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How many natural languages do you know?

Displaying poll results.
1
  30% 109 votes
2
  22% 83 votes
3
  19% 72 votes
4
  8% 32 votes
5
  3% 13 votes
more than 5
  14% 54 votes
363 total votes.
[ Voting Booth | Other Polls | Back Home ]
  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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  • (Score: 2) by jdavidb on Thursday May 04, @07:36PM (15 children)

    by jdavidb (5690) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 04, @07:36PM (#504499) Homepage Journal

    In some sense I know Spanish, enough to sometimes fool native speakers, but I don't feel like I really know it, and when they talk to me in Spanish I don't typically get full understanding.

    --
    ⓋⒶ☮✝🕊 Secession is the right of all sentient beings
    • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by Ethanol-fueled on Friday May 05, @09:00PM

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 05, @09:00PM (#505153) Homepage Journal

      Q: How is a Mexican like a cue ball?

      A: The harder you hit 'em, the more English you get out of 'em.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 06, @07:37AM (11 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 06, @07:37AM (#505355)

      Then you're not fooling any native speakers, stupid. If you're not getting full understanding, you can't be imparting full understanding. Get a grip, alright? You get by most of the time, but you stick out as a foreigner.

      • (Score: 2) by jdavidb on Saturday May 06, @03:53PM

        by jdavidb (5690) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 06, @03:53PM (#505447) Homepage Journal
        You're probably correct. But I worked so hard on my accent that people ask all the time where I learned Spanish and attempt to communicate with me far beyond my abilities. They come up to my wife at parties and tell her my Spanish is amazing. It's really just all because I stress the vowels so much.
        --
        ⓋⒶ☮✝🕊 Secession is the right of all sentient beings
      • (Score: 2) by requerdanos on Monday May 08, @02:32PM (6 children)

        by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 08, @02:32PM (#506364) Journal

        Then you're not fooling any native speakers

        Well, perhaps, perhaps not.

        Because I am a norteamericano gringo, Latin American speakers can obviously tell that I am not a native speaker...

        But Spanish people have asked me what part of Latin America I'm from, because I learned and therefore speak a Latin American flavor of Spanish.

        • (Score: 2) by archfeld on Sunday May 14, @06:55PM (5 children)

          by archfeld (4650) <treboreel@live.com> on Sunday May 14, @06:55PM (#509577) Journal

          AHA, therein lies the key. They don't teach Spanish here in the US, but they do teach Mexican. Just as a Catalonian will bristle at being referred to as a Spaniard, a Guatemalan will react to being called Nicaraguan, and they all hate being called Mexican, and god forbid you call a Cuban a Puerto Rican. Asians all have equally differing national identities we generic 'white' folks just can tell them apart. Calling a black man an African American, somehow implies that all Africans have some continental identity vs being from dozens of countries with unique and distinct national identities. Just as being a white person differs from being Canadian, or Irish, or Italian.

          --
          For the NSA : Explosives, guns, assassination, conspiracy, primers, detonators, initiators, main charge, nuclear charge
          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by requerdanos on Sunday May 14, @07:08PM

            by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 14, @07:08PM (#509580) Journal

            They don't teach Spanish here in the US, but they do teach Mexican.

            I have heard this, and, truly, it makes sense as the US and Mexico share a lot of border space.

            But somehow I ended up learning a Spanish more informed by Hondureños, Columbianos, and Guatemalans than by any Mexican influence. Except that most of us say "¿Mande?" in place of "¿Qúe?"/"¿Cómo?" (for "huh?" or "what?") owing to that Mexican influence.

            I actually have some trouble understanding many Mexican people because of the highly refined nature of their dialects of Spanish that fall just outside what my ears are trained to hear. *Especially* if they give me credit for more decoding ability than I actually have, and they stop deliberately slowing down and stop deliberately enunciating their words... Often I just get lost.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14, @10:12PM (2 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14, @10:12PM (#509622)

            Please don't assume I'm from this planet.

            • (Score: 2) by archfeld on Monday May 15, @05:52AM

              by archfeld (4650) <treboreel@live.com> on Monday May 15, @05:52AM (#509791) Journal

              You got me there. I will refrain from assuming that you are human, and terrestrial in origin in any future communications. If only you weren't posting as AC buddy.

