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Anyone studying a second (or third) language?
Member #8,381
March 2007

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.

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
Member #16,045
August 2015

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
Member #1,881
January 2002

I mentioned Chinese...

It's super useful for the electronics industry.

“Programs should be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.” - Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs

Eric Johnson
Member #14,841
January 2013

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
Member #3,925
October 2003




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.

Member #3,861
September 2003

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

"Code is like shit - it only smells if it is not yours"
Allegro Wiki, full of examples and articles !!

Eric Johnson
Member #14,841
January 2013

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.

Member #1,975
March 2002

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.

Current projects: Allegro.pas | MinGRo

Member #358
May 2000

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

"Either help out or stop whining" - Evert

Member #934
January 2001

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
Member #1,550
September 2001


Years of thorough research have revealed that the red "x" that closes a window, really isn't red, but white on red background.

Years of thorough research have revealed that what people find beautiful about the Mandelbrot set is not the set itself, but all the rest.

Eric Johnson
Member #14,841
January 2013

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":

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

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
Member #270
April 2000


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 :)


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

Bruce "entheh" Perry [ Web site | DUMB | Set Up Us The Bomb !!! | Balls ]
Programming should be fun. That's why I hate C and C++.
The brxybrytl has you.

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