What Languages do you Know?

Discussion in 'Languages' started by Hamalas, Apr 15, 2014.

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  1. Hamalas

    Hamalas whippersnapper

    I'm constantly impressed by the breadth of interest, experience, and ability that is represented on this board (just a small foretaste of the wonderful diversity of heaven I guess!) I've been wondering how many languages are represented here? What languages have you studied? How many can you speak? What level are you in your knowledge of them? What languages do you hope to learn one day?

    I'll start:

    Languages Studied

    1) English (I'm a native speaker)

    2) Koine Greek (for one semester in high school almost none of which has stuck)

    3) Latin (I've done two semesters so far and will hopefully continue until I gain a basic proficiency in working with Latin texts)

    4) Spanish (two years in high school/college)

    5) Scots Gaelic (only picked up a few words and phrases here and there but I do find it interesting!)

    6) S.E.E. or Signing Exact English (my sisters are all close to fluent in this form of Sign Language and I've learned a bit to try and keep up!)

    Languages I want to Learn

    1) Latin - as I said I'm currently studying this in college and will hopefully continue that study at PRTS when I go to seminary. I don't have any illusions of being able to read Virgil in the original, but I do hope to be able to translate basic words, phrases, and quotations as I come across them (particularly in theological writing), to work with original Latin texts for research purposes (with lots of help from reference materials), and to help teach Latin to my kids as part of their basic education.

    2) Greek - Obviously as a minister I want to be able to work with the original texts. I know a lot of guys don't keep up on the languages and I know it will be tough, but I hope to be able to work with whatever text I'll be preaching on in the original Hebrew or Greek. It would be ideal if I could do a rough translation of whatever text I would be preaching on as part of my preparation. For the Pastors out there, does that sound doable?

    3) Hebrew - See above.

    4) Spanish - I've grown up hearing it a lot (my family lived in Florida for seven years and we had international students from Chile stay with us for a year and a half). I've studied it some and actually stayed with our friends in Chile for one month when I was 12/13. I'd love to be conversationally proficient and try to raise my kids to be bilingual.

    Well that's all I have! I love languages, but am not particularly good at them. How about you?
  2. Ephrata

    Ephrata Puritan Board Freshman

    Dang, impressive list!


    English-- native speaker; a beautiful language in itself.

    Chinese-- intermediate. Unfortunately, I've been lax in studying it lately, so edging towards "conversational".

    Spanish-- I grew up hearing a lot of it, a lot of my co-workers speak it, and I also studied briefly in school. Not impossibly hard to understand, read, or write, but not easy to speak! Verb conjugation is a bit difficult.

    Korean-- pretty much every master and instructor I ever studied martial arts under spoke Chinese or Korean, so I picked up greetings, numbers, words for kicks, and how to run a sparring match.

    ASL: 10-20 signs or so, along with the alphabet.

    Want to Learn:

    More Chinese, More Spanish: Why not continue? The more I can communicate, the better Christ's truth and love can be shown.

    Koine Greek and Hebrew: Ministry and study can't be divorced from each other, including ministry to women and family, so it seems important for me to look into the original source of the truths we base our lives on. Also, as I look into models of Christian education, classical languages seem integral to some of the best programs, so they seem even more important to study.

    Still, though, as wonderful as some of these languages are, English is still my personal favorite. Blame John Donne. :eek:
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2014
  3. hammondjones

    hammondjones Puritan Board Sophomore

    Languages Studied
    I pass for native

    I'm fluentish. At least I no longer get "sé un siervo" mixed up with "(yo) sé un ciervo". (true story)

    Let's just say I know when to Holem.

    Treble and Bass clef. Forgot all my Tenor.

    Languages I Want to Learn
    It is up next.

    May get to this in 10 years.

