What do you love about your second language(s)?

General discussion about learning languages
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tarvos
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Re: What do you love about your second language(s)?

Postby tarvos » Tue Sep 22, 2015 10:26 pm

I don't really have any linguistic things that I really love. For me it's all about the people and experiences.

I love that I used to live next door to a music teacher in Brussels who would play bass until late in the evening.
I love that I've used Romanian to make orphans happy.
I love that I've spoken Russian almost everywhere I go, abroad, and that I feel like a part of a greater community.
I love that the Mandarin I know has led to wondrous and amazing first-hand experiences of hospitality!
I love that my Swedish has made my travels in Sweden a breeze!
I love that I have obtained nicknames in German, Russian and Mandarin that are used when people want to be affectionate with me!
I love that I can flirt a little bit with the waitress at a great meze place here in Crete.
I love that I've made great friends by speaking Esperanto.
I love that I've read many great novels that otherwise would never be accessible to me because I speak all these different languages.
I love that people have gone out of their way to help me despite my basic skills in whatever language they were speaking. Especially in China and South Korea.
I love that the fact I learned a second language young has opened up my eyes to a world of travel I would otherwise never have experienced.
I love that French and Latin have inspired my love for language and culture in general because of a very good French teacher.
I love that I've used Hebrew and Romanian to make girls happy.
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Re: What do you love about your second language(s)?

Postby Soclydeza » Wed Sep 23, 2015 4:18 am

How some of you have learnt as many languages as you have is nothing short of amazing, I give you a lot of credit.

While I'm still working on my second language, picking at my 3rd, dreaming of the 4th and 5th and still have to figure out the 6th, I hope to be able to one day call all of these my "2nd".

German - Very real. Isn't too romantic but sounds very sophisticated in standard conversation, sweet when spoken softly and makes you want to run for the hills when yelled or screamed. It also has kind of a medieval thing to it, especially when seeing it written in the old script. The cases make it almost mathematical and the compound words are just awesome (my latest favorite is "die Geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung", though I know there are words that make that look like a single vowel in comparison). I've also become enamored with the culture, and the fact that they've produced some of the world's greatest physicists/scientists is something to be admired.

French - Very suave, smooth and flowing. Though I know the real root is Latin, seeing the connection between English and what French brought over always intrigues me.

Italian - Ah, the first of my autodidactic language ventures (thought I've forgotten a lot by now). Very rhythmic and musical. It has kind of an "old-world" sound to me, probably because of its connection to Latin.

Norwegian - I don't know what it is or where it came from but I've been obsessed with the idea of learning this language. It sounds like taking a recording of someone speaking English and playing it backwards. It's fun to speak, with the limited amount that I know. Again, it makes me think of the "old-world", but the Nordic side of things. I'm also enamored with the culture and the landscapes of the country.

Latin - Though I don't know any Latin outside of its connections with English and the romance languages, hearing it sounds so ancient and mysterious. Learning it is definitely on my bucket list.
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Re: What do you love about your second language(s)?

Postby garyb » Wed Sep 23, 2015 8:12 am

sillygoose1 wrote:Swear words and insults are highly creative and hearing certain speakers argue can be pretty entertaining.


Oh, that's another aspect I love of Spanish. It's my favourite language for swearing.
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Re: What do you love about your second language(s)?

Postby samfrances » Wed Sep 23, 2015 8:15 am

Maybe we should start a favourite foreign swearword thread? :lol:
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Re: What do you love about your second language(s)?

Postby Ogrim » Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:47 am

My biggest love is Romansh. I love that fact that there is a community which struggles to keep this fascinating language alive, in spite of there being only 50.000 native speakers. I also love the fact that there is a minority language with, relatively speaking, an impressive amount of modern literature, music, TV and radio.

I love the way Russian sounds, and I actually like its complex grammar. It allows you to express things in a very concise way. It is also a language that opens the door to an incredibly rich culture, and I do not think only of classical Russian literature, but also contemporary books, music, non-fiction and films.

My wife is Spanish and I love her :D Actually, Spanish was my first real language love, and it was a result of living in the country and getting to know Spanish people. Spain is different, especially when you come from the far north of Europe...

Not sure if I love German, but I do love certain aspects of German culture, not to mention the contribution of German thinkers to philosophy and science.

As regards French, well, I do enjoy food and wine, and in my humble opinion French cuisine is the best. And in French even the most humble chicken liver sounds exquisite. How about Terrine de foie de volaille au cognac et morilles?

English is a language I just had to learn at an early age, but I have come to love the variety of accents and I do like British humour. English is great for bad puns.

