How many languages have you dabbled in?

General discussion about learning languages

How many languages have you dabbled in?

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Re: How many languages have you dabbled in?

Postby leosmith » Sun Apr 04, 2021 12:47 am

lichtrausch wrote:Feel free to post more information about your dabbling

I included the languages I study regularly, which put me over 10 - was that wrong?
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Re: How many languages have you dabbled in?

Postby smallwhite » Sun Apr 04, 2021 3:19 pm

I have a LANGUAGES folder on my computer, with a subfolder for every L2 I've ever touched. I highlighted them all, "21 items selected". Deselect English and Mandarin that I use for work. Deselect the 3 Romance and 3 Germanic that I read novels in. "13 items selected". Simple!
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Re: How many languages have you dabbled in?

Postby Cavesa » Sun Apr 04, 2021 6:59 pm

Those I started, tried out, and abandonned: less than 10

Swedish: I started, did a few units of a coursebook, found out Swedish was just for the rich people (expensive everything, expensive delivery fees, plus geoblocking). If you protect your culture from me so much, not sure I want to hit my head against the wall :-( And the immersion method "so, I'll just go and read books in the Ikea" would be impossible now :-D

Esperanto: I still respect the community and am happy for others enjoying it. But I was promised a mix of romance and germanic elements, with a few bits of slavic ones. Got a romance language with very few germanic (and even fewer slavic) bits instead and was bored. So, I opted for Italian instead of Esperanto, to be my third romance language.

Arabic: a bit of the writing, a few lessons of Language Transfer. Interesting, but not a priority now. But Maiwenn's log and various other things are tempting! Such as so many patients speaking it, or the more and more present Arabic in the popular culture. And I also get nervous, when people around me speak a language I cannot understand at all (nope, I don't suspect them of being terrorists, I am just a bit too curious person :-) I feel the same about other distant languages, but Arabic is simply spoken much more around here than Finnish).

Finnish: It was a sort of a bet on this forum years ago. I lost, because I gave up. :-(

Mandarin: a few hours spent on it, fun to explore, I enjoyed playing with the tones, but not too useful for me right now. I have no doubts there are for example tons of books I'd love, or tv series, but that's true about many other languages as well. And even if it is one of the most commonly spoken languages on the planet, I simply happen to meet as many Mandarin natives as the Lithuanian ones. From where I stand, Romanian or Turkish would look like a more rational choice.

Japanese: similar story to Mandarin. I learnt majority of the Kana, did a bit of Lingodeer, but there is nothing driving me to really dive into this language. There are awesome things it could serve me for (but that is true about other languages as well), but the current world makes me not believe I'll ever travel there again, and I have other language priorities.

Polish and Russian: I may return to them and learn them for reading. But right now, they are not a priority.

Hebrew: not sure whether I should count it, I still want to seriously start it!!! :-D
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Re: How many languages have you dabbled in?

Postby Lemus » Sun Apr 04, 2021 7:55 pm

I'm a little unclear on if the ones that you went ahead and actually learned count but I suppose at one time I "dabbled" in all of them.

That means there are my core four that I know reasonably well: Spanish, German, Italian, and Portuguese.
There is the one that I don't know, but I'm working hard on: Russian
There is the one that I have temporarily abandoned, but will come back to one day (I swear): Persian
And there are the three that at one time I played around with but long since abandoned: Japanese, Latin, and Turkish.

Nine then in total. It seems like quite a rookie number based on some of the other forum members!
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Re: How many languages have you dabbled in?

Postby Iversen » Sun Apr 04, 2021 9:25 pm

My solution to the problem was to quote a low and a high figure. I wrote on page 1 that I had dabbled seriously in maybe 20-30 languages (meaning that I have studied grammars, read/copied texts or done wordlists - something at that level). But I would have to add as many in which my dabbling wasn't serious, but just something I did for a tourist trip to some faraway country or languages I just have read about or whose writing systems I have looked at for some reason - like when I read a book about Egyptian hieroglyphs without any intention of learning any of those pretty glyphs. Or when I took pains to learn to write the names of my hotels in Taiwan in the non-simplied Chinese writing they use there. Or when I read the remarks about the two Sorbians in Comrie's book about Slavic languages.

