Do you think speaking a foreign language fluently changes your attitudes? - Page 2 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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Do you think speaking a foreign language fluently changes your attitudes?

1. Yes, it changed or changes my attitude.
19
68%
2. No, it did not change my attitude.
4
14%
3. I never learned to speak any foreign languages fluently therefore I can't really tell if it would change my attitude.
2
7%
4. Other.
3
11%
#15044409
Rugoz wrote:My native language is German but I hate it. In fact, I prefer to read books in English nowadays. Recently I started reading the German translation of Stanislaw Lem's Fiasko and I had to read the first page 3 times to understand it, because it was one big fucking sentence. I then bought the English translation. :lol:

Anyway, off-topic rant.


German is like an English that didn't evolve. It's a filthy pig latin the rustics speak.
#15044424
Tainari88 wrote:Which one do you favor more than the others?


I like English for its ease of expression, German for its precision, French for its clarity and elegance, and Japanese for its ambiguity.

To check if something makes sense, it's often useful to translate it into another language and see how it sounds. It's also interesting to contemplate on what happens before language is formed.
#15044434
Atlantis wrote:I like English for its ease of expression, German for its precision, French for its clarity and elegance, and Japanese for its ambiguity.

To check if something makes sense, it's often useful to translate it into another language and see how it sounds. It's also interesting to contemplate on what happens before language is formed.

Japanese is often quite difficult to translate to English. How did you end up learning Japanese? You're one of the best posters on here in my book, and I was interested when you named Japanese as one of the languages you speak.

Edit: An anecdote, I was in Japan on a government scholarship, and so I receive their news letters, which are in English and Japanese. The introduction to the Japanese version always ends with ぜひ読んでください. The English introduction always ends with, "Please read, by all means!"

It's so goofy, I facepalm every time I see it. The rest of the English translation is always fine, but I don't understand how no one ever had the gumption or realization to change it.
#15044466
Crantag wrote:Definitely yes. My native language is English, and I learned to speak Japanese fluently, through years of study in high school and college, and then years of living and studying in Japan. Japanese language and culture are both rather vastly different from English/American culture, and becoming proficient in Japanese I think requires a lot of adaptation of thinking. I used to quite frequently think in English about some matters and think in Japanese on other matters, depending on the ease of articulation and on the cultural context, if you will (I'm sure many here can relate). I haven't spoke Japanese regularly for going on 4 years, so this has stopped, and unfortunately my Japanese is getting worse (I can still converse easily in Japanese, but I find myself making a lot of silly grammatical mistakes when I have the chance to speak it).

I've been living in China for the past year and a half, and I've picked up some Mandarin (and had studied it a bit previously). It is interesting to compare it with Japanese, because Japanese inherited so much from Chinese/China. Japanese uses Chinese characters extensively, but the grammar is very different, so Japanese writing is like a sort of mismash. So only by studying Chinese, was it finally like 'ah hah, this is how it's supposed to work.' Chinese writing is very straight-forward, Japanese feels like different phrases glued together, in a way.

There are a lot of contrasts, and some complimentary aspects, between Chinese and Japanese cultures and worldviews, as well as customs, and I do feel that these are sometimes expressed through language, although I'm not sure I could make any real analysis of it; for one, my Mandarin is not that good. That said, I'm guessing you'll find this in different varieties of Chinese, as well.


I didn't speak until I was 2 either, as I was born deaf. I had surgery when I was 2, which was successful, and I never experienced any hearing problems since, but it certainly had a big impact on me growing up. I had a speech impediment due to this, which I eventually overcame through speech therapy, and I was picked on a lot because of it. I don't want to say I was bullied in school, because when someone crossed me over it I'd get enraged and I would fight back. It did often make me nervous to speak though when I was out and about; I got tired of people asking me which country I was from, thinking I had some European accent, etc. The real bullying started when I began hanging out with my sister's friends, who were mostly older, and made fun of me all the time.

