How many languages do you know?

United States
July 30, 2008 12:57pm CST
I am fluent in one language. English. I took two semesters of Spanish in high school and one in college. I am in no way fluent though. I can understand a lot of what is being said but don't know how to answer. I am able to piece it together because I know alot of vocabulary. My husband on the other hand is fluent in both English and Spanish. His first language was Spanish. He learned English at school and through watching television when he was little. He has no accent and speaks English perfectly, so clearly that other Spanish speakers have spoken Spanish in front of him not expecting him to understand what they are saying. This happened at Target when we first moved to New Jersey. He asked a couple of the women working there for help. They started complaining to one another in Spanish. To their surprise and embarrassment, he let them know quickly that he understood every word that they said. I bet they think twice next time! I really want him to teach our daughter Spanish but so far that isn't happening. He says that he forgets to speak to her in Spanish because I don't and he isn't around anyone else that does. I understand that but I feel like her window of learning a new language is closing rapidly. She is only 2 now and could easily pick it up. My husband is military and we were supposed to move to Italy which scared me because I don't know any Italian. On the other hand, I feel like the only way I am going to learn a new language now is to be completely immersed in it. So, for those of you that are bi-lingual or multi-lingual...how many languages do you speak? When and how did you learn them? For those of you that are not...do you want to learn another language? Have you taken any steps to learn one?
19 people like this
67 responses
@munhozmib (3730)
• Sao Paulo, Brazil
31 Jul 08
Hello, moneyandgc! Well, that's pretty great that your husband can speak two languages. I can also speak two languages: Portuguese and English. Now, Portuguese is my native language so I really have it mastered. There are still lots and lots of things to learn, because it is a really complex language, but I can talk to others and all perfectly. I am also good at it, I make almost no mistakes. Now, my English is just like you can read. I can communicate and all, perhaps with more mistakes, but I can't speak it pretty well. I think that an American would understand me, though. I also understand Spanish if the person says in a not very hard language, I just cannot answer it, hahahaha. Respectfully, Munhozmib.
3 people like this
• United States
4 Aug 08
Well, you write English very well. I am sure I would be able to understand you if you were speaking too. I can understand quite a bit of Spanish as long as they don't talk too fast.
2 people like this
@alpha7 (1910)
• France
4 Aug 08
It means you're just learning the language.
@munhozmib (3730)
• Sao Paulo, Brazil
4 Aug 08
The main problem is that Spanish speakers usually talk fast, ahahahaha. But hey, you can still understand movies and other things if they speak slower, so that's great!
@awapak (1277)
• Pakistan
30 Jul 08
Thanks for asking this question.My mother language is Punjabi and the national language is Urdu.i know english and want to learn Arabic,being the language of the Holy Quran and the Heavens..........
• United States
4 Aug 08
You're welcome. We have been discussing going to Dubai for a year long tour. If that happens then I would also like to learn some Arabic before leaving and continue to learn while I am there.
2 people like this
@awapak (1277)
• Pakistan
10 Aug 08
That is a great idea.Learning new languages is a good habit.I also want to visit Saudi Arabia to perform Haj or Umra.That is a great place for all the Muslims to visit.Most of us desire to die and get buried in that sacred land........
@Elixiress (3893)
30 Jul 08
I know English as my first language and it is the only language that I actually ever use. I do know a little bit of German from school. I studied it for five years and achieved a B grade as I was not very good at it. I was quite lucky to even get a B.
3 people like this
• United States
4 Aug 08
I would love to learn German some day. My family has a German background. Our school only offered Spanish or French when I was growing up. If we move to Germany I am going to do my best to try and learn the language.
1 person likes this
@Elixiress (3893)
5 Aug 08
My school offered German and French and we were forced to do one of them (did not get a choice between them) but I would have loved to have done Spanish. It would be useful on holiday.
@karmendra (1123)
• India
30 Jul 08
i know Hindi, Urdu and English. but i am fluent in Hindi only.. i know some reginal language of my state.. some time i thought that i should learn more languages like German, Turkish,, but first of all i have to correct my English.. have a good day..
3 people like this
• United States
31 Jul 08
You do very well! You know two more languages than I do and your English is really good considering it is not your first language.
2 people like this
@karmendra (1123)
• India
31 Jul 08
i can write English but when i speak,, sometime i feel bad about it..
• United States
31 Jul 08
I only know English and sometimes I can't even speak that. LOL. I want to learn dutch though.
3 people like this
• United States
26 Aug 08
I know what you are talking about! I feel that way myself sometimes! LOL
• Canada
31 Jul 08
I live in Quebec, so I know a good deal of French to get around here even though I am a native English-speaker originally from Pennsylvania. I've been learning French for eight years and I manage just fine after moving to Quebec three years ago. I took Spanish for one semester and I wasn't too interested as I thought I would be. I was lazy and usually bored. German was more entertaining, but the classes lasting over two and half hours from 8pm until 10:45pm really wore me out. So I have two years of German studies and I get the basics of it. I understand Catalan much easier than German or Spanish because it's more straightforward and more similar to French. I had my Icelandic moment a couple years ago, but I'm starting to forget the very basic grammar (knowing which case endings to use...). My boyfriend speaks Vietnamese and French as native languages. Him and his family speak Vietnamese a lot, so I managed to pick up some words, usually food terms like knowing how to say "rice, spring rolls, rice soup, fish sauce, etc." in Vietnamese. I hope I can learn more in the future. It would be nice to learn more Finnish, Icelandic, and Catalan in the future as my goals.
3 people like this
• United States
4 Aug 08
You have quite a bit of language experience! I am hoping that I can learn a new language through where we move next. I have tried listening to CD's but it just doesn't stick with me very long. My husband's whole family speak Spanish fluently so if we move close to them I should be able to learn more.
