Well, I guess I learned many languages to some extent, but by far didn’t (yet?) get fluent in all of them. Still, knowledge of one language often helps with learning another, so it’s useful either way.
I’m from The Netherlands. My mothertongue is Dutch. My parents used to speak Dutch to my sister and me and Gronings (a West Low German dialect) to each other. So I learned Gronings only passively. And I also got exposed to Frisian in my childhood often enough to understand that for the most part.
In highschool I learned (apart from Dutch) English, French, German and Latin. Around that time I also taught myself some Spanish (which wasn’t taught at our school) as a hobby.
At university I studied Nordic languages (with Swedish as main language) and Fenno-Ugric languages (with Finnish as main subject). I took subsidiary courses at uni in Norwegian, Icelandic, Russian, Estonian and Czech. Old Norse was obligatory for Nordic languages. I can read Danish, but not actively speak it.
I understand Afrikaans, but that probably goes for all Dutch people.
Later in life I learned some more languages as a hobby and also brushed up some of the languages I learned in the past.
I learned a little Arabic and some Latvian and Bulgarian.
I also did almost all the languages offered at Duolingo, some only a little bit, some a lot.
Lately I’ve been mostly focussed on Korean, Japanese and Chinese.
Mongolian is still on the list. I also want to learn Albanian someday. And Biblical Aramaic … And Belarusian. Actually I’d like to learn all the Slavic languages, lol. And maybe some Celtic languages.
Here you can hear some Fenno-Ugric languages, including the less known ones:
What is it like doing a language degree (2 or more languages?)
I know I want to study languages/translation in university (I’m thinking Korean and Linguistics, Korean and French or Mandarin and French.) I was just wondering if it is difficult doing a language degree (especially in 2 languages) and did you enjoy it?
How is the workload? Did you study abroad for a bit? How fast do you improve?
I speak Armenian (mostly Eastern Armenian, but I understand Western Armenian very well–in fact, I might even mix up them up when I speak), English, Spanish and a smidgen of Mandarin.
I will take Armenian and Russian language courses at my university in the fall. My mom’s side of the family is mostly Ukrainian, so having some Russian under my belt will help me communicate with them. My mom taught me how to read Russian as a child, but I have no idea what I’m reading, except for words that sound the same in other languages such as Spanish (the words for library and biology are similar). I don’t know any Armenian grammar, so that’s why I’m planning to take courses. If I could get my minor in Armenian, that would be great!
I have an associate’s degree for Spanish since I was originally planning to minor in Spanish (with my major being English with a Creative Writing focus). However, I might do Armenian instead. Spanish is my third language. I took Spanish classes all throughout high school and a few classes at my college, so I can speak, read, and write. However, because I do not speak Spanish at home or with any of my friends, my speaking ability isn’t up to par as when I was in high school. I just need exposure and practice, that’s all.
As for Mandarin, I took a 101 class at my college, and I would have continued if 102 was offered. I can write and read a limited amount of characters and understand basic conversation, but holding a conversation with someone else is beyond my abilities. In order to not lose it, I did the Duolingo course but I finished it. I also watch dramas and try to incorporate Mandarin phrases in my daily life or thinking.
I think it’s very interesting, but it kinda depends on your interest and goals. If you just want to learn a certain language, you might as well take some kind of course offered somewhere (in real life or online) or buy good books and teach yourself. Or major in something else at university and take language courses offered there on the side.
The main goal of learning a language at university is not being able to talk to people in that language (though you do of course learn it), but first and foremost to be able to read scientific texts in that language.
The languages I studied were languages which my university defined al “nultalen” (zero-languages). What they meant by that was that they were languages which most likely were not taught in highschool, so most students would start from zero, learning that language.
In your case you already speak Russian and also some Korean, so you might be able to skip some courses. You most likely would need to take the exams, but perhaps not the lectures.
I studied Nordic Languages and Fenno-Ugric Languages as majors and did some courses at Slavic Languages. Those were all at the same faculty of the same university, but there was difference in the focus and workload, etc. anyway. For example, at Slavic languages much more time was reserved in the first year for actually learning the language than was the case with the other 2 studies. On the other hand the entire Russian language was taught in a few months, with hardly any repetition, so that we on the one hand learned a lot, but on the other hand also forgot a great deal of it.