This was a big motivation for me to learn Japanese well. I thought that if I could learn to speak a foreign language, it couldn't fail to positively influence my ability to speak English in a proper way. I remember having this idea from pretty early on. I think it worked, also. I suppose that learning a foreign language makes one more attuned to the matter of pronunciation, and perhaps expands one's repertoire, if you will. This matter might also be somewhat loosely related to the overall cognitive benefits of learning a foreign language (which is related to how it helps prevent dementia, and what not).

For what it's worth, people often compliment me on my Mandarin pronunciation. Too bad I'm too lazy to study vocabulary much, and the tones are quite a challenge. The tones are easy to pronounce, but difficult to remember. Vocabulary takes rote memorization, but then to associate the tones, simply takes practice. It's hard to study Chinese words, because I can practice saying the words, but I'll just forget the tones, and I often only really learn the proper tones by being corrected. When I butcher a word (do to wrong tone) and someone corrects me, I often remember it thereafter, but it's a slow process.

Edit: In Chinese, xi vs shi, qi vs chi, and ji vs zhi also kill me. I understand the differences and can pronounce each of these syllables, but I always forget to do so properly. The sounds shi, chi, and zhi aren't really common in English (they sort of exist in certain words, or similarities exist), but I always tend to revert to the more common English sounds, so I pronounce shi as xi, etc.

Chinese is not very complicated and the pronunciation is not at all insurmountable, but putting together all the pieces, and doing so in real-time, is challenging.

I also studied Korean, which to me is the most difficult among Japanese, Chinese and Korean. Korean pronunciation is a nightmare for me, and the absence of Chinese characters is actually a liability (if you look at a book from the 60s or before written in Korean it generally includes Chinese characters, but this went out of favor after the 60s and now written Korean is usually just hangul, although newspapers still use some hanja). Trying to read Korean in hangul is almost like reading Chinese in pinyin, or more so like reading Japanese in just hiragana.



Oh @Crantag if I could have given you one hundred likes for this post I would have!!

I am so happy you posted this! I knew I was making the right decision for my son by moving to Mexico, and exposing him to Spanish and Mayan....but this confirmed it for me!

You are a very intelligent, bright wonderful man. And I think you have been a favorite poster of mine for a long time.

But? This makes you someone I will be grateful to for the rest of my life.

Foreign language development makes you a very flexible thinker with tremendous abilities to look for many options in a sea of conformity.

I will never be satisfied with just one language. And most people should not be.

But you are right. If you don't practice a language everyday you lose fluency. It is very much like healthy diets and exercise. You got to do it everyday with discipline and dedication or you lose ability.

Thank you Crantag and I am sending you a big and sincere Puerto Rican woman kiss on each cheek for this post!!

I love you!!
#15044470
Tainari88 wrote:Elaborate. What kinds of issues did you have trying to learn a foreign language that might have stopped your progress?


Yes. I am more open when speaking English. More reserved when speaking in Russian. Don't know how to describe it when I speak Estonian or German. There are definetely differences.
#15044480
JohnRawls wrote:Yes. I am more open when speaking English. More reserved when speaking in Russian. Don't know how to describe it when I speak Estonian or German. There are definetely differences.


Do you like speaking Russian?

When I speak Spanish I sometimes have to modify my vocabulary because in Mexico they don't use the same vocabulary for ordinary everyday things or objects as they do in my own vernacular. So I have to sort of say....I can't say that word in Mexico they won't understand it....aha, got to use this word. The Mexican accepted one for that object.
#15044481
Tainari88 wrote:Do you like speaking Russian?

When I speak Spanish I sometimes have to modify my vocabulary because in Mexico they don't use the same vocabulary for ordinary everyday things or objects as they do in my own vernacular. So I have to sort of say....I can't say that word in Mexico they won't understand it....aha, got to use this word. The Mexican accepted one for that object.


I speak English, Russian and Estonian perfectly while my German is okay at best. Its not hard for me to switch between them besides German because it actually requires some thinking for me.