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuQK6t2Esng [youtube.com]

              --
              For the NSA : Explosives, guns, assassination, conspiracy, primers, detonators, initiators, main charge, nuclear charge
            • (Score: -1, Spam) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 27, @02:54AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 27, @02:54AM (#516265)

              cheap authentic jordans [boysclubofsiouxcity.com] Our online factory store provides free shipping cheap real Mens Air Jordan 13 from China.

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Sunday May 21, @08:01PM

            by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Sunday May 21, @08:01PM (#513136) Journal

            Calling a black man an African American, somehow implies that all Africans have some continental identity vs being from dozens of countries with unique and distinct national identities./quote>

            I can see where you're coming from, but it's worth remembering that "African Americans" (at least, those who are descended from slaves, which I imagine makes up the majority even now) have had their heritage effectively stolen from them. For hundreds of years children were separated from parents, education was disallowed and any attempt to retain and pass on ancestral culture would have been implicitly or explicitly oppressed, as the slave owners wanted to turn their slaves into obedient, English-speaking, Jesus worshipping cattle rather than people with their own identities and ideas. African national identity was not then what it is now anyway, being more tribal than national in most places - the reason Africa was the source of all those slaves is that it was in a chaotic state, politically. (Ironically, this was due at least in part to the collapse of the African gold industry following the discovery of so much gold in the Americas.)

            What I'm getting round to is, the vast majority of modern African Americans probably have no idea, and probably no way of ever find out, which bit of Africa their ancestors came from. "African American" may be ridiculously broad, but is as close as many people are ever likely to get.

      • (Score: 2) by darnkitten on Tuesday May 16, @06:15PM

        by darnkitten (1912) on Tuesday May 16, @06:15PM (#510647)

        Then you're not fooling any native speakers...

        I have a friend, an older lady from El Salvador, who was tricked into enlisting in the US Army back in the 50s, despite not being able to speak English. She had been taught to speak one phrase by rote: "I am sorry, but I do not speak a word of English," but, because her accent was perfect, no one believed she wasn't fluent.

        Eventually, she picked up enough English to be able to resolve her situation, and to meet her future husband, to whom she is still married. She also eventually, due to her excellent ear and natural talent, became a respected interpreter, both at the state and federal level. She recently retired, and, in her late 80s, began studying French through immersion.

      • (Score: 2) by Dunbal on Wednesday May 17, @10:39AM

        by Dunbal (3515) on Wednesday May 17, @10:39AM (#510994)

        Unless you were very young when you learned. My mother was English and my father French. I have no accent in either. Spanish I picked up with 25+ years of living in latin america and I've been told I sound just like a Costa Rican by people from outside and inside Costa Rica. Some people are language chameleons and can pick up nuances and dialects quite easily. But then again I know some "gringos" who have been down here as long or longer than me and stick out like sore thumbs linguistically speaking.

      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday May 22, @06:11PM

        by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22, @06:11PM (#513639)

        An interesting analogy for the discussion is polymorphism and C++.

        I can't wrap my head around the syntax of C++ polymorphism. Luckily I haven't used it since school shortly after the turn of the century.

        If I'm driving the conversation unless the topic is hopelessly C++ polymorphism, I can fake it well enough.

        But if someone else is driving the conversation and insists on jumping on the C++ polymorphism train I get lost pretty quick.

        For non-C++ programmers, polymorphism is how C++ programmers invoke Lovecraftian elder gods like Cthulhu. Mostly.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 07, @12:51PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 07, @12:51PM (#505813)

      Have you ever done a few months of complete immersion in Spanish? Well, I suppose complete is a bit of a stretch these days since you won't get away from English media, but I've found that immersion is the best way to build a deeper understanding of communication in another language.

      When you start dreaming in the other language, you're on the right track.

      That worked for me before with German, but I haven't gone that far with Japanese yet. Still, it's amazing what my subconscious has picked up on when the English patches on Japanese games I play go wonky. (Subtitles of course are cheating. Anybody who thinks they know Japanese because they watch a lot of subtitled anime is joking and would choke the moment the subtitles are taken away.)