In the absence of strict criteria I marked the high number on the form, i.e. between 50 and 60 languages. And this number doesn't include the languages I claim already to be able to speak, because then my activities must have passed beyond mere dabbling.
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Re: How many languages have you dabbled in?

Postby MrPenguin » Sun Apr 04, 2021 10:58 pm

Languages I've dabbled in:
Esperanto: learned about three hundred words from a free SuperMemo collection back in 2005
Japanese: got about half-way through Japanese the Manga Way, and did 850 kanji from Heisig's Remembering the Kanji back in 2008-2009
Latin: did a few chapters of Ørberg's Lingua Latina per se Illustrata somewhere around 2009-2010
Spanish: did about 80 Assimil lessons back in 2011
French: did about 50 Assimil lessons back in 2011
Russian: did 14 Assimil lessons back in 2015
Japanese (again): did about 30 Assimil lessons and did Heisig's Remembering the Kanji in 2018-2019
Estonian: played around with Speakly for a month or so earlier this year

So, seven languages in total. I've got Assimil Dutch with Ease and Colloquial Icelandic untouched on my shelf, though, awaiting their turn, which would bring the number up to nine.
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Re: How many languages have you dabbled in?

Postby Xenops » Sun Apr 04, 2021 11:03 pm

I selected the 31-40 option. :oops: Partly because I'm into constructed languages, and partly because...I couldn't decide. :D I see languages as gateways to a culture other than my own, and each offers different opportunities. I have sampled a lot of languages, to see if it's something I want to commit to.

The standard I used when counting dabbling languages consist of "I spent at least 5 minutes trying to learn a feature for communication use". If I was to change the standard to "I finished a chapter in a textbook", then the number would be less than ten.

I did not include the ones below, because I finished several textbook chapters and beyond regarding these:


I would like to continue these, someday:
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Re: How many languages have you dabbled in?

Postby jeff_lindqvist » Mon Apr 05, 2021 10:24 pm

Definitely 31-40. Possibly more, but only 35 sprang to mind. I made a list of 23 languages back in 2010, and since then I'm sure I've spent time on another 12 - 3 Romance languages, 3 Slavic, 2 Scandinavian, 1 Germanic, 1 conlang, 1 Indic and 1 Bantu. I'm sure there are more...
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Re: How many languages have you dabbled in?

Postby Nogon » Mon Apr 05, 2021 11:04 pm

Apart from the 10 languages I can read more or less complex books in, I've dabbled in
Latin, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Japanese, Lithuanian, Icelandic, Faroese, Northern Sami, Polish, Romani, Greek, Old Norse, and probably some more, which I don't remember just now.
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: 397 / 1000 Pages Yiddish
: 546 / 1000 Pages Dutch
: 0 / 1000 Pages Esperanto
: 0 / 2000 Pages Afrikaans
: 2704 / 4000 Pages French

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: 126 / 100 Books
: 61 / 100 Films

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Re: How many languages have you dabbled in?

Postby kanewai » Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:09 am

I'm also unclear on what dabbling is, and it sounds like people are defining it differently. I'll break my answer down, but hold off on answering the poll:

Became proficient in speaking or reading: Five. Definitely not dabbling.

Reached limited proficiency: Two, Arabic and Turkish. Probably not dabbling.

Studied for a year or more: Two, Latin and Ancient Greek. Seems to be more than dabbling.

Studied for more than three months, but less than a year: Three, German, Japanese, and Burmese. Possibly dabbling.

Studied more than a week, less than a season: Seven. Russian, Hawaiian, Samoan, Catalan, Thai, Derja, Anglo-Saxon ... there might be more. This is what I would call consider dabbling.
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