34 votes

Tildes folks, are you learning another language or multilingual?

pretty straightforward ask. i have some basic, rusty Spanish (on and off learning) and a bit of Esperanto to my name (currently learning) but not much else

eventually i want to speak French conversationally since my boyfriend can and i think it'd be neat to converse with him in more than English, but that's a long term goal.

35 comments

  1. esrever
    Link
    I've been meaning to brush up on my Spanish. I was introduced to Language Transfer about a year ago and really love their audio course approach, more so than Pimseur or Michel Thomas. They use...

    I've been meaning to brush up on my Spanish. I was introduced to Language Transfer about a year ago and really love their audio course approach, more so than Pimseur or Michel Thomas. They use English as the source language for nearly all of their courses as of writing and build your skills off of your existing grasp of language as you know it for a foundation (using cognates and quickly getting you into verb conjugation for multiple tenses). Best of all, it is free, so there's no reason not to at least try it to to see if it is for you or not.

    I think the thing to keep in mind is that an audio course like that (or any materials you used) should be treated as auxiliary educational tools, and you should supplement your learning with a variety of means. Find children's books/comics to read from. Listen to internet talk radio/podcasts. Use flashcards / SRS software like Anki. Watch television shows you are already familiar with in your target language with subtitles (and the inverse).

    The two biggest things, I feel, is having a reason for learning the language in the first place, and start conversing with people in your target language as soon as possible, and to do so with regularity. If you don't have access to someone in person, Lang-8 is an amazing resource to pair up with native speakers.

    Some other good resources:

    • Forvo: Useful for listening to pronunciations from native speakers with a variety of accents.
    • DeepL: Machine translation that isn't terrible. It's still machine translation, so you shouldn't trust it blindly, but it's a huge step over Google's option.
    12 votes
  2. tesseractcat
    Link
    Currently I'm learning Mandarin Chinese with Anki, along with a tutor I meet with occasionally, although I'm not making a huge amount of progress so it's pretty discouraging. A problem with Anki...

    Currently I'm learning Mandarin Chinese with Anki, along with a tutor I meet with occasionally, although I'm not making a huge amount of progress so it's pretty discouraging. A problem with Anki is that if you miss a few days it becomes relatively intimidating to return and study again, which makes it even more difficult to start, and I'll end up missing a week or something and I'll spend the next few days just trying to get back into the habit of using it. There is so much to learn as well, that it's difficult to maintain everything with Anki, as the reviews for decks will become hours long if you're not careful.

    Unlike, for example Spanish, for each word you need to learn the pinyin and the character to be able to understand it when spoken and understand it when written. Currently I've only been studying the pinyin, and the reading is still a ways off. After about a year and a half of study I'm relatively confident with HSK 1 and 2 (not reading, only speaking), and I'm working on HSK 3 and HSK 4, although I'm nowhere near confident with HSK 4. Something that's difficult about Pinyin is that it uses tonal markers, which isn't a problem in and of itself, but my brain has a lot of difficulty memorizing tonal markers. So I'll end up remembering the pronunciation but not the tone, which is very irritating since tones are relatively important to both speech and understanding.

    Another roadblock is that Chinese has barely any cognates, which makes reading anything you don't know all the vocab for extremely difficult, if not impossible. With European languages I can usually piece together what something means even if I hadn't encountered the vocabulary before, but with Chinese it's essentially impossible.

    Along with that, I have a lot of trouble speaking as well. The main difficulty for me is the grammar. While Chinese has similar grammar to English, there's always some "Chinese-y" way to say it that I missed. It's sortof like a logic puzzle for each sentence to discard my English and move everything around in the correct order for it to sound right/be grammatically correct in Chinese. A lot of the time when I try to phrase a sentence I'll be using English grammar that doesn't exist in Chinese, and the Chinese translation will be entirely different using a different grammatical method, and while possible to replicate that sentence in English, it wouldn't be obvious nor my first choice.

