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to ask if you speak a foreign language, why you chose that one..

(152 Posts)
Messyisthenewtidy Sat 06-Apr-19 18:10:44

was it to travel to / live in that country, because of a spouse, etc?

Also, do you find it easy? And how are the locals when you speak to them in their language?

I'm trying to get some inspiration to learn a foreign language but I'm not sure which one to choose.

Amongstthetallgrass Sat 06-Apr-19 18:12:15

I’d love to learn Russian!

IntoValhalla Sat 06-Apr-19 18:15:43

Because of my mum. She spoke to us in her mother-tongue growing up, which allowed us to communicate with maternal grandparents who don’t speak English.
DH is in the same boat. He can speak his mother’s native language, and we are both speaking to our own DCs in each language as well as English.
Our house is a very mismatched clusterfuck of languages!!

InspectorClouseauMNdivision Sat 06-Apr-19 18:15:51

99% of Brits I have spoken to have been lovely so far. Even though my accent must be ridiculous 😂

You yourself should know why and which one. Are you planning to move abroad? Yes, no? If not, maybe pick something what you can use at work?

Or maybe just learn so you know another language. Just for the fun of it if you enjoy it.

Cautionsharpblade Sat 06-Apr-19 18:16:01

I speak Russian. Waste of time. I’ve worked in two industries where it’s a major language but I never used it. It’s not useful for holidays unless you like crap holidays. Found the Russians disparaging of it. They now speak great English anyway.

Also learned my husband’s lanaguage. Also a waste of time as everyone there speaks fantastic English but they’re touched that anyone has bothered to learn their language and are way more encouraging.

InspectorClouseauMNdivision Sat 06-Apr-19 18:17:00

@IntoValhalla I have a friend whose household currently uses 4 languages. Apparently it can be really fun sometimes 😂

Unescorted Sat 06-Apr-19 18:19:38

I am learning French so I can work in the EU you need English or French plus one other of the languages spoken in the EU. It is early days so they would probably laugh at my attempts.

I do about 90 minutes a day. I don't find it easy but am making noticeable progress.

isthistoonosy Sat 06-Apr-19 18:22:22

I speak Swedish because I live in Sweden and my husband and kids speak Swedish (I'm English).

The locals are polite about it but generally try to talk to me in English instead of listening to my awful Swedish.

LillianGish Sat 06-Apr-19 18:22:24

French - learned it at school, like the sound of it, love France. Now I live here and dcs are bilingual. The French like you to speak French, not so many speak English - when I lived in Berlin everyone spoke English so German was a bit redundant. Choose the language of a country you love because so you can visit to practice.

Bloodybridget Sat 06-Apr-19 18:22:33

I didn't exactly choose, everyone learned French at my secondary school, and then I had the option to start Spanish at 14 which I did, because I loved learning French. Very glad to have both languages. Have used both, but not for work. Spanish especially useful, we spent six months in Spain a few years ago and lots of people didn't speak English.

Whatad Sat 06-Apr-19 18:22:42

I was given a place on a programme to study one of the main European languages. Following the interview they picked one for me as they felt I would fit in best in that culture.

Messyisthenewtidy Sat 06-Apr-19 18:25:07

I'm so jealous of people who are brought up in a bilingual environment. I regularly tell my parents off for being monolingual!

I guess I'm looking for a european one where the locals won't revert into English. I speak French quite well but was quite shocked last year when they all responded to me in English. It was a bit of a disappointment tbh.

IntoValhalla Sat 06-Apr-19 18:25:09

InspectorClouseauMNdivision
The DCs look at me with a mixture of confusion/disgust when they speak to me in their Dad’s language and a I don’t respond, because I only know the basics of conversation (hello, goodbye, please, thankyou etc), but the eldest one can now ask me something in DH’s language and understand when I say “what did you say?” in either my language or English and switch to whichever language I used!

ForalltheSaints Sat 06-Apr-19 18:26:10

When one of the family married a Dutchman, I had another reason beyond travelling to the Netherlands or to drink beer in Belgium to learn the language. Learnt French at school.

grasspigeons Sat 06-Apr-19 18:26:20

I speak French enough to read a paper. It was the only language on offer at school. The French are very particular about how their language is spoken (although some areas are more relaxed than others and that is a sweeping generalisation).

I wish I had learned German. I learned a tiny bit on holiday and the germans were so lovely about my attempts and seemed less concerned about perfection.