    When I imagine having the time and money to do a PhD, it is studying the Church in Syriac. I don't know why. I don't know much about it. Just seems interesting.
  4. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    Latin - eccesial domain expert
    Biblical Greek - expert
    Biblical Hebrew - expert
    Spanish - conversational
    Japanese - elementary conversational
  5. ZackF

    ZackF Puritan Board Graduate

    This has been a growing passion of mine the past couple of years. It's become quite an obsessive hobby. Language learning easier to fit in time wise and ultimately more practical than star-gazing. Not to mention the costs of a nice cassegrain telescope. If you see a man walking or sitting in Starbucks with earbuds in his ears stammering to himself in a foreign language then it probably is me. I've gotten a few strange looks while driving too.

    English: Native

    Spanish: I would consider myself an advanced-intermediate reader, an intermediate writer, speaker and and lower-intermediate listener. Typical high school and college stuff...remembered very little. Ive done some pretty aggressive self-study the pass year or two. Will likely hire a tutor by the end of the year. I want to take and pass the C1 CEFR exam by the end of next year. The reasons are many for learning Spanish...communicating with my neighbors, people at church with poor English skills and employment opportunities. If we home-school, I want to teach Spanish to my child(ren). It has obvious utility in the US but Spanish is a great gateway language to Latin, French or any other Romance language for that matter.

    Ancient Greek: Had three semesters in college and will continue again someday with self-study to study Scripture more closely as well as Patristics and the Pagan classics.

    Latin: One semester in college. At this time, I don't see going into it that much. Who knows...

    French: I just started self-study yesterday!! Mrs F. had four years in high school and has retained a lot. It is going to be "our language." Besides French opens a lot of doors culturally, historically and even career wise. Goal is passing C1 exam in 2016. If my wife and I ever do foreign missionary work it will likely be in French. France, Quebec, Haiti and many African countries are all parched for lack of the Gospel.

    German: Have not started. Want to learn for cultural and employment reasons. Goal is passing C1 exam by 2017.

    Russian: Have not started yet. My goals for this language are more modest, B1 exam by 2019 but higher in proficiency for reading. I've enjoyed the Russian literature that I've read in translation. I think it is a beautiful language to hear.

    Great question Ben. I drive my wife crazy talking about Spanish and other languages.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2014
  6. Hamalas

    Hamalas whippersnapper

    How inspiring!

    As far as learning Spanish and Russian are concerned we have a lady in our church (Heartland) who is from Guatemala who offers Spanish tutoring. If you'd be interested in getting her contact info just let me know and I can pass that on. Also, Brad Hansen (one of our elders) was a Russian major in college and lived in Eastern Europe for some time. I was actually just talking to him the other day and he mentioned how hard it was to find people in Wichita whom he could talk with. So if you do start Russian and are looking for a conversation partner I could always put you in touch with him as well. :)

    Thanks everyone for your answers. I'm once again impressed! Keep 'em coming!
  7. a mere housewife

    a mere housewife Not your cup of tea

    Tori, do you also know any old or middle English with your interest in English poetry? (Are you studying anything related to that?)

    I don't consider that I know anything but English and even that not very well. But in my many rereadings of 'George and Martha', I have picked up a single phrase of French, and I can follow sermons in Spanish. :) I would like to be able to read so many languages: I play at learning Latin and hope to play at learning Greek (both languages I care about because of people I care about). But I come more and more against the reality that life is short and my ability is very limited, and there are many labors of love more related to my sphere.

    (Edit: I have this odd panicked feeling that Joshua will turn up knowing how to say 'bacon' in every tongue.)
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2014
  8. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    Languages I know pretty well: Python, Java, JavaScript, PHP, VisualBasic
    Languages I would like to learn: C#, Ruby

  9. Somerset

    Somerset Puritan Board Junior

    Native English - with a fairly broad Somerset accent (So - Zumerrrrzet)

    Passable Esperanto

    Few words Polish

    Would like to learn Hungarian
  10. Covenant Joel

    Covenant Joel Puritan Board Sophomore

    I studied Spanish for 2 years in school, Latin for several years in elementary and middle school, Greek and Hebrew in high school, college, and seminary. I'm functionally fluent in Arabic, the spoken dialect anyway, though a bit less in written.