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 29, @09:06AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 29, @09:06AM (#517074)

      I answered 3, as I'm fully fluent in 3. But I can follow along quite ok in 2 or 3 related languages and have a smattering of some others. How do you sum the fractions?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 04, @07:56PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 04, @07:56PM (#504503)

    Does speaking in tongues count as knowing?

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Ethanol-fueled on Friday May 05, @09:04PM (2 children)

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 05, @09:04PM (#505155) Homepage Journal

      Is that where you're having your dick sucked so well that your words sound like Porky Pig's stuttering?

      • (Score: 3, Touché) by Gaaark on Saturday May 06, @12:00AM

        by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 06, @12:00AM (#505223) Homepage Journal

        I'm speechless.

        ;)

        --
        --- That's not flying: that's... falling... with more luck than I have. ---
      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 11, @08:04PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 11, @08:04PM (#508286)

        Clearly you'll never know.

  • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday May 04, @08:33PM (8 children)

    by DannyB (5839) on Thursday May 04, @08:33PM (#504514)

    Python?
    COBOL?
    JavaScript?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 04, @09:30PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 04, @09:30PM (#504540)

      Basic A

    • (Score: 3, Touché) by DeathMonkey on Friday May 05, @05:04PM (2 children)

      by DeathMonkey (1380) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 05, @05:04PM (#505005) Journal

      Many would argue that Python's usage of whitespace is definitely unnatural.

      (Personally, I like it.)

      • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Friday May 05, @05:06PM (1 child)

        by DeathMonkey (1380) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 05, @05:06PM (#505007) Journal

        I guess that should be:

        {{{Personally, I like it.};};};

        • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday May 09, @07:13PM

          by DannyB (5839) on Tuesday May 09, @07:13PM (#507059)

          ((Personally) (I (like it)))

    • (Score: 2) by OrugTor on Friday May 05, @05:16PM

      by OrugTor (5147) on Friday May 05, @05:16PM (#505015)

      COBOL.

    • (Score: 2) by turgid on Wednesday May 10, @07:27PM

      by turgid (4318) on Wednesday May 10, @07:27PM (#507688) Journal

      Z80 Assembler, C and English.

      --
      Don't let Righty keep you down.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 29, @09:10AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 29, @09:10AM (#517075)

      COBOL is like speaking Latin at the store, every day.
      Hey, someone should compile a list of programming languages with their natural language equivalent. Could be fun...
      Perl is speaking in line noise.
      JavaScript is the inner-city street lingo.
      APL - aliens?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 01, @06:25PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 01, @06:25PM (#518978)

      I voted 2: English and Mathematics

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 04, @09:19PM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 04, @09:19PM (#504536)

    Besides native (Dutch), I was taught English, French and German. Took ancient Latin & Greek.
    So naturally, I know Dutch and English.

    • (Score: 2) by aclarke on Friday May 05, @02:14PM (2 children)

      by aclarke (2049) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 05, @02:14PM (#504855) Homepage

      I'm learning Dutch since I have a lot of Dutch family. Thanks to DuoLingo, I now know such useful sentences as "Heb je mijn eend?", and "Dat is een belangerijk vrouw."

      I also took six years of French in school but as I never use it, I'm no longer particularly conversant.

      Naturally, my answer to this poll was a resounding 1.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by hendrikboom on Saturday May 06, @02:46AM (1 child)

        by hendrikboom (1125) on Saturday May 06, @02:46AM (#505284) Homepage

        As a native Dutch speaker, who left the Netherlands at the age of five and started learning English, I sympathize. And encourage.

        For those who know no Dutch, the sentences he quoted are
                "Do you have my duck?"
        and
                "That is an important woman."
        Except that I think that "belangerijk" should be "belangrijke". But I never really learned any formal Dutch grammar, just various trivia my friends told me when I went back to Holland for a while when an adult, so what do I know?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 06, @10:37AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 06, @10:37AM (#505383)

          so what do I know?

