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geekhack Community => Off Topic => Topic started by: Kavik on Wed, 10 July 2019, 10:39:46

Title: Is It Possible to Learn a Foreign Language Besides Spanish in The USA?
Post by: Kavik on Wed, 10 July 2019, 10:39:46
I began learning German 17 years ago and have studied it off and on since. After a few years of self study, I was able to skip four college courses and get placed in an intermediate II class. I have never had much of an issue with the grammar, but my vocabulary has always sucked, and I have very little speaking practice. So despite good pronunciation, I have a hard time expressing things and speaking any faster than a snail. After all this time, my comprehension is maybe only between A2 and B1; I can understand the gist of videos or podcasts with the context, and I can hear all the words but can't make sense of them fast enough.

I also took French in high school, and I can thus read some French, but spoken French is neigh impossible to understand. But I didn't continue French after my formal classes.

In the US, there's basically no contact with foreign languages except for Spanish. Besides my college instructor, I have encountered maybe two or three native German speakers in the wild where I live (and of course they know perfect English anyway), and never a French speaker. I guess the question could be asked why learn the language if there's no use for it here, but is it possible to become proficient in a language when there is no (natural) contact with it? I presume Europeans have an easier time since borders are more numerous and not as distant, thus increasing contact with other languages.

I know there's the Internet, but real life encounters are basically non-existent.
Title: Re: Is It Possible to Learn a Foreign Language Besides Spanish in The USA?
Post by: tp4tissue on Wed, 10 July 2019, 11:04:36
It's like buying power tools..  Yea, you can buy a HUGE table saw. But if you don't have utility for it in your life. What good is it. Tp4 only ownz smallz table saw.

There are many more spanish speakers in the US, there's a higher probability of being able to use it. But again, it'll depend on your general exposure to these populations.


Now, if you just want to learn it for fun, sure, if you find it fun, Why Not.


Title: Re: Is It Possible to Learn a Foreign Language Besides Spanish in The USA?
Post by: Blackehart on Wed, 10 July 2019, 11:45:14
You could move to an area with higher population of German speakers.Same with the French.
I believe there's parts in Louisiana that speak French as a second language.I believe there's areas near Philadelphia big on German.
my two scents.
Title: Re: Is It Possible to Learn a Foreign Language Besides Spanish in The USA?
Post by: Computer-Lab in Basement on Wed, 10 July 2019, 18:59:05
French

Don't forget our neighbors to the north, ey.
Title: Re: Is It Possible to Learn a Foreign Language Besides Spanish in The USA?
Post by: coralof on Thu, 11 July 2019, 16:25:23
I love learning languages as well, and I am constantly diving into one language learning book or another. I only really get practice in Spanish, as there are a lot of Spanish speakers at my work (in Texas), but I always try and seek out material or find a meetup or something for my other languages if I am intent on getting some sort of speaking practice. 

 - Spanish (1, 2, 3, AP, AP Lit in high school; practice at work with native speakers nearly every day)
 - Chinese (major in college, lived in China for about 7 months in both Beijing and Sichuan and keep up with friends as well as watching movies in Chinese and reading)
 - Esperanto (self taught in 1 month, practice through online forums and correspondence, as well as reading)
 - Swedish (self taught using books + duolingo, practice through reading books like the Millenium series)
 - Japanese (self taught using Genki series, practice by reading both manga and books on Shinto, etc. Speaking practice is hard...)
 - American Sign Language (self taught through books + a YouTube course called ASL University; practice only with a deaf colleague at work)
Title: Re: Is It Possible to Learn a Foreign Language Besides Spanish in The USA?
Post by: tp4tissue on Thu, 11 July 2019, 16:29:08
I love learning languages as well, and I am constantly diving into one language learning book or another. I only really get practice in Spanish, as there are a lot of Spanish speakers at my work (in Texas), but I always try and seek out material or find a meetup or something for my other languages if I am intent on getting some sort of speaking practice. 