    I've been considering using mnemonic systems to make memorizing pinyin more efficient, although I haven't found the motivation to actually create/memorize such a system yet, but I want to do it sometime soon.

    This ended up being really long, and mostly complaints about learning Mandarin, but overall I'm enjoying the process, even if it may seem otherwise in this post. Eventually I'm hoping to be good enough to watch television in Mandarin, as I found it was really helpful when I was learning Spanish.

    9 votes
  3. moriarty
    Link
    Multilingual. Just recently moved to an English-speaking country and despite being fluent and having worked in an international English speaking laboratory for 10 years, man it is exhausting. I am...

    Multilingual. Just recently moved to an English-speaking country and despite being fluent and having worked in an international English speaking laboratory for 10 years, man it is exhausting. I am good most days but when I'm tired or annoyed it becomes really difficult to express myself, especially when trying to form nuanced arguments. When that happens my accent, which is generally very mild, becomes way more pronounced (which obviously doesn't help my case)

    5 votes
  4. culturedleftfoot
    Link
    I studied French for the better part of a decade through to my late teens but kinda fell out of it. Nowadays, my reading comprehension's pretty good, but when I happen to be around francophone...

    I studied French for the better part of a decade through to my late teens but kinda fell out of it. Nowadays, my reading comprehension's pretty good, but when I happen to be around francophone friends I find my listening's embarrassingly bad, and I'm probably at a good beginner's level speaking-wise.

    By contrast, I only did Spanish for three years, but between Spanish soccer commentary and hanging around Latin American coworkers, I'm way more confident following/taking part in a Spanish convo than French now. Exposure really is the key. I tell myself every few months that I'm going to get back on the horse and brush up, maybe this post is the reminder I needed.

    4 votes
  5. 666
    Link
    Yes, I'm currently learning French (still a long way to go) and Catalan (started recently). I'm also trying to improve my listening and speaking skills in English. I'm not very good at teaching...

    Yes, I'm currently learning French (still a long way to go) and Catalan (started recently). I'm also trying to improve my listening and speaking skills in English. I'm not very good at teaching but if anyone needs help with or just wants to chat in Spanish they can message me (I won't reply immediately, I don't login every day, but I'll eventually reply).

    3 votes
  6. bun
    Link
    I speak five languages, three fluently. I can also understand 3 more but if I open my mouth it will sound too bad for usage. Currently I am learning dutch, which is going pretty well. It's...

    I speak five languages, three fluently. I can also understand 3 more but if I open my mouth it will sound too bad for usage.

    Currently I am learning dutch, which is going pretty well. It's currently good enough for day-to-day usage, though I obviously notice that there are some fields that are much better than others.

    3 votes
  7. judah
    Link
    I’ve been studying Korean for about 6 years and am finally getting to the point where it doesn’t feel so much like a second language. I think the biggest thing that helped me was actually trying...

    I’ve been studying Korean for about 6 years and am finally getting to the point where it doesn’t feel so much like a second language.

    I think the biggest thing that helped me was actually trying to speak and use the language in practical ways (web browsing, texting, journaling, etc). Anki was great in the beginning, but after a while I feel it’s better to do less drilling and memorization and to try actively “thinking” in the language. For instance, most native English speakers can tell that “The brown large dog jumped upwards” sounds odd or incorrect. This is because there’s actually a “hidden” structure in English that most natives learn without ever being taught (but that’s a conversation for another day lol). I think learning this structure is a big factor in really “getting” a language, since you can intuitively decide what sounds wrong or unnatural while you’re speaking, rather than having to translate everything word for word while trying to remember the rules you studied. How do you learn this “hidden structure” efficiently or easily? I have no clue, I’m still trying to figure that out myself!

    I’m also hoping I can pick up French and Mandarin Chinese again soon since I love those languages!

    3 votes
  8. [2]
    grapegoop
    Link
    I am learning Russian at the local community college-- just started this semester! I studied German for three years, and was conversational, but I didn't keep up with grammar very well. I only...

