General chatter - Do You Speak A Second Language ?

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04-12-2009, 12:32 AM
Ciao, I've been wanting to learn Italian for the longest time because at some point in my life I want to travel to Tuscany, and I have a bit of a crush on Andrea Boccelli... :cloud9:

I've tried a few CD's from the library but nothing sticks...
I've seen ads for Rosetta Stone, has anyone used that ?
Any advice ?

Grazie tanto!
Here's Andrea in an outdoor venue...

04-12-2009, 02:09 AM
i took 4 years of german and remember enough to listen in on a conversation but probably not speak it. i've picked up a bit of spanish just by existing. i know it'd be completely useless but i would love to learn to speak Gaelic.

04-12-2009, 04:02 AM
I took French from age 8 at school right through to university, where I also took Russian. I have some German too, spent 2 months there last year. On Tuesday I start learning Spanish for my holiday in June. I've learned a bit of Urdu, not a huge amount, and I did learn Mandarin Chinese for a while but most of that has gone. I knew characters too but can only draw the one for good fortune now. I memorized one of my plastic card's pin number in chinese but I still have to count through my head to remember a couple of them. Oh, and I learned to read some Egyptian hieroglyphs too. Hm. Russian. Urdu. Chinese. Hieroglyphs. Do you think I like secret symbols?

04-12-2009, 04:11 AM
I can read and write enough Japanese (so far!) to have a basic written conversation with a native speaker. I'd like to learn Mandarin Chinese, Korean, Italian, and German. (Those and many others, but I think that I'd go insane if I tried to know that many!)

I have tried out the Japanese version of Rosetta Stone for a bit, and from what I can tell, it's a pretty awesome program. I know a person who used the Italian version, and she really likes it, so.. :) You can't expect for it to be the sole source of your language learning, of course, so one must keep in mind that it's only a supplement to other methods. Still, I'd recommend it.

04-12-2009, 07:07 AM
I am actually a native Dutch speaker, but I have become so thoroughly anglicised tha t I now dream in English. So I am fully bilingual Dutch and English, I can manage in German and French and I speak a smattering of Spanish.
As I now go to Italy for vacation almost every year, I very much want to learn to speak Italian.
Thanks for mentioning Rosetta Stone, I will check it out.

04-12-2009, 08:12 AM
Honestly English is my second language and I'm mother tongue Italian.
Also I speak some German and Spanish, and bits of French. ;)

04-12-2009, 08:34 AM
Try the 'teach yourself' series with cd and book. I used it for a few months before I went to India and I have enough Hindi to get by (in a country where lots of people speak excellent English, mind).
I am only fluent in English - which is shameful considering I was brought up in an English/Arabic speaking house, but I do read Middle English fluently. Not much use outside academia, but I love it.

Suzanne 3FC
04-12-2009, 09:34 AM
Ciao, I've been wanting to learn Italian for the longest time because at some point in my life I want to travel to Tuscany, and I have a bit of a crush on Andrea Boccelli... :cloud9:

I've tried a few CD's from the library but nothing sticks...
I've seen ads for Rosetta Stone, has anyone used that ?
Any advice ?

Me too! I just bought Fluenz for Italian I bought on Amazon, and the reviews for all of the Fluenz products are great, and a few address the differences between Fluenz and Rosetta Stone. You can view a demo on their website if interested :)

04-12-2009, 03:16 PM
I've tried a few CD's from the library but nothing sticks...
I've seen ads for Rosetta Stone, has anyone used that ?
Any advice ?

I've used Rosetta Stone, and I think it is EXCELLENT! It is expensive, but some libraries have a web-based subscription to it so that their borrowers can use it online just by entering their library card number. It's worth asking about at your local library. I've used other audio and book sets, but I've not found them as useful.
(Not heard of fluenz - I'm going to look at it too.)

Apple Cheeks
04-12-2009, 03:22 PM
I speak some Spanish.

Not by choice, though. I was taught some things for my job (sadly necessary in Southern California), and have picked up a lot elsewhere. I'm nowhere near being fluent, but I can understand the gist of most of what's said to me.

I learned some French in high school -- and I remember enough that I can order food, ask where the toilet is, and tell people my name.

I can also curse in a variety of languages. :o :D

04-12-2009, 03:58 PM
I took two years of French in high school, and can still speak bits and pieces of it...but I can understand more of it than I can speak back to someone.

My boyfriend is Greek, and I work for his parents at their Greek restaurant-and I have been taking a crash course in Greek, and I hope to become fluent over the next couple of years to speak with relatives, etc.

I did a LOT of research before choosing language programs, and here is what I recommend:


~Rosetta Stone

I am doing a combination of BOTH of these programs. Pimsleur uses cds only-which is wonderful, because I can pop them into the cd player while I drive somewhere, and have a lesson during the commute. The bonus part of their program is that they teach you full sentences, how to say the verbs, etc. in their different forms (I eat vs. YOU eat, etc.) right off the bat. They also make you "think" during the lesson-the cd will say ask you a question or say something to you in your chosen language, and you are to repeat aloud the "answer". It forces you to be able to respond and think quickly in your new language. It also focuses on slowly building your conversation skills further in each lesson.

