Germany
tinyurl.com/pe4kqe5
Joined 4134 days ago

2256 posts - 4045 votes 
Speaks: German*, English
Studies: French, Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin

 
 Message 35 of 73
14 November 2011 at 11:39pm | IP Logged 
Ari wrote:
3: Overconfidence is an aid to success. This applies to many situations, but I'm pretty sure it applies even more to language learning.

Oh, but unless you're talking about fights it's slight overconfidence, as long as it's paired with persistance. Slight underconfidence may just as well do the trick, if paired with - persistance. And an internal locus of control. Having too high or too low self confidence skews your judgment and makes you susceptible to failure because you can't learn from your experiences; as overflowing self-confidence makes most people attribute their own mistakes to environmental circumstances, or lack of self confidence makes them misinterpret environmental factors as their own failure.
More than that, most people (especially men) in Western societies are somewhat overconfident, without that making them incredibly successful or smart in my book.

Meaning, when I see somebody brag about their skills when they - he - just learnt a couple of sentences I see somebody who is very likely to never be fluent in that language.

Edited by Bao on 14 November 2011 at 11:40pm

3 persons have voted this message useful



skeeterses
Senior Member
United States
angelfire.com/games5Registered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4986 days ago

302 posts - 356 votes 
1 sounds
Speaks: English*
Studies: Korean, Spanish

 
 Message 36 of 73
15 November 2011 at 2:21am | IP Logged 
Ari wrote:

1: If someone claims C1 when they're actually A2 or whatever, yeah, that's lying. If someone uses fuzzy words
like "fluent" or "speaks" or "conversational", you can't hold them to your definitions. You're wrong and they're
right, plain and simple.
2: Their claims do not make your efforts any less worth. Try to find appreciation in your own sense of
accomplishment, regardless of the claims and abilities of others.
3: Overconfidence is an aid to success. 110914.html">This applies to many situations, but I'm pretty sure it applies even more to language
learning.

I tend to save my wrath for those who are using their "magical abilities" to make money or seek fame. And of
course, tell beginners from time to time that there is no royal road to fluency in a foreign language. Its natural
for beginners to exaggerate a little bit because they just don't know the full complexity of the language before
them. For example, I once came across an American girl who was taking a Korean 101 class at the community
college and she told me that Korean was "easier than Spanish." And in a sense, when you're talking about the
grammar and vocabulary that's used in survival books, it does look pretty easy at first.
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 37 of 73
15 November 2011 at 4:52am | IP Logged 
Ari wrote:
PaulLambeth wrote:
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.

Actually, you have it significantly more difficult than we do. Seriously, if you grow up in a modern Western
country, learning English is a piece of cake. It's not at all comparable to a British person learning, say, French. At
least over here, I'm really surprised when I meet a fellow Swede whose English isn't at least conversational. I live
in Sweden and apart from one Australian friend to whom I send an email every other month or so, I have no
native English-speaking friends. And I still use English as much as Swedish in my daily life, if not more. The
Internet is in English (there's a single website in Swedish that I use with any regularity), most software is in
English, all documentation and writing at work is in English, maybe 80% of the movies in the cinema and the
shows on TV is in English, my university textbooks were in English, the RPGs I play with my friends are often in
English, computer games are in English, half of all advertising is in English and many of my friends use English
phrases regularly in their speech. Every kid growing up in Sweden is in English immersion. Now, how many
people do I know who speak French? One, and he was born in Congo. How many who speak German? None.
Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Mandarin, Japanese? None none none.

The truth is, we're just as bad at foreign languages as you guys are. It's just that we've got one and a half native
language. So don't beat yourself up.


You've reminded me of a conversation with an Icelander in a café in Reykjavík, in which she said "I never paid any attention at all in English class. I just watched movies". Indeed I don't think I've met a Reykjavíkingur under the age of 55 who doesn't speak conversational English - I mentioned it in a video recently.

In addition to what you said, essentially none of what you listed (TV, films, adverts etc.) is in anything but English in the UK, nor as far as I know in the other anglophone countries. Apart from childrens' shows in other British languages, and dedicated radio stations in expat languages (which one would never have children listen to if it wasn't their parents' native tongue), nothing that children do is in a common foreign language. I emphasize common because although there are a number of household languages in the UK spoken by recent migrants, that's not enough to generate any national bilingualism.

Despite knowing this difference, I still refuse to not be amazed by English's usefulness as a lingua franca. I guess I shouldn't feel entirely guilty - it's not my fault, as you've demonstrated Ari - but nonetheless I feel slightly put out by our nation's monolinguialism, and further motivated to not be a monoglot.

Back on topic then, I stand by being impressed by the level of English I hear. And I'm also impressed by native English speakers who've chosen to learn another language and gone far, and non-natives who speak not only English but another foreign language that they chose to take on themselves.

Edited by PaulLambeth on 15 November 2011 at 4:53am

1 person has voted this message useful



SamD
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5027 days ago

823 posts - 987 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, French
Studies: Portuguese, Norwegian

 
 Message 38 of 73
15 November 2011 at 3:02pm | IP Logged 
I'm most impressed by people who have learned two foreign languages that don't seem to go together: combinations such as Swedish and Thai, Korean and Swahili.

I'm impressed by people who get the grammar right in situations where the natives often get it wrong.

I'm impressed by people whose vocabulary in a foreign language goes beyond the basic words and phrases needed for conversation and technical material in their field, but also includes words and phrases that many learners (and some natives) don't use often or correctly.
1 person has voted this message useful



Jinx
Triglot
Senior Member
Germany
reverbnation.co
Joined 4061 days ago

1085 posts - 1879 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, French
Studies: Catalan, Dutch, Esperanto, Croatian, Serbian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Italian, Spanish, Yiddish

 
 Message 39 of 73
15 November 2011 at 4:03pm | IP Logged 
If I had to pick the one thing that impresses me the most in regards to language-learning, it would be those people who, no matter what their level or skills, are always modest about their knowledge - without, however, being self-deprecating. I know that many people (e.g. many of my fellow Amurricans) have spent their entire lives in a social situation which makes the learning of foreign languages seem unnecessary and practically impossible. With that in mind, I am as impressed by a complete beginner as by a super-polyglot, as long as the person in question has a reasonable and humble attitude about his or her own language knowledge.
2 persons have voted this message useful



DesEsseintes
Triglot
Newbie
Ireland
Joined 3550 days ago

33 posts - 68 votes 
Speaks: English, French*, Spanish
Studies: Croatian

 
 Message 40 of 73
17 November 2011 at 2:45pm | IP Logged 
There are two things that impress me :

1) The ability to make puns in a foreign language. Regardless of the language, or of whether the person spent years in the country or not, hats off to those who can play with words and make jokes out of them. That's also quite close to my definition of "mastering a language".

2) The ability to recognize regional accents. I have this German colleague of mine who speaks French so well that she can tell me where the person she's listening to actually comes from. And so far, she's never been wrong.

Now, what doesn't impress me at all :

Someone who, say, was born in a country, but can speak one or two other languages because her / his parents are foreigners.

Edited by DesEsseintes on 17 November 2011 at 2:48pm



2 persons have voted this message useful



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