    I am learning Russian at the local community college-- just started this semester! I studied German for three years, and was conversational, but I didn't keep up with grammar very well. I only stopped last year because the only teacher I could have was not particularly good. I might pick it up again, but I am more interested in Russian as well as Mandarin which I started this year. My goal is fluency in Russian and Chinese so that I can read original poems about folklore. My current favorite tale is the one behind the 七夕节 with 牛郎和织女 (qixi festival, with the weaver girl and the cowherd). I plan to illustrate it soon.

    3 votes
  9. [2]
    deing
    (edited )
    Link
    Grew up with German, picked up English, Latin and ancient Greek later, in school. Currently in the first year of French. While Latin is dead, it's certainly been useful when trying to roughly...

    Grew up with German, picked up English, Latin and ancient Greek later, in school. Currently in the first year of French. While Latin is dead, it's certainly been useful when trying to roughly understand or learn new languages, as so many European languages are based on it.

    2 votes
    1. Tygrak
      Link Parent
      I had 2 years of Latin in school and just knowing a bit of it is so useful, mostly for acting like you are smart :). I love it.

      I had 2 years of Latin in school and just knowing a bit of it is so useful, mostly for acting like you are smart :). I love it.

      2 votes
  10. Tygrak
    Link
    Well I am Czech, so I speak Czech and also English, because you know how it is :), everyone learns English here. I also learned German at school for a few years and I hated it, because we had a...

    Well I am Czech, so I speak Czech and also English, because you know how it is :), everyone learns English here. I also learned German at school for a few years and I hated it, because we had a bad teacher. I wish we didn't because knowing more languages is never bad. So I know some basic German.

    I also wanted to learn Russian. I already learned Cyrillic - luckily it is very easy, which allows me to guess the meaning of most words, because Slavic languages are really similar, but I would like to learn it properly some day.

    2 votes
  11. DrewDru
    Link
    I'm fluent in three languages; English, Swahili, and Kikuyu (my mother tongue).

    I'm fluent in three languages; English, Swahili, and Kikuyu (my mother tongue).

    2 votes
  12. rogue_cricket
    Link
    My father's side of the family is French Canadian and I speak French pretty well. Unfortunately since I've moved to a more Anglo area, I feel like I'm beginning to lose it a bit. My accent in...

    My father's side of the family is French Canadian and I speak French pretty well. Unfortunately since I've moved to a more Anglo area, I feel like I'm beginning to lose it a bit. My accent in French is also the equivalent of a "hick" accent, which I am a bit self-conscious about, so when travelling anywhere besides the small Acadian villages I feel like people are judging me (even if that's not necessarily true!).

    Additionally I've started to travel a bit more for work, most recently to meet with contractors in El Salvador, so I've been trying to pick up some Spanish. A coworker of mine told a warning parable about how it took him 25 minutes to order a coffee because he didn't know how to say that he wanted it to go, "para llevar". He also thinks he accidentally told a woman he wanted to execute her due to some translation confusion about the term "to take out". So a coffee order was the first thing I worked on!

    I find the language itself quite nice and similar to French, structurally. Although in French, "elle" means "she" and is pronounced similarly to the Spanish "el", which is "he". So I've made that mistake a few times...

    2 votes
  13. rts
    Link
    Still semi-fluent in French after having lived there my junior year abroad – 10 years ago. It helps to keep practicing! Fun shows to work on your french are "Plus belle la vie," an extremely...

    Still semi-fluent in French after having lived there my junior year abroad – 10 years ago. It helps to keep practicing! Fun shows to work on your french are "Plus belle la vie," an extremely ridiculous French soap opera, and "Un village français," an actually really good show about a French village during the German occupation. Personally I also enjoy RT France which streams news shows in French though may not be your cup of tea. Bon courage !

    2 votes
  14. skeeto
    Link
    This week is the one year mark for me learning Esperanto. I've spent 20–30 minutes per day every day on it. Part of the motivation was that it would be the easiest way to become bilingual, since...