MrsCasares Sat 06-Apr-19 18:27:33

I’ve taken Spanish lessons because we have a holiday apartment in Spain. Was in Granada a few days ago, and the waiter was surprised when we ordered/chatted to him in Spanish.

A lot of Spanish people we chat to want to practice their English on us, so it does curtail our use of Spanish.

FermatsTheorem Sat 06-Apr-19 18:28:16

Where do you want to visit? That would be my top question.

How close is it to your native language? That would be my second. So a western European language is going to be easier than a Slavic language is going to be easier than Arabic or Chinese.

For me - learned French at school, am fairly fluent (fluent enough to translate EU legal documents back in the day, Unescorted!) but my grammar is flaky in the extreme and my pronunciation is terrible. Pigeon German, but at least I can pronounce it accurately (similar vowel sounds and stress patterns to English). German grammar is a bastard. Italian - starting to get okay at that. Italian grammar is harder than French but not as hard as German.

Trying to learn Chinese at the mo. Pronunciation, specially because of the tones, is a nightmare. Basically after about 3 months I'm at a stage I'd probably be at after 3 weeks with a European language. And of course, the ideograms are a terrible struggle. But I'm determined not to have a repeat of last time I went there - 3 words of Chinese, taxi broke down in the pissing rain in the middle of the Beijing rush hour probably 4 or 5 miles from my hotel... and I had to find my way home!

PlainVanilla Sat 06-Apr-19 18:30:19

I started learning French at school, when I was about 7, I am 60 now.
Then I actually wanted to do a rather bizarre combination of subjects at O level, but ended up taking German.
I have a degree in German and French, which also had an element of Dutch.
I have some Italian as well.
At the time I thought this was "normal".
I have lived in Germany since 1988.

SimonJT Sat 06-Apr-19 18:30:32

I speak Urdu at home with my son as it is my first language and I think it’s important that he learns what is his mother tongue.

OrchidInTheSun Sat 06-Apr-19 18:31:56

I learned them both (French and Spanish) because I needed them for day to day life living outside the U.K.

They're very useful generally and would be good languages to learn

SuperLoudPoppingAction Sat 06-Apr-19 18:32:29

The language I speak most often just now is Arabic.
I chose to learn it because I'd been picking up phrases at work and socially and I wanted to understand more.
When I speak it around native speakers they're generally appreciative, sweet and helpful.
Quite a few people who are here due to the vulnerable person relocation scheme from Syria or Iraq don't speak much English when they first arrive which is different from other refugees I've come across.
So communication is very hard for them at first which makes it a bit harder to connect to the people in their new homeland.

I've never regretted it at all.

My other languages I learnt at school or university. Maybe that's why I'm not as excited about them.

IntoValhalla Sat 06-Apr-19 18:33:00

Definitely echo what FermatsTheorem said about choosing which language you want to learn.
The language I speak is a Slavic language, and DH (although he’s tried) simply cannot get his head around how it looks so different written down to how it actually sounds spoken (“WAY TOO MANY CONSONANTS!!” is his usual response grin)

Messyisthenewtidy Sat 06-Apr-19 18:36:26

Where do you want to visit? That would be my top question

Good question. Somewhere not too far because I don't like to fly, prefer train or bus. I like mountains and sea, lounging around in cafes. I don't drink alcohol but love good food. Oh and history, love a bit of history.

I really liked Ljubljana, Slovenia but Slovenian is so hard and most people spoke to me in such fluent English.

DoubtOfTheOrdinary Sat 06-Apr-19 18:39:12

I speak German because I went to a girl's high school where the languages on offer were French, German and Spanish. The vast majority of the girls chose French or Spanish because they found them more 'sexy' or 'romantic' (in the Disney sense, not the language family sense) and it pissed me off that everyone was being so cliched. This also meant the German classes were quite small and I think we got a better standard of teaching as a result. I took it all the way to A-level and became quite good; I've lost some of it now but it comes back quickly when needed. (And I think it's a beautiful language in its own right, though obviously in a different way to the Romance languages.)

CheshireChat Sat 06-Apr-19 18:41:16

Well, English was the standard language at the time wink.

A little bit of French and can understand basic stuff in most Latin languages.

Japanese as it sounded fun grin. It's fun, but I'm not 100% sure it was the most useful choice really.

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