Oh, The Languages…

I speak 3 languages. Well actually 4… ah make it 3 again. Born and raised in Switzerland you grow up in a country that has 3 main languages (German, French and Italian) and a very ancient one only spoken in a small region in Switzerland (Rumantsch). Growing up in the German part we ‘had’ to learn French in school. In the French part it was German and in the Italian part as well, I suppose. And then you could also take English and Italian if you wished to. As far as I know nowadays English is compulsory too now.

Anyhow… long things short: I speak English, German, Swiss German (as it is totally different to German, a very strong dialect that most of Germany would not understand…) and French. Or better, I used to kind of speak French.

Unfortunately I never really used the French language and now living in Australia even less. So I feel like it is disappearing. I do understand it but, boy, do I struggle to find the words. It feels like my brain makes kind of a fruit salad with the different words from German, English and French and throws them in the mix trying to figure out which one would be right. And that takes so much time that I usually just give up on French and use English instead… What a shame.

I guess that is what happens if you never really used a language you only learned in school, or only for a little bit. The Swiss German will of course never disappear and the German too, as all the books and TV, Radio, you name it was in German. English is now the language of my daily life and so this will only get better and better.

I wish I could pick up my French again. Get it to the point where I feel comfortable speaking and writing it again. Where I can have a proper conversation without struggling to find the words.

I also wish I would have not been so stubborn in my life and would have taken the chances to learn Brazilian Portuguese, Italian and Spanish too. Those are for sure languages I would still love to learn. I guess Italian would not be too difficult as I understand a lot of it already. So that is definitely a project for my future.

I love languages and I encourage my children to learn as many as they can. Right now they speak two languages. Both of them learning a third (French) respectively a fourth (Korean). I just feel it opens up the world to you.

In response to the Daily Post Daily Prompt – Take That, Rosetta

41 thoughts on “Oh, The Languages…

  1. Reblogged this on saneteachers and commented:
    A lovely post that I can really relate to. The US is such a monolingual country with so many people having an aversion to learning other languages. I speak English as my native language, Spanish as a second language and am learning Kichwa as well. I so wish I was fluent in other languages. Europe is way ahead of us. But if we don’t try to use language frequently/daily, we get rusty and start to lose our abilities. I studied French at Ohio Wesley University. I can understand a lot but can’t respond in any way that a French speaker would find comprehensible. I’m passionate about languages and love this post. I hope that my readers enjoy it as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Not using a language regularly makes you forget some of if, unfortunately. I am native Bulgarian, did a Russian degree and my Russian was nearly as good as my native language. Now that I have lived in England for almost 15 years, I find my Russian quite rusty. 😦 I can read and understand fine, but have to look for words sometimes and have lost some of my vocabulary. At uni, I did two of years of Polish and very quickly picked it up, but have forgotten it completely now, damn. Practice is the key.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. you lose it if you don’t use it. you need someone to speak it with every day so it stays strong. I tried to learn Turkish when I was living there and built up quite a vocabulary learning it on my own and with no formal schooling. unfortunately, it has all but disappeared from my brain due to non-use.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Recently i been in Switzerland beautiful Country and i have to confest, as a south german girl, born in the black forrest, raised in the baden Württemberg area and married to a scot i struggle sometimes with my german and of course my english which is more denglish lol:) We speak musst of time denglish 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a wonderful ‘thing’ to know so many languages! And to be exposing your children to the world this way, too, I only know one other than English, and that also happens to be French. I find it great fun to ‘practice’ my French by watching French movies (sometimes at theaters, sometimes on DVD) and trying to understand the dialog without reading the subtitles. It really helps!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I just LOVE languages and can’t get enough of them! I wish I had time to learn more! I speak French, English, Spanish and French Sign Language. I learned a few words of all languages I crossed in Asia (Thai, Lao, Khmer, Vietnamese, Chinese and Mongolian) but have forgotten every single syllable since I haven’t used any in years. I took Japanese classes when I was at the University and loved it! I’ll take that one up again, some day.

    And once you learn one, it’s so easy to make connections in others and learn them faster. It’s great that you teach your kids to love languages, they’ll love the cultures and the people. I find it super motivating and try and do the same with my godchildren. They’re fascinated right now at the fact that I already speak 4 and I know they’ll beat me to it one of these days!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, I am so envious of your ability to speak so many languages. Speaking only English, I am grateful that so many others do too. I love languages though and took classes in Spanish for four years along with introductory French and sign language too. But alas, not having need to use them, I never became fluent in any of them. I am amazed at your skills!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Same languages over here (same struggle with French… hehe). Instead of the Swiss German I speak the liechtensteinian dialekt plus my viennese dialekt and a little Italian. If I made it possible one day I would love to learn Spanish.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I used to almost speak French too by studying it in school, but never mastered it. And having no one to speak French to, I now know a few words in French and some common phrases. Plus, it’s been so long since I learned it that my grammar is hopelessly outdated and formal. Other than that, I know English and that’s it. I know a smattering of phrases from a few other languages — greetings, salutations, goodbyes, and asking if they speak English — but that’s not the same thing as speaking that language. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. When we were considering our latest posting, Brazil was on the list. Although the thought terrified me (as I am terrible at learning languages), I sort of half hoped we’d get it as it would force both me and the children to learn another language. Although my Spanish is still pretty rubbish considering I lived in Venezuela. In the end it’s back to a country where enough people speak English. Which is a bit of a relief! Husband’s trying to learn Portuguese via Rosetta Stone though as he’ll be doing some work in Mozambique. So far not very successfully!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. “I just feel it opens up the world to you.”

    That’s so true! I currently speak 4 languages (Swedish, Dutch, English, German) and started to learn my 5th language (Croatian). I always feel much better when I do not have to use English and can communicate with the people in their native languages.

    I worked many years in the showbizz where I had people from 32 different countries around me, so we all learned some words of this and that language, but now where I started a “normal” job, I forgot a lot.

    Btw. I absolutely agree with the “Swiss German”, I had a colleague from Switzerland, but always when she spoke in that language, I understood nothing, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Ha, it’s not so difficult at all :)! Take it from a man who comes from a country of more than 600 languages!!! We have 14 (or is it 16?) languages on our currency notes!! 3 languages is the norm I’d say here in India!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I just found this blog today (that means 21 Oct 2015) and I am so amazed by the power and passion I find behind. I stopped by here, where it is about “I can English” because I live in Montreal, Canada, and here are spoken both French and English, and not only. As I know, it is the only place in the world where happen things like these I like to speak about.
    We were a group of five speaking about everything and, at one moment, I just stopped speaking because I was witnessing a pretty interesting fact: two of us were speaking, in English, with the other two which were speaking in French and the dialog was perfect. Everyone was bilingual in these languages, with a slight preference for one of them depending on context.
    It happens to me each day to use both of them in the same sentence. No one seems to care too much about this ‘melange’.
    None of them is my first (maternal) language: that’s Romanian.

    I am also a beginner in the craft of blogging and this is one other reason your blog caught me: not only what is written but how – your style.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! I’m glad you like it and that you found me. What an interesting story! Being from Switzerland originally I can tell you that we would probably not end up speaking German and French at the same time although it would be totally possible. I love the idea that the ‘melange’ in the French part of Canada obviously works.

      Liked by 1 person

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