    This week is the one year mark for me learning Esperanto. I've spent
    20–30 minutes per day every day on it. Part of the motivation was that
    it would be the easiest way to become bilingual, since Esperanto is much
    easier to learn than other languages. I also wanted to find out if it
    would give me a different perspective on things, in a Sapir–Whorf sort
    of way.

    I've focused almost entirely on reading and writing — the primary way I
    expect to use it — not speaking or listening. At this point I know all
    the mechanics of the language, but I still have a ton of basic
    vocabulary to learn, which will come through practice.

    2 votes
  15. [2]
    Ordinator
    Link
    "~s folks" took me way too long to parse. I learn a bit more Spanish each time I visit a Spanish-speaking country. I'm good enough at this point that I can order a beer and some food without much...

    "~s folks" took me way too long to parse.

    I learn a bit more Spanish each time I visit a Spanish-speaking country. I'm good enough at this point that I can order a beer and some food without much trouble. I have very little reason to learn more than that. I've had trouble motivating myself to really try.

    1 vote
    1. Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      I've changed it to make it easier.

      "~s folks" took me way too long to parse.

      I've changed it to make it easier.

      3 votes
  16. ThatFanficGuy
    Link
    Russian natively, pretty good English, some German and Latin. Also a pinch of a few others that's so small it's embarrassing to report. Would like to learn a few – including picking up German to a...

    Russian natively, pretty good English, some German and Latin. Also a pinch of a few others that's so small it's embarrassing to report.

    Would like to learn a few – including picking up German to a conversational level – but not quite sure how to go about it. Repetition doesn't work for me 'cause I lack the discipline.

    1 vote
  17. lazer
    Link
    I speak Russian and English. Russian is my mother tongue but I'm now more proficient with English. I live in Sweden and start Swedish lessons in a couple of weeks, so hopefully soon it'll be three...

    I speak Russian and English. Russian is my mother tongue but I'm now more proficient with English. I live in Sweden and start Swedish lessons in a couple of weeks, so hopefully soon it'll be three languages.

    1 vote
  18. yamalight
    Link
    I am native Russian speaker, but learned English when I was a kid to play videos games. Since at a time we only had abysmal auto-translated games, you couldn't finish anything that had complex...

    I am native Russian speaker, but learned English when I was a kid to play videos games. Since at a time we only had abysmal auto-translated games, you couldn't finish anything that had complex dialogues. I really wanted to beat Fallout 1 (later 2), but got stuck on one of the first quests because translation was incomprehensible. Ended up picking it up in English and playing with a dictionary to the end :)
    And last ~8 years been living in Germany, so I've learned a bit of German as well (enough for everyday life, but not quite there for professional talk).
    Might end up moving to Spain in the future - if that happens, will be learning Spanish :D

    1 vote
  19. ForgotPants
    Link
    I've been learning Japanese since last month at an institute. I've been wanting to learn it out of a love of their culture and food and decided to just do it. I'll give their exams and get...

    I've been learning Japanese since last month at an institute. I've been wanting to learn it out of a love of their culture and food and decided to just do it. I'll give their exams and get certified and go as far as possible, at least that is the plan!

    Though coming from India, I already do speak 4 languages and can write in at least two of them. Japanese will be the 5th language.

    1 vote
  20. gyrozeppeli
    Link
    I have been studying Korean for about 15 months in total now. The first 8 were not great, because I emphasized written text over speaking, which caused my texting ability to grow rapidly but at...

    I have been studying Korean for about 15 months in total now. The first 8 were not great, because I emphasized written text over speaking, which caused my texting ability to grow rapidly but at the cost of blubbering about in very basic conversations.

    Now, I attend a meetup group 2-3 times a week. This group is different in that it's 1 on 1 for an hour in Korean first, then it switches to 1.5 hours of English in 30 minute blocks with different people. So I'm actually speaking Korean and practicing my listening ability (which is the worst of the four). My opinion now is that a lot of regular language exchanges aren't that good because they're too general / have too many people in groups talking. Having a completely structured and guided exchange is like a night and day difference.