    I'd like to revamp my Hebrew, as Arabic pushed some of it out. I'd like to do theological Dutch and German, but doubt I ever will.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  11. Ephrata

    Ephrata Puritan Board Freshman

    Hi, Heidi! Unfortunately, Old English is totally off my radar. The only Middle English I've read is Chaucer. If you're interested in learning, take heart; it actually gets fairly easy to read (both silent and aloud) after a bit of practice. It sounds somewhat like English with a Scottish/German accent. Canterbury Tales has a good rhythm to start with. My heart is with Elizabethan English, though.
  12. CJW

    CJW Puritan Board Freshman

    English - American as my mother tongue, but can now manage to at least understand Aussie and Kiwi varieties (mostly!) :)

    Classical Latin and Greek - studied at Masters level, my Latin is still decent, but my Greek is rusty from lack of use

    German - semi-fluent, I can manage well enough conversationally, but don't have the vocabulary for technical or theological work without a dictionary handy

    I know enough Spanish, French, and Turkish to find the toilets, ask prices, be polite, and say "I don't speak this language!"

    I would like to be more fluent in Spanish and Turkish, and have had Biblical Hebrew on my list to learn for ages, but I don't know if I'll ever get around to any of those projects. I'd also love to learn Klingon, because ya never know when that might come in handy! :)
  13. Hemustincrease

    Hemustincrease Puritan Board Freshman

    I studied German and French at school (but remember virtually nothing).
    I studied Mandarin Chinese for a year at night school when I was considering missionary work out there. I remember virtually nothing from that either. I can say ‘cheers’, ‘thankyou’, ‘goodbye’ and that’s about it. (It impresses the local children. :))

    I have studied Latin for about a year now and would very much like to gain a post graduate degree in this at some point. I am primarily using the Oxford Latin Course (as this is what I am using to teach my children) and also Wheelocks. I really enjoy Latin and would like to become proficient enough to tutor in it.

    I have started Classical Greek and Biblical Greek, but these are having to take second place to Latin. Greek is so much easier after learning Latin for a while.

    My goal is to learn the above thoroughly and then attempt Hebrew. Not quite sure when I will find the time to do the latter, but I’m not giving up on it.
  14. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    English and Southern :)
  15. Hamalas

    Hamalas whippersnapper

    What more could you need? ;)
  16. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    I feel as if I am not qualified to even post in this thread, but since that has never stopped me in the past .... :eek: .... At 65 I have learned the Koine alphabet and pronunciation. I am reading aloud, sounding out words with flash cards, copying words to memorize them. In an older thread, seen here, DMcFadden recommended Mounce's "Greek For The Rest Of Us", and I am working through it. I am a native English speaker with a smattering of Spanish that I've picked up from many years of living in Florida.

    Thanks again to DMcFadden for that exceptionally useful post. :up:

    BTW, (by the way) a great App for practicing memorization/pronunciation is https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.snappages.FlashGreek.Pro.
  17. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    Aw, Ben, I've studied a few European languages and have figured out enough Greek not to panic when it pops into my reading. But knowing the difference between "tacky" and "sorry" is pretty useful, really :)
  18. DeniseM

    DeniseM Puritan Board Freshman

    English-native tongue.
    A few semesters worth of Spanish.
    Currently learning Latin and Koine Greek as I teach the children.
    I also picked up a few sayings in Hangul from when I was stationed in South Korea.
  19. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    English: at least I think I know it.

    Spanish: A little bit in high school but not enough to pass muster

    Latin: two semesters. Surprisingly proficient (ie: I can still make my way through passages in the Vulgate)

    German: two semesters, not much of which rubbed off (I will most likely take this up again during PhD studies).

    Koine: Currently studying.

