Author: cleopatra

Do all of you believe in a girl who masters more than six languages? [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2005-12-31 15:43:08 |Display all floors
all of you makes me feel funny!

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Post time 2005-12-31 20:40:03 |Display all floors

there are always exceptions

If there is a einstein in history its not that impossible with a language genius.  Furthermore there are people with photographic memory they amaze me even more

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Post time 2006-1-1 14:50:02 |Display all floors
Its funny you should ask this question. If I remember correctly, cleopatra of Egypt was fluent in 6 or 7
languages.:)

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Post time 2006-1-2 18:34:59 |Display all floors

Mastering multiple languages?

I think it is quite possible for someone to be reasonably fluent in a number of languages.
Maybe they are not capable of some literary epic in all the languages, but fluent enough to read a newspaper and carry on a conversation with someone.

It also needs to be considered which languages the person is fluent in.

It is said that Spanish and German are the easiest languages for a native English speaker to learn.
On a work trip to Spain some years ago, a colleague of mine, who is of Italian background, carried on a conversation with a Castillian Spanish speaker. My colleague spoke Italian and the Spaniard spoke Spanish and they were mutually intelligible apart from a few words (we were having dinner and "mangiare" appeared to offend the Spaniard until we figured out that the castillian equivalent was "comte")
Swedes, Danes and Norwegians speak languages supposedly very similar. Is someone who communicates well with people from those three countries credited with speaking three languages?
Russian, Ukrainian and Polish languages share some similarities and words, they are all "slavic" languages.  English derives many words from both the French and German languages as well as old Norse.
An English speaker learning French, German or Swedish has a head start compared to one learning a totally unrelated (non Indo-European) language such as  Finnish or Hungarian, or further afield Chinese or Japanese.

The greatest challenge, one would assume, would be for an English speaker to learn to speak a number of totally unrelated languages, say, Finnish, Chinese, Arabic (but not Indo-European Farsi), an African language (such as Nkosi) and an American native language like Navajo and maybe Arrernte (Australian Aboriginal).

Now wouldn't that sort the true polyglots out from the rest of the rabble <g>.

Someone with far more knowledge of linguistics and how the brain operates with language may be able to inform us as to whether languages being related makes it easier to learn (when speaking 3 or more) or if it makes it harder.


Cheers
JB

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Post time 2006-1-2 19:19:29 |Display all floors

he

u need to go and see her, talk face to face, then find out more things,

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Post time 2006-1-3 03:45:08 |Display all floors
"""Someone with far more knowledge of linguistics and how the brain operates with language may be able to inform us as to whether languages being related makes it easier to learn (when speaking 3 or more) or if it makes it harder."""

I wouldn't say I have "far more" knowledge of linguistics, but from what I've read (and only minutely experienced) it is far easier to learn a related language than an unrelated one. I only speak English fluently, but I have had classes in Spanish & French in school (forgot them by now) and now I'm learning Chinese now as an adult. Learning chinese is way more difficult in a lot of ways. A lot of European languages have the same roots, therefore, even though I don't speak those other languages, I can see some of the similarities and I will most likely remember the vocabluary better, or can at least guess better if necessary. I will probably have any easier time with pronunciation. That isn't to say there aren't other challenges though.
With Chinese however, EVERYTHING is different. Even when I think I'm making the same sound, a Chinese person will keep correcting me as if I'm not quite getting it yet. The written hanzi may as well be from another planet, and the vocabulary is unrelated to anything in my language.

By contrast, if I were to study French again (and i did look at a textbook recently for my son) I'd recognize a lot of words or word-parts. The sentence structure is similar to mine, there are no tones... (can't stand masc/fem or conjugation though).  After studying Chinese for a while, the French book looked like a cakewalk and I thought "man, maybe I should study French again too, it looks so easy, I could learn this in no time!"
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A book of mine called "how to learn any language" says that the easiest language to learn is Indonesian, and the most difficult is Hungarian.
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There is a language method where students learn as many as a dozen languages at the SAME TIME.
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ORIGINAL POSTER:
I believe it that the girl can speak those languages. It is certainly POSSIBLE, so unless you have reason to believe she is lying, I'd believe her. Ask to hear some out of curiosity, in a playful way if you aren't sure. As someone said, maybe she is exaggerating a little (or you misunderstood) and she can only speak a little bit in some of them. We can't tell from here, but it's not impossible. Difficult, maybe rare at that age, but certainly not impossible. Some children grow up hearing 2-3 languages in the home. Add 1-2 more from school, 1-3 more from friends or personal interest, and you've got a lot of languages.

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Post time 2006-1-3 07:32:14 |Display all floors
Originally posted by freakyqi at 2006-1-3 05:45
I wouldn't say I have "far more" knowledge of linguistics, but from what I've read (and only minutely experienced) it is far easier to learn a related language than an unrelated one.


Thanks freakyqi, it's kinda what I thought, but didn't know if some neuro-linguistics freak would point to parts of the brain which worked better when languages were unrelated.

I find it easier to remember German and French words when they are similar to the equivalent word in English.
While I find french pronunciation difficult to get right and I understand more German than I do french, I do find it a little easier to get the gist of what's going on when looking at french/spanish/italian (like in those camera instruction manuals etc).

A book of mine called "how to learn any language" says that the easiest language to learn is Indonesian, and the most difficult is Hungarian.


Now that you bring it up, I think I have also heard similar said about Indonesian. It is something becoming more commonly taught in schools here in Australia.
As for Hungarian, well being (along with Finnish and Estonian) from the totally unrelated Finno-Ugric language group it's about as foreign as one can get.
On the TV here in Australia we have a channel which shows news bulletins from various international broadcasters. I can sit through Russian, Greek, German and French and the odd word pops up which is recongnisable. With Hungarian, it is simply a continuous babble of noise which fires off no neurons of recognition in my brain!

A former colleague of mine who was from Zagreb (Croatia) told be of his travels late in the cold war era, when he'd travel through Hungary to Austria or Germany to buy computers for his graphics work. He said that when passing through Hungary all possibility of communication came to a stop. There was nothing in common linguistically.
I mean no offense to anyone of Magyar descent, I have friends and colleagues who are of Hungarian heritage and speak the language of their parents. But it is interesting to have these few pockets of language "oddities" within Europe.

Cheers
JB

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