As some of you may know, my mother tongue is German, not English. I grew up in Germany, and I only started learning English in fifth grade. Since our part of the country was very close to the Netherlands, I also picked up a fair amount of Dutch. I’m fluent in English (duh), and German (natively). I speak Dutch (conversationally.) I can also get around in Italian and French, at least when it comes to social phrases, asking directions, and doing basic business. My Mom is a native speaker of Serbo-Croatian, but she never bothered to teach us when we were kids, which is a shame. (I know a few phrases, but I’m far from proficient in that language.) I also took a semester of Japanese in college back in Germany, but I’ve retained very little spoken Japanese, and my knowledge of kanji and hiragana/katakana has dwindled to almost zero.
One major difference I’ve noticed about the US is that very few people are even bilingual, much less polyglot, whereas most Europeans are proficient in at least one other language than their native one. This brings me to my questions for today:
- Are you fluent or conversationally proficient in another language? Which one, and where/why did you learn it?
- Are you planning to learn another language other than the one(s) you know right now? Which one, and why?
I’d like to learn Spanish (because it’s the second most useful language to know on this continent), improve my French (because it’s handy to know this close to Quebec, and because it’s a beautiful language), and get proficient in Arabic or Farsi. I love languages, and if I could get one wish from a bottle-dwelling genie, it would be to know all the world’s languages, dialects, and regional accents at native level.
What about you?