    So in about a month my speaking/listening ability has improved tremendously, but it has yet to catch up to my writing/reading ability.

    I'm also living in Seoul, Korea, which gives me access to many meetups with native speakers. I don't believe in the myth of "you'll learn a language if you go to the country". That's bullshit. You'll learn "survival mode" of that language, but one has to make a concerted effort in order to actually, really learn a language well.

    1 vote
  21. Arioso
    Link
    Currently still continuing my advance Japanese via a once per week 3hr class at a Japanese language school. However I am sensing that I am surely, but slowly losing steam and interest in it. I am...

    Currently still continuing my advance Japanese via a once per week 3hr class at a Japanese language school. However I am sensing that I am surely, but slowly losing steam and interest in it. I am thinking it might be due to the fact that my current class frequency is only once a week (previously was twice a week, but switched since I was finding it hard to cope); or maybe teacher is too lenient and nice over our homework and class discussions (up to us if we want to hand in our work, or talk or not), and even our tests (claim that the results from my tests doesn’t matter and we are free to “openbook” it); or maybe my current class just doesn’t have a strong bond as my previous one.

    It’s a bit sad as I like my current teacher, but I am considering changing to another class where the pace is slightly tighter, and where the teacher really encourages students to question and answer.

    Am also considering maybe trying out on of those online webcam one-2-one lesson portal, kinda hesitating though as I’m rather shy and feel a bit awkward and insecure just thinking about it. shudders
    In any case, anyone have experience with one of these and have any recommendations on which platform to try? Please?

    Did beginner German and French in the past too. I find French pronunciation rather too hard for me, and did not have any, how do I say... social-ties to the language? Like I’m not SUPER attracted by the language, or the food, culture or anything much related to it. It’s ok, just not for me.

    I’m very much interested in continuing German though. I did the beginner course back at one of the Goethe school in my country, and MAN it’s expensive! So it’s the money issue that’s putting me off from continuing it. Having said that, I really hated the class while I was taking it (you need to force yourself to talk with your classmates, taking turns, and playing silly games, all of which I LOATHED!). But looking back now, I must say the classes are really useful as I can really more or less retain the stuff which I had learned. Again, also considering using the online one-2-one class platform to continue with it.

    1 vote
  22. cromiium
    Link
    I'm multilingual. My father is Greek and my mother is Colombian, so I learned Spanish and Greek growing up and I know English because I was born and raised in America. I've been meaning to pick up...

    I'm multilingual. My father is Greek and my mother is Colombian, so I learned Spanish and Greek growing up and I know English because I was born and raised in America. I've been meaning to pick up another language. I was thinking Japanese or German but I can never decide.

    1 vote
  23. GONz4LED
    Link
    I'm a native spanish speaker (argentine dialect) with a good grasp of english language. Rather than taking online courses I've learned through my grandma's friend who was an english teacher...

    I'm a native spanish speaker (argentine dialect) with a good grasp of english language. Rather than taking online courses I've learned through my grandma's friend who was an english teacher graduate (although she never practiced) and worked as a translator several years ago. To be honest, I should be refining my skills (I'm kinda rough around the edges) but I don't have the time for the moment.

    1 vote
  24. cwagner
    Link
    Native German speaker, had English from 5th grade, Latin from 7th and switched Latin for Russian at 9th grade. But never got into any foreign language besides English. I wanted to learn Sesotho,...

    Native German speaker, had English from 5th grade, Latin from 7th and switched Latin for Russian at 9th grade. But never got into any foreign language besides English. I wanted to learn Sesotho, the native language of my wife, but there aren't any online courses.

    1 vote
  25. SlipSlop
    Link
    I'm currently still in school and our school requires an ancient european language (just latin or greek lol) but I'm trying to learn German on the side. Being a native English speaker and seeing...

    I'm currently still in school and our school requires an ancient european language (just latin or greek lol) but I'm trying to learn German on the side. Being a native English speaker and seeing all the German memes I thought it would be a relativley easy language and I could finally understand r/ich_iel.