I guess I have a love/hate relationship with Latin. I love what it represents in terms of an ancient culture and an old lingua franca, but I hate the fact that I cannot really read it fluently in spite of having spent hours and hours studying it.

Finally, I love Norwegian becuase it is my native tongue and an integral part of my identity.
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Re: What do you love about your second language(s)?

Postby Zireael » Fri Sep 25, 2015 6:31 pm

samfrances wrote:Maybe we should start a favourite foreign swearword thread? :lol:


Please do! :) I used to swear in English but then it became too commonplace, I switched to Spanish instead :P

English was my L2 because it was obligatory and because I seem to have utilized the advantages of starting early (8yo) to their fullest. I love the fact that I can find nearly anything I need in it.

Spanish was my L4 because I had to pick a 2nd foreign language at university and there were some hispanohablantes in my year. I love the sounds and some of the expressions :)

Arabic came along because there was an Arabic girl whom I helped a bit with some of the more difficult courses and who suggested she might teach me some Arabic in exchange. And then some more Arabic students came... There's surprisingly many of them in the Erasmus program. I love the script...
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Re: What do you love about your second language(s)?

Postby Finny » Thu Jun 16, 2016 4:17 pm

Spanish - I first wanted to learn it to understand what Ricky was saying in "I Love Lucy." I love (some) music in the language as well as the fact that I actually eventually learned it enough to unequivocally state that I speak Spanish. I love that I learned it well enough to get a job that required using it at a high level. I love that I learned it well enough to pass it on to my kids.

French - I don't speak it yet, but can generally understand it (at least on the news) and read it. I've always found its sounds beautiful, as well as some music in it, and I love how it feels like a long-lost twin of English with the plethora of similar words; Spanish seems more like a cousin that I got to know really well, whereas with French is eerily similar to me.

Portuguese - I love the fact that listen-reading a novel in the language was enough to teach me to read (with considerable, though not great understanding) and understand the language, although I undoubtedly got a leg up from English and Spanish. I love music in the language (notice a theme here?), as well as the "jzz" "djzz" sounds left and right in the language.

Catalan - I can barely understand it, although I do get a bit of it (and can read it almost as well as Poruguese), but I love how it sounds like a mixture of Spanish, French, and Portuguese to my ears, with Italian thrown in for good measure. I also love how transparent it is after Spanish, and how discovering it made me realize just how powerful learning related languages could be for comprehension shortcuts.
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Re: What do you love about your second language(s)?

Postby Chung » Thu Jun 16, 2016 6:53 pm

I feel some old posts coming on...

On Nov. 3, 2010 at 12:31 am in “What do you love about your languages?”, Chung wrote:BOSNIAN-CROATIAN-MONTENEGRIN-SERBIAN/SERBO-CROATIAN: I am sorry to report that of all of the languages that I know, this one ranks as being my least-liked language. It has little to do with the characteristics of the language itself which are pleasingly and familiarly Slavonic but rather with the morbidly fascinating but ultimately abhorrent (to me) view of many of its native speakers that language is/should be the primary indicator of national identity. As I was learning the language I got a taste of the prescriptive tendencies found in Croatian linguistic circles when my Croatian friend helping me to learn the language would insist that what I was learning or using was wrong because it was a "Serbianism" (even though my course was called "Teach Yourself Croatian" and was published in 2003 or 12 years after the collapse of Yugoslavia). Later on as I got deeper into linguistics and understood descriptivism, I began to feel at odds with the harmful tendencies resulting from language purism in the Balkans which have been especially pronounced in Croatia. For example I found it quite outrageous on reading in a Croatian linguist's essay that some Croatian refugees originating near the Croato-Serbian border during the civil war of the 1990s were ostracized and taunted by other Croats because the refugees were speaking in a way that was considered too close to Serbian. The refugees' sub-dialect was at odds with the prescriptions of "pure" Croatian as dreamt up by some nationalist twits sitting further away from the war zone.

Unfortunately now whenever I see BCMS/SC, I can't quite shake this feeling of nationalist purism masquerading as "patriotism", even though Croats (not to mention Bosnians and Serbs) have responded quite positively to my efforts in using BCMS/SC. I still remember how much more forgiving and helpful the hostel staff in Split became once I started dealing with them in BCMS/SC in contrast to the other guests who spoke only English.

CZECH: I have little affection for Czech even though I have several Czech friends and have enjoyed travelling in Czech Republic. The language just doesn't click with me and for the time being, it's about 85% mutually intelligible with Slovak. I have little reason to advance my Czech seeing that my Czech friends normally understand me when I speak Slovak, and I normally understand them when they speak in Czech.

