How often do you use your non-native language(s)?


I’m a Dutch native and I also know English.
A while ago someone asked me whether I speak English at home because my English looked so good. My answer was no, I actually rarely really speak English. The only times I speak English are when I’m on holiday or when I happen to talk with a friend from an other country.
As for reading and writing I use English daily. I visit English internet sites and next to that I prefer reading books in English if the author is English/American most of the time.
So long story short, my English writing/reading is a lot better then my speech and sometimes I’m nervous when I need to speak English because the words don’t always come out as planned… so annoying.

Since The Netherlands is a multi cultural country I know there are also quite a lot of households who do live here but speak let’s say Turkish indoors and among their family and Turkish friends and Dutch for everything else. Sometimes children who are born here don’t even learn Dutch before they go to school which can give serious problems because they miss the basic knowledge for their age.

How about you?
And in the case of being raised bilingual, who did teach you the other language?
Or maybe one of the languages you know became rusty because you don’t speak it anymore?


For me, I can say that I have 2 native languages : My mom is Swiss and my dad is Korean, so I’m fluent in Korean and French. But I use English waaay more than those two languages.
My dad taught me Korean, then I moved in Korea when I was ten, so I speak Korean more than French now I guess. So I’m lacking on French vocabuary since I don’t live with my mom, that’s why I took French as an option in school.
When I’m writing an essay, I always think in English, I mean, I can’t find the actual Korean/French word at first, it always comes out in English.


I couldn’t have said it better. English is in my everyday life, apart from the translations here on viki, i read books and newspapers which are originally anglophone. I’m Greek, but when i’m on my own, i rarely use my native language. Having friends from other countries, depends equally on the use of oral and written communication of english. However my friends are from non native english countries, so my spoken language isn’t as trained as my written one (because there isn’t someone to correct you and the english you’re hearing aren’t always right).
Regarding french, the other non native language that i know, I don’t really possess this language, but maybe in the future there’ll be a stimulus which will make me nurture it more.


Definitely, in real life I only use Romanian, unless there’s a tourist who asks for directions and then I can show off :smile:
But on the internet, I speak mostly in English, with bits of Spanish and French. I think my French is rusty, but that’s because I don’t exercise it like I should.

But I think I have rekindled with my French notions, by watching “La Belle et la Bête”, the 2014 version. Loved the atmosphere, although I wanted more from the story.


My native language is Kurdish. I was born in Germany, I am not German but I can speak German like my native language. Beside them I speak turkish with my friend. I use english the whole day. I read books in english I am on Viki. In addition to that I talk to close friends in english. When I think about it I don’t watch German Tv anymore just english series or Asian dramas with english subs.
So English became a important language to me.
I have to add that my English skills were worse one year ago and that I improved my english skills a lot, at least in writing. I can see that looking at my English grades at school. Unfortunately I can’t speak English well… when I try to I forget the easiest words and I say them wrong. Still have to practice that tho I never tried to have a conversation in English except when I was in England last year for a week. I had to speak when I was hungry :smiley:


I was born in Kazakhstan but moved to Germany when I was one year old. I actually consider both russian and german as my native language. I’m more confident in my german simply because I went to school and “properly” learned the language. Since my whole Family speaks russian I picked it up as I was young. But I only learned to read 2 years ago. At home I speak a mix of german and russian. I try to speak more russian so that I can improve it since I’m still missing a bit of vocabulary.

As for english, I also use it to watch stuff on viki, to read books or generally on the net. I don’t speak so often since the people around me aren’t that fluent. Nowadays I even think that my english is better than my russian.


My native language is Croatian. I was born and raised there, and five years ago, when it was time to take a PhD, I moved to Norway. I use English literally on a daily basis (because, shamefully, my Norwegian is terrible even after all this time). Since I’m a scientist, my community is well-versed in the language. I have a thick American accent and my first year in Norway I managed to “fool” quite a bit of people around me that I was American. Since Norwegians are exceptionally polite people, some did not ask me where I was from until a few months later!