Apart from just learning the language there’s of course the more linguistic courses. Language history, phonetics, some basic knowledge about other languages in the same language family. We also had to do a Dutch grammar course, even though most of it we already learned in highschool, they had to make sure we knew our mothertongue well.
For Nordic languages we had to learn Old Norse. The people who majored in Russian also had to learn Old Church Slavonic.
Apart from all that there’s of course the courses about the history of the area where the language is spoken and literature courses, for which you have to read books from authors of that language. They may or may not request you to read them in the target language.
There were also translation courses. In some cases they were just ways to practice the language and gain vocabulary, but at least for Finnish and Swedish I got actual translation courses, where we really learned about how to translate and were expected to make accurate translations.
There were some academic skills courses as well, but I suppose all studies have those.
I went to Helsinki, Finland for a year to study Swedish (which is the official second language of Finland). The Icelandic courses I took were also in Finland and they were taught in Swedish, just like most of my courses there. Only 2 of them were taught in English: Finnish (which wasn’t my second major yet at the time) and a course called “The EU and the Baltic States”, which I took purely out of interest.
At Nordic Languages at the Dutch university the courses were taught in Dutch in the first year and after that they were taught in either Swedish, Danish or Norwegian. So apart from your main language you at least had to understand the other ones.
This was different for Fenno-Ugric Languages, where most of the time we were taught in Dutch and Finnish students weren’t expected to understand Hungarian or the other way around.
The Russian majors all went to Saint Petersburg for 3 months in the first year, together with their teachers. I think they also had an option of spending some time abroad later in their studies, but the time in Saint Petersburg was meant as a rather quick language drill in the first year.
I speak Norwegian (native) and English fluently. I understand and speak danish and Swedish almost fluently. I understand French but I can’t speak it very well. Old norse is mandatory to learn the basics bc of our ancestors, so I kinda understand it but I use a lot of time to translate it in my mind. I learned Spanish when I was a kid but I forgot the language. I’m learning Korean right now.
Thank you, this was very helpful. I’m still looking into degrees and will try to find some others as well as the ones I’ve already found. I just know that I want to go into a language related career and hope to do TEFL alongside university courses and also an extra translation course and the TOPIK exam.
Btw, if you, during reading or whatever, feel the need of using a dictionary … try using a monolingual dictionary! So a dictionary that explains Russian words in Russian. That way your brain stays in “Russian mode” instead of wandering off to English again.
Of course for early learners this might be too big of a step, but I’m sure your Russian is good enough to do this.
This topic is so great! Thank you for the question!
My mother tongue is turkish so I learned the languages since a baby but I am not so good at it because my mother can’t teach at all (unfortunately) so I learned it through music and reading books (which I still want to da after my bachelor thesis). Nevertheless every family member said that my turkish is not so good (i am fluently but mispronounce certain words, even then I can understand very well) so I want to improve myself if I don’t have any stress left and recently my aunt said that my turkish is improving so I guess I do everything right lol
After turkish I learned since a child german because I was born here in Germany however I am 100% turkish as you know but I don’t look like a typical turk if you ask a german, in fact everyone is shooked if they understand that I am turkish which is still funny to me AND even turkish people are shocked if they understand that I’ve understood everything and replyed them as well. ^^ So after many years living here my german is therefore better than turkish (which is unfortunetely a truth/fact about the thrid generartion of the turks in Germany, in the most cases I should say). So german was my 2th mother tongue.
In the 5th grade in Germany I started to learn english at the age of 12 and I was very good at it because I always got a 1 (best note) or a 2 in the test’s. Since then until the age of 16 I was very interested to improve myself with the language so I can watch anime’s with eng subs at that time (like any other girls in the age lol). And then I improved my english vocabulary through animes which also helped me a lot. After some years later I coincidentally started to watch asian dramas, I think I was 18 or 19 at that time. Afterwards I still watch every drama with english subtitles so I can improve my english and be better than before. I also learned through translating here on viki so I think that I am quiet fluently with english as my 3th language. Even during a stream an american said to me that my accent was perfect which is still in my heart <3
Since 8 to 9 years I also watch korean dramas and learned some basic korean and more so I can understand 10-20% of an episode so far. I also learned some chinese as well through watching but not so good like korean because I started to watch cdramas since 4-5 years ago but I also understand only the basics here. (Sorry for the long text my first time that I am really talkatively XD)
I speak English and have been learning Korean since 2014 so I’m pretty decent but not yet fluent. I also know a tad bit of Japanese because I’ve been watching/reading anime/manga for about a decade now. These days I’m trying focus on Mandarin Chinese and Korean Sign Language but I have a lot of other’s I’d like to learn as well such as Cantonese, Tagalog, Irish Gaelige, ASL, etc.