          More than him apparently, since "belangrijke" is correct. :)

    • (Score: 2) by ikanreed on Friday May 05, @09:34PM

      by ikanreed (3164) on Friday May 05, @09:34PM (#505167)

      So you've got two langauges on me.

  • (Score: 2) by martyb on Thursday May 04, @09:41PM (2 children)

    by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 04, @09:41PM (#504544) Journal

    I obviously have some mastery of English (well, to be pedantic - American - though I had no problem on a couple business trips to England).

    Further, I had 3 years of German in High School and can still carry on a casual conversation. It certainly came in handy on a couple business trips several years ago. That said, I'm certain my vocabulary has dropped considerably over the years. I'd always struggled with the fact that each noun had an associated (and non-obvious) gender -- a girl is an "it", a table is a "he" -- and to add to that, the words "a" and "the" are modified by the gender of the following noun. Mark Twain wrote up an hilarious piece on the German language: https://www.cs.utah.edu/~gback/awfgrmlg.html [utah.edu] which appeared as Appendix D in his book "An American Abroad".

    Separately, I taught myself to read ancient Greek, but would liken my knowledge to something a native five-year-old could probably do without breaking a sweat.

    Lastly, in the course of my job, I regularly meet people from all around the world and have learned some of the pleasantries (Hello, Thank-You, You're Welcome, and Good-Bye) in about a dozen others. Disclaimer, not all of those in all of those in all of the languages. For example, I can recall how to say thank-you (but not Hello, You're Welcome, or Good-Bye) in Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Thai. Can do much better with Spanish, French, Arabic, and Serbian.

    --
    Wit is intellect, dancing.
    • (Score: 2) by nobu_the_bard on Monday May 08, @06:54PM (1 child)

      by nobu_the_bard (6373) on Monday May 08, @06:54PM (#506496)

      Speaking as a non-expert that took German in high school and college...

      I wonder if the fact that much of the character of the complaint also applies to English was intentional. English also has an absurd number of exceptions, mostly because of all of the "loanwords" from Latin, French, and occasionally other languages sometimes managing to retain some of their behaviors.

      English's grammar is mostly similar to German though so it's not really all that hard for an English speaker to learn once you get the vocabulary. The gender thing was definitely weird; I thought it was really funny though, and I've heard lots of languages inherited that kind of stuff from Latin.

      I did a little Latin in junior high; Latin is so strict with how you form words, that sentence structure is almost arbitrary, because it's usually easy to tell what word modifies what because all of it is so specific.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 15, @07:31AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 15, @07:31AM (#509823)

        Talking about being specific with modifiers, almost all of the ancient languages are like that. The first written languages were specifically tailored by and to the mathematically gifted. The 'intellectuals', if you will. The aim of the languages at their time of formulation was to preserve knowledge by creating a community around knowing something - what we can still see in maths.

        The degradation of the modifiers towards a more lenient grammar can be looked upon as a sign of diffusion of education to common people from the upper echelons.

        But even without looking at it as social problem but purely a linguistic phenomenon, the 'common tongue' has existed before formulation of grammar rules and yet both borrow a lot of each other.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by arslan on Friday May 05, @05:44AM

    by arslan (3462) on Friday May 05, @05:44AM (#504703)

    Does each Chinese dialect count as a different spoken language? They are quite different (at least the ones I know) and mostly non-transferable orally....not so much the written form.

  • (Score: 2) by Celestial on Friday May 05, @02:06PM (9 children)

    by Celestial (4891) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 05, @02:06PM (#504850) Homepage Journal

    Does Klingon count?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 05, @03:14PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 05, @03:14PM (#504922)

      HIja' 'oH

    • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Saturday May 06, @02:51AM (6 children)

      by hendrikboom (1125) on Saturday May 06, @02:51AM (#505286) Homepage

      Artificial, not natural. Nor does Elvish. There are arguments that Esperanto is on its way to becoming natural. It seems to have evolved a new suffix since it was first invented. The way Esperanto works, that's a change of grammar!