    Languages I Would Like to Learn

  20. Free Christian

    Free Christian Puritan Board Sophomore

    Just 2
    English - Hello how are you.
    Aussie - howya goin mate.
  21. Justified

    Justified Puritan Board Sophomore


    1. English (native)

    Languages I've Studied

    1. Spanish- Four years in high school. Functional and can hold a short conversation.

    2. French- One year in high school. Basic phrases.

    3. German- Currently self-studying.

    Languages I Want to Learn

    1. Latin- It will be apart of my major.

    2. Greek- See number one, and hopeful seminarian.

    3. Hebrew- See number two.

    3. French- I still have virtually no knowledge.

    4. German- Still a novice, but have some slight, yet extremely minuscule, reading ability.

    5. Dutch- Will be a useful research language in addition to German and French, if I decide to ever pursue a doctoral degree.

    6. Spanish- I would actually like to be fluent someday.

    Languages That I'd Perhaps Learn If I Mastered The Others

    1. Aramaic- Although if I learn Hebrew, this probably wouldn't really be a long-shot.

    2. Arabic- Could read the Koran in the original language, which could be useful in apologetic.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2014
  22. chatwithstumac

    chatwithstumac Puritan Board Freshman

    I am currently studying Biblical Greek and Hebrew. I know both alphabets but I'm just getting started (three years in the making for Greek). Diphthongs are a challenge for me with Greek. I am currently working on remembering vowel sounds and the way they look on a page in Hebrew.

    I find when I get frustrated with Greek after studying it long hours, I turn to Hebrew studies and vice versa.

    My wife grew up in South America, which means I have the perfect teacher for Spanish. I understand some when it is spoken but can not speak it (yet). I have a Spanish/English NT side-by-side that is helpful for vocabulary.

    I have found that the best way to learn a new language is buying a foreign language translation of the Bible. I plan on taking on Arabic, in that same fashion, later (since some of the letters are similar to Hebrew and both are read right to left).

    In Christ,
  23. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    US English, western, eastern, and Texas--native (there actually used to be more of a difference than now, I've lived in all three areas)

    British English--able to converse and read, sometimes need a dictionary for modern words. (I do know what spanners and bonnets are, but I had to ask once).

    French--modern, fluent in reading and writing, a little rusty in conversational right now because of lack of practice; middle French--after translating a fair amount of Calvin, I find it very easy to read. I did minor in French and spent time in France and Quebec.

    Arabic--used to be conversationally functional, have become rusty. I used to be able to read Arabic newspapers and books, but now I think I'm at the 3rd grade level. Self taught by immersion and self-directed study while working overseas.

    Hebrew--Reading at perhaps a 6th or 7th grade equivalent level, I can read passages but have to go to a lexicon a few times every page. Self-taught.

    Koine Greek--pretty much the same as my Hebrew, self-taught.

    Spanish--reading fairly well, speaking is weak, writing is weak, not really self-taught so much as using my familiarity with Romance languages in general.

    Italian--basic conversational, elementary school level reading. Can get by in basic conversations.

    Russian--very basic, I can read headlines and a few sentences of newspapers.

    Latin--basic knowledge, can read with enough time and a dictionary.

    German--same as Latin. Can carry on simple conversations.

    Dutch--used to be much better, now it is like German, only weaker.

    I'd like to improve my Spanish and Latin, if only I had the time. It would be cool to get back to my former proficiency in Arabic, but again, if only I had the time.
  24. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    English - am sometimes mistaken for a native speaker
    Chinese - functionally illiterate (oral is fine, but written/reading is horrendous)
    French - grew up in Canada, was forced to study for 8 yrs, then subjected myself to a couple years in college in the US because I thought it would be an easy A
    Russian/Bulgarian - can read Cyrillic and so can make a bunch of noises but I have limited knowledge of their meaning, though there are many French cognates in Russian and a basic understanding. However, grammar is so difficult as to make further study impossible as I hate the study thereof. I believe that all participles should be dangling, but from a noose, along with every other grammatical instrument known to man. After my mother passed away, my father married a Bulgarian woman, and family get-togethers are interesting.
    Frisian - am ethnically one, decent comprehension, little oral
    Dutch - very basic
    German - two years in college and bare functionality as I worked with a German speaking Chinese and a German speaking Belgian in China for a number of years
    Herbrew - I enjoy word studies and a little conversation (very little)
    Spanish - wife grew up in Central America and I had to work with a couple of Argentinians in China for several months, translating between Chinese and Spanish; spent six months in Alicante province as a child.
    ASL - wife is proficient because Joseph, my second oldest son, was deaf until he was three and a half. I have little ability or understanding but enjoy watching my wife sign; she has a physical grace in it that is beautiful to watch.

