Anyone studying a second (or third) language?
Eric Johnson

最近、僕は日本語をまた勉強し始めることを決めた。日本語はすごく面白い言語だけど、勉強することがたいていちょっと難しくてつまらないよ。ここの誰でもも日本語を勉強してるか?

I recently decided to start studying Japanese again. Japanese is a really interesting language, but studying it is a bit difficult and boring. Anyone else here studying Japanese (or another language for that matter)?

Edgar Reynaldo

I studied 3 years of Japanese in high school, but all I remember is hiragana and katakana. My kanji skills are useless.

I've also taken 3 semesters of French, but I need to study up on my vocabulary and grammar before I could really have a decent conversation in French again.

That said, (American) English is my native language.

Eric Johnson

I studied 3 years of Japanese in high school, but all I remember is hiragana and katakana. My kanji skills are useless.

That's cool. Did you study because you were required to do so, or because you wanted to, and could you understand what I wrote? I'm three years into studying Japanese right now, though I took several months off after getting burned out a few times... I studied Spanish for two years in high school, but never had a passion for the language and never really used it, so I recall little of it now.

[EDIT]
And kanji sucks. >:(

Specter Phoenix

I took two years of Spanish in high school and last year looked into learning Japanese, but I've been busy working on fan projects to bother with getting started learning Japanese. I also never used my Spanish so I'm extremely rusty on it.

Edgar Reynaldo

I took Japanese because I wanted to. Our high school was the only school in the area to offer it too.

I can read the hiragana and katakana letters, but I don't remember any kanji, and most the words you used are not in my vocabulary, so I don't really have any clue what you said. I think the only word I recognized was nihongo (Japanese).

Rodolfo Lam

My native tongue is Spanish, but I can say I can speak (American) English almost as a native. All my Primary and High School were given in a bilingual model so maybe that influenced. I took two years of French in High School like Specter but I no longer recall the language.

I no longer study English, but maybe I don't have to as I use it almost every day.

Now that we are on the subject, why some people apologize for their English in a post? They often have good structure and grammar. Maybe lack of confidence?

MiquelFire

why some people apologize for their English in a post? They often have good structure and grammar. Maybe lack of confidence?

Most likely the case, as often when I see this, they have the best English in the group. Sometimes I notice someone who does have a legit reason to apologize however.

Eric Johnson

@Edgar: the English in my original post is more or less what I wrote in Japanese. You are spot on about my use of "nihongo". :)

Elias

I'm learning English still. My vocabulary is pretty good at this point but I'm not making any progress with pronunciation.

Having an especially hard time with the "r" sound (I substitute a German "RRR" instead :P). [edit:] English "r" is more like German "l" or "w", but also not really :/

Also don't really hear the difference between "z" and "s" as that difference does not exist in German. So I pronounce "sip" and "zip" the same - but I also can't hear any difference when someone pronounces them in the different ways, so no chance really of trying to improve my pronunciation there :/

Edgar Reynaldo

The difference between 'sip' and 'zip' is in the throat. Both have the same mouth shape and position, but the 'z' sound comes from the throat. 'sip' has a hissing sound, and 'zip' has a buzz sound coming from the throat. Also, in 'zip' the teeth are together, where they are apart in 'sip'.

DanielH

2 years of Spanish in High school, 1 year in High School and 2 years Russian in college, semester of French, and took a special intensive summer course in Tatar at my University. I have forgotten so much.

Eric Johnson

So your native language is German, Elias? Your written English is superb; I had no idea it wasn't your native language. :o

Elias

Also, in 'zip' the teeth are together, where they are apart in 'sip'.

I can say S both with teeth together and not :P My mouth muscles just don't know how to differentiate the sounds. I probably always say something sounding in between S and Z to an English speaker. A German speaker would not notice whether you say "Da(s) i(s)t (s)o" or "Da(z) i(z)t (z)o" (unless you extremely overdo it into either direction).

[edit:] Don't think I talked to you all that much in Canada, but if you remember anything about how I talked it is probably my strong German accent :)

DanielH said:

2 years Russian in college

Why are so many people in the states learning Russian? Someone from Ohio I met back home also could speak Russian. For me there would be several other languages I'd want to learn first...

