How many years does it take to learn the second language as your native?

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Jon
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Re: How many years does it take to learn the second language as your native?

Postby Jon » Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:03 am

desitrader wrote:Reading / writing like a native: Entirely possible.

Listening / speaking like a native: Impossible.


Reading yes
Writing NO WAY
listening probably
Speaking pretty hard definetely unlikely but maybe obtainable
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Re: How many years does it take to learn the second language as your native?

Postby lavengro » Mon Oct 09, 2017 12:57 pm

Jon wrote:
desitrader wrote:Reading / writing like a native: Entirely possible.

Listening / speaking like a native: Impossible.

...
Writing NO WAY
...


I'll let Joseph Conrad and Samuel Beckett know: give it up fellas, ain't no way it's gonna happen!

EDIT to add: Oops, I just noticed that DaveBee made exactly the same point last June. Memo to self: don't read threads backwards!
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Re: How many years does it take to learn the second language as your native?

Postby aaleks » Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:29 pm

Jon wrote:Writing NO WAY
....
Speaking pretty hard definetely unlikely but maybe obtainable


Why? In my opinion there are two things which could give you away as a non-native speaker: word usage (or usage of language, etc) and accent. But you don't need to have a native-like accent to pass as a native in writing.
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Re: How many years does it take to learn the second language as your native?

Postby reineke » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:43 pm

Jon wrote:
desitrader wrote:Reading / writing like a native: Entirely possible.

Listening / speaking like a native: Impossible.


Writing NO WAY


List of exophonic writers

This is a list of exophonic writers, i.e. those who write in a language not generally regarded as their first or mother tongue.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_exophonic_writers

They forgot Pressburger:

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giorgio_Pressburger
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Re: How many years does it take to learn the second language as your native?

Postby Theodisce » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:07 pm

An interesting list, reineke, thank you. However, it does not take into account Greek and Latin (and other
"classical") literary traditions. As a matter of fact, it was writing in ones native language that was considered extravagant in the middle ages (more so around 1000 AD. than 4 centuries later, but still). On the other hand, the language of medieval Latin hymns would most probably have surprised Cicero (but the language of his speeches was hardly the same language "common" people spoke in Rome). Be we can go even deeper. Did Augustine write in his native language? And if he didn't, was his native language Punic or Vulgar Latin? Even some books of New Testament were written by people whose native language was something other thank Greek. Those authors couldn't probably benefit from having a native speaker correct their writing. This leads me to a question concerning modern exophonic writers: do (did) they have their texts proof-read by native speakers? Is there some evidence for or against it?
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Re: How many years does it take to learn the second language as your native?

Postby zenmonkey » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:38 pm

Theodisce wrote:This leads me to a question concerning modern exophonic writers: do (did) they have their texts proof-read by native speakers? Is there some evidence for or against it?


Almost all modern authors have had editors of some sort. I got to see some of the notes of Khalil Gibran this summer and the editorial work in English is extensive. Same for James Joyce (in French)...

As t the list - it really should be much, much vaster - it's missing notables like Elias Canetti (Nobel Prize - Bulgarian, wrote in German and English), Ishiguro (Nobel - Japan / English), Coetzee (Nobel - Afrikans / English) just to name a few and I'm not sure I'd consider Kerouac as an exophonic writer. He learned English about the same age I did, we're in the bilingual bucket.
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Re: How many years does it take to learn the second language as your native?

Postby tarvos » Sun Oct 15, 2017 2:39 pm

Kader Abdolah jumps to mind (Iranian - writes in Dutch)
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Re: How many years does it take to learn the second language as your native?

Postby reineke » Sun Oct 15, 2017 3:09 pm

Akif Pirinçci moved with his parents to Germany when he was 9.

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Re: How many years does it take to learn the second language as your native?

Postby LinguaPony » Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:35 pm

Took me 36 years if you count school and uni, and 23 years if you don't (I personally think they don't count, because it was pathetic, the way they taught us).

Writing like a native is perfectly possible, but it does take some practice :) With speaking, the accent is the stumbling block - too hard to get rid of, and, personally, I can't be bothered.
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Re: How many years does it take to learn the second language as your native?

Postby reineke » Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:15 pm

aaleks wrote:
The most common vocabulary size for foreign test-takers is 4,500 words


When I took the test the first time (4.5-5 years ago) my result was very close to that. Now it's 20,900 words http://testyourvocab.com/result?user=9030875 even though I don't live in an English speaking country
Foreign test-takers tend to reach over 10,000 words by living abroad


So those numbers might be inaccurate.
Besides, I think my real English vocabulary is less impressive.


What's interesting in that vocabulary study is seeing educated native speakers score under 12000. I've witnessed one college-educated individual achieve such a score. The person can be classified under "definitely not a reader". On the other hand it is beyond any doubt that the person can run circles around non-native academics in terms of overall language performance.
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