As for words. I guess English and Russian have some words that are not present in other languages. So i sometimes also use those words in different languages. Usually people understand. Sometimes if i don't remember the word that exists in both languages then i might use the english version for it in different language automatically. Sadly its hard to use Russian version the other way around because people mostly won't understand.

Edit: Just noticed that the question if I like speaking Russian :D. I guess my likeability ladder would be English>Russian>Estonian.
#15044494
Yes.
Fluent (-enough) understanding of a language makes you part of their culture (by consumption if not actively back and forth). Language isnt the sole divider between cultures, but it tends to be part of a package of characteristics (history, etc..) that can shape views and gives makes them an 'other'. Being part of more than one culture gives you additional perspectives, and means you can look at.. everything.. with more than one view, though the variation and utility of different views might be zero. Perhaps most useful is understanding what its like to be the majority and the minority within the same population.
#15044499
Thunderhawk wrote:Yes.
Fluent (-enough) understanding of a language makes you part of their culture (by consumption if not actively back and forth). Language isnt the sole divider between cultures, but it tends to be part of a package of characteristics (history, etc..) that can shape views and gives makes them an 'other'. Being part of more than one culture gives you additional perspectives, and means you can look at.. everything.. with more than one view, though the variation and utility of different views might be zero. Perhaps most useful is understanding what its like to be the majority and the minority within the same population.


I liked your explanation a lot Thunderhawk.

It was thoughtful and well done.

I never think different views though are totally useless. They exist for a reason, you might not notice it or use it right away or for years...but it is there...working its variation and you never know when something happens in your life where that exact way of thinking becomes very useful or critical.

Human beings are natural acquirers of language. We are born with the need and ability for it.
#15044506
Top ranking languages in the world. Most English speakers are second-language speakers. People like my husband and others who study it and speak it but it is not their maternal home language.

Notice that French did not make the list. Spanish is in the top five.

https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=ACY ... CAY&uact=5
#15044511
Tainari88 wrote:Top ranking languages in the world. Most English speakers are second-language speakers. People like my husband and others who study it and speak it but it is not their maternal home language.

Notice that French did not make the list. Spanish is in the top five.

https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=ACY ... CAY&uact=5


Those are numbers of native speakers. Basically it is just a question of how populated the countries are with some major exceptions. Here is a list with native and non-native: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_l ... f_speakers

Chinese and Spanish languages have a lot of native speakers and very few non-native speakers for their size. While English, French, German, Russian have a lot of non-native speakers. Especially French which seems to have 4-5 non-native speakers for each native speaker.
#15044526
'English' is the language of international business,as such it's importance has increased considerably,but, not solely because of that.

It's mainly the language of Germanic origin,also of the Norse folk, such as Swedish,Norwegian,but also Belgium, Latin, Indian,French & Greek.

Latin was in common usage before the education system was established, it was widely used until recently, by doctors when writing prescriptions, by the legal profession, the Church of England,for which it's use was to intended to maintain the church's place of subjugating the poor to it's place in the 'pecking order' at the bottom.
By restricting the poor's ability to learn the language, thus, in understanding the language of the self-appointed 'elite', they(the church)retained their position as part of the three pillars of the 'establishment' & kept the poor in their place


It wasn't until the Middle Ages, that the reformer John Wycliff translated the Bible into Middle English, then in the early 1600's, the St James's Bible was printed then things began to change.
Not widely known to younger generations, but, the Church was the first 'educational' establishment, which is probably true elsewhere & with that 'education' , along came the inevitable questioning of authority.
It(English) has become, despite French efforts, more widely used in europe, for many people,French is like understanding chinese or Russian.

That highlights really, what language is, it is the means by which we communicate, there are of course non-oral languages that are commonly understood by most people globally & sign language is the main one.

I occasionally use(less often) Italian, though it still has it's core Romano-Greek roots, it's core Latin is still very evident, it's also very widely distributed into Latin America & any Italian would converse quite naturally with the aforementioned group of people.