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 06, @04:46AM (4 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 06, @04:46AM (#505326)

        Yes I remember Esperanto. I studied it in high school when I was young and naive and still believed in the value of an education. I even completed a correspondence course offered by ELNA. It was all a waste of time, both Esperanto and education in general. Education is a totally worthless endeavor with no return on investment whatsoever. Zamenhof's father was right to destroy the original notes which became the Esperanto grammar, but Zamenhof was a stubborn fool who wouldn't let his idiotic project die like it should have died.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 06, @02:15PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 06, @02:15PM (#505424)

          No one in their right mind takes that esper shit seriously.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 06, @04:17PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 06, @04:17PM (#505455)

            William Shatner got paid to speak Esperanto. If you get paid for it, it must be serious business.

            Incubus 1966 [youtube.com]

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by maxwell demon on Sunday May 07, @08:27AM (1 child)

          by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 07, @08:27AM (#505763) Journal

          I studied it in high school when I was young and naive and still believed in the value of an education.

          There is value in education. But education does not mean learning random things. Many people get that wrong, though.

          Education is a totally worthless endeavor with no return on investment whatsoever.

          So you see no value in being able to read and write (and thus, for example, being able to participate in this site)? Because that is part of your education. Yes, it's a part of education that is very common nowadays (it wasn't in older times), but it's education nonetheless. More so than learning useless stuff like Esperanto.

          --
          The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
          • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 07, @04:41PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 07, @04:41PM (#505894)

            Let me tell you what's useless. Communicating with you is useless. The only thing I'm doing right now, the only thing, is wasting my time. I gain absolutely nothing at all from participating in this site, nothing. This site is completely utterly worthless to me. I have no idea what value you think this site has. Clearly you value this site enough to create an account, which is something I will never do, and to buy a subscription, which is something else I will never do. I don't know what sick pleasure you derive from subscribing to this worthless site and I don't care to know. And let me tell you something else, reading and writing are also completely worthless. I certainly do not benefit from my ability to read and write. There is no value in being able to read when illiterate idiots can beg the literate to read for them. Maybe you haven't had the misfortune of working among highly paid complete idiots who are illiterate and make the low status losers read things to them. Because that's what happens out here in the real world where the stupid and the illiterate are valued more than the intelligent and literate. Learning to read and write was the worst mistake I ever made in my entire life, because without an education I could have become one of the elite successful uneducated people who exploit everyone around them.

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by lx on Sunday May 07, @02:47PM

        by lx (1915) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 07, @02:47PM (#505840)

        Elvish? Is that Sean Connery singing Love me Tender?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 08, @07:53AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 08, @07:53AM (#506235)

      Does Klingon count?

      I believe it works in Pentecostal churches quite well.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by CoolHand on Friday May 05, @02:38PM (8 children)

    by CoolHand (438) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 05, @02:38PM (#504876)
    Just one! Cuz I'm 'Murican!
    --
    Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job-Douglas Adams
    • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Friday May 05, @07:00PM

      by tangomargarine (667) on Friday May 05, @07:00PM (#505083)

      "Lady, I only speak two languages, English and bad English."

      --
      "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by The Mighty Buzzard on Friday May 05, @08:21PM (2 children)

      I'm Merican and I can manage five. Only know English well enough to speak it poorly on purpose though; the rest I speak poorly on accident. Honestly, I could manage as many as I found the time and desire to pick up. I doubt I'll ever excel at any but English though, as I have no plans on leaving the US (There's easily as much variety as there is Europe without ever having to stop speaking English) and you just can't become good at a language without needing to use it regularly for a while at least.

      --
      Save Ferris!
      • (Score: 2) by archfeld on Monday May 15, @06:02AM (1 child)

        by archfeld (4650) <treboreel@live.com> on Monday May 15, @06:02AM (#509795) Journal

        Does ASL count as one ? I have a friend who speaks very broken English and Chinese, but we can communicate fairly well in ASL. His mother is deaf, and I learned to sign in college to impress a girl of all things, but it stuck with me and has done me a world of good since then.

        --
        For the NSA : Explosives, guns, assassination, conspiracy, primers, detonators, initiators, main charge, nuclear charge
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 06, @12:32PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 06, @12:32PM (#505398)

      Just one! Cuz I'm 'Murican!

      Then that counts as just half! Sorry!

    • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 07, @04:04PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 07, @04:04PM (#505875)

      What do you call someone who can speak 3 languages? Trilingual!
      What do you call someone who can speak 2 languages? Bilingual!
      What do you call someone who can only speak 1 language? British!
      What do you call someone who can't even get 1 language right? American!

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 25, @09:03PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 25, @09:03PM (#515702)

        As an American, I resemble that remark!!!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14, @08:22PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 14, @08:22PM (#509598)

      Ooooh, using recursion to do factorials has always been my hobby: IF n>1 THEN n! = n(n-1)! ELSE n! = 1.

      And you just added a new whole dimension to my favorite game, thanks!

      1!!!!!!!! = 1!!!!!!! = 1!!!!!! = 1!!!!! = 1!!!! = 1!!! = 1!! = 1! = 1.

  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 05, @03:02PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 05, @03:02PM (#504911)

    I am not good at the Englesh, 8086 assembler on the other hand LDA

  • (Score: 2) by mrpg on Friday May 05, @09:11PM (2 children)

    by mrpg (5708) <mrpgNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Friday May 05, @09:11PM (#505157)

    What's "to know"? I speak English and Spanish. I went to Paris once and I was able to buy food, ask for directions and more, but I can't follow the dialogue in a movie. So I voted "3".

    Incidentally, in six days I only found two rude people. Of course I was speaking their language, I'm sure that helped me. An old man offered me help when he saw me with my map.
    À bientôt.

    • (Score: 3, Troll) by VLM on Saturday May 06, @04:33PM

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 06, @04:33PM (#505459)

      ... I went to Paris once ... Of course I was speaking their language ...

      Arabic is hard to learn, grats

    • (Score: 2) by FakeBeldin on Saturday May 06, @06:18PM

      by FakeBeldin (3360) on Saturday May 06, @06:18PM (#505495) Journal

      In that case, I should count my pathetic Spantalian mess as two languages, because that stuff works sufficiently to get food and directions in both Italy and in Spain!

      I put the bar at "would you be willing to sign a lease in this language?" - in the expectation that room/apartment rental contracts are (I) fairly standard and (II) low on legalese. If those criteria do not apply to leases in your country, you could consider (*) electricity contract, water contract or internet contract.

      So you want to understand each and every clause to know what you're getting yourself into, but normally, there shouldn't be anything particularly scary.

      (*) if none of those meet those two criteria at the same time, consider moving to another country.

  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 06, @07:43AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 06, @07:43AM (#505358)

    I torture every language unnaturally.

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 06, @07:46AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 06, @07:46AM (#505359)

      You must be a socialist, and an SJW. Or, you could simply be a faggot with a bad lisp.

  • (Score: 1) by charon on Sunday May 07, @02:07AM

    by charon (5660) on Sunday May 07, @02:07AM (#505669)
    I took spanish classes for years in high school and college, and recall enough to be able to read (but not converse) in it. Where it shines though is tormenting my daughter by correcting her spanish homework. I recall just enough to catch her mistakes and she hates it.
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by maxwell demon on Sunday May 07, @08:34AM (7 children)

    by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Sunday May 07, @08:34AM (#505765) Journal

    I know a lot of natural languages. That is, I know their names and have an idea of how they sound.
    I speak far fewer languages. Actually, just two.

    I voted two because I think the latter was what was meant.

    --
    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 1) by shanen on Sunday May 07, @10:20AM (4 children)

      by shanen (6084) on Sunday May 07, @10:20AM (#505793) Journal

      I also picked 2, but I think the poll results are obviously worthless. Never seen any statistic supporting a claim of 30% of any population speaking more than 5 languages and have only known a handful of such people in my entire life. Even on television such polyglots are rare.

      Actually it would have been interesting to allow for real number responses with criteria for scoring each degree of natural language capability. Perhaps 1.0 for native fluency, 0.8 for L2 competence in business, and 0.001 for being able to ask if someone speaks a particular language. Maybe 0.1 for a year of academic study? On that basis, my answer should be about 2.307, I think.