    Would love to learn Hebrew, Latin, and Greek to read my Bible and old theological texts better. Maybe later, maybe not this side of heaven.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2014
  25. Claudiu

    Claudiu Puritan Board Junior

    Native speaker of English and Romanian.
    Learned Spanish in high school.
    Studied Latin and Greek in college, but don't remember much of it.
    I'd like to master my Spanish, Latin and Greek.
    I always liked the sound of German as well. If I have time and life permits, I would like to learn that.
  26. thbslawson

    thbslawson Puritan Board Freshman

    Russian - Fluent

    This is the only other language I've seriously studied and learned. I know a couple of phrases in some other languages but nothing major. Russian fluency has allowed me to grasp to different degrees other Slavic languages like Czech, Polish and Bulgarian. I can usually understand about half of a conversation in Ukrainian.

    A missionary friend of mine to the Stoney Indians of Canada calls me "Anu-Katha" which means "Bald Eagle." No doubt a reference to my haircut. :lol:
  27. belin

    belin Puritan Board Freshman

    Amazing varieties ... looks like lot of you speak in tongues :p .. thought would mine as well

    English - For all purposes (schooling/work/worship)
    Tamil - Mother tongue. Fluent enough to have done some translations
    Kannada - Language spoken in my place of residence. So I manage
    German - Studied a year for fun sake. Was useful when I traveled there for work purpose.
    Hindi - National language. Studied 3 years. Decent enough
    Telugu - Elementary level
    Malayalam - Elementary level
    Biblical Greek - Basic Level
    Biblical Hebrew - Started

    To master
    Biblical Greek
    Biblical Hebrew
    Maybe return to German
  28. JP Wallace

    JP Wallace Puritan Board Sophomore

    1 English (see below)

    2 Greek (Biblical)

    3 Hebrew

    4 Latin (3 years but haven't restudied it for nearly 30 years)

    5 French (un peu)

    6 German (a smattering of important words - bathroom, food words - always important to know such words in as many languages as possible :))

    7 Ullans Ulster Scots dialects - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (see 1 above) this is my native dialect of English which is really just English with a good number of different vocab items and local pronunciation - which is sufficiently different that I gurantee if I turn it on, someone from London is not going to understand a word :)
  29. a mere housewife

    a mere housewife Not your cup of tea

    Thank you, Tori: I enjoyed reading your intro and would enjoy knowing more about the Elizabethan studies sometime. I'm highly impressed with all the linguistic faculty here (even Klingon :). Re: English, I would like to be able to read the original of Beowulf, but I doubt I will become so learned. Our copy of Chaucer comes with a pronunciation guide and glossary and he seems about at the same difficulty level, though more rhythmic, than Stephen Hawes -- whom I have enjoyed puzzling out from the early modern period. (C. S. Lewis called Hawes's meter 'broken-backed' and spoke of his genuinely poetic conception without an adequate faculty for expression, but there is something poignant: Dyspayre you not for it auayleth nought; Ioye cometh after whan the payne is gone.')
  30. Tripel

    Tripel Puritan Board Senior

    Spanish: I have a hard time quantifying this. I use Spanish every day and I'm steadily improving, but I'm also aware that there's much I don't know.

    Which brings up the question... How do all of you define "fluency"?

    German: Studied for 2 years in college, but it was only academic knowledge. I never used it, never spoke it outside of class, and so I've lost a lot of it. I'd like to pick it back up and find out how much is still in the recesses of my brain.

    French: 2 years in high school. I ventured into France for a short time last year, and it became crystal clear that I had lost all of it. Well, that's not true. I remembered Yes, Please, Thank You, and Cheese.

    Latin: 2 years in high school. Mostly gone.
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