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14-min podcast feature NPR Short Wave (science podcast) reporter Emily Kwong, who's learning Mandarin.

https://www.npr.org/2021/06/14/1006247481/im-willing-to-figh...

I hope malaoshi sees this post!
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ooh! scroll down for a cool video.
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In the video it was interesting that her dad would go shopping with his grandmothers and hear them conversing and bartering in Mandarin. Then, in order for him to get ahead in school, his parents
insisted on only speaking English. That was a shame. I am sure they did that so as not to confuse
him but it would have been wonderful for him to speak both as a child.
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Thanks Alstroemeria! It's late now but I will listen tomorrow ( after mammogram and other crappy things)

Growing up we had many languages around us, as my mother and grandmother spoke Dutch to each other all the time, then French when they didn't want us to understand...but as we all learned French from 12 years old, that became no use. I was one of five children. Then Mum always opened our home to refugee families so there were other languages around for many years, whenever a new family came to live with us.

BUT...all 5 of us wanted to be like all the other New Zealanders at school, so we never wanted to speak anything but English. Kids don't like to seem "different'.

From the time she was little, Mum had had an English nanny, a French personal maid, and spoke Dutch daily as she grew up in Holland, so she spoke all three languages perfectly. For instance, later, when she was helping register me in a University course of French for foreigners in Tours, France, the registrar kept repeating, at first puzzled, and then very annoyed "But this course is for foreigners, Madame!" He didn't realize Mum wasn't French! And English speaking people thought she was English....

I have forgotten most of the Beginner's Mandarin I learned from a terrific Professor in Memphis,( and nearly all of the writing) but when Covid is over I'll go back to class here ...I love it.
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There is no hope for me to learn a second language.

PSU
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Lving in California, it should have been a required class, way early in Grade School. We had a farm/ranch, hired hispanics aka braceros at the time for picking the berry crop, parents & older brothers worked alongside them and their families in the Apple, Cherry orchards and the hop fields.. I was young, played with some of the kids, but never picked up the language. As an adult, I kick myself for not signing up in HS and beyond to learn the language... Even today at the local flea market, it would be handy, I talk to some of the old timers, the Mexican folks that have lived here forever, Buenos Dios, Senore! , etc, and tell them I need a Mexican injection! I pick up bits and pieces, but a lot is missing, maybe some is slang, and some is actually other, South American languages, as well as the Vietnamese who also sell out there.. A Viet Nam Vet has fun teasing them in their own language, as he learned it well when he was over there.. We have many Japanese families in the area, yet another language it would have been nice to know, old friends, burn here, had their immigrant parents living with them, there again, it would have been nice to know, talk to them of their lives, struggles...

As I near 80, I doubt it would be easy to learn languages now, it should have been promoted much earlier..
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As I near 80, I doubt it would be easy to learn languages now, it should have been promoted much earlier..

My high school in Texas* offered only Latin or Spanish as foreign language classes. I took two years of Spanish. (Wish now I had chosen Latin.) When I was in the Army I was assigned to a base in Italy. Immediately bought the Italian Made Simple book and a record course in Italian. When I got to Italy I took Italian 101 at the U. of Maryland branch there. That quickly destroyed what was left of my Spanish. (The two languages are very similar.) Today I retain a bit of Italian grammar and a tiny vocabulary. I was transferred to Germany. Took the Army's "beginning language" German. Bought books. Tried my best to learn German (Which is at least much closer to English than the Romance languages.) By today I will never starve in Germany for lack of knowing the food names and how to say them. I still try to read an occasional German book or article, but I will never be fluent. I can ask for and understand directions in German. I am flattered when a German friend asks me for the proper word in English for a German word.

We live on an island here in the US. It's a very large island (The North American continent), and only English is universally understood. If a way Europeans are lucky to have several languages at their doorsteps.

CNC
*I believe Texas stopped all German language education in WW-2 - that'll show them Krauts!
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I read that Novak Djokovic can speak 11 different languages.

PSU
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My high school in Texas* offered only Latin or Spanish as foreign language classes-----CNC

Latin was the only foreign language offered in the high school in my very rural, very isolated Appalachian community. I took two years of it. I was in Latin class when we heard that JFK had been assassinated. That was the first time I remember hearing Sanctum excrementum.

I struggled with other languages, but I had no difficulty with Chaucer in college since many of the older folk in my community still spoke Chaucerian English with the "aitches", the double negatives and the quell for kill and narwe for narrow and all the other long vowels.

Yore, Y hye awye from hoom thare. (Long ago I hurried away from home there.)

tsimi
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Yore, Y hye awye from hoom thare. (Long ago I hurried away from home there.)

tsimi


At some point I figured out that English is half German, half French, badly mispronounced on both sides. Anglo Saxon was Germanic. Then Henry the Conqueror came along with all those long French words and different grammar*. English ain't been the same since. German has no problem with ending a sentence with a preposition. Why, that's just a separable prefix!

CNC
*Yes, I suppose there were a few Latin words left over from the Romans, but they left pretty much by 400CE.
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I did well enough on my French SAT (even though it was by far my lowest SAT score--in the 600s) to place out of having to take a foreign language in college, but I took a semester or 2 of Italian when I flirted with Art History/European History as a major. I picked up a tad bit of Spanish when we had a small exposure in elementary school and then while watching Sesame Street with the kiddoes.

I could do tourist French & Italian when I visited those countries 3x each plus Quebec--past tense. I'd have to do significant study to travel on my own there again. And my pronunciation was always atrocious--can't come anywhere near the French R. Or a trilled R. Or even the Shakespearean/Oxfordian/great British actors' R, for that matter. I've never been to a Spanish-speaking country, other than the Mission District in San Francisco, which I lived next to for awhile.

ASIDE
Pardon me while I swoon over the voice of Alan Rickman for a moment ;-) It's especially easy to fall into as I'm reading a long and delicious Harry Potter fanfic that focuses on Professor Snape:

Chasing the Sun (60 chapters! I've been reading for days and only up to Ch 23):

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/7413926/1/Chasing-The-Sun
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Kevin Stroud has a wonderful podcast you might enjoy. He has 148 episodes so far and is in the 15th century. Here's the link to the earliest episodes. https://historyofenglishpodcast.com/2012/06/
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