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  1. #151
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    Re: Learning Foreign Languages: Is it a hobby or a must?

    Hi Mironek!

    I can only confirm your observation that US-Americans are a lazy lot when it comes to language learning.

    With one exception, in the southern states people tend to pick up a bit of Spanish for reasons of survival. Clearly, with the porous border with Mexico, many Spanish-speaking people hang around there, i.e. live and work there.

    It seems to me that Americans in general show next to no interest in foreign languages and have little patience with people who speak with a foreign accent.

    Though this goes only for school kids and the less educated I should think. But when you dig deeper and are with the right people, US-Americans do have an interest, some curiosity as to other languages, other peoples and also, very strongly, what those other people think of them and why the US has internationally such a bad name - at least for now.

    Well, when I was for the first time in the States, I was often asked why, to put it bluntly, the world hates America. Back then I had no good answer to this - and still don't have one - and reassured them that most Germans clearly don't hate them but rather love America. I really believe so.

    But generally for the masses, knowing languages is too French for them (sorry Frenchies, but you know that this is actually a compliment!), too intellectual, too East Coast. But curiously enough, when realizing that you're a foreigner and really make an effort to make yourself understood in their language (English), they are often very touched and encouraging.

    But trying themselves at it is just not as fashionable, in vogue as it is here in Europe where we have the other extreme. Without knowing at least two foreign languages to show off, you're considered dumb.

    Say it ain't so!
    Last edited by Photon; 06-Oct-2007 at 17:17.

  2. #152
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    Re: Learning Foreign Languages: Is it a hobby or a must?

    Problems with communication in English??? - In Poland?????
    You must be completely kidding me!!!!
    You probably visited Poland 20 years ago!
    Everybody studies and speaks English, even small children, so I am just wondering why would you say that?
    There are tourist guides who are fluent in at least two languages, of course English is a must (Even in small cities you will easily communicate in English or German Languages) - no problem with that. I was amazed how easy it was to communicate in those two languages. I love Poland and everybody should visit it.

  3. #153
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    Re: Learning Foreign Languages: Is it a hobby or a must?

    Hi Blouen,
    You could easily communicate in English and German in every corner of Poland and of course in Russian...

  4. #154
    blouen's Avatar
    blouen is offline Key Member
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      • Philippines
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    Re: Learning Foreign Languages: Is it a hobby or a must?

    Well, I havenīt gone to Poland yet, Mironek. I havenīt got the resources to do so.

  5. #155
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    Re: Learning Foreign Languages: Is it a hobby or a must?

    Does she also visit Poland or just Germany?

  6. #156
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    Re: Learning Foreign Languages: Is it a hobby or a must?

    Hi Photon,
    I think you are very kind when you say that Germans love Americans
    Perhaps some of them do ok.
    Germans are so very different from Americans in so many respects....

  7. #157
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    Re: Learning Foreign Languages: Is it a hobby or a must?

    Please do so if you have a chance.

  8. #158
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    Re: Learning Foreign Languages: Is it a hobby or a must?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mironek View Post
    Hi Photon,
    I think you are very kind when you say that Germans love Americans
    Perhaps some of them do ok.
    Germans are so very different from Americans in so many respects....
    I actually was writing a big, comprehensive answer to this, but then I realized the randomness of your comment.

    Could you possibly expand, expatiate, elaborate on this comment of yours? Because as it stands it doesn't mean anything different than black is not white.

  9. #159
    phenolphthalein is offline Newbie
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    Re: Learning Foreign Languages: Is it a hobby or a must?

    Hi,
    I happened to come across this thread while researching for an essay on the pros and cons of globalization...allegedly americans are becoming aware of the opportunities they'll have if they start learning foreign languages, especially at a young age. I can only hope it's true!I don't intend to offend anyone but I have to admit that I'm frequently quite shocked at native English-speaking people's attitude towards foreign languages. There's no doubt that English is today's lingua franca but in my opinion you don't just learn a foreign language in order to pursue your career - it reflects interest in and respect to other cultures and their languages. Whenever I have been abroad I have attempted (not always successfully:))to speak the predominant language and I have rarely ever been confonted with anything other than appreciation for my attempts and understanding for my mistakes.
    This summer however, my Kiwi (New Zealand) friend and I went to Italy. we both started off with no notion whatsoever of the Italian language and thus tried to see who would know the most Italian words by the end of our holiday. I can't deny that my friend did not make any efforts or that she made a lot of fun of the Italian's english, as she would also describe herself as very open-minded and tolerant towards people who don't speak English that well. Keeping in mind that she herself doesn't speak any foreign languages, I#d say that was normal. anyway, we soon had a mock fight when she accused me off having cheated because I already knew much more Italian than she did. I assume that i must have subconsciously picked up as much as I could but nevertheless, I don't actually think it has anything to do with me personally but rather the attitude that we are brought up and taught to in Germany. Everyone who has gone to school here can more or less speak a foreign language, which is in 90 percent of the cases I#d say, english.If you want to do your abitur, your A-Levels, you even have to learn at least two. The question of whether it's a must or not is clear but just to make it easier for oneself, it should also be a hobby

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