Languages We Speak

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Oh, I took the title of the thread at its word: "languages we speak" :p
Aaaah, I see. ;) Well, logical. I had enlarged it to languages I knew. So, I speak one language: French.
By the way, Aurifex's command of Chinese is astonishingly impressive. He ran circles around me in the Chinese thread with his characters :eek:
Aha. Aurifex's command of many things is astonishingly impressive.
 

Arca Defectionis

Civis Illustris
Aaaah, I see. ;) Well, logical. I had enlarged it to languages I knew. So, I speak one language: French.
I can understand where you're coming from. In every language I've studied, I'm far better at reading than at speaking, with the exception of Japanese and Chinese. Those characters are quite hard. :p

Aha. Aurifex's command of many things is astonishingly impressive.

True. I sometimes wonder just how many languages he knows. It's pretty clear he's quite competent in French, Greek, and Chinese, and he's implied that he knows German and Spanish also. (and I think Russian?)

I do know that he barely speaks a word of Welsh ;)
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I'm wondering the same thing; I think he knows a pretty great nice bunch of languages, but I wonder who of you two beats whom (age taken into account).
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Yes. So we have a wonder trio...
 

Arca Defectionis

Civis Illustris
I'm wondering the same thing; I think he knows a pretty great nice bunch of languages, but I wonder who of you two beats whom.
Well, counting languages isn't really a fair test. Even if he only knew Latin, he would "beat" me, with his command of Latin being so much more advanced. Your command of Latin, by the way, has also become something else. You've always been quite good at it (since I joined the forum, that is), but you've thrown yourself into it - something for which you have criticized yourself. But to know a language inside and out is, without a doubt, better than knowing the basics of a few languages. ;)


IR is another wonder.

He keeps such a low profile that I've only ever had reason to suspect he knew Latin and Greek. It's quite something if he actually knows a whole bunch, but I can totally see it haha.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
Well, counting languages isn't really a fair test. Even if he only knew Latin, he would "beat" me, with his command of Latin being so much more advanced. Your command of Latin, by the way, has also become something else. You've always been quite good at it (since I joined the forum, that is), but you've thrown yourself into it - something for which you have criticized yourself. But to know a language inside and out is, without a doubt, better than knowing the basics of a few languages. ;)
Yes of course, counting isn't everything. But it's still something...:D As far as I'm able to judge, I think he knows Latin more in depth than you, but your Latin is still at a good level and on the other hand you know a little of everything, and just have a huge culture, at least for what concerns linguistics in general. So does he in fact, but since you read my post I've edited it and added "age taken into account".
He keeps such a low profile that I've only ever had reason to suspect he knew Latin and Greek. It's quite something if he actually knows a whole bunch, but I can totally see it haha.
You must just not have been there at the right times then I think, and have missed his "magistral posts"... I swear you he's a top-rank.
 

tim05000

Member
Native English.
Conversational Finnish through my parents.
Conversational Mandarin through study.
Very little Latin despite a year of self-study.
Will begin ancient Greek eventually.

Mandarin's the easiest language I've learned by far. Its monosyllable words and absence of any inflections or cases make it so much easier for me to grasp, remember and therefore progress. The characters take years to learn, but it's quite relaxing because learning them doesn't require active brain power since they're pictures, unlike abstract alphabets. It just requires passive patience. The reasons some people find Chinese hard are the reasons I find it easier, whilst I find all European languages difficult for the very reasons Westerners find European languages easier. And I'm a Westerner.

I'm learning Latin to better understand English. Right now English to me is a series of arbitrary sounds with meanings perfunctorily attached to them. By knowing Latin, my understanding of English becomes richer and more meaningful as I come to understand from where most educated English words derive, and understand subtle nuances that only the etymology can provide.
 

Aurifex

Aedilis
Staff member
Mandarin's the easiest language I've learned by far.
For a different view, have a look here.
The chief frustration for me, besides the labour involved in learning and trying to remember the thousands of characters, is that there are only about 400 different spoken monosyllables in the language. Vocabulary is expanded by applying the 4 different tones (5 if we include unaccented words) to the monosyllables and by combining monosyllables in seemingly limitless ways. In my early days of learning Chinese, I can remember listening to a conversation between two native speakers and being struck by the fact that although I recognized nearly every single word (i.e. monosyllable) being spoken, I hadn't got a clue what was actually being said.
 

Lyceum

Member
I've never really counted and wouldn't know how, especially since I pick up and drop languages as and when I need them. I'm not really a fan of languages, also almost everything I know is connected to ancient languages in someway, even if just to read the scholarship.

So, I have English, (modern) Greek, Hindi, Punjabi and enough German, French and Italian to read articles and in the later two cases get around the countries using said languages. Apparently as a child I used to know some Swahili but I recall very very little and I've only a small bit left of Japanese which I tried for a while but life forced me to drop.

My main area is dead languages though. Latin, Greek and Sanskrit being the focus but also largely thanks to Sanskrit I can get by in Pali and one or two Prakrits as well as Avestan and what little is left of old Persian (not enough to say "know"). Other than that most of the languages we've worked on really aren't something you'd say you know because of how fragmented they are, so old Italic dialects, Luwian and so on. These I pick and drop variously.

I'm currently working on Sumerian, but my real goal is to pick up and master one or two difficult modern spoken languages but my studies demand too much time as it is. I'd love to master Japanese or Mandarin or Arabic.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I think we have a hybrid creature between Imber Ranae and Arca Defectionis among us.

Remoto Ioco - all that must really be interesting.
 

Mettius

Member
Aspect plays an important role in the Russian verb system. But it's not like Hebrew, for example, which altogether lacks tenses like "present". Every verb in that language is considered to be either perfect or imperfect.
Who told you those lies?
Hebrew has three tenses: past, present and future (although the present is somewhere between a noun and a verb). It has no distinction at all between imperfect and perfect, nor any other kind of aspect.
Thus "הוא הלך" might mean "he went", "he was going", "he has gone", "he has been going", "he had gone" or "he had been going".
 

Imber Ranae

Ranunculus Iracundus
Who told you those lies?
Hebrew has three tenses: past, present and future (although the present is somewhere between a noun and a verb). It has no distinction at all between imperfect and perfect, nor any other kind of aspect.
Thus "הוא הלך" might mean "he went", "he was going", "he has gone", "he has been going", "he had gone" or "he had been going".
He means Ancient Hebrew. Modern Hebrew is quite a bit different in that respect.
 

Claudilla

Active Member
Native English speaker, had French and German in school as a child, but didn't keep the German up. Russian in high school and uni, then in uni added Italian. A year of Japanese. Then German again for grad school. And now trying to really learn Latin, deeply. I definitely want to learn Greek. If I can eventually master the last 2 I will be extremely happy and satisfied.
 

Alphege

New Member
This thread is amusing. Star Trek and Middle Earth I don't speak.

Castilian , French, Portuguese , Italian , Mandarin Chinese : I speak none of these.

I speak only English.
 
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