Questions for people who can speak more than one language fluently


#1

This is one of the most fascinating things to me and I love to ponder it.

So, multilingual folks:

. Do you think in more than one language?

. Can you maintain multiple accents i.e a different accent for each language you speak?

. Does knowing loads of different words and how to speak them make you more intelligent than monolinguists like me or does it mean there’s less room in your head for other things?

Fascinating topic isn’t it?


#2

I remember a little bit of GCSE German and sometimes when I make a particularly nice cup of tea I think “das ist gut!” in the worst stereotypical German accent in my head which is bad but fun.


#3
  1. Sometimes. Depends, really. If I need to explain something really complex, I don’t. For everything else, yeah.

  2. I speak Spanish with a north western Gallego accent cuz that’s where my fam are from and where I live now. However, I find it tricky to distinguish where people are from unless they’re from Galicia, Catalunya or Andalucia.

  3. No, I consider myself to be quite a stupid person, emotionally and intellectually.

Anything else, mate?


#4

So you don’t have like a cockney accent when you speak Spanish?


#5

Wait you’re not cockney are you? Sorry

Think it’s the tagline


#6

Also thank you for your answers :slight_smile:


#7
  1. No but English is my only native language

  2. I speak Spanish with an Argentinian accent, French with an English/Spanish accent and Portuguese with a generic Portugal accent

  3. Dunno really, I know some really dumb multilingual people


#8
  1. I can think in my language, although English is my first and therefore primary language
  2. Yeah, my Somali accent sounds foreign but it’s still distinct from my English accent, this is most evident in loanwords
  3. No, it’s like driving or something, knowing how to drive doesn’t make someone cleverer, it’s just a useful thing they can do

#9
  1. Yes. I usually think in the language that applies to the situation, people, etc, that I’m dealing with, if that makes sense. My most personal thoughts are almost always in English. Dreams can be bilingual. There are some words that are exclusive to one language and so my inner monologue becomes a bit of a smörgåsbord (wey)

  2. Yes, speaking in a different accent is a must because letters and words are pronounced differently. Funnily enough my first name is pronounced differently in English, Spanish and Swedish. If I pronounce my name in English to someone in Sweden they struggle to understand what I’m saying.

  3. I don’t think it makes you more or less intelligent. I think there’s a huge argument for making language acquisition mandatory for children in the UK because it’s so clearly easier to acquire a foreign language when you’re young and have a sponge-like brain. I tried learning Japanese once and it was obscenely difficult, probably due to my adult brain, not at all influenced by being bilingual. Someone who’s hyper-articulate in one language is objectively probably way smarter than someone who’s a simpleton in 5 languages


#10

I’m an Indian guy born in The UK.

My first language is Gujarati (an Indian dialect). English was my second language. My Gujarati is now roughly 50% fluent. I speak it with my parents and no one else.

(Actually it’s now currently 30% as I’m at a pub and drunk.)


#11

Woah bilingual dreams sound amazing!


#12

Never not going to be in awe of you folks, you’re like superheroes of the language world


#13

they often say a clear signpost that you’re becoming fluent at a language is that you start to dream in it!


#14

Reckon I could make up my own fake language of say 50-100 simple words and dream in that?

Definitely would be a great use of my time


#15

this would be a fine experiment to test the relationship between internalising new language vs. the limits of self-deception; await the results with fascination

it’s worth remembering that English is a very complicated and difficult language to learn and you’ve already learnt that so what’s stopping you from getting a few more under your wing eh. I work with a Korean guy and this week alone I’ve had to try to explain to him a) when it’s appropriate to refer to someone as ‘geezer’ (absolutely baffled as to why he asked but that’s a whole new sub-thread) and b) what the phrase ‘whole new kettle of fish’ means. English can be a brutal language to acquire. imagine reading textbooks, translation dictionaries, websites, etc, trying to decode the phrase ‘whole new kettle of fish’.


#16

I’m pretty sure I don’t understand why “kettle of fish” means what it means tbh


#17

I can’t even speak in english very well


#18

are there any really good ways to learn a language without having to leave the house?


#19

i got quite into Duolingo for a while but then i stopped opening it ever and eventually deleted it cos i needed the space. if i get a better phone at some point i might try to get back into it


#20

I’ve tried learning a few languages but one thing that’s always puzzled me is whether you should or shouldn’t pronounce words in a relevant accent. My mate who speaks a few languages says you should and not doing’s disrespectful, but i feel really awkward aping pronounciations and feel more comfortable learning the words (where possible) even if they’re not phonetically accurate.

This is me being stupid, isn’t it? I’ve been thinking about trying to learn Catalan. I’ve been watching a couple of programmes and it seems an incredible language, but so far out of my comfort zone. Guess it’s a case of…ignorance vs embarrassment, eh. If i teach foreign mates English words they’d pronounce in their own accent, but as an English-speaker i’m wary of doing that.

What’s correct? Do accents not develop over time? Does it depend on the language? Is it just a matter of pronouncing words correctly versus not doing? Would, say, a Catalan person not be offended by a monosyllabic Brit butchering their mother tongue?