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Foreign languages spoken in your country?

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11. Posted by tleb (Full Member 117 posts) 7y

In Alberta there is mandatory frnch classes for all english students. It lasts for grades 4,5 and 6. It is offered as an option after that until gr.12.

In grades 10-12 our school also offered Japanese and German. I took Japanese.... because it looks cooler when you write it. Teenagers are idiots, and regardless of what they believe, often need someone to think for them. Did I ever consider where I wanted to travel more? Europe or Japan? No I didn't. I took three bloody years of japanese beause kanji characters look cool.

I hadn't even started smoking pot at that point, so I really have no excuse.

12. Posted by bwiiian (Travel Guru 768 posts) 7y

Coming from England hardly anyone here speaks anything apart from english. Our mentality is that everyone in all the world speaks english so why should we bother learning any other language!! I speak French (did my degree in it) and people are totally shocked when they learn that I can speak another language aside from english!! It's quite funny really. I'm also learning Ilonggo at the moment (filipino language) and I am about to move to South Korea so I am about to start learning Korean as well.
England is terrible in languages, but the thing is is that that (2 "is"'s and 2 "that"'s in that sentence, something for you linguists out there!) fact is very surprising when you know that at least 300 different languages are spoken in London alone, yet the majority of people whose mother tongue is english here would never bother learning any of them. I think I am right in saying that per person London is the most cosmopolitan city in the world (someone from NY will jump in here, but there are conflicting views, most people say London), yet we don't understand what anyone is saying!!
I love learning languages and I always learn a bit of the local language whatever country I go to. I wont say that I remember them all when I leave but I certainly make an effort when I am there.

13. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 7y

According to the 2000 Census (we conduct them every 10 years so it is the most current), 29 foreign languages were reported as being spoken in the home with Navajo (an indigenous language) included in that list. The list does not take into account different dialects of any particular language. There are approximately 28 indigenous "family" and an additional 25 indigenous "family isolate" languages spoken among the Native American tribes. Another 4-5 island-specific languages are spoken by the indigenous populations who reside on US held territories (American Somoa, Guam, etc. Spanish is spoken on Puerto Rico.)

The US does not have an official language. States are allowed to pass laws adopting an official language and 30 of our 51 have done so - English, of course.

14. Posted by bwiiian (Travel Guru 768 posts) 7y

Quoting Isadora

The US does not have an official language. States are allowed to pass laws adopting an official language and 30 of our 51 have done so - English, of course.

That's an interesting and quite bizarre fact. I'm gonna use that one next time I am in the pub!

15. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 7y

Quoting bwiiian

Quoting Isadora

The US does not have an official language. States are allowed to pass laws adopting an official language and 30 of our 51 have done so - English, of course.

That's an interesting and quite bizarre fact. I'm gonna use that one next time I am in the pub!

You may find these 3 things of interest:

Languages of the US
Nearly 1-in-5 Speak a Foreign Language at Home
U.S. English

Click on the Myths & Facts section of the last one. The site supports the US having an official language (and guess which one), but does cover some of the issues concerning the debate.

Every so often a bill to make English the official language of the entire US is brought up in Congress. Obviously, such bills have not passed. The loudest supporters (and I'm just talking about the general public here) are those who do not feel foreign languages (and read that as mainly Spanish) need to be taught in schools, bilingual (again, Spanish-speaking) teachers are not needed and road signs should be in English only. They feel by having an "official language" everyone in the US would have to speak English only everywhere (except at home). Needless to say, it doesn't work that way.

Personally, I find Congress considering such a bill a waste of time and unnecessary. Most bills also contain "other" items attached to them (usually something that will benefit one state or another and have little or nothing to do with the bill itself) so they should be rejected. We pride ourselves as being the "melting pot nation" and with that comes a multilingual society. Deal with it and maybe learn another language or two instead of lounging on the couch watching Nascar, Jackass and the Victoria Secret underwear specials. But, I digress...

Isa steps off her soapbox and goes to find those Spanish language CDs hidden in her little library...

[ Edit: Edited on 19-Feb-2009, at 09:53 by Isadora ]

16. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5595 posts) 7y

Another new article about languages from today:

Languages threatened with extinction

17. Posted by bwiiian (Travel Guru 768 posts) 7y

This is taken from an article about English in the USA:

"Since 1980, the number of U.S. residents who are limited English proficient has more than doubled"

I read this as "PRESIDENTS" I thought they were talking about Bush!! hahahahahaha

18. Posted by bwiiian (Travel Guru 768 posts) 7y

Doing a bit of research I have just learned that English is not the official language of the UK!!!!! Now that really is surprising that the home of the most widely spoken language in the world is not its official language! In fact from 1099 - 1399 the official language of England was French

19. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5595 posts) 7y

Quoting bwiiian

Doing a bit of research I have just learned that English is not the official language of the UK!!!!! Now that really is surprising that the home of the most widely spoken language in the world is not its official language! In fact from 1099 - 1399 the official language of England was French

So what is the official language now? Urdu?

20. Posted by Cool Paul (Travel Guru 611 posts) 7y

spanish is big of course. my niece is only in first grade and is already learning spanish. plus most people take it in high school and college.

I was forced to learn italian in school at a very young age. There are tons of italian americans in Philly...but I gotta wonder if any of them speak it. I don't remember too much but it's definitely easier for me to study now. I have the pronunciations down and most of the easy stuff but I can't understand it when it's spoken at italian speeds. I should mention that I have no italian blood in me. but I do I want to visit italy, so I still try to keep that up. I feel pretty confident that if I go to italy for a while I can get used to the speeds.