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Old 02-22-20, 03:58 PM
  #51  
djb
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Originally Posted by acantor View Post
Having a few phrases on the tip of one's tongue is not the same as knowing a language.

There are no substitutes for time and effort when trying to learn a new language. There is a whole lot of learning going on; your brain has to change on the neural level. Count on weeks or months before you are able to have even very basic conversations.
I consider myself very lucky to have had the experience to learn both French and Spanish, being immersed in both languages for about 3 1/2 months each.
I clearly remember the headaches from concentrating so much during the day, and then finally after about two months it began to work and wasn't so arduous.
I also remember how each time there came a point where I started dreaming in the other language, and figured this was an important step to get to.

but yes, its a gradual thing, and it takes time, but keeping at it and not being concerned about how you sound is important. Embrace the screwups and awful accent, it does and will improve over time, but to bring up again, making the effort means a lot to people.
I live in the French part of Canada, and english or whatever speakers making the effort always is appreciated here by French speakers, it's the same everywhere I reckon.
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Old 02-22-20, 04:03 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
If you continue down the Danube into Hungary, make sure you bring along this phrasebook:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grA5XmBRC6g
seriously dude, I watched the whole video and didnt hear the phrase, "May I fondle your buttocks?" once
What the hell???
(thats how I remember that skit, there must be another version of it. Mind you, I probably did see it on tv in the late 70s.....)
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Old 02-22-20, 04:09 PM
  #53  
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man, you gotta love youtube
a quick search and bingo!
relive stuff from decades past....
oh, and it was "please fondle my buttocks"


on a positive note, there was an actual bicycle connection here, the Bobby turfed some old lady off her bike to get to the calamity at the Tobacco store!
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Old 02-22-20, 04:45 PM
  #54  
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I have read somewhere that people who are bi or tri lingual, while not necessarily smarter than the average may well halve more supple minds. That is they may be more adept at wriggling out of awkward situations.
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Old 02-22-20, 04:54 PM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by Stadjer View Post
In Belgium the younger generation often speaks English to their compatriots because speaking French or Dutch between Walloons and Flemish is very political. Now the Walloons learn to speak English too it is the neutral language so they can avoid the politics of the situation and the imbalance of one speaking his native language and the other bothering much more to speak French (the Walloons are usually not speaking much Dutch).

But things like that don't make English into an universal language. The difference between a common language, some sort of lingua franca or bridge language and a universal language might become a trap for anglophones who aren't aware of that difference. By learning a few words and expressions like TS you're showing that awareness and that's usually appreciated. Not everyone who doesn't speak English is an uneducated peasant, and people who are proficient in English might see it as the product of beeing well educated or had to study hard for it. Taking it for granted might come across as rude, arrogant and even imperialistic. The've made the effort to learn a foreign language for themselves and do you the courtesy and make the effort of speaking to you in your language, not in a common language you both share and you both have to make the extra effort for. That's why it's a good idea to show at least some effort to say good morning and thank you and for example learn how to aks if they speak English in their own language.

Travellers are always more proficient in English, but in Spain, Italy, France there are lots of people who might know a few words but just don't speak English. They tend to learn each other's languages more easily, while the people in the area's with the Germanic languages have a long tradition of learning English in schools. Usually the language of the bordering country isn't hat different, unless it's Hungarian. Any neighbour is completely at the mercy of Hungarians speaking a foreign language, because nothing has any simularity to a language you might know that's not Finnish, and even Fins have no practical benefit from them beeing in the same language family.
I went to Spain for a meeting years ago. It was put on by a swiss company. Attnedees were from the US, UK, Spain, France, Germany and Switzerland. Th entire meeting was conducted in English since we could all speak and understand it.Used my French at dinner one night with the woman from France. Dos vinos tintos por favor is the extent of my Spanish. Jamon Serrano. Gambes al ajillo. What else did I need?Got through Italy spaking Fritalian add an o to th French word and it is usually close enough. Bongiorno, vino