All languages enrich our lives,particularly to those to whom we meet that have a different language, because there is a natural desire to converse with to understand each other & that is a very positive thing.
#15044545
I like Italian too @Nonsense. I do understand some of it. But it is a mistake to think if you speak Spanish fluently you will understand Italian easily. It varies a lot.
#15044558
Nonsense wrote:'English' is the language of international business,as such it's importance has increased considerably,but, not solely because of that.


You ever asked yourself why the US and the UK have such a big trade deficit? If their language is the language of business, the Brits and Americans should have an advantage, right?

That's because you are wrong, the language of business is not English, it is always the language of the customer. I have done business in Japan, and I can tell you that you won't sell if you don't serve your customers the Japanese way in Japanese.

It is estimated that the UK loses each year billions worth of trade because British businessmen expect their customers to speak English.
#15044561
Atlantis wrote:You ever asked yourself why the US and the UK have such a big trade deficit? If their language is the language of business, the Brits and Americans should have an advantage, right?

That's because you are wrong, the language of business is not English, it is always the language of the customer. I have done business in Japan, and I can tell you that you won't sell if you don't serve your customers the Japanese way in Japanese.

It is estimated that the UK loses each year billions worth of trade because British businessmen expect their customers to speak English.


That is true. They need to start expanding their stuff.
#15044567
Crantag wrote:Definitely yes. My native language is English, and I learned to speak Japanese fluently, through years of study in high school and college, and then years of living and studying in Japan. Japanese language and culture are both rather vastly different from English/American culture, and becoming proficient in Japanese I think requires a lot of adaptation of thinking. I used to quite frequently think in English about some matters and think in Japanese on other matters, depending on the ease of articulation and on the cultural context, if you will (I'm sure many here can relate). I haven't spoke Japanese regularly for going on 4 years, so this has stopped, and unfortunately my Japanese is getting worse (I can still converse easily in Japanese, but I find myself making a lot of silly grammatical mistakes when I have the chance to speak it).

I've been living in China for the past year and a half, and I've picked up some Mandarin (and had studied it a bit previously). It is interesting to compare it with Japanese, because Japanese inherited so much from Chinese/China. Japanese uses Chinese characters extensively, but the grammar is very different, so Japanese writing is like a sort of mismash. So only by studying Chinese, was it finally like 'ah hah, this is how it's supposed to work.' Chinese writing is very straight-forward, Japanese feels like different phrases glued together, in a way.

There are a lot of contrasts, and some complimentary aspects, between Chinese and Japanese cultures and worldviews, as well as customs, and I do feel that these are sometimes expressed through language, although I'm not sure I could make any real analysis of it; for one, my Mandarin is not that good. That said, I'm guessing you'll find this in different varieties of Chinese, as well.


I didn't speak until I was 2 either, as I was born deaf. I had surgery when I was 2, which was successful, and I never experienced any hearing problems since, but it certainly had a big impact on me growing up. I had a speech impediment due to this, which I eventually overcame through speech therapy, and I was picked on a lot because of it. I don't want to say I was bullied in school, because when someone crossed me over it I'd get enraged and I would fight back. It did often make me nervous to speak though when I was out and about; I got tired of people asking me which country I was from, thinking I had some European accent, etc. The real bullying started when I began hanging out with my sister's friends, who were mostly older, and made fun of me all the time.

This was a big motivation for me to learn Japanese well. I thought that if I could learn to speak a foreign language, it couldn't fail to positively influence my ability to speak English in a proper way. I remember having this idea from pretty early on. I think it worked, also. I suppose that learning a foreign language makes one more attuned to the matter of pronunciation, and perhaps expands one's repertoire, if you will. This matter might also be somewhat loosely related to the overall cognitive benefits of learning a foreign language (which is related to how it helps prevent dementia, and what not).