I must admit that I didn’t learn English this well because of school and my English teachers (though, they were all really excellent). I’m a child of television. My parents never set any bounds for me when it came to watching TV, and today I am most grateful to them for that. We don’t dub foreign programs, as some European countries do. So, while watching MASH on TV, I learned both how to read faster and started to hear and connect english words and sounds to what was written in the subtitles.

And same thing happened with Spanish. Though I don’t speak it very well, lots and lots of telenovelas while growing up have thought me to understand the spoken language.

Therefore, I always say that TV has taught me all the foreign languages I know! :slight_smile:


Hunger is a gooood motivation. :slight_smile:


I totally forgot to mention I prefer watching things here on Viki with English subs. I do sub in Dutch from time to time but I never watch anything with Dutch subs here, only for checking if there is an extra break needed for better readability. Lucky things are not dubbed here either except some stuff for children of course.

Interesting stories so far :smile:


Yeah, I don’t read Croatian subs either. Double translation inevitably loses some of dialogues’ originality in the dramas.


@Dudie Ouuu great topic!

Warning: History Story
Okay so here is the thing about me. I come from an Arabic country that was colonized by both French and English people.
When mom was my age, the widely used language here besides Arabic, was French, and English as a third language. Most schools taught in French and a minority in English and a little to none in Arabic. Arabic was ans still is just an Arabic language class. Nowadays, English is more popular, French is classy. But since mom was responsible for my education she put me in a French school. Hence why I can speak French well. I actually passed the French baccalaureate, the same one they do in France. Also lately English is becoming a must for international communication. Hence why I learned it well and I’m now attending an English University.

But the funny thing is… I have no idea which one of these three I speak the most. It’s like I speak all of them at the same time. That’s actually what all Lebanese/Algerian/Moroccan people would say. We can include words from all three languages in one sentence lol.
Even with my parents. One minute I speak Arabic then I switch to French or English and it’s really without even noticing it.
The only time I have to be careful is when talking with elders. They kind of feel offended if you don’t address them in Arabic.

Well actually over here… you have to speak all three or you will be considered as “uneducated”.
Like for example, even people who are English educated and who never had French classes. They all know like basic French words and sentences etc at least. It’s quite weird and nice at the same time. One of the things I love the most about this country.

But for reading and writing. Well I don’t like Arabic… I prefer English then French. Well mostly English. I think my Arabic and French writing style seriously need improvements though… haven’t practiced for too long. x.x

Gosh I wrote too much :confused:



Well, for me? I’m Brazilian. Talking about mix of people? That’s us. My family has: Italian, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Armenian blood and nationality. Beside Brazilian (me :D).

Do people usually speak other language here… depends. But I do know on thing, I love my family blood mess.

Things for me are funny, I never really had english classes, beside the bad ones in high school.
And I got to tell you guys…those classes, never left the “Verb To be” lesson. How I learned? Simple, I begin to love reading…
About when I was 10-11yrs old. my mom (teacher) started making those fun competitions between me and my brother about who could read faster… and then… I started loving it. ( I blame half of it on H.P. believe it or not)
The thing is? Here in Brazil, the translating process takes a D*mn long time. More that the writer writing.
I never could wait, knowing that the book was out there…
So I started buying the english version of those books and translating word by word until I could have a grasp of it…
Then when the Computer got popular and accessible from home and we had all those “forums” to look at and be part of…I started reading and looking for new books more and more. Then, mangas…animes…and finally Dramas/telenovelas. Short but so good.

One thing about Telenovelas in Brazil? The is not one that is less that 200 episodes. So 40 episodes for me? Piece of cake

Today I got a Bachelor Degree at Tourism, Entertainment & Economics to show, so finally answering your question. I use English a Lot everyday at work. I also got the chance to work for some time at Disney Co.
Sometimes I use more english and spanish (a little of french and italian) that my own language. Portuguese (Br).