Last edited by NomarsGirl; 02-22-20 at 05:00 PM.
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Old 02-22-20, 05:28 PM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
I live in the French part of Canada, and english or whatever speakers making the effort always is appreciated here by French speakers, it's the same everywhere I reckon.
My niece goes to McGill. Her French is not bad as she was a French immersion student. She says that when she speaks French, everybody replies in English. Except the cops.
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Old 02-22-20, 06:46 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
Even when China's economy becomes the largest in the world, English will remain the "world language" for the foreseeable future for several reasons. The biggest is that English has an alphabet, an alphabet which is used by many other languages. If you can speak English, you can also read English and write English. That is not true for Mandarin. Learning to read and write Chinese is very different from learning to speak Mandarin or another Chinese dialect.
China is the world's most powerful country now, we Americans just will not admit it. Yet.
You are right, Mandarin is difficult, probably twice as hard to learn as English., yet 1.5 billion people speak it. If you travel in S E Asia, outside China, Mandarin is becoming the second language of choice, outpacing English, in Thailand ,Indonesia, Burma, Laos. Cambodia...
The future is now. Learn Mandarin.
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Old 02-22-20, 08:43 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by skookum View Post
My niece goes to McGill. Her French is not bad as she was a French immersion student. She says that when she speaks French, everybody replies in English. Except the cops.
here in Montreal a lot of people speak English, but it's normal that folks hear her accent and want to make our easier for her. One main thing is to not let that deter you, and keep plugging away in French. A quick interaction is different, but certainly at times its good to mention that you want to improve your French and people will respond to that. If they don't, no bigee, they'll be other folks.

it's a fun city to be a student in. I came here 35 years ago for university, loved the place and stayed.
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Old 02-23-20, 07:18 AM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by raybo View Post
There is a website called conversationexchange.com that lets you contact people who want to speak your language and will help you speak theirs. I have used it extensively to find native Italian speakers who want to learn English.
There are quite a few similar websites for finding language partners. I used another one many years ago to find Spanish & French speakers. I eventually met a native Spanish speaker who was as committed as I was to having regular conversations. Actually, he contacted me via the website. If you're a native English speaker and want to improve your Spanish, you'll be contacted by lots of native Spanish speakers who want to improve their English. We have now been speaking for nearly 5 years on Skype. We usually speak weekly for 2 hours, with 1 hour in Spanish to improve my Spanish, and 1 hour in English to improve his English. We spoke yesterday, in fact. We plan on meeting one of these days, as a genuine friendship has developed between us.
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Old 02-23-20, 01:53 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
There are quite a few similar websites for finding language partners. I used another one many years ago to find Spanish & French speakers. I eventually met a native Spanish speaker who was as committed as I was to having regular conversations. Actually, he contacted me via the website. If you're a native English speaker and want to improve your Spanish, you'll be contacted by lots of native Spanish speakers who want to improve their English. We have now been speaking for nearly 5 years on Skype. We usually speak weekly for 2 hours, with 1 hour in Spanish to improve my Spanish, and 1 hour in English to improve his English. We spoke yesterday, in fact. We plan on meeting one of these days, as a genuine friendship has developed between us.
that's pretty cool, and a good example of yet another way the internet has changed the world.
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Old 02-25-20, 06:21 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by NomarsGirl View Post
After a day on Duolingo --What did I learn? 'We are women and they are girls.I am a woman and you are a man.And my personal favorite that I'm sure will come up in conversation daily "The cows have flies".
I stuck with Duolingo (French) for about 3 weeks but gave up when they taught me "The whale is calm"

Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
3. Bring up World War II at every opportunity.
Not long ago, I read post on another forum from a guy who was genuinely surprised that on his recent trip to Europe, the locals "Didn't seem very grateful that we saved them in World War II." I can only cringe when I wonder what he'd been saying to them.

Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
There was a brief period where I didn't have to pretend I was from Canada.
Q: How can you tell which backpacker is American?
A: From the maple leaf on their bag.

Anyway...if you learn nothing else before arriving in a new country; I'd recommend you get your tongue around Yes, No, Please, Thank You, Beer and Toilet. That will get you through most situations.
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Old 02-26-20, 08:32 AM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by Connell View Post
I stuck with Duolingo (French) for about 3 weeks but gave up when they taught me "The whale is calm"
A: From the maple leaf on their bag.