For what it's worth, people often compliment me on my Mandarin pronunciation. Too bad I'm too lazy to study vocabulary much, and the tones are quite a challenge. The tones are easy to pronounce, but difficult to remember. Vocabulary takes rote memorization, but then to associate the tones, simply takes practice. It's hard to study Chinese words, because I can practice saying the words, but I'll just forget the tones, and I often only really learn the proper tones by being corrected. When I butcher a word (do to wrong tone) and someone corrects me, I often remember it thereafter, but it's a slow process.

Edit: In Chinese, xi vs shi, qi vs chi, and ji vs zhi also kill me. I understand the differences and can pronounce each of these syllables, but I always forget to do so properly. The sounds shi, chi, and zhi aren't really common in English (they sort of exist in certain words, or similarities exist), but I always tend to revert to the more common English sounds, so I pronounce shi as xi, etc.

Chinese is not very complicated and the pronunciation is not at all insurmountable, but putting together all the pieces, and doing so in real-time, is challenging.

I also studied Korean, which to me is the most difficult among Japanese, Chinese and Korean. Korean pronunciation is a nightmare for me, and the absence of Chinese characters is actually a liability (if you look at a book from the 60s or before written in Korean it generally includes Chinese characters, but this went out of favor after the 60s and now written Korean is usually just hangul, although newspapers still use some hanja). Trying to read Korean in hangul is almost like reading Chinese in pinyin, or more so like reading Japanese in just hiragana.


I am always impressed by people who know Japanese. But being Chinese, I prefer the Mandarin and I understand the hate between Japan and China.

My Chinese accent is bad according to my parents. I think it is pretty ok, I have an ear for languages. I imitate pretty well and my memory is pretty good. I like watching Chinese dramas to expand my vocabulary. I cannot learn from a book these days, cannot focus that well since I am often busy or distracted.

I am glad your surgery was a success. I too went through speech therapy and had some cognitive training like for noticing patterns and sequencing of events. My dad spoke late and he is not good at communicating. Fortunately my mom is great at communication and she passed along that trait to me, I still had to develop it though.

I considered being a speech therapist. It is hard to live and struggle to talk. At times when I get excited or thoughtful, my speech does kind of stutter. I will start a sentence, the words start to jumble up or I stop in mid sentence and try to start again. But most will get impatient and talk over me, so rude. I need a sign saying I am not done speaking yet. It is like my thoughts run too fast for my mouth to form the words. Luckily I am seldom that excited.

I have watched some Korean dramas. The language is cool. I have not really learned it though. I am trying to focus on Spanish and Mandarin, I want to be fluent in both someday.
#15044568
Atlantis wrote:You ever asked yourself why the US and the UK have such a big trade deficit? If their language is the language of business, the Brits and Americans should have an advantage, right?

That's because you are wrong, the language of business is not English, it is always the language of the customer. I have done business in Japan, and I can tell you that you won't sell if you don't serve your customers the Japanese way in Japanese.

It is estimated that the UK loses each year billions worth of trade because British businessmen expect their customers to speak English.



It is generally accepted in the world of business that English is the language of trade(business), you are talking about a singular country & it's own particular business culture, of which the English are more than familiar with.

In business, the customer isn't just at the retail end,but is also at the trading end, which is where English comes in.

It's nonsensical to equate trade deficits with supposed 'advantages', all they indicate is simple imbalances in the trading position over a period,connecting that to the English language is ridiculous,I don't know where you get your figures from either,but there you go.

English is the lingua franca of international language, anyone who has travelled,has,at some point used it abroad,it's used by some 2 billion people worldwide,more than half of which is practised daily & is a second language being learnt or used by the rest

English has the widest vocabulary of any language,so it makes perfect sense to use it wherever it is, for whatever purpose,whether academic,business,science,medicine,social networking,politics, in any sphere of life, there's a place for the language in which to communicate effectively & with equality.
British companies, like any other, do not expect to use native language when negotiating deals abroad, this is 21 century,but again, I have to tell you that Britain is one of the oldest global players in the market of international trading.
It is what the empire was built upon, for example, in India,China,North America,Africa, Argentina etc, wherever trade was to be done, GB was there.
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