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Colonel Flagg Colonel Flagg is offline
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Old Sep 19th, 2009, 10:24 PM        Language
I was recently thinking about language.

When I hear the word, I usually equate it to English, Mandarin, Spanish, Russian. In that respect, I am monolingual - English witha smattering of French, nowhere near enough to achieve fluency.

About 10 years ago I was introduced to a scientist from Italy. He spoke virtually no English, so the admin showing him around was just introducing him quickly then moving him through the company. I started talking about chemical reactions that I was learning about in conjunction with the business when the admin rudely interrupted "He doesn't understand any of this!". He turned to her, and said "No, I understand!" We spent the next 2 hours talking chemistry, with no other language other than tone of voice or facial expressions.

In another instance, I had a close friend in high school who went on to study mathematics in college and later in grad school, where our paths crossed again. I chatted with him briefly about my work in grad school, and he chatted about his, and we agreed that we no longer understood one another. And it was true - the terminology and language we were using had no meaning for either of us.

It's not that I find this so unusual, but the specific experiences I've had have given me an appreciation of communication on a more visceral level.
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Tadao Tadao is offline
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Old Sep 21st, 2009, 01:12 AM       
I speak the language of love.
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Old Sep 21st, 2009, 05:56 AM       
yeah language can probably encompass a vast area, from body language to auditory. Its cool how there are many ways to express it and at the same time frustrating. My favorite is sign language ^^
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Kitsa Kitsa is offline
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Old Sep 22nd, 2009, 09:45 PM       
Oh, man, I wish I could find where I read this, but there was a great account written by a man who met Einstein when he was a student.

Einstein was doing one of his visiting professorships, can't remember the college. So this student was walking along and sees him standing on a bridge over a fishpond. He recognizes Einstein immediately and knows he'll never forgive himself if he doesn't say something to him.

So he moseys over to the bridge, and he and Einstein are standing side by side, and he's horrified to realize that they don't have a very extensive common vocabulary. Apparently Einstein realizes this too, because there's a lot of uncomfortable shuffling and sheepish grinning.

So eventually there's a ripple in the water, and almost as if he's relieved he can talk about something, Einstein points at it and says, "Fisch."

And the guy chuckles and says, "Fish."

And Einstein laughs and says "Ja, ja, fisch."

And that, the guy sheepishly reports, was his big meeting with Einstein.
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Old Sep 27th, 2009, 04:39 PM       
I speak spanish see watch "BABABAB BAB BA BBAAA BA BOP BAP BOP BAB BA BA BA"
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Evil Robot Evil Robot is offline
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Old Sep 27th, 2009, 04:40 PM       
What I always wondered was what to people in other languages sound like when making up english sounding gibberish.
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Old Sep 27th, 2009, 05:21 PM       
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Originally Posted by Evil Robot View Post
What I always wondered was what to people in other languages sound like when making up english sounding gibberish.
We actually talked about this in high school, and the teacher said that they use a lot of "sssss" noises.
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Kitsa Kitsa is offline
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Old Sep 30th, 2009, 07:08 PM       


sssss noises and a lot of hard r sounds.
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10,000 Volt Ghost 10,000 Volt Ghost is offline
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Old Oct 1st, 2009, 10:14 PM       
I don't speak spanish fluently whatsoever but I watch Telemundo a lot and just go by body language, tone and music.
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Hellmoob Hellmoob is offline
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Old Oct 3rd, 2009, 03:24 PM       
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitsa View Post
sssss noises and a lot of hard r sounds.
So, saying "ARSE" over and over again is the best way to pretend to be English?

Hm, actually, now that I think about it... You're probably right.
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Kitsa Kitsa is offline
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Old Oct 3rd, 2009, 05:28 PM       
It's just my observation from being around a lot of non-english speakers who make fun of the way Americans talk.

Then again, the non-American English speakers I've heard making fun of Americans usually put on what I call a "game show host" voice. It's hard to describe but if you heard it you'd know what I meant.
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Colonel Flagg Colonel Flagg is offline
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Old Oct 4th, 2009, 09:58 PM       
Yes, but Americans have distinct dialects, including Appalachian, Nor'Eastern, Midwest, Bayou among others. Although the language is the same, it sounds different enough so that people from one part of the country have a hard time understanding people from another. China and Russia have the same problem, on a larger scale.
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Kitsa Kitsa is offline
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Old Oct 5th, 2009, 10:01 AM       
I was raised on "france french" and I can't understand Quebecois/Jouale worth a damn. Louisiana French is weird too, but I can match it up in my head with how an American would pronounce a French word and it fits.

Most of the time, if an ESL speaker is putting on an American accent, even if they're doing a good job of it, they inevitably fuck up by using words or phrases Americans wouldn't use. Like "will I" for "shall I", that sort of thing, and that's a dead giveaway, no matter how good an imitation of an accent they're doing.

And some spoken Japanese I can follow, while I can't others...I think it's either a speed or accent thing.
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Colonel Flagg Colonel Flagg is offline
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Old Oct 5th, 2009, 11:08 AM       
The head of the French teaching "team" I had in grad school was from France, yet she spoke nearly perfectly "unaccented" American English. (As you already know, the hard "r" sound is especially difficult for native French speakers to master.) We had routine spoken exams with each member of the team; when I rotated 'round to her, I commented (En Français, s'il vous plaît!) that her American accent appeared flawless. She actually blushed.
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Old Oct 5th, 2009, 11:11 AM       
Quote:
Originally Posted by 10,000 Volt Ghost View Post
I don't speak spanish fluently whatsoever but I watch Telemundo a lot and just go by body language, tone and music.
That's how I speak Italian.
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Colonel Flagg Colonel Flagg is offline
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Old Oct 21st, 2009, 02:45 PM       
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Jonathan Harris, of "Dr. Smith" fame was an American actor (born, I believe in Brooklyn) and worked very hard to lose the "Nooyahk" accent he grew up with. Apparently later in his career he was asked about his "British" upbringing, when he responded "I'm not British, just affected."
I originally posted the above in someone else's "desperate plea for help" thread, but it probably belongs here.

I worked with someone awhile back who would every so often drop into a faux affected German accent when reporting technical data. I guess she thought it made her sound smart, but it only confirmed her status as a whack-job.
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Old Oct 21st, 2009, 03:00 PM       
I was just talking to a Hawaiian grandma the other day. I had to make her repeat a few times.
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Colonel Flagg Colonel Flagg is offline
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Old Oct 21st, 2009, 03:40 PM       
Imagine if you ran into this guy.

www.youtube.com/user/edbassmaster

I've heard him a few times on the radio, and he's pretty good at what he does.
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Old Oct 21st, 2009, 04:11 PM       
I'm used to heavy lisps
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