ESTONIAN: Despite this being tied for the most difficult language that I've studied to date (Lithuanian ranks up here too), I have a soft spot for it (and Estonia). It sounds vaguely like Hungarian but with unrecognizable words or like an unfamiliar Finnish dialect - very charming. It also looks fascinating with lots of doubled vowels and õ despite the fact that it masks a Byzantine manner of inflection (just try to master the Estonian partitive as a foreigner...). My trip to Estonia also solidified my affection for Estonian and some day I will go back there.

FINNISH: After the comparative misery in trying to master Estonian grammar, Finnish has been a refreshing choice and a real delight to study. I love its sound and rather intricate (but generally predictable) grammatical patterns (although Hungarian seems even more predictable for me than Finnish). Finland is close to the top in my favourite destination for travel (and also the most expensive one - 50 Euros for a 3.5 hr. ride on a long-distance bus???!!!) and whenever I work on Finnish, my mind drifts to memories of Juhannus (~ Midsummer's Festival), drunken/profound discussions in saunas, and making new friends among the Finns.

FRENCH: I don't mind it because it's still relatively useful and it has helped me to gain some insight into the workings of other Romance languages not to mention the Latinate word-stock in English. However it ranks quite low on my list of languages when it comes to affection. I just can't come to love it, and when given the choice, I would rather visit Lapland than France. :-P

GERMAN: I get along with it because it provides an interesting point of reference to English and it appears to maintain some prestige in scientific and artistic circles (I do like the odd opera, and understanding the German libretti is a bonus). German culture however doesn't overly excite me, and this carries over into my feelings about the language (I did say that I only get along with German ;-)).

HUNGARIAN: I love it because studying it opened my eyes to the linguistic world outside the usual Indo-European suspects. It's also the easiest of the Uralic language that I've dealt with (Estonian and Finnish have been much harder for me than Hungarian). It sounds great, and I also get good vibes from it because of some very good experiences meeting and spending time with Hungarians throughout Eastern Europe.

LATIN: It's been so long since I studied Latin that I've become indifferent to it. I do remember being tickled on comparing it to English and French but it's hard for me to come to like it considering that Latin was taught to me as a truly dead language and so we focused on gaining a reading knowledge of it (we didn't even learn to use it to write anything substantial to say nothing of learning how to speak it - and we do have a reasonable idea of what it sounded like. Hell, I would have been happy even if our teacher had taught Medieval Latin to us and so we could use it like modern Catholic priests who do speak it from time-to-time)

LITHUANIAN: I have little love for this language but it's not because of any bad experiences with Lithuanians (my trip to Lithuania a few years ago was great and my hosts were generous and entertaining every step of the way). Rather this language's grammatical and phonological intricacy made it very difficult for me to get a handle on it and so my learning experience was quite frustrating even though "Teach Yourself Lithuanian" is actually a decently laid-out course. Nothing seemed to stick after several months and I was relieved to return to studying languages that were more familiar.

POLISH: This is my second-favourite Slavonic language and third-favourite language overall. I was "imprinted" on Polish as it was the first Slavonic language that I studied and my good experiences with it only encouraged me further to explore other Slavonic languages. I never came to see Polish as funny-sounding or nothing but a series of sh, ch, zh as is commonly-held by speakers of other Slavonic languages. Like Hungarian, it sounds great to my ears (but I still give pride of place to Hungarian as the most beautiful language). Through my trips to Poland I've only managed to deepen my affection for Poles and their language.

SLOVAK: My favourite Slavonic language and second-favourite language overall. I pretty much got off on the right foot with Slovak even though this remains the first language that I've never studied in a classroom at a later date (Slovak classes for foreigners just don't exist for many miles in my neck of the woods). In contrast to the closely-related Czech, Slovak doesn't have the former's somewhat off-putting pitch contour and I actually like its comparatively flatter or more even pitch-contour. One of my Czech friends once told to me that Slovak seemed to her like Czech for dummies. In a way I agree. Slovak seems to have much more regularity in its inflection and makes fewer distinctions than Czech yet this doesn't appear to detract from its expressive power. I also love Slovak not only because of my positive experiences while travelling in Slovakia and meeting all sorts of Slovaks, but also because it seems to be the only natural Slavonic language that has the greatest chance of being best understood by speakers of all other Slavonic languages.

SLOVENIAN: Despite the scarcity and low-quality of materials (Teach Yourself Slovene was one of the worst language courses that I've ever used), I didn't come to hate Slovenian. Certainly it being Slavonic helped, and so I could grasp the basic concepts drawing particularly on knowledge of BCMS/SC and Slovak. The language is interesting in still using the dual and pitch-accent, but these on their own weren't really enough to hold my attention. I just wanted to learn some Slovenian before visiting Slovenia, and just plowed ahead no matter what its characteristics. Slovenia came off to me a bit like what would happen if you would combine Switzerland and some non-descript country with Slavs. A charming, neat but somewhat low-key place where the locals happily deal with you in some better-known language seeing that you don't know the local idiom (be it Slovenian for Slovenia or "Schwyzer-Tütsch" or Romansch in Switzerland). At least Slovenes and their country didn't negatively affect my perceptions or feelings about Slovenian :-).