• China
31 Jul 08
For me, I'm fluent in Mandarin and Suzhou Dialect. And I learnt English from primary school, but still be poor in oral and listening skills. In addition, I'm going to learn Japanese. But now I just can speak a few sentences in Japanese, such as good morning, hello, etc.
3 people like this
• United States
26 Aug 08
Well you are farther along in learning other languages than I am! I wish we were taught other languages here much younger than we are. We really weren't given much education on other languages until we got to high school. And, in my high school we were only given Spanish and French as options.
@jossml (464)
• Puerto Rico
30 Jul 08
I Know only two languages English and Spanish. But I want to learn a third one, if I have the time. It is great to know what people are talking about when you travel or visit other country.
3 people like this
• United States
26 Aug 08
I am a little worried about that part of it. If I travel abroad I want to have somewhat of a working knowledge of the language there. In Spanish speaking countries I would be okay but nowhere else.
@Scarrlet (168)
• Ukraine
30 Jul 08
My native language is Ukrainian, and I am also fluent in Russian and English. I have learned Russian because of having lots of mass media in this language in my country. I've been studying English from the age of 6, and also got my Bachelor's degree in the English-speaking university. I have some knowledge in German and Spanish too, because i also studied them at school. but my classes for these language weren't intense, that's why i can understand very few things.
• United States
4 Aug 08
I was going to take a beginning Russian class in college. But I ended up moving and my new school didn't offer it. I would still like to learn it one day though.
1 person likes this
@snowy22315 (26693)
• United States
30 Jul 08
I am only fluent in English. I took Spanish in HS and French in college. I do not speak either language but i could probably stumble along in them if I had to. I can read it alittle more than I speak it. I am alittle more familiar with Spanish than French just from being in this culture. Itried taking conversational spanish 2 at a community college but I missed the first two classes and couldnt get caught up.
3 people like this
• United States
4 Aug 08
I am better at Spanish too since I took it in school and all of my husband's family are fluent. I know only a handful of words in French.
1 person likes this
@luvstochat (6916)
• United States
30 Jul 08
I only know English. I know a few Spanish words but that is all I can't understand the language when it is being spoken. My son has started to learn Spanish at school and he is always teaching me some new words in it. I would like to know how to speak it though.
3 people like this
• United States
4 Aug 08
I remember taking the Intro to Spanish course in middle school. I came home and taught it all to my younger sister. When she had to take it 2 years later she already knew most of what they were teaching.
1 person likes this
@skinnychick (6937)
• United States
30 Jul 08
I speak English but I also am fluent in Serbian. I know a little Spanish and the guys at work are teaching me a little every day. I'm hoping it will add up and I will someday be fluent in Spanish as well.
3 people like this
• United States
31 Jul 08
Thats good! My husband has taught me quite a bit of Spanish, but then we forget all about doing it and if I don't practice then I lose it.
1 person likes this
@lrglara (1343)
• Philippines
30 Jul 08
i know 2 languages... Filipino (tagalog) which is our native language and English! i want to learn a little bit of arabic because im in the middle east and its hard to communicate here because not all of the people here knows how to speak english... :(
3 people like this
• United States
31 Jul 08
We checked out the Rosetta Stone in Arabic from the library last year. It was a bit difficult...especially the written! That is one that I would have to be immersed in for sure!
1 person likes this
• United States
30 Jul 08
I am only really fluent in English. I have learned French in middle school and took a semester of it in High School my freshman year. I think I want to try to master it so I can actually speak it, but it has been a while ago. I can only pick up on a few things now. I would have to constantly refresh my memory. I also want to learn Spanish because I live in South Florida right now and there are a lot of Spanish speaking people around. It would be easier to communicate with them. It is also helpful when applying for jobs.
3 people like this
• United States
31 Jul 08
We took French and Spanish in middle school but they were only a couple of weeks long a piece. Kind of an introduction so we knew what we wanted to take in high school.
1 person likes this
@dogsnme (1238)
• United States
30 Jul 08
I only know English. But, I'd like to learn German.
3 people like this
• United States
31 Jul 08
I'd like to learn German too!
1 person likes this
@gr8life (6253)
• Malaysia
31 Jul 08
Hello moneyandgc, I only speak my mother tongue language and English. I am working for a Japanese company for over 10 years and still couldn't speak the language. I am a bit lazy to learn new language but I do wish to learn one or two new languages. My husband speaks English, Russian, and Uzbek fluently. He can understand a bit Polish language, Turkish and my own language. Like you, I also want him to teach our two years old son his language but he gave the same reason - no one speaks like him here. At this moment, my son can only understand two languages.
3 people like this
• China
31 Jul 08
only English and Chinese; and a bit Japanese; but, I really really wanna learn Spanish; however, it is said it is not easy to learn:(
3 people like this
@gigarange (1165)
• United States
30 Jul 08
I am fluent in Filipino and English. I know a little Spanish and Japanese through self study but I'm not fluent with it yet, just conversational. I'm starting to learn German and French, I know I won't be fluent with these languages, but it's okay as long as I can converse a little.
3 people like this
@pinkista (892)
• Philippines
30 Jul 08
My native language is Tagalog and I can speak english too. Now, I seriously want to learn japanese and korean language 'coz I really like their language and even their culture. Hoping that one day I'll visit their country and speak fluently using their language.
3 people like this
@twoey68 (13662)
• United States
31 Jul 08
Actually, only English. I know a couple of words of spanish and a few of Mandarin simply from listening to songs. I'm not very good at learning other languages but then I don't travel to other countries so I guess it doesn't matter. **AT PEACE WITHIN** ~~STAND STRONG IN YOUR BELIEFS~~
2 people like this