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Old 12-06-2009, 12:06 AM
 
Location: Chicago
38,690 posts, read 89,243,749 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cityboi757 View Post
I think America is tooo far behind other nation's when it comes to foriegn literacy and it's not a good thing. It's almost like we, as a country, feel like we're too good to teach our children foreign languages.
It's not that we feel we're too good for it, it's that there hasn't been a practical need to until perhaps recently. Unlike Europe, we don't live on a continent with 30 different official languages or however many there are over there. Here, there are only three principal languages spoken on the entire continent, and of those three, English is the principal language on approximately 80% of the continent. And in the principal French-speaking region of the continent, about half the population speaks English too.

Contrast that to Europe where you can get up at sunrise, point your car in a particular direction, and drive through 5 or 6 different language zones by sunset -- sometimes two or three in the same small country. For the European tendency to speak more than one language and the American tendency to speak only English, it's a matter of pragmatism in both cases. In Europe, it's a borderline necessity. Here, it's a borderline burden to learn and retain a second language -- with the exception of Spanish in some cities/regions and maybe French along certain parts of the U.S./Quebec border, most of us would have very few opportunities to stay brushed up on whatever second language we took on.

Last edited by Drover; 12-06-2009 at 12:38 AM.. Reason: misspellings & clarifications & stuff
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Old 12-06-2009, 12:27 AM
 
Location: South Carolina
3,398 posts, read 7,148,201 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PalmBch View Post
Really? Don't you guys learn French at school?
It's the second language in Canada. Very surprised
Yes we do, but if you dont use it you lose it, and not everybody takes frequent trips to Canada just to practice French.
I havent touched mine in years, so Im very rusty, but remember some because my dad used to be fluent.
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Old 12-06-2009, 12:38 AM
 
Location: 30-40N 90-100W
13,856 posts, read 22,979,387 times
Reputation: 6687
I think in several parts of Canada French isn't that commonly spoken so they may also "lose it." At least from what I've gathered French isn't too common in much of the "Prairie Provinces" and British Columbia so it's relatively common for a person to know or remember only a bit of French.
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Old 12-06-2009, 01:06 AM
 
235 posts, read 797,823 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Peterson View Post
Old list but I am sure it is still pretty close.

"http://www2.ignatius.edu/faculty/turner/languages.htm"

The Summer Institute for Linguistics (SIL) Ethnologue Survey (1999) lists the following as the top languages by population:
(number of native speakers in parentheses)

1. Chinese* (937,132,000)
2. Spanish (332,000,000)
3. English (322,000,000)
4. Bengali (189,000,000)
5. Hindi/Urdu (182,000,000)
6. Arabic* (174,950,000)
7. Portuguese (170,000,000)
8. Russian (170,000,000)
9. Japanese (125,000,000)
10. German (98,000,000)

French got lost along the way

that's one of the most ridiculous lists posted on the internet.

more than half of the world's people know enough English to carry a conversation. How do you get 322 million English speakers when the US and British population alone is close to 370 million ?
most of the developed world understands English, dozens of countries carry it as an official language. Chinese is spoken mainly in 1 country.

most people in the world understand English and know enough to carry a conversation.
outside of China barely anyone understands more than a couple words.
Spanish is much more important a language than Mandarin and is obviously second in importance to English (everywhere from Russia to China to America English is recognized, Spanish is not, Chinese is not).
Spanish is still an important language in the 2 most powerful blocks of the world today (EU and US) and is the language of over half a billion people in the America's south of the US.

What that list should also say is that outside of the population listed (5.7 billion for Chinese, 6.3 billion for English) more than half understand English, less than 5 % know any Chinese. In India and China many students value English more highly than their native language.

French didn't get lost along the way. it is much more widely spoken than Chinese.
"an estimated 115 million African people spread across 31 Francophone African countries can speak French as either a first or second language"
French is spoken everywhere from Asia to India to Africa to Canada (it is more than just one isolated part of the country that embraces the language, French is introduced to students as early as primary school, the option of learning a language other than French or English isn't offered until high school).

Last edited by grmike; 12-06-2009 at 01:16 AM..
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Old 12-06-2009, 01:22 AM
 
Location: Chicago
38,690 posts, read 89,243,749 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grmike View Post
that's one of the most ridiculous lists posted on the internet.

more than half of the world's people know enough English to carry a conversation. How do you get 322 million English speakers when the US and British population alone is close to 370 million ?
most of the developed world understands English, dozens of countries carry it as an official language. Chinese is spoken mainly in 1 country.

most people in the world understand English and know enough to carry a conversation.
outside of China barely anyone understands more than a couple words.
Spanish is much more important a language than Mandarin and is obviously second in importance to English (everywhere from Russia to China to America English is recognized, Spanish is not, Chinese is not).
Spanish is still an important language in the 2 most powerful blocks of the world today (EU and US) and is the language of over half a billion people in the America's south of the US.

What that list should also say is that outside of the population listed (5.7 billion for Chinese, 6.3 billion for English) more than half understand English, less than 5 % know any Chinese. In India and China many students value English more highly than their native language.

French didn't get lost along the way. it is much more widely spoken than Chinese.
"an estimated 115 million African people spread across 31 Francophone African countries can speak French as either a first or second language"
French