So your native language is German, Elias?

I mostly learned my written English in the #allegro IRC channel over the years. Means I have some strange "international oddities" because of some of the people in there who are not native speakers :P

DanielH

The first year I took it was in 1990. My high school offered it for the first time. It was something new and with the tension between the Soviet Union, it was interesting.

Johan Halmén

Four languages in gymnasium (high school). That's not as hard as it might sound. Those include two official languages of Finland (Finnish and Swedish) and English. Those were obligatory. Then I picked German as an extra language.

25 years after high school I studied 2 years Italian.

someone972

Attempting to learn Japanese. I could recognize bits and pieces of what you (OP) wrote but my grammar is extremely lacking :-/. I've been using WaniKani for learning Kanji and so far it's been going great, at least when I keep up with it. I'm level 12 right now and supposedly by level 30 you can get by pretty well. We're planning a trip to Japan in October so I hope to at least be able to read a little bit better by then.

Eric Johnson

Grammar is a pain in any language, someone972, but things really open up once you get over the initial hump. I imagine you're mostly studying formal Japanese? Feel free to message me if you have any Japanese-related questions. Where in Japan are you headed?

Chris Katko

I took a couple intro Spanish courses years ago. I figured it be very helpful if I went into business.

But I never had anyone to practice with so most of that knowledge faded away.

I go through phases of binge learning. So right now I'm focusing on learning advanced D programming as well as architecting techniques.

Eventually when things aren't so tight I'd love to learn some Spanish, German, maybe even Russian and Chinese. But we'll see how time permits.

Life is so damn short! I'd love to live forever if just so I could learn the depths of biology, physics, math, and computer science. They all have an intrinsic beauty. Hell, biology is downright staggering when you begin to realize the shear astronomical depths of processes going on in your body right now just to allow you to sit there. Like how your skin has a pH wall. Highly acidic on one side, highly basic on the other. Bacteria that's adapted to one will most often die from the other. And what's left gets mauled by your white blood cells. And did you know they're actually a class of cells? There are like 5 or 6 subclasses of white blood cells and they all have unique functions.

But I digress...

It always makes me happy to see people trying to learn new languages. It's not easy and requires repeated effort. It's encouraging to see other people bettering themselves.

Bruce Perry

私も、大学生のころに日本語を勉強し始めました。私の場合、コンピューターサイエンスがつまらないと思っていて、アニメを見ていまして言葉を習ってみようと思いました。実は、漢字があることを忘れていましたけど、きれいな書き方ですから嬉かった^^

Hope that wasn't too much :) Translation: I also started learning Japanese when I was at university. In my case, I was finding computer science boring, and I was watching anime, so I thought why not try learning the language? Actually I had forgotten that it had its own writing, but it's pretty, so I was happy when I realised :)

So, whenever I lost motivation, my solution was to watch more anime. It must be noted that my progress slowed down massively when I started working, and then gave way even more as I started to focus even more on music. Right now I couldn't justify getting back into it since I'm supposed to be learning German in order to be able to live in this country and not be run circles around by a possible future kid ;)

Elias said:

Also don't really hear the difference between "z" and "s" as that difference does not exist in German.

Are you sure? Maybe Austrian German is different? As far as Lore's German goes, the English 's' sound would correspond to 'ß' or 'ss', while the English 'z' would correspond to the German 's' in a word like 'sauber'. Does that help at all?

Elias

Maybe Austrian German is different?

Maybe just me :P "Sauber" I would definitely pronounce more like (S)auber than (Z)auber, but both would sound right to me. Something like Wasser/Faser there is a difference of course - but when I say "Faser" that s is not really a (z) sound either, just a softer s (my teeth are in the exact same position for both, but the tongue is more forward for "Faser" than for "Wasser" I think).

[edit:] I think the main difference between "Wasser" and "Faser" for me is that in the first one the "a" is very short and in the second one the "a" is long :/

Polybios
Quote:

Maybe just me :P

At least all of Swabia, too. ;)
I even remember hearing it in some English-sung song by some band out of the area (don't remember who it was).
I think the difference is called "stimmhaft" vs. "stimmlos" in German and I think it might be called "voiced" vs. "unvoiced" in English. - So would you pronounce "reisen" and "reißen" the same?

