Let's Compare Languages

It’s been a little quiet on here the last few days so I wanted to start a little thread to compare our different journeys with a super fast Q&A.

Fill yours in like mine:

Native Language | English
Most proficient 2nd language | Mandarin
Other languages you can speak | Japanese & Italian
Language you wish for fluency in right now | Italian

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Native Language | Czech
Most proficient 2nd language | English
Other languages you can speak | Mandarin & German (beginner) & Russian (beginner)
Language you wish for fluency in right now | Japanese

One interesting journey to take is to use your 2nd language to learn the 3rd and your 3rd to learn the 4th. So for example I would challenge @Max to learn Japanese via Chinese :wink:

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Here’s mine!

Native Language | French
Most proficient 2nd language | English
Other languages you can speak | Mandarin (advanced) & Korean (beginner)
Language you wish for fluency in right now | Mandarin

My Mandarin progress is very slow since I left China and I feel I “lost” some of my knowledge as well, so I wish I could speak as fluently as before :grin:

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I do actually enjoy doing this at times.

I started to follow an Italian lady who teaches Mandarin through Italian. A great way to:

a - double down on language learning
b - give yourself a massive headache

:rofl:

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Native Language | English
Most proficient 2nd language | Japanese
Other languages you can speak | German (intermediate) Spanish (beginner) French (beginner) Korean (beginner)
Language you wish for fluency in right now | Korean and Spanish. Korean because I’m interested in the language for fun and Spanish to speak to customers at work.

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Native Languages | English and Mandarin
Most proficient 3rd language | French
Other languages you can speak | Hokkien (Singapore version)
Language(s) you wish for fluency in right now | Cantonese and Malay

Native Language | English
Most proficient 2nd language | 中文 (intermed.) & Italiano (intermed.)
Other languages I can speak | Deutsche (lower intermed.)
Other languages I can read | Deutsche (higher intermed.), French (beginner), Latin (beginner, very rusty)
My current goal language for fluency | 中文

Native Language | English
Heritage/First Language | Vietnamese (A2)
Most proficient 2nd language | French (B1)
Other languages you can speak | Spanish (B2), Korean (A1)
Language you wish for fluency in right now | Vietnamese and Korean

My language learning/using journey:
Vietnamese - age 0 - 6/7 years (stopped speaking regularly after entering first grade, though my mom taught us how to read and write and some grammar for a while)
English - age 6/7 - native
Spanish - age 12 - 18 (middle/high school classes, stopped after entering college)
Korean - age 18 - inconsistent learning to present day (lived with Korean people, dated a Korean person, moved to Korea, taking Korean lessons on and off)
French - dating a French person, work in an international sector, started learning seriously since Sep 2021

I read somewhere that if you start learning a language by age 8, you have a very good chance of being just as proficient as someone who started learning at birth. If you start learning it between ages 8 to 12, you may never reach native ability but you will be closer than someone who starts later, the earlier you start (an age 8 start will be better than an age 12 start). After age 13, it seems proficiency is more dependent on individual capability (someone who started at 35 may be better than someone who started at 21). It seems to be due to the brain deprioritizing language acquisition by a cutoff age, and after that age, it’s down to personal interest, commitment, talent, etc.

In my case, it seems to be true. I speak English as a native, and in the Vietnamese I have been able to retain, I’ve been told by teachers and my parents that I sound native. Having started to learn Spanish at 12, it may be just the 6 years of actual study but it does feel as though Spanish (its grammar, recall, etc.) is more well integrated into my mind than French (1 year of study so far), though at the moment because I haven’t spoken it in years and I’ve been so heavy on French lately, it’s not coming out of my mouth easily. I fear I may never master Korean and French pronunciation, but with the knowledge above, as long as I put time and effort and practice in, I could maybe get close!

For now I am focusing on Vietnamese (because I want to speak with my family), Korean (because I live in Korea), and French (because my partner is French and for my career). Learning three languages at once is actually not so bad when they are as wildly different as these three! :blush:

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Native Language | English
Most proficient 2nd language | Spanish
Other languages you can speak | Mandarin, French
Language you wish for fluency in right now | Mandarin

I also took elementary Russian back in 2013 and wish I had the time/motivation to continue learning haha…maybe one day!

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We are now offering 50% off for all Russian classes, with only 0,5 credit for 1 small group class :blush:

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