Anyway...if you learn nothing else before arriving in a new country; I'd recommend you get your tongue around Yes, No, Please, Thank You, Beer and Toilet. That will get you through most situations.
Ja nein, Bitte, Danke, Bier, toiletteToilette
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Old 02-26-20, 08:40 AM
  #63  
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[QUOTE=Connell;21342843
Anyway...if you learn nothing else before arriving in a new country; I'd recommend you get your tongue around Yes, No, Please, Thank You, Beer and Toilet. That will get you through most situations.[/QUOTE]
Ja, nein, Bitte, Danke, Bier, Toilette
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Old 02-26-20, 09:09 AM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by Connell View Post
Q: How can you tell which backpacker is American?
A: From the maple leaf on their bag.
I didn't have a maple leaf, but when I bicycled around Australia, I was surprised on several occasions to have people guess I was Canadian. I found it amusing.

Someone then explained, if you had an American and guessed they were Canadian, they might be amused. On other hand, if you had a Canadian and guessed they were American, they might be annoyed.
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Old 02-26-20, 09:24 AM
  #65  
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After making four solo trips in France I found the command of numbers, at least 1-1000 both written and spoken, to be the most useful language skill to master. Every day I'd go into a store and would need to understand the price of my purchase spoken by the cashier. I'd need to be able to say "deux cents grammes de jambon, s'il vous plaît" at the deli counter. I'd also need to understand when told it is "soixante cinq kilomètres" to Carcassonne or that my campsite will cost "trente euros".

Last edited by BobG; 02-26-20 at 10:05 AM. Reason: clarification for NomarsGirl
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Old 02-26-20, 09:43 AM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by BobG View Post
After making four solo trips in France I found the command of numbers, at least 1-1000 both written and spoken, to be the most useful language skill to master. Every day you'll go into a store and must understand the price of your purchase spoken by the cashier. You'll need to be able to say "deux cents grammes de jambon, s'il vous plaît" at the deli counter. You'll also need to understand when told it is "soixante cinq kilomètres" to Carcassonne or that your campsite will cost "trente euros".
I speak fluent French. i had no problems in France.
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Old 02-26-20, 09:50 AM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by NomarsGirl View Post
I speak fluent French. i had no problems in France.
Just my example. Knowing numbers in German would be a big help on your trip. Enjoy!
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Old 03-01-20, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by NomarsGirl View Post
I've already learned 2 beers please. That should be useful.
and thanks to Google translate, I've got "on your left" down."it is a bike tour after all.
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Old 03-01-20, 03:42 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by NomarsGirl View Post
I've already learned 2 beers please. That should be useful.
and thanks to Google translate, I've got "on your left" down."it is a bike tour after all.
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Old 03-01-20, 03:56 PM
  #70  
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We hare going back to France for 6 weeks. We have been using Duolingo. But we might go for a short course at a new French course next month.
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Old 03-01-20, 05:03 PM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by NomarsGirl View Post
and thanks to Google translate, I've got "on your left" down."it is a bike tour after all.
You can say that again!

but of course, this is assuming that you'll be faster than Herr and Frau Schmitenflunken!
;-)
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Old 03-01-20, 09:52 PM
  #72  
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My ability to communicate in French is basic, but it's enough to get by. And I always enjoy the chance to build my French skills.

The first time I cycled in France, I got lost again and again because of a basic misunderstanding.

I'd ask for directions, and people told me to "allez tout droit."

I knew what the individual words meant:

"allez" = "go"
"tout" = "entire or whole"
"droit" = "right"

I interpreted this to mean "take a hard right." But after repeatedly getting lost, I realized something was amiss. It turns out that the "tout droit" is an expression that means "straight ahead!"
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Old 03-02-20, 04:29 AM
  #73  
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Chuckle on the tout droits one, i still sometimes laugh at that one and it's been 35 years living in French for me.
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Old 03-02-20, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
You can say that again!

but of course, this is assuming that you'll be faster than Herr and Frau Schmitenflunken!
;-)
I don't think I"ll be passing too many people on my rental bike.I hope it's not as bad as the one I had in France. The front deraillieur was broken.
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Old 03-02-20, 07:22 PM
  #75  
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My meagre experience with rental bikes is that this is common (ie not much love given to them by the folks renting them) but you never know, they could be fine
In any case, it will still be fun toodling and exploring on bike.
All the best with getting a bit of an ear for German, I admittingly find I have an aversion to it.
Salut, tcshuss and cheers
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