So…I think that’s it. phew! Sorry about the Book. LoL

PS: Oh yeah. Nowdays. I also prefer watching and reading things in english that portuguese. Don’t ask me why. Duno.


Wow! Great story.
I love your family’s mess as well :stuck_out_tongue:

I know how bad English can be taught in Brazil, so wow you’re great! Few can write this way with great grammar!! :wink:


Hahah, you mean long, long story? :smile: Thanks a Lot Wafaahs.

I think I’m still learning english, a long way to go yet… with grammar and the correct spelling. But, It gets me where I need at the moment.
Now, I’m planning to improve my french 'cause my dad’s always bugging me about it. So in 20 days I’ll be moving to Montreal, CA. :smiley:


Well I can see your English is great. :wink:

Ohh cool! Enjoy your new home!! And well although French is tough. But it’s a nice language. I love it!!
Good luck!


It is. really, really tough. But I’ll learn! :smile:
One thing I noticed. Same as you, almost everyone here speak at least 2 more languages. That’s amazing.


All of you wirte English very well. Better than native speakers because you are well educated.

I am an American and a native English speaker. When I grew up, my father worked for the Peace Corps, so we lived in Central America (mostly Costa Rica) for quite a while. My mother home-schooled us. My sister and I became quite fluent in Spanish. When we returned to the States, I continued with Spanish in school so I could learn how to write it.I even did Spanish AP and took some literature courses in college.

However, my college major required two foreign languages, so I started German. I absolutely fell in love with the language. I lived in Hamburg and Berlin for 18 months to help me be able to speak.

Now, at my work, I speak German every time I am there. I work in a National Park in California and lots of European visitors come to see the beautiful scenery. Many times I speak German with non-Germans who speak German better than English. Just yesterday I helped some Germans find some products at the supermarket.

I also am in a German book club at the Goethe Institute. We have a group who gets together at a cafe to speak German twice a week. It’s a mix of ex-pats and German learners. I write German subs when I have time to sit at the computer. If I wanted to, I could also attend other German activities every day. Just not enough time.

So, in short, I would say I read, write, hear, and speak German,my non-native language, every single day.

PS–And I’m glad that English is my native language because I can’t even imagine trying to learn it as a second language. It is so hard!


Wow. Amazing Ktiep!
I believe that english is even easier if you think about all the rules in some other languages.
My two BFFs here in Brazil did some German classes and then one of then went to stay at Frankfurt with his family. I think is a really cool language. Sadly my own knowledge is only the number 20 and thank you. :stuck_out_tongue:


And not once did youmention what country your from(so I can love it too)! Let me guess, is it Lebanon?


I don’t have many occasions to practice foreign languages , in real life I don’t use a non-native language, except maybe when traveling abroad for a short time, on vacation and that’s not so often. Although I didn’t studied properly English ( I’ve learned French and German in school), I’ve been exposed to English since I was a child, so English sounds familiar to me. Foreign movies, TV documentaries and series were never dubbed. Seeing  the translation in front of me gave me a good level of understanding over time and challenged myself to only listening and not read the subtitles! I use to read newspapers and magazines in English, I try to read in English at every opportunity that I have , I even turn daily on Euronews. Being aware of my lacking of grammatical knowledge I was reluctant to chat on Viki and participate on discussions. I didn’t want to be perceived as an idiot who didn’t make it out of grade school :slight_smile: I have a keen sense of intuition, I  feel when I’m not using the proper tense or mode of the verb (it just doesn’t “sound” well) but in that particular moment  I cannot remember how am I supposed to say it, how I heard others speaking. I’m always focused on phonetics than grammar, cause I’m used to listen English. But people here are more patient than I though and three or four months ago (I think) I even received a private message from a user who commend my English saying that she wished her classmets could express themselves half as well. Wow ….from that moment, I tried to keep the conversation going and stop thinking I’m annoying people with my mistakes saying to myself “they will understand the meaning”. I become more confident with writing in English because of Viki.  My operation system is in English, my profile is in English , I even watch dramas with English subtitles although there are Romanian subtitles also.