UKRAINIAN: Even though my plans to visit Ukraine fell through, thus stripping much of my need to continue learning Ukrainian, there's a small part of me that wants to restart my studies. Ukrainian actually grew on me because to my pleasant surprise it doesn't have the same degree of vowel reduction that makes Russian sound strange or awful to my ears, yet it has a substantial stock of Polish loanwords to the point where picking up vocabulary was much less difficult than I had expected. The Cyrillic alphabet is a neat thing to know how to use, and it was with Ukrainian where I finally solidified my knowledge of it (I had taught myself to read Russian and Serbian Cyrillic before but I never learned either of them fully. When learning BCMS/SC I naturally picked up the Latin script as used in "Croatian" which is the same as the Latin alphabet of "Serbian", but paid almost no attention to learning how to use Serbian Cyrillic actively). I like Ukrainian because it seems to be a bit like a cross between Russian or Belorussian on one end and Polish on the other - it's philologically fascinating. As a bonus I'm finding that I can better pick up the gist of something in Russian using Ukrainian since it's definitely closer to the former, than any of BCMS/SC, Czech, Polish, Slovak and Slovenian is.


To the preceding I'll add the following.

KOREAN: I harbor more fascination than love for this language. As my first East Asian language under study, it's taken time for my Westernized mind to get used to honorifics, elaborate kinship terminology which makes even finer distinctions than what I've seen in Northern Saami, counters, and a counting system that not only uses Chinese and native conventions but also groups large numerals by myriad (10,000) rather than thousand, to say nothing of the vocabulary which rarely resembles anything that I've ever used. I'm getting used to the sound of it but it doesn't give rise to any strong emotion as Hungarian does.

TURKISH: I do feel at home with its agglutinative nature and have a positive association with it from trips to Turkey. However, I just haven't got the same rush from it when using or studying it as I have with Hungarian, Polish, Slovak or Finnish. So far in the Turkic challenge, I've come to like Azeri and Uzbek (and likely will be studying them seriously in the next few years) although that could be because of how obscure they are compared to most other languages (including Turkish) studied by outsiders. Something about the exoticness of Azeri and Uzbek gets me more than Turkish which seems relatively pedestrian despite the familial similarity (especially between Azeri and Turkish). The other Turkic languages that I've examined so far (e.g. Kazakh, Tatar) haven't had as much pull, and at times, the faint Russian twang that I've heard in many speakers of these other Turkic languages hasn't sat well with me. It just sounds off.

See also the related Your favorite dialect(s) and A language you cannot resist?
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Re: What do you love about your second language(s)?

Postby IronMike » Fri Jun 17, 2016 7:51 am

I love Russian because it is a challenge and it is very useful in some parts of the world.

I love Esperanto because it helps people who think they can't learn a language realize they can.

I love BCS because the genitive plural is easy and there are no motion verbs (practically). Also, enclitics are a challenge and the dialectal varieties of BCS are exciting.
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Re: What do you love about your second language(s)?

Postby Jar-Ptitsa » Fri Jun 17, 2016 11:52 am

Dutch
Is hilarious it makes me laugh. Only one human language is funnier: Luxemburgisch.
Dutch is not posh at all, it's the anti-posh. It's very ugly and horrible for your ears, especially the disgusting Randstad pronunciation is terrible becasue of the intonation.
But I like Dutch despite this, and my thoughts are very often in this language.

German
Is wonderful and beautiful, it's my favourite language, I love it.
the cases are so difficult, I have given up to perfect my use, but it would be great to be more accurate.
I hate foreign accents in german because it's too beautiful when a native speaks, although I don't exactly know all the regional differences.

English
Is quite annoying that it's so global, but at the same time, this is wonderful. I wish that the anglophones knew how difficult it is to learn a foreign language, but they are nevertheless mostly very nice and not critical at all. If you know two words in English, for them it's lovely haha.
I love English as well, it's such a mess hahahaha. The mix of the Germanic and Romance is interesting, although of course mostly Germanic but with transparent vocabulary.

Spanish
Is very easy to begin, especially reading, but listening is extremely exhausting because the Spanish people talk much too fast. It seems similar, but it is much less when you start to learn it (if you want to speak or write it). This is my weakest foreign language, and needs a lot of improvement to be the level I need.
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