      (I had a bunch of 0.001s for a period when I was an international salesman at the retail level.) On that basis my answer would be about 1.8

      --
      #1 Freedom = (Meaningful - Coerced) Choice{5} ≠ (Beer^4 | Speech) and your negative mods prove you are a narrow prick.
      • (Score: 2) by requerdanos on Monday May 08, @02:28PM

        by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 08, @02:28PM (#506363) Journal

        the poll results are obviously worthless. Never seen any statistic supporting a claim of 30% of any population speaking more than 5 languages

        Perhaps most of them thought that "natural" meant "Turing-complete"?

        I speak English, Spanish, and enough French to explain conversationally that my French sucks but I speak English and Spanish. So I put "3".

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 08, @04:53PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 08, @04:53PM (#506427)

        First rule of stats... know the meaning of the question. "know" != "spoken" If they ask "how many spoken languages do you speak?" would be better but still questionable, since Latina is still spoken (medical and science) but does not have native speakers any more. And what about Klingon? There was a job opening years ago in Oregon looking for Klingon speaker for translation. If read COBOL aloud, is that a spoken language, since others will understand you? Is American Sign Language as language then? It is not spoken, so what does speaking mean?

        For I know many languages and can order food in all of them, even if I get the wrong thing from time to time.

        ---
        English is my second language... I am still looking for a first.

        • (Score: 4, Funny) by DECbot on Thursday May 11, @09:26PM

          by DECbot (832) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 11, @09:26PM (#508331) Journal

          Makes me wonder about why a Klingon translator was needed... Did some programmer write all of their documentation in Klingon as a sort of job security? I can see the conversation between the developer and management/the HR drone, "I provided ample documentation for the device driver per my employment contract, it's not my fault you didn't specify which language it had to be in!"

          --
          cats~$ sudo chown -R us /home/base
      • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Tuesday May 09, @12:50AM

        Meh, languages are easy. It's having a vocabulary worth a damn in them that's difficult.

        --
        Save Ferris!
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 12, @12:40PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 12, @12:40PM (#508582)

      In English we would say "I know of a lot of natural languages." For languages "know" is approximately "speak" (and read /write) - if there are any oddities such as only beaing able to read/write, or only being able to speak it that would be specified.

    • (Score: 2) by Arik on Friday May 19, @02:47AM

      by Arik (4543) on Friday May 19, @02:47AM (#511965)
      The AC is right about 'know of' versus 'know.'

      BUT the question doesn't give any idea of how well the questioner has in mind.

      My answer would be ridiculously high if I parsed it as only requiring marginally better than "know their names and have an idea of how they sound."

      On the other hand I would only claim to be truly fluent in English.

      But English is a mix of Germanic and Latin elements, and if you know English well there are thus a lot of languages that are related to English that can be learned more easily as a result.

      I'm ok at Swedish, not as polished as I wish by any means but I can carry on a conversation in it. Danish and Norwegian are closely related so between my English and my Swedish they're usually comprehensible too, though I'm sure I sound even funnier when I try to match it to respond, it can certainly work for the basics. German and Dutch are further off, and I have more difficulty with them, I wouldn't claim to speak them even poorly, but sometimes I can understand them perfectly - for a phrase or maybe a sentence worth, at least. Then there's the latin side. I studied Spanish, I spent a few weeks speaking it every day once, I can remember some basics but I can't really carry on a conversation in it anymore. Still, signs, menus, simple politeness I can handle at least. And both French and Italian are close enough that I can understand them at times as well, though for some reason Romanian is harder for me. Anyway it's not hard to remember a few sets like Gracias/Grazi/Mercí and work on the pronunciation enough you can be understood, and you can actually get surprisingly far with a little bit of basic vocabulary plus an understanding of which English words you already know are likely to have cousins in this language, and what they are likely to look like, obviously assuming it's a Romance or Germanic language so you have that common ground.

      On the other hand, I studied Chinese for a year and can barely remember how to say hello and read or write a handful of characters. And my knowledge of English can't be used the same way on that one.

      --
      "Unix? These savages aren't even circumcised!"
  • (Score: 3, Funny) by DannyB on Tuesday May 09, @07:16PM (1 child)

    by DannyB (5839) on Tuesday May 09, @07:16PM (#507060)

    I am knowing only one languages very goodfully.