 - Spanish (1, 2, 3, AP, AP Lit in high school; practice at work with native speakers nearly every day)
 - Chinese (major in college, lived in China for about 7 months in both Beijing and Sichuan and keep up with friends as well as watching movies in Chinese and reading)
 - Esperanto (self taught in 1 month, practice through online forums and correspondence, as well as reading)
 - Swedish (self taught using books + duolingo, practice through reading books like the Millenium series)
 - Japanese (self taught using Genki series, practice by reading both manga and books on Shinto, etc. Speaking practice is hard...)
 - American Sign Language (self taught through books + a YouTube course called ASL University; practice only with a deaf colleague at work)


Amazing..
Title: Re: Is It Possible to Learn a Foreign Language Besides Spanish in The USA?
Post by: Kavik on Thu, 11 July 2019, 17:16:40
I love learning languages as well, and I am constantly diving into one language learning book or another. I only really get practice in Spanish, as there are a lot of Spanish speakers at my work (in Texas), but I always try and seek out material or find a meetup or something for my other languages if I am intent on getting some sort of speaking practice. 

 - Spanish (1, 2, 3, AP, AP Lit in high school; practice at work with native speakers nearly every day)
 - Chinese (major in college, lived in China for about 7 months in both Beijing and Sichuan and keep up with friends as well as watching movies in Chinese and reading)
 - Esperanto (self taught in 1 month, practice through online forums and correspondence, as well as reading)
 - Swedish (self taught using books + duolingo, practice through reading books like the Millenium series)
 - Japanese (self taught using Genki series, practice by reading both manga and books on Shinto, etc. Speaking practice is hard...)
 - American Sign Language (self taught through books + a YouTube course called ASL University; practice only with a deaf colleague at work)

That's really impressive. My goal for this year was to be able to read a short fantasy anthology book for teens that I bought in Germany eleven years ago, but I still can't do it. I can mostly read the Peanuts book I bought, mostly because I'm familiar enough with Peanuts to know the context of the jokes already.

-German: It is my best secondary language, so it is the one that I would like to improve the most, but it also hard to find learning materials that fit into my level of proficiency. They're either too easy (and thus boring) or too advanced (to the point of frustration).
-French: Since I already have a base for French and it sounds beautiful, I sometimes practice it on Duolingo, but my pronunciation is rather awful. I'm not sure if I like it enough to pursue it, but I think the grammar is attractive (only two genders and no case endings).
-Russian: I dabbled in it years ago and still remember a few phrases, but my understanding is that it has an even worse case and inflection system than German.
-Japanese: I also dabbled in it years ago and remember a few phrases, but I'm not interested enough to pursue it, especially since the writing system is so hard.

I've recently been curious about Danish since I've been watching the TV show Vorbrydelsen. I recognize some German words when I hear it, but the spelling and pronunciation are supposedly atrocious (at least compared to Swedish). I'm also probably much less likely to encounter Danes than Germans for French people anyway.
Title: Re: Is It Possible to Learn a Foreign Language Besides Spanish in The USA?
Post by: romevi on Thu, 11 July 2019, 18:33:33
Yeah.

English.
Title: Re: Is It Possible to Learn a Foreign Language Besides Spanish in The USA?
Post by: Sintpinty on Fri, 12 July 2019, 12:37:15
I began learning German 17 years ago and have studied it off and on since. After a few years of self study, I was able to skip four college courses and get placed in an intermediate II class. I have never had much of an issue with the grammar, but my vocabulary has always sucked, and I have very little speaking practice. So despite good pronunciation, I have a hard time expressing things and speaking any faster than a snail. After all this time, my comprehension is maybe only between A2 and B1; I can understand the gist of videos or podcasts with the context, and I can hear all the words but can't make sense of them fast enough.

I also took French in high school, and I can thus read some French, but spoken French is neigh impossible to understand. But I didn't continue French after my formal classes.

In the US, there's basically no contact with foreign languages except for Spanish. Besides my college instructor, I have encountered maybe two or three native German speakers in the wild where I live (and of course they know perfect English anyway), and never a French speaker. I guess the question could be asked why learn the language if there's no use for it here, but is it possible to become proficient in a language when there is no (natural) contact with it? I presume Europeans have an easier time since borders are more numerous and not as distant, thus increasing contact with other languages.

I know there's the Internet, but real life encounters are basically non-existent.

There might be some French classes online, but French is the primary language in Canada besides English.