About languages: Improving my French is a project I haven't started for years. I usually end up programming instead. :P
Apart from that, my mother tongue is German, and I've learnt English, Latin, French, and Spanish at school. Don't remember much of anything apart from English and some French, though. I have the tendency to mix up Spanish, French, and Latin as soon as I try to speak or write either of them, which is quite annoying. So I mostly give up and use English instead.

Onewing

Wow, what a weird coincidence! I took many Japanese classes in college 10 years ago and just recently started trying to pick it back up this past October.

I passed 8 of the 9 classes I took. The problem was the classes I took were way too structured and memory-focused. The 9th class was Advanced Conversations in Japanese and was taught by a different person than the other 8 classes. I fell apart and was miffed that I spent so much time but never really had a handle on the language.

So I recently started again. This time, I'm trying to think in Japanese and completely cut out English translations in my study sessions. No "um" filler when I'm thinking of words, but rather "anou" or "eeto".

I'm starting with Kanji and in the past four months I've vastly increased my skill. I took flash cards and taped them to my monitors and office walls so they're always in view. I spend the first 15 minutes each day practicing writing them correctly and then I switch the keyboard to Japanese to type them to make sure I know the correct romanization of the characters. During lunch, I'm using the "HJ Lite" app, which is a great companion.

My work just announced that employees who have been with the company for at least 7 years (I'm in that group) are able to take a 1 month sabbatical. I'm thinking of taking a trip to Japan in 2018 or 2019.

やった!

Bob Keane

High school French but I don't remember any. I learned the hand letter alphabet but have no practice. I wouldn't mind learning International Sign Language though I have no use for it.

someone972

I have no idea where we'll be going in Japan, we have always been historically bad at planning ;). My main problem with grammar is by the time I come home from work and do the reviews/lessons on WaniKani I'm usually beat and fall asleep, thus not having time to read up and practice grammar. May try doing more reviews at work to try and open up the latter half of the day. Neat to see that Japanese is a popular choice around here ;D, and all the other languages people are learning/have learned.

jhuuskon

English is my third language (even though I started it before swedish in school). I've also studied french and latin in some point in time or another. Turns out that even though swedish is the second official language, french has been useful on occasion, swedish has never.

type568

I wonder how does it go regarding second, or third.. I guess in English, which I studied as "the second language", it counts as a second language in addition to first language. But now many kids are bilingual(I'll put my best effort in to assurance of this destiny for my children), so if they study any third language wouldn't it be called second?

And overall, can't you say "I'm studying another second language", while referring to your third language? I think it's understandable. Not sure though.

我学中文 (I study Chinese.)

as my fourth language, although arguably I don't know any of the previous three. But usually people understand me. :D

All my Primary and High School were given in a bilingual model so maybe that influenced.

That's awesome.

P.S:
I'm highly surprised nobody mentions Chinese, which is essentially my only choice of study. English was kind of a must in Israel(thank God it was), I speak Russian because I was born in Saint-Petersburg. I'm 27, and about half of my life I spent in Israel.

And Chinese. Well, I know English good enough to read in it. And Chinese feels like second in influence in the world, if not yet then soon to be. I bought a router on Alieexpress, and it doesn't seem to have an English interface, and changing its firmware is hell of a story.. China is also the biggest economy for a while now.

Rodolfo Lam
type568 said:

I'm highly surprised nobody mentions Chinese, which is essentially my only choice of study.

There is one private Primary/High school (most have both in the same facilities) here in Panama that teaches Mandarin as the second language and English the third (maybe, not sure).

Actually that's the only place I know here that a Chinese language is taught. Its understandable that most people with Chinese lineage have their kids studying there.

Chris Katko

I mentioned Chinese...

It's super useful for the electronics industry.

Eric Johnson

Any of you ever been made fun of for the language(s) you study?

This happened to me about a year ago:

As I was waiting in a hallway for class, one of my classmates greeted me in Japanese. I replied back in Japanese by asking how he was doing. A girl near us then said, "Oh my God, that's the most weeaboo shit I've ever heard."