If you choose the Pimsleur program, you want to get their large set (Greek I, French I, Spanish I, etc.) that has the full 16 cd/32 lessons...not their mini sets with only 8 lessons, etc. on them. Pimsleur also has the more advanced course (Greek II, Spanish II, etc.) in many of their popular courses.

I cannot say ENOUGH about the program-it works for me because I do my lessons while driving to and from work...I don't have to carve out any extra time.

Rosetta Stone works in a different way. It uses your computer, and you learn words like a child would-they show you an apple, and then the word that means apple. The advantage of this, is that you get used to the item being associated with that new word-you don't have to "translate" in your head. I am also enjoying this program to help with the visual aspect of learning another language...and also for the written language.

I have found the combination of both of these methods is working wonders for me. I have only been studying for a couple of months-and I can already speak and understand many things.

04-12-2009, 05:55 PM
I took Italian in college and nearly 2 years of reading/speaking in class helped me a lot but I've lost most of the Italian I learned.

I know some Spanish and can speak a little Spanish but since I'm not exposed to it much anymore, it is harder for me to come up with full sentences.

I've been thinking of trying a language program for Spanish to relearn a lot of stuff but again if I don't use it, I know I'll lose it so I'll have to keep up with it.

When I went to Greece, I studied Greek and it helped some although Greece has Greek/English as both their national languages so most people spoke English and most signs/menus/whatever else was in both languages.

When I went to China, I studied some Mandarin and I was glad I did overall but its a tough language to learn.

One thing to note is often your community library may have language learning programs available for you to use. All libraries used to have Rosetta Stone but I think Rosetta Stone decided to change that so now our local library has another top rated program available online but with fewer language choices. There may be online resources but they may also have cds and other stuff to check out at your library.

04-12-2009, 07:03 PM
Italian is my minor, and I think a classroom is the only way to go. I've tried independent ways to do it, but they don't actually make you able to speak. Can you try taking a once a week class?

04-12-2009, 10:08 PM
No, but I've always had a fantasy of chasing my daughter's father out the back door, wielding a frying pan and shouting mean things to him in Spanish.

04-12-2009, 10:21 PM
I read a bit of Spanish and French, but wouldn't dare try to speak either language. I picked up a few words of Welsh some years ago on a trip. I'd really like to learn French fluently someday.

04-12-2009, 11:07 PM
Italian is my minor, and I think a classroom is the only way to go. I've tried independent ways to do it, but they don't actually make you able to speak. Can you try taking a once a week class?

I think this depends on the way that you learn. When I took French in school for two years...we spent SO much time on the book aspect of it-and the written words, etc. I learned how to read and interpret French well on the pages...but I had a LOT of trouble actually carrying on a conversation-I was constantly "translating" from French to English and vice versa in my head to understand what was being said, and then before speaking. Learning French in a classroom setting simply didn't work for me...

Using the Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur systems has helped me to SPEAK/UNDERSTAND spoken conversation much better. Now...I am not as effecient in WRITING Greek...but I am able to understand more, and respond more quickly when I am spoken to.

You really cannot compare these top two methods to some of the "Speak ____ in a week" and other language courses. These two are rated the best for a reason...they work. Cheaper software or cd programs simply are not as good.

04-13-2009, 02:06 AM
aphil, I really get what you're saying. I took 3 years of Spanish in high school. We were reading novels in Spanish. But I couldn't carry on a conversation that wasn't slow and stilted.

04-13-2009, 02:20 AM
LOL @ Techwife!!!

I know hints of Bosnian, Russian, German, French and Spanish. But the boyfriend and I are going to start taking Spanish together next semester for our school credits, and then we want to join the peace corps and hope to get stationed somewhere in south america (as he's 1/4th hispanic, and has no connections to that side of his ethnicity - and I think it's neat!)

04-13-2009, 06:51 AM
I am from the States originally, but live in the Netherlands for the last 15 years, so I do speak Dutch. I can understand German and have studied it for a wee while, but my problem trying to speak it is that Dutch words still come out.

I studied French and Spanish in school but I do not speak these languages. The only way to really retain a language is to use it daily, practise, practise, practise - listen, read, speak and learn new words everyday. I am not 100% fluent in Dutch, though my husband would argue this. I don't think one can ever be 100% fluent unless they are truly living in that language every day.

04-13-2009, 08:57 AM
I agree that whatever language you choose to must keep up with it. If you take a course, and then don't do anything with it (speak it, practice it, review your materials) then eventually you will lose it, except for some basic greetings, etc.

There are MANY ways that you can practice. If you have satellite tv, there are often international options where you can get channels in Spanish, Greek, and other languages. Sit and watch a game show or tv show, and over time as you study the language, it will help you to start being able to understand native speakers better.

Also, picking a language that you will actually USE helps tremendously. What point is there in learning Swahili, if you will never have the opportunity to speak it. If you have a large ethnic population in your area, are planning a trip or a move to a certain country, etc. it will motivate you more if you choose THAT language to learn. You will actually have the opportunity to use it, which is rewarding.

I get to use Greek at work and with my boyfriend's family all of the time. Even when I don't speak it, I hear it a lot-and I "listen" to it, taking note of words I understand, and ones I don't.