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Anybody Know More Than Three Languages?


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I know English and Spanish, and I'm trying to learn Latin.  I can't imagine learning more than three languages, it's so hard for me to learn a new language.  I know a lot of people who are fluent in two languages, and a handful of people who know three languages, but I've never met anyone who knew four or more languages.  Do any of you know more than three languages?  What's your secret?  Is it just easy for you to learn languages, or did you struggle through it?

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I know two and I am trying for my third which would be spanish.  I used to live in Texas so I picked up some spanish from the locals while there.  I do not see the point in learning more than three languages unless you travel extensively.  I mean we only live around 80 or 90 years, why spend so much time learning the intricacies of various languages? 

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I have hosted several exchange students (high school) from Europe and nearly all of them come over speaking three languages. We had a girl from Germany who spoke German, French and English, all fluently. Another German, Spanish and English. They come here and take a foreign language, while they are building their English. It seems like once you learn a second language the third is even easier. I had a friend who spoke English and Spanish and picked up Portuguese in less than a year. Now he speaks three languages well. The key to retention is practice. If you never use all three, you won't retain them.

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I think the "secret" is just having the drive and desire to learn them.

As someone who speaks English, Spanish, and Esperanto, and has dabbled in American Sign Language and Turkish, desire alone is the key.  If you don't *want* to learn them, really bad, you won't get around to it.

In some ways, learning a third language that has things in common with your other two is very helpful; the vocabulary will be similar and you'll remember it better.  However, if the languages are too similar and you learn them at the same time, in my experience, you WILL get the vocabulary mixed up.  I was studying Spanish and Esperanto at the same time, and I did mix up vocabulary.

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When I was in Indo,I had to speak three languages everyday not including English. My grandfather is very traditional,he doesn't want us to forget our root. So ,he requires us to speak Chinese in the household. However, our friends don't always speak our dialect so we'd speak Indo with them. My cousin grew up in another small town that spoke another Chinese dialect so,we either speak Indo with her or I'd just speak her Chinese dialect with her.

I'd admit that sometimes I have brain fart in my head to all the word translations in my head especially when I call my siblings where we'd speak Chinese mix with Indo and my husband tried to talk to me in English in the background.

I remember one time I was so angry at him, I actually shout out Chinese instead of English lol.

I grew up with them so it helped.I was the only person among my siblings that speak 'Khek' as well mainly because I was very close to my cousin when she was little so,I picked up the language from her.

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I only speak english and spanish fluently.  I understand some hebrew tho (colloquial), and I can also read most hebrew texts, as long as they have nikkuds.  Otherwise no, I can't read it :P    Most religious texts have nikkud, which makes reading hebrew really easy!  Sadly nikkud is rarely seen on colloquial hebrew, because all the hebrew speakers from Israel are used to read without vowels! 

I know someone who could speak 4 languages really well :)  A very good friend of mine named ''Jakob''.  He could speak english, yiddish, hebrew and some hungarian (his family came from that place). 

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  • 2 weeks later...

My native language is English. Apart from that I know Spanish, French and Chinese. I also know a little bit of several others. I used to get started learning a language but then move on to another one before I got too far. So all together that is more than three. Although I know four languages to an advanced level, I don't always feel like I "know" all of these languages.

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I speak four languages - my native English, then French, Spanish and Italian. I'm not particularly fluent in Spanish or Italian, but my French is pretty good. Learning one romance language definitely made the others easier. I'd say it's not that difficult to learn many languages, especially if they're from the same language family and therefore have a lot in common.

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Guest isabbbela

I wouldn't say I speak more than 3 languages, but I do know more than 3 languages.

I speak Portuguese and English, advanced Spanish, and an intermediate French. I don't consider that I speak French, cause it's very hard for me to understand and speak French. But I do know a little bit more than the basic.

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I feel like if I knew more languages than two that I would get confused all the time. I'd be like, "Is this word English? Spanish? French? Maybe it's Portugese...Some day I hope to learn a lot more languages than two though, that would be fantastic.

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I've heard of plenty of people who say that are fluent in 5-6 languages but I seriously doubt that their level is actually at a point where the communicate easily and elegantly in all those languages.

I've never actually met such a person to test my hypothesis. After all, I don't see the point of knowing so many languages. Obviously, English is a must, whoever you are on this Earth, it will improve your life, and give you better economical opportunities, thanks to the Internet. Then you may be passionate about a certain topic that's more developed in a certain country, like 19th century science papers are  generally written in German, or German philosophy might be a reason to learn it. Or maybe you want to move to another country. But in that case, more than 4 languages are not providing a big benefit, not even an economical one. It's a situation of diminishing returns.

And we have to consider the actual involvement required to maintain a working knowledge of more than 5 languages. I've personally seen myself slightly forgetting elements of my native language when not using it for extended periods of time. Sure those are particular domain-specific knowledge, but it does happen.

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  • 5 months later...

I currently know only 2 languages, I'm fluent in both English and Tagalog. Right now I'm casually trying to learn German and Spanish. If I were to live in another country for many years then for sure I would learn my 3rd language.

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At the moment I only speak English and a little German. But there are many other languages I want to learn (French, Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic e.g.). There are a multitude of factors which impact someone's decision to learn a new language, some people just don't really need to learn.

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Yes. Actually the 3 are native languages and one of them is my national language which is Filipino. So I know 4 languages Primarily; English, Tagalog, Ilocano and Ifontok. Since Philippines is an archipelago composed of 7107 Islands, we have a lot of languages brought to us by our Conquerors including the Spaniards, Americans, Japanese and those who did trade with us including the Chinese, Malay, Indo and other people and even our Native settlers the Aetas. So there you have a culturally rich and diverse nation which is the Philippines.

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I had the advantage of growing up with two languages, German and Serbo-Croatian. Later I learnt English in school for nearly 7 years and French for 2 years. When I met my partner a few years ago, I started learning Spanish. I like to keep up with all languages as much as possible, but unfortunately my French has almost completely withered away due to lack of practice.

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I know English and French and am currently attempting my hand at learning Spanish. I would love to be one of those business people that travel all over the world and know at least a little of all sorts of languages just from experiencing various cultures throughout their travels. I commend anyone who can learn multiple languages as it definitely takes a lot of patience and focus. One day I'll be up to you guys' level (I hope)!

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  • 1 month later...

I know more than 3 languages, but I'm not fluent in all 3, lol. If you count Cantonese and Mandarin as different languages, then I know about 5 languages in total :P

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