It really bugs me that people associate Japanese with cringe-worthy fanatics who are overly obsessed with Japan and Japanese entertainment. Never have I heard someone speak a second language and thought of sending demeaning remarks their way. :-/

Gideon Weems
Quote:

コンピューターサイエンスがつまらないと思っていて…

激しく同意。

Elias said:

I mostly learned my written English in the #allegro IRC channel over the years. Means I have the bestest, 1337est kind of English there is!

Fixed that for you. ;D

P.S. I've found the best way to learn a language is to have someone to use that language with (verbally, if possible). Girlfriends excel at this.

GullRaDriel

French, English, and a bit of Spanish but I'm more than rusty at it.

Eric Johnson

What do you all find to be most challenging about learning the language(s) you are currently studying?

For me, it's vocabulary. I finally got over the hump of grammar (for the most part), but now it's just dealing with the staggering amount of words and verbs and adjectives and whatnot to know.

Niunio

I'm re-studying English and French. I want to learn Japanese or Chinese but I'll wait until I'm fluent in French again.

Elias

Vocabulary was very easy in my case - I'd say about 50% of English and German words have the same origin. For example recently I was talking with someone about the similarity of German and English and tried to come up with an exclusively German word and somehow picked "uhr" - later I looked up its etymology and turns out it is a phonetic variation of "hour" :P

DanielH

Vocab is just memorization. It's not easy, but plain and simple.

While learning Russian, I had a hard time because of my lack of knowledge of English grammar (poor English student). Russian has 6 case-endings depending on how the word is used grammatically in a sentence. I learned (or relearned) more about English grammar then I did in middle school.

Johan Halmén

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Eric Johnson

For me, vocabulary is only a pain because there's so much of it and because I also have to learn the associated kanji with each word. Kanji sucks.

Beyond that, nouns and adjectives are pretty much a breeze to remember, but verbs are killer. In Japanese, you have formal and informal (or plain) verb endings and conjugations. Here's a few examples of different conjugations with the verb "to drink":

Plain:
のむ = to drink / will drink
のんだ = drank
のんでいる = drinking
のまない = to not drink / will not drink
のまなかった = did not drink
のんでいない = not drinking
のんでいた = was drinking

Formal:
のみます = to drink / will drink
のみました = drank
のんでいます = drinking
のみません = to not drink / will not drink
のみませんでした = did not drink
のんでいません = not drinking
のんでいました = was drinking

That's all for just one group of verbs. There are several others, each with their own different sets of rules. There are two main groups of verbs: godan and ichidan. Ichidan are a snap, because all ichidan verbs are conjugated the same way. But with godan verbs, the rules are different for each sub group depending on the ending sound. Polite conjugations are pretty much the same between all groups and sub groups though, but are totally verbose.

Bruce Perry
Quote:

Kanji sucks.

I have a different feeling - for me they make everything a lot more interesting. Of course it does mean I haven't got my Japanese to a particularly useful level of reading.

Beyond that, nouns and adjectives are pretty much a breeze to remember, but verbs are killer.

I think you'll find Japanese verbs get easier. They're a lot more regular than English ones. In English we have a huge long list of irregular verbs; partial patterns can be observed (a lot have a vowel change such as swim, swam, swum), but it's still a question of just memorising them. In Japanese, as I recall, the irregular verbs are basically just する (do) and くる (come), plus verbs that consist of those with a prefix. I guess いく (go) is slightly irregular too actually. Beyond those, I think there are then just two groups of regular verbs; some of the ones ending in える and いる (including ける etc.) are one group, and all the others are in the other group. Broadly speaking the first group replaces the る entirely (たべる -> たべます) while the second group conjugates it (ある -> あります). Speaking of which, ある is irregular too, but... really I don't think there are many irregular verbs!

You know some Japanese adjectives conjugate a little too? In fact there seems to be grammatical overlap between the final い of adjectives and that of the plain negatives ない and いない; both can go to かった. So you might regret saying that those are a breeze :)

<3

I'd love to get back into this again. I am practising kanji on and off using the Android app 'Akebi'.

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