    1 vote
  26. cgrrr
    Link
    Very rusty Spanish. Moving back to Cali soon, and my bucket list includes improving my Spanish - lessons with native speakers, so I can grasp the slang and localized variations as well as the...

    Very rusty Spanish.

    Moving back to Cali soon, and my bucket list includes improving my Spanish - lessons with native speakers, so I can grasp the slang and localized variations as well as the usual pronunciation (as opposed to classroom España instruction). Verb tenses are still pretty baffling.

    I'm also going to start working on ASL. Becoming a paid translator is not my goal, but not having to pass written notes back and forth when I want to converse at all with somebody who doesn't read lips will be worth learning what I can.

    1 vote
  27. unknown user
    Link
    I'm not native multilingual but I do speak three languages fluently: Turkish is my mother tongue, English is another language I use almost daily to read stuff and for communications online, and...

    I'm not native multilingual but I do speak three languages fluently: Turkish is my mother tongue, English is another language I use almost daily to read stuff and for communications online, and lastly I learnt Italian at the university which is a beautiful language, but I don't really use it that often (currently reading a book in Italian tho).

    These days I'm trying to pick up European Portuguese, which is a language I love, mostly because of their literature but also because the country is so beautiful that apart from wanting to visit it, I'm also considering a moving there. But I'm tied to where I'll find a PhD, so maybe that won't be possible. Will see. Learning Portuguese is slightly harder than learning Italian because the phonology is way more complicated and nasals are totally new to me---no language I speak has morphemic nasal vowels---and because it is hard to find PT-EU stuff among the huge sea that is everything for PT-BR. I've found some stuff tho and am using them, rather slowly. I hope to hit B1 in 6 months to a year, and from there I won't have to study b/c I'll be able to just use the language and improve that way.

    Apart from these I can read all the Romance languages (except Romanian) to a decent degree. I also know a wee bit of Greek (Γειά σας!) and German (Ich heiße cadadr un ich kann nich Deutsche sprachen!). I want to learn Greek for good at some point in my life, and also learn Western Armenian.

    1 vote
  28. danjac
    Link
    Native language English, second language Finnish - I took the YKI (general language test) a couple years ago as a citizenship requirement and would consider myself fluent if not bilingual. Third...

    Native language English, second language Finnish - I took the YKI (general language test) a couple years ago as a citizenship requirement and would consider myself fluent if not bilingual. Third language Russian - studied at university and I live near the Finnish/Russian border so I use it fairly often, although it's a bit rusty these days. I also have a smattering of very rusty Swedish, German and Spanish from travelling.

    1 vote
  29. mftrhu
    Link
    I'm bilingual - native Italian, with English as my second language - and I have been trying to learn German and Esperanto (mostly for written communication). I used to be conversational in French,...

    I'm bilingual - native Italian, with English as my second language - and I have been trying to learn German and Esperanto (mostly for written communication). I used to be conversational in French, but I never got to use it and I have long since forgotten it.

    My spoken English, though, is pretty bad - I learned 90% of it from books, and I have no idea how to pronounce most words. We did study English in school, and we did cover speaking, but our teacher(s) were not better than I am right now.

    1 vote
  30. aymm
    Link
    I’m trying to learn Swedish. That is, I do my two lessons of Duolingo daily and not much else. (Although I’m not a huge fan of that course)

    I’m trying to learn Swedish. That is, I do my two lessons of Duolingo daily and not much else. (Although I’m not a huge fan of that course)

    1 vote
  31. PlanarFreak
    Link
    Rusty Chinese, hope to work on it in the upcoming year.

    Rusty Chinese, hope to work on it in the upcoming year.

  32. NeonHippy
    Link
    I wish I did lol! I'm trying to learn more German, as it easier for me than those 'Romance' languages. I have a book on Romany and Sorbian, but have given up on both. Difficult to even master the...

    I wish I did lol! I'm trying to learn more German, as it easier for me than those 'Romance' languages. I have a book on Romany and Sorbian, but have given up on both. Difficult to even master the basics.