In Montreal, youll learn how to use manners in both English and French!
Title: Re: Is It Possible to Learn a Foreign Language Besides Spanish in The USA?
Post by: Legonut on Sat, 13 July 2019, 01:22:17
In northern NH there are a few french-speaking tourists from Quebec, and the trip there isn't too far for a weekend trip.
Title: Re: Is It Possible to Learn a Foreign Language Besides Spanish in The USA?
Post by: coralof on Mon, 15 July 2019, 16:47:38
I love learning languages as well, and I am constantly diving into one language learning book or another. I only really get practice in Spanish, as there are a lot of Spanish speakers at my work (in Texas), but I always try and seek out material or find a meetup or something for my other languages if I am intent on getting some sort of speaking practice. 

 - Spanish (1, 2, 3, AP, AP Lit in high school; practice at work with native speakers nearly every day)
 - Chinese (major in college, lived in China for about 7 months in both Beijing and Sichuan and keep up with friends as well as watching movies in Chinese and reading)
 - Esperanto (self taught in 1 month, practice through online forums and correspondence, as well as reading)
 - Swedish (self taught using books + duolingo, practice through reading books like the Millenium series)
 - Japanese (self taught using Genki series, practice by reading both manga and books on Shinto, etc. Speaking practice is hard...)
 - American Sign Language (self taught through books + a YouTube course called ASL University; practice only with a deaf colleague at work)

That's really impressive. My goal for this year was to be able to read a short fantasy anthology book for teens that I bought in Germany eleven years ago, but I still can't do it. I can mostly read the Peanuts book I bought, mostly because I'm familiar enough with Peanuts to know the context of the jokes already.

-German: It is my best secondary language, so it is the one that I would like to improve the most, but it also hard to find learning materials that fit into my level of proficiency. They're either too easy (and thus boring) or too advanced (to the point of frustration).
-French: Since I already have a base for French and it sounds beautiful, I sometimes practice it on Duolingo, but my pronunciation is rather awful. I'm not sure if I like it enough to pursue it, but I think the grammar is attractive (only two genders and no case endings).
-Russian: I dabbled in it years ago and still remember a few phrases, but my understanding is that it has an even worse case and inflection system than German.
-Japanese: I also dabbled in it years ago and remember a few phrases, but I'm not interested enough to pursue it, especially since the writing system is so hard.

I've recently been curious about Danish since I've been watching the TV show Vorbrydelsen. I recognize some German words when I hear it, but the spelling and pronunciation are supposedly atrocious (at least compared to Swedish). I'm also probably much less likely to encounter Danes than Germans for French people anyway.

Yeah, I'm not even going to attempt Danish because of the pronunciation, especially after watching this video on Danish tongue twisters:

Title: Re: Is It Possible to Learn a Foreign Language Besides Spanish in The USA?
Post by: StickyBlueJuice on Tue, 16 July 2019, 00:49:13
Everybody always says it sounds like we talk with potatoes in our mouths.  :(
Title: Re: Is It Possible to Learn a Foreign Language Besides Spanish in The USA?
Post by: chyros on Tue, 16 July 2019, 02:09:56
Everybody always says it sounds like we talk with potatoes in our mouths.  :(
Kinda does xD .
Whereas Swedish sounds like talking with a potato in your mouth while drunk, and Norwegian sounds like talking with a potato in your mouth while drunk and singing :p .
Title: Re: Is It Possible to Learn a Foreign Language Besides Spanish in The USA?
Post by: StickyBlueJuice on Tue, 16 July 2019, 03:10:28
Everybody always says it sounds like we talk with potatoes in our mouths.  :(
Kinda does xD .
Whereas Swedish sounds like talking with a potato in your mouth while drunk, and Norwegian sounds like talking with a potato in your mouth while drunk and singing :p .
Gee thanks. :))
No I will agree that Danish is a weird language. A lot of Danish people even have troubles with it.
Title: Re: Is It Possible to Learn a Foreign Language Besides Spanish in The USA?
Post by: iri on Tue, 16 July 2019, 06:07:37
Danish is the worst language I've ever heard, closely followed by Scanian Swedish and Dutch.
Title: Re: Is It Possible to Learn a Foreign Language Besides Spanish in The USA?
Post by: Signature on Tue, 16 July 2019, 06:25:47
Everybody always says it sounds like we talk with potatoes in our mouths.  :(
Kinda does xD .
Whereas Swedish sounds like talking with a potato in your mouth while drunk, and Norwegian sounds like talking with a potato in your mouth while drunk and singing :p .
:'( :'(
Title: Re: Is It Possible to Learn a Foreign Language Besides Spanish in The USA?
Post by: Kavik on Tue, 16 July 2019, 09:28:30