I do know Swiss dialect, German, English, Hebrew I would say it is a advanced level but I haven’t used the language for many years so its probably very rusty.
Currently I try to study Chinese Mandarin, because I love this language and I want to be able to read poems and books to i do understand allot from watching drama shows but for now I know only to talk some survival basics. I cant write or read it yet which is very difficult to study, like I cant even imagine how they stuff 2000 letters on one keyboard.
I do not have a language degree, but I used to voluntary work abroad and had no choice but to study two languages simultaneously. Which where Hebrew and English at that time. The reason was the German vocabulary is very broad compared to the Hebrew and it was very hard to narrow down the words meanings. So to survive basically I translated the words to English and then to German.
Due to being immersed into the languages via the daily life i could quickly pick up on the language. I lived many years abroad and also it to messed up my native language. It’s not that I forgot but I started to think in English, and sometimes I have to remember words or look them up.
I do love languages, also I do think is always good to learn something new and especially something that you enjoy.
My first language is American English (SVO - subject-verb-object). My fluency level is debatable. I have a bad habit of switching languages mid-sentence. I don’t even realize I’m switching words out until people look at me wearing confused expressions.
I grew up in a multilingual community so the next language was Spanish(SVO) then Tagalog (informal education - just learned from my friends and neighbors) Tagalog word order depends on what is being talked about so the word order is more mutable. Portuguese is like as if you tried to speak Spanish with a mouth full of mashed potatoes and swapped some of the words out with French sounds. (just kidding. but that’s what it sounds like to me. - I can see my grandpa rolling his eyes at this comment. He was from the Azores. )
I learned first-year Irish and Arabic in college but I am rusty. The variety of ways to write Arabic script slowed me down. Arabic has a mutable word order dependent on what is being talked about. And even though Irish is VSO verb-subject-object language, there are many vocabulary ideas(?) that are similar in concept to Korean - even though Korean is a SOV subject-object-verb language with a completely flipped grammatical structure from Irish.
I’ve been learning Korean since January 2020 and am understanding a lot more than I can speak. I have a long way to go. I use every opportunity to read 한글. I get a kick out of the fact that so many drama titles are actually English words spelled in 한글.
I’ve picked up a few phrases in Japanese and Mandarin from movies and Cantonese from local people in the Bay Area.
So, my English phrasing can be whacked sometimes.
Oh! p.s. This is TOTALLY WEIRD! When I was traveling through Quebec back in the 80’s I found out that I could understand Quebecois! Being from the San Francisco Bay Area, there is NOT a French speaking community there so I had no reason to ever have heard it but, in Quebec, I understood what people were saying and I could read it too. I’d answer in English but Quebecois people tend to avoid speaking English so they’d talk to me in Quebecois. (Quebecois outside Quebec City and Montreal will not speak English to visitors. It’s a resistance thang. ) I was rather astounded. Mainly because I was just being a tourist,-going around, reading signs, understanding spoken Quebecois and not realizing that I was not hearing ‘English’ until I had a mental ‘reset’ and realized, “Hey! Since when could I understand French?” I could only speak simple phrases like, “Un hamburger sans fromage” (a hamburger, no cheese.) That was a very strange experience. Or a kid selling newspapers. He told me ‘transancsant’ and I gave him 35 cents. Then I looked at the paper which was a gossip rag. "Is this a newspaper?’ I asked in English and he retorted in French, “Why did you buy it then?” I tossed a thumb back at the camp and said in English, “I got it for my friend.” He just huffed away on his bike in a typically dismissive, arrogant way the Quebecois have toward English speakers. It was hilarious. So is this just in the genes then? I did a 23andme dna thing and I had always thought that my maternal ancestors were all Irish but on one side of that family line my g-g-g-g-g-grandfather had lost the Battle of the Boyne(1690) and all those fighters had to leave Ireland or lose their heads. They went to Calais, France and from there they later went to Acadia. They stayed in Acadia (disappeared into the back woods) even after the English forced the French to Louisiana. Anyway, sometime during those years we picked up French DNA in that family line. So is THAT why I could understand Quebecois despite never having heard it before?? Some of those ancestors were Acadien? (Acadia is today’s Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, i.e. eastern Canada)
I find that I am doing the same thing watching Korean dramas… I sometimes get sleepy and realize I’ve been listening to and following the drama but have NOT been reading the subtitles. I rewind and find out that I kind of understood a lot of what had been going on so Korean is sinking in. But then again, I have been learning Korean since January.