    • (Score: 2) by archfeld on Thursday May 18, @01:49AM

      by archfeld (4650) <treboreel@live.com> on Thursday May 18, @01:49AM (#511494) Journal

      and that would be Engrish ? :)

      It is with great happiness during the day that I greet another who is being accomplished at talking the Engrish.

      --
      For the NSA : Explosives, guns, assassination, conspiracy, primers, detonators, initiators, main charge, nuclear charge
  • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Wednesday May 10, @02:17PM

    by Phoenix666 (552) on Wednesday May 10, @02:17PM (#507546) Journal

    Immersion in a foreign language while living in that culture is of course the best way to learn.

    If you don't have the opportunity to do that, there are two effective ways you can do in the comfort of your own home or when you're out and about.

    First, watch TV programs/movies in that language. It's an excellent way to get used to the cadence of the language and learn how to break up the stream of syllables into units of grammar and meaning. Once your vocabulary begins to pick up, you begin to acquire idiomatic expressions that are the bulk of how native speakers communicate. In this context, regular TV with commercials is very helpful, because the repetition of the commercials reinforces what you know and builds on it, and often you can crib because they're foreign brands whose catchphrases you already know in your own language.

    Second, get the Pimsleur language lessons. They are almost all audio w/ no written component, unlike Berlitz, so that you can do them while driving or at the gym or doing something else. Their technique is very effective at imparting competence quickly; in a lesson they give you a handful of vocab words and phrases in context, mix them up in as many ways as they can. The next lesson they repeat the previous words and phrases a couple times, then give you new material. You can easily get to survival competency in a week or two, and because of the way they teach it you retain that knowledge for a remarkably long time afterward (up to 18 months) if you stop there. I only did up to lesson 15 in Russian 10 years ago and can still pick out phrases in movies and speech.

    --
    Washington DC delenda est.
  • (Score: 2) by Valkor on Friday May 12, @12:49AM

    by Valkor (4253) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 12, @12:49AM (#508417) Homepage

    Listen lady, I only speak two languages, English and bad English.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 13, @08:08PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 13, @08:08PM (#509246)

    My dad got punished for trying to retain his natural languages as a kid... I barely have one in command sometimes. :-P

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 18, @01:46AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 18, @01:46AM (#511491)

      Must be Irish or Welsh...

  • (Score: 1) by pTamok on Monday May 22, @03:49PM

    by pTamok (3042) on Monday May 22, @03:49PM (#513548)

    ...'is' 'know' is.

    'know' in the biblical KJV sense, maybe?

    Anyway, I know of the existence of many natural languages. It would be a boring list to read.
    I can understand at least some in a subset of that list. For example, I had to teach myself to read technical Russian in a particular topic area once. So I can read Russian in a very limited, specialised area.
    I can make myself at least partially understood in a subset of the previous subset. E.g. I have very fragmentary Latin.
    I can write in a subset of the previous subset.

    I can hold a conversation in at least 5 languages, partly because one of them is in a language family where different languages are closely enough related to be mutually intelligible most of the time. I have not included languages in that family I have not actively held a conversation in at least once in my life, so I might be able to speak conversationally in more than 5. With a couple of weeks of practice, I might be able to add German to the 'conversational' list, as I'm currently extremely rusty in that language.

    I'm fluent (according to my standards of fluent) in precisely one language.

    So, I haven't answered the poll, as I don't know what my answer is.

  • (Score: 2) by bradley13 on Friday May 26, @12:43PM

    by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 26, @12:43PM (#515933) Homepage Journal

    I'm actually pleasantly surprised, especially given how many Soylentils are in the US. When I moved to Europe, I could only speak English, despite many years of Spanish in high school. But here, at least outside of the UK, everyone speaks multiple languages, so you learn them too.

    Of course, there's always the question of how well you know a language. My German is fluent (but will never be native, for example, der/die/das will always be a problem), my Spanish is slowly getting to be ok, but my French is just embarrassing. And probably only the Swiss count Swiss-German as a separate langauge; everyone else just laughs at us.

    --
    Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
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