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In Germany, everyone learns at least 2 foreign languages at school. One of them is English, of course, the second is usually either French or Latin. And those who attend schools that... aah, I don't want to go into detail about the school system(s), so let's just say: Those who attend schools that offer the highest qualification (that allows you to go to university) often learn a third language, the most common ones being Italian and Spanish.

 

I can understand why people who learn English as their mother tongue wouldn't feel the need to learn many foreign languages, because pretty much everyone they'll ever meet will speak English. On the other hand, foreign languages are more than communication device in my opinion. Foreign languages can shape your view on the world and tell you how other people perceive the world. For example, some of you might remember that quite recently I couldn't answer the question of who's the most sassy Sherlock character because I didn't know what "being sassy" means. English/American people have this concept (described by the word "sassy") that doesn't exist in German culture or language. So I'm still trying to figure out what a sassy person is :lol:. And it's such an interesting process - to learn about those different concepts and thus widen your perception of the world. So for me it's a great thing that you can use foreign languages to communicate with foreign people, but the real fun is to explore the culture that is expressed through that language.

 

I learned English, Latin and Italian at school and then Norwegian at university (voluntarily, I just wanted to learn another language and I love Norwegian more than any other language in the world. It's not particularly useful but beautiful). Unfortunately, my Italian shrank roughly at the same pace as my Norwegian skills grew, it really was replaced by Norwegian. So today I couldn't join in a normal conversation with Italians anymore, there's only enough left for tourist purposes, restaurant visits and easy readings (like getting the contents of an Andrea Bocelli song). I'd love to learn some Spanish, too, because with English, German and Spanish I guess I could speak to probably about 95% of the world population. That could come in handy once I gain world domination  :D

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Wow, I envy you Schlauer Fuchs. Except for Czech and Slovak (which doesn't even count as a foreign language) I can write and read and watch films in English (I'm terrified of speaking in English), know a few basic words and phrases in German and understand Polish a little and that's just because I grew up near borders with Poland.

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No need to, Janie. German is my mother tongue, so that doesn't count as foreign language. So I learned 4 foreign languages in my life, but I can only use two of them (because as I said my Italian skills are limited today, and Latin can only partly qualify as a foreign language anyway, at least if you want to use it to talk to living people ;)). That makes the list look much less impressive (and much more realistic) :)

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Wow, that is so interesting, I didn't know that you guys in Germany learn all those languages - especially Latin!
I envy you, too, Schlauer Fuchs - even if your skills are limited it is still great.
I agree with Janie - Czech and Slovak are quite similiar (though I know that Czech is a problem for some Slovak people), We've always been surrounded by Czech (even part of my family is from there). I can understand a bit of Polish, too - just by guessing I get a lot of things right (or close), but I can't speak it. But I am very surprised by how little of the people I know can actually speak English - and I mean people at my age, people that learn it in school and are surrounded by it everywhere.
On primary school we were studying German (besides English), but I never liked it and by now, I've forgotten almost everything.
I have tried to learn Italian (also Polish, but that doesn't even count) on my own - I didn't get very far and forgotten again.. :D
The main problem for me is, that there isn't another language that I would use the way I use English. I wouldn't watch films in Italian, I wouldn't change the language on my PC or in games to Italian etc. - that way, I am not "forced" to learn it the way I learn(ed) English.

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Yeah, languages are very much use it or lose it - I had four years of French at school and I'd be hard pressed to do more than ask for the way or order a drink nowadays. Latin has stayed with me more (though the occasions for a conversation tend to be rare :lol:) but that's because I love it and kept reading classical authors. English, as has been stated by Carol and others, is lingua franca nowadays - I think every European kid has English classes at school (even the French, though they will sometimes not admit to knowing it :P).

 

But apart from some erudite people like Schlauer Fuchs, I doubt many Europeans are fluent in more than two languages (three for those living in a different country than the one they were born in), and one of them is almost always English. Otherwise, enough to get by in any neighbouring country (about the only Slovakian words I know are letisko and na zdravie, embarrassingly enough, and the situation is not much better with Hungarian, Slovene and Italian) with a lot of gesturing, but not enough to hold any kind of deeper conversation.

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Can most Europeans speak more than one language?  Or does it really vary from country to country?  I've never gotten the impression that the British are all that multilingual.  But maybe because right now, as Bubu said, English is a "must-know?"  

In my experience very few of my fellow Brits are truly bilingual. Many have Secondary (High) school level French or German, or maybe Spanish. Whereas  those who are truly bilingual tend to be so by virtue of having a parent from another country. There does seem to be a slightly unfortunate British attitude of "Why bother; everyone speaks English over there" when going on holiday to mainland Europe. Which I think is sad, because to me it is the differences, both lingual and cultural, which make foreign travel so rewarding.

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about the only Slovakian words I know are letisko and na zdravie...

 

Well, "na zdravie" is a very important word so I would say you don't need to know more.   :drink:  

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about the only Slovakian words I know are letisko and na zdravie...

 

Well, "na zdravie" is a very important word so I would say you don't need to know more.   :drink:  

 

Hahahahh :D

 

Also, I wonder how does my language sound to foreigners.

It is said that Slovak is "soft", "sweet" or like "singing" but I don't believe that at all - maybe it was like that, but nowadays we don't talk the way they did before...