Ah, I forgot yesterday to tell some strategies that where very helpful to me to studying language:
• Music Translate lyrics
Almost everyone I know loves music, thats a good and fun way to engage oneself into learning a language.
• Movies in the original language with subtitles
It helps you to hear the language, see it in interaction of course you shouldn’t exaggerate as in movies if you try speak though, although it would be funny. Also your subconscious picks up more then you can believe, its quite amazing.
• Kids Shows
I know this may seem embarrassing to an adult person to watch tv shows for kids but when I lived abroad I used to watch these abc shows because: Kids language is pure and simple. It helped allot to collect on vocabulary.
If you like to read this this is another fun and helpful way to study. It can be pricey depending where you live. As with the tv shows it’s a simple form of the language, mostly quite receptive or contains pictures.
• A memorandum
It helps to keep a small booklet for making notes of words that you do not understand yet. As example: you could keep a diary especially for Music lyrics and keep writing the words in there and work trough them if you got the time.
If you can afford them thats another practical way to study, you can write down on one side your language and on the other the actual language you do study. Then mix the cards and work trough them. This is a handy way if you are allot on travels, you can easy bundle them together with a rubber band and store it in your purse or backpack. Or if you are a very imaginative, creative person like I, you could draw pictures instead of your language on one side. It’s also a good lockdown boredom killer.
Yes practice makes the master, my shifu always say that at the kung fu training so this can be applied everywhere use every opportunity you get to engage into the language.
•Dont be to shy to speak
I know why imi say this I understand you, but the best way to study the language is to actually speak. You can practice to speak with friends that also study the language. If there’s none the plant will do to, Maybe its better to do this when none is there else they may think you are eventually gone mad Or the pet, in its eyes you are always adorable :o. Im kidding but forming sentences, play with, try to write poems, essays what ever inspires you, there’s no right or wrong.
I hope that was helpful
Just want to add one more thing: Really dont be to shy to speak, if you plan to study or work abroad really don’t worry. In my experience, the most people will be very nice to you, and also be very excited for all your efforts that you put into learning their language.
I am a native English speaker. I live in the U.S I’m learning Russian, and Chinese. I actually having been learning Russian for two years now. I would say I am at an beginner intermediate level. I just started learning Chinese, but I know a decent about about the culture. Oh, I am also started to learn Arabic but it is a slower process for me. At some point I want to learn Spanish.
I just got through reading peoples posts on here. People are learning so many different cool, and fun languages.
Well I can speak Hindi , Marathi, Punjabi and English fluently . I am learning Spanish ( almost there) , French and Mandarin chinese which is the most spoken language world wide. Hope everyone is successful in speaking there favourite languages .
I was born and raised in Sweden and speak Swedish,
I am also fluent in English.
I study Chines Mandarin and a little korean.
I would love to try to sub some chinese dramas here.
But I’m not sure how much chines you need to know.
I speak Swedish (& sveinskå), Finnish, English, Norwegian. I’m currently learning Korean in a slow and relaxed manner. I can understand to a very limited extent Dutch, Afrikaans, Frisian and German, enough to do commerce.
I recently discovered new/my old ways of learning. Most my life I’ve sat on a school bench but never learned any language in school. Instead, now with korean, I’m trying now to learn via pattern recognition, writing things down that I pick up on and trying to pick up the same things again and again etc. Generally trying to have fun with it and not taking things too seriously, so far making progress.