Author Topic: What's your first language?  (Read 6518 times)

skdadl

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32874
    • View Profile
    • http://www.pogge.ca
What's your first language?
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2007, 11:30:41 AM »
That's a wonderfully thoughtful and sensitive analysis, brebis noire. I hadn't thought of this before, but it rings true:

Quote
you instinctively know that you're likely sending out all kinds of wrong signals about yourself, your intentions and your intelligence by breaking pronunciation, grammar and syntax rules - not to mention other more tricky ones.  


A friend who did an exchange summer (many years ago) in Quebec to meet professional language requirements said to me afterwards that she was aware of smiling too much the whole time, a kind of pleading smile -- the "please let me off the hook" smile, y'know? Smiling for the same reason that babies smile? "I'm nice; don't hurt me"? That kind of smile?

I've been aware of doing that too in the Netherlands and in France. I do the "Please give me points for trying" smile m'self -- I hate it, but it is irresistible when you know you're unable to communicate up to normal standards.

fern hill

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10640
    • View Profile
    • http://scathinglywrongrightwingnutz.blogspot.com/
What's your first language?
« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2007, 11:50:28 AM »
Man, I must be having a stupid-day. What's wrong with expecting to get points for trying?

I dunno about youse guys, but I run into non-native-English speakers allatime. I try to be patient and yes, I do give them points for trying.

When I was studying (ancient) Greek, I used to go into Palmer's Drug Store (there's a blast from the past) afterwards. The people behind the lunch-counter were Greek (OK, maybe Macedonian, but Greek speakers). One day, I said, good day in (ancient) Greek to them.

Well. You'da thunk we just shared a lottery win. Huge grins. Questions. Corrections of my ancient Greek pronunciation.

Apparently, no one learns Greek and Greek speakers are thrilled to their tootsies when they run into somebody who's trying.

Also, at Expo 67, I thought it was pretty crappy to be mean to a 14-year-old kid trying out classroom French.

Toedancer

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13966
    • View Profile
What's your first language?
« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2007, 12:37:55 PM »
Wow what an interesting thread all ye speakers of tongues.
Sadly the one and only language I speak is English. And I mangle that pretty badly. Mostly because it is fun to mangle it and because somewhere deep down I know most of it was stolen anyway.  I don't remember one lesson I learned in the History of the English Language from back in '74.

On our unpaved road as a kid, where the houses were built by our grampa's, our neighbours were an old German couple. My gramps was German/Jewish, or is that Jewish/German, I don't know. But it was always fun to listen to him speak his native language with those neighbours. Gramps married a Welsh woman, so the arguments were glorious to listen to and nobody knew what the hell anyone was saying. Grams could speak in tongues so they say, but she could not read or write.

High school French was a bitch and using it in Quebec in the late 60's just got me thoroughly discouraged as there seemed to be no appreciation of my even trying. In S. America I did not eat in restaurants, so was always at the open air markets, looking for edible fresh food. There one is forced to speak Spanish and I loved that my trying was very encouraged.  That goes for Portugese in Brazil. And Greek on the Danforth.

The languages I would want to know are Spanish/Italian. Not necessarily in that order. Romantic, very expressive and somehow make sense to the tongue.
"Democracy is not the law of the majority, it's the protection of the minority." -Albert Camus 1913-1960

belva

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1185
    • View Profile
What's your first language?
« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2007, 02:56:56 PM »
English is my mother's tongue & I do well making a living in its use.

I can read Latin & a  tiny bit of Greek.  I speak decent Spanish.

I can say basic "hello" & "how are you?" in Danish, Russian & Swahili.

deBeauxOs

  • Guest
What's your first language?
« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2007, 03:27:28 PM »
My mother tongue is Franco-ontarian French.  I never thought that it was significantly different from the manner in which other francophones  speak the language, until I was told by a native of Québec city that my French was not bad at all for someone who did not study in the Québecois school system.  :roll:

There are asshooles everywhere, no one ethnic group has a monopoly on producing them.

peppermint

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 225
    • View Profile
What's your first language?
« Reply #20 on: July 18, 2007, 06:28:10 PM »
English is my first language, I've got a passing familiarity with French- despite having studied it for 7 or 8 years, and a similar level of comfort with German, which I studied for two.  My experiences with French at a young age really tempered my work in the ESL field.

 I've got maybe an elementary school kid's grasp of Korean.  I can read and write enough to deal with very basic commands, names and locations.   It's  really tough to advance beyond a certain point, because for complex ideas they use traditional Chinese symbols as as the uniquely Korean Hangul alphabet.

Speaking and listening, I manage to get my point across in all but the most complicated of situations, though it may require charades in some cases.     Apparently I was rather good, as my students and some coworkers were surprised whenever I didn't  understand something in rapid-fire Korean and were floored to see me typing in English.

I've got a couple of phrases of Mandarin, Thai and Japanese that I can speak and understand.  I figure you should at least be able to say "Hello" and "Thank you" in the local language of any country you visit.  It generally isn't expected, but it certainly  encourages good will, especially if you wander off the tourist track, as I  often do

Caissa

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2982
    • View Profile
What's your first language?
« Reply #21 on: July 19, 2007, 09:45:12 AM »
I have a fairly good command of English. Worked in a Writing Centre for four years. Studied French in the NB school system and needed to be able to read French as a Canadian Historian. Took one year of University German in my last year of high school.  The older I get the more I am interested in the etymological and historical development of words.

Toedancer

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13966
    • View Profile
Re: What's your first language?
« Reply #22 on: June 25, 2012, 11:17:00 AM »
Ever wonder what languages are dying out? Go here:


http://www.endangeredlanguages.com/
"Democracy is not the law of the majority, it's the protection of the minority." -Albert Camus 1913-1960

 

Return To TAT