Yeah, I'm not even going to attempt Danish because of the pronunciation, especially after watching this video on Danish tongue twisters:


Danish tongue twisters should be called throat twisters. Except for phrases contrived to sound weird, I like the sound of Danish, but I must admit a few of the words sound as if the speaker is having trouble swallowing food.

Anywho, I started learning Danish a few days ago via Duolingo and some Youtube videos (Learning with Ervin), but there are noticeably fewer learning resources for this language, it seems. The pronunciation is weird, but at least the grammar looks pretty easy.
Title: Re: Is It Possible to Learn a Foreign Language Besides Spanish in The USA?
Post by: kakiharaOne on Tue, 16 July 2019, 12:33:55
My wife is learning Korean. We go to Korean restaurants and she practices with the people that work there. She also finds people at her work to practice with. Luckily, her work is really diverse. It never seems like a inconvenience. Most seem to enjoy it. She also uses this app that pairs you up with real people in the country of the language youre learning. So people in Korea help her and she helps them with English.
Title: Re: Is It Possible to Learn a Foreign Language Besides Spanish in The USA?
Post by: noisyturtle on Tue, 16 July 2019, 12:49:01
I just wish I could read Japanese. That's probably the only useful language for me to learn right now for career options.

Learning languages is way too much work though, it's one of the most unpleasant learning experiences for me. It rubs the same spot on my brain that hates math, it's not fun or rewarding, just frustrating.
Title: Re: Is It Possible to Learn a Foreign Language Besides Spanish in The USA?
Post by: StickyBlueJuice on Wed, 17 July 2019, 03:26:29
Everybody always says it sounds like we talk with potatoes in our mouths.  :(
Kinda does xD .
Whereas Swedish sounds like talking with a potato in your mouth while drunk, and Norwegian sounds like talking with a potato in your mouth while drunk and singing :p .
:'( :'(
It's okay siggy-baby. I love Swedish, it's a beautiful language imo.
Title: Re: Is It Possible to Learn a Foreign Language Besides Spanish in The USA?
Post by: chyros on Wed, 17 July 2019, 05:11:18
Danish is the worst language I've ever heard, closely followed by Scanian Swedish and Dutch.
Danish doesn't really sound ugly IMO, just rather weird. Swedish and Norwegian are really nice-sounding, because they're so sing-songy, but it's difficult not to chuckle when you hear it xD . Dutch is a horrible, horrible language, almost impossible to pronounce, too. German is much the same except worse. Arabic and Jewish are the worst-sounding IMO - they're pronounced so far to the back of the throat it sounds almost like it comes from the gut Oo .

The most beautiful language is Italian IMO. Spanish is also very nice, and super sexy.

The absolute worst accent in English, without a shadow of doubt, is Dutch. Most accents are just kinda funny or something, but Dunglish just sounds ugly and stupid.
Title: Re: Is It Possible to Learn a Foreign Language Besides Spanish in The USA?
Post by: Signature on Wed, 17 July 2019, 05:18:55
Everybody always says it sounds like we talk with potatoes in our mouths.  :(
Kinda does xD .
Whereas Swedish sounds like talking with a potato in your mouth while drunk, and Norwegian sounds like talking with a potato in your mouth while drunk and singing :p .
:'( :'(
It's okay siggy-baby. I love Swedish, it's a beautiful language imo.
My favorite dane to the rescue  :-*
Title: Re: Is It Possible to Learn a Foreign Language Besides Spanish in The USA?
Post by: iri on Wed, 17 July 2019, 05:27:58
Dutch is a horrible, horrible language, almost impossible to pronounce, too. German is much the same except worse.
No. NO.

The absolute worst accent in English, without a shadow of doubt, is Dutch. Most accents are just kinda funny or something, but Dunglish just sounds ugly and stupid.
Brits think that Dutch accent is sexy. Ever heard a Czech person speaking English? That's where the real terror lies.
Title: Re: Is It Possible to Learn a Foreign Language Besides Spanish in The USA?
Post by: Signature on Wed, 17 July 2019, 05:42:22
If you want an easier time learning a language I'd suggest going for something in the same "language-family" as English, germanic languages.
More
(https://images.mentalfloss.com/sites/default/files/196.jpg)

They usually share words and grammatics making it easier to get into a new language. Id also recommend a language which dubs their tv-series and movies. So you can more easily hear the pronunciation and the use of words in a context that you are familiar with ( The Office etc. it will also sound horrible ;) ).
Title: Re: Is It Possible to Learn a Foreign Language Besides Spanish in The USA?
Post by: Kavik on Wed, 17 July 2019, 08:04:58
Danish is the worst language I've ever heard, closely followed by Scanian Swedish and Dutch.
Danish doesn't really sound ugly IMO, just rather weird. Swedish and Norwegian are really nice-sounding, because they're so sing-songy, but it's difficult not to chuckle when you hear it xD . Dutch is a horrible, horrible language, almost impossible to pronounce, too. German is much the same except worse. Arabic and Jewish are the worst-sounding IMO - they're pronounced so far to the back of the throat it sounds almost like it comes from the gut Oo .

The most beautiful language is Italian IMO. Spanish is also very nice, and super sexy.

The absolute worst accent in English, without a shadow of doubt, is Dutch. Most accents are just kinda funny or something, but Dunglish just sounds ugly and stupid.

I disagree regarding German. Most of its sounds have English equivalents (the ones that don't are very easy to learn "ch", "r", ""), the spelling is 99% phonetic, and the accent doesn't sound too far off from American IMO. In fact, I sometimes think it's easier to understand a German speaking English than a Brit speaking English. Although, I'm referring to Hochdeutsch; I don't know about any dialects.

I thought Dutch might be ok to learn since some of its words are even closer to English than German's are, but then I heard the "g" sound and reconsidered.  :))
Title: Re: Is It Possible to Learn a Foreign Language Besides Spanish in The USA?
Post by: chyros on Thu, 18 July 2019, 04:29:57
The absolute worst accent in English, without a shadow of doubt, is Dutch. Most accents are just kinda funny or something, but Dunglish just sounds ugly and stupid.
Brits think that Dutch accent is sexy. Ever heard a Czech person speaking English? That's where the real terror lies.
Haha really? I didn't know that xD . Maybe I should've put on a Dutch accent back when I lived in the UK xD .

I just find the Czech accent funny though, basically all Eastern European accents sound really adorable in English xD .

Danish is the worst language I've ever heard, closely followed by Scanian Swedish and Dutch.
Danish doesn't really sound ugly IMO, just rather weird. Swedish and Norwegian are really nice-sounding, because they're so sing-songy, but it's difficult not to chuckle when you hear it xD . Dutch is a horrible, horrible language, almost impossible to pronounce, too. German is much the same except worse. Arabic and Jewish are the worst-sounding IMO - they're pronounced so far to the back of the throat it sounds almost like it comes from the gut Oo .

The most beautiful language is Italian IMO. Spanish is also very nice, and super sexy.

The absolute worst accent in English, without a shadow of doubt, is Dutch. Most accents are just kinda funny or something, but Dunglish just sounds ugly and stupid.

I disagree regarding German. Most of its sounds have English equivalents (the ones that don't are very easy to learn "ch", "r", ""), the spelling is 99% phonetic, and the accent doesn't sound too far off from American IMO. In fact, I sometimes think it's easier to understand a German speaking English than a Brit speaking English. Although, I'm referring to Hochdeutsch; I don't know about any dialects.
I don't really mean the logic or grammar or anything like that, just the way it sounds. To me it tends to sound either really angry and shouty or like a porn actor xD .
Title: Re: Is It Possible to Learn a Foreign Language Besides Spanish in The USA?
Post by: SpAmRaY on Sun, 21 July 2019, 16:38:12
Just seen humble bundle is running a language bundle

https://www.humblebundle.com/books/learn-new-languages-wiley-books?hmb_source=navbar&hmb_medium=product_tile&hmb_campaign=tile_index_5