I've heard some foreigners say that Czech sounds like German - do you agree?

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They sound vaguely similar to my ears (the consonants are certainly spoken more softly, though. especially compared to northern German), but what impresses me most about both Czech and Slovakian (and what sets them apart from German most, imo) is the speed at which it's spoken. There's a Slovakian radio station that I'm able to get in my car and often have running because the music's good, but the newscasters never cease to amaze me. A German speaker must sound half asleep to you :D.

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They sound vaguely similar to my ears (the consonants are certainly spoken more softly, though. especially compared to northern German), but what impresses me most about both Czech and Slovakian (and what sets them apart from German most, imo) is the speed at which it's spoken. There's a Slovakian radio station that I'm able to get in my car and often have running because the music's good, but the newscasters never cease to amaze me. A German speaker must sound half asleep to you :D.

:D Really?

But I think that varies from person to person... in whatever language. (Sherlock deducing-talking speed or "The who, the what, the why, the when, the where?" popped into my head - now that is something.. :D)

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Also, I wonder how does my language sound to foreigners.

It is said that Slovak is "soft", "sweet" or like "singing" but I don't believe that at all - maybe it was like that, but nowadays we don't talk the way they did before...

I've heard some foreigners say that Czech sounds like German - do you agree?

 

 

Well, I don't, but I'm biased ;)

 

I can hardly hear a difference between Czech and Slovak (just listened to two clips on youtube: 1, 2 :lol:), and would describe neither of them as "soft", "sweet" or "singing" - quite the opposite. Sounds very much like Russian to me, many rolled R's (!! I'd describe that as the main feature of both languages) plus guttural sounds and steady vowels (the latter I'd call a key feature of German, but then it's of course very hard to listen to one's own language.. well, you know what I mean). But, well, reading my own description of Czech and Slovak and comparing it to how German is supposed to sound to foreigners (i.e. harsh, guttural), they may actually sound alike for people who don't know either of them :)

What do you Britons/Americans say?

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I haven't heard much of Czech or Slovak; however, I'd probably put them as a harsh sounding language as many of the Slavic based languages sound that way to me. German also sounds harsh to me whereby Norwegian & Swedish (part of the Germanic languages) sound softer so it's possible that Czech & Slovak could be softer than the Russian and German counterparts.

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Well, after just a quick listen, they both sound far less guttural than German to me, and #2 has a lilt that reminds me a bit of Italian.    (Oddly enough, though, #1 seem to be discussing the German language?)
 

... apart from some erudite people like Schlauer Fuchs, I doubt many Europeans are fluent in more than two languages (three for those living in a different country than the one they were born in), and one of them is almost always English.


That surprises me, considering that I've heard this sort of thing from Europeans:


Q: If someone who speaks three languages is trilingual, and someone who speaks two languages is bilingual, what do you call someone who speaks only one language?

A: An American.

 

I always feel like replying, well if you had to drive a thousand miles to get to someplace where most people speak another language -- would you bother?  (I speak some Spanish, though I'm certainly not fluent, and I also remember some of my high-school Latin, if that counts.)

 

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I wished I remembered even a fraction of the Latin I learned in high school.  I loved that class so very, very much.  

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Never learned Latin not had the opportunity to. I have picked up bits and pieces of it where I was in college when it was necessary for band or Bible. I looked up the Latin root for the name I gave my son's homeschool (academia chronicas et theologicalis studia [academy of chronicle (history) and theological studies]).

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Hello! I'm Experimental. I do Sherlock fanart and fanfiction :) Working on one right now at the moment and have a quick question- if Sherlock and John were in a relationship, what terms of endearment do you think they would they use? Nice to meet you all :p

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Hi Experimental! :welcome:

 

They're both so emotionally repressed, I can't imagine either one of them using any endearments at all! :D

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:wave2: Hi Experimental :welcome: to the forum. Their terms of endearment would be more in the way of actions I think. Making sure the other is safe, force feeding Sherlock, or the occasional word of we'd better get the gun residue off your hands.
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Welcome, Experimental!

 

 

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Hello Experimental and welcome to the forum! :wave:

 

If (if!) either of them ever used any endearments at all, they'd probably be sarcastic ones, I think, to mask that there's sentiment behind this ("Blockhead!" "Shut up, you pillock!" :P).

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Welcome, Experimental!  :welcome:  (Though I thought we were all experimental around here?)

 

If you mean "in a relationship with each other," then I agree with the above posters.  I suspect that John is a bit more demonstrative with Mary, though, at least when she's not shooting his best friend.

 

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Lol thanks for your answers! Great to meet you all<3 Yes, in this case, they are being sarcastic when they use the affectionate pet names. Sherlock's being patronizing and John is returning the favor. I had Sherlock use "my dearest" and John use "darling", but it could also be "my good doctor" and "detective" (not as amusing tho?). If you don't mind another question- if the tables were turned and you were deducing Sherlock, what would you/did you notice the most about him? Say this is one of the first times you meet him, in his flat?

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Oh and noted caya- that's really clever! I completely agree. though I can't put that in because it'd be taken literally not affectionately in this context lol. Oh, and what might John call Mary, Carol?

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What John and Mary call each other is just between the two of them -- some of their pet names might be private jokes, relating to experiences they've shared, so the names would mean nothing to us eavesdroppers, and might even sound disparaging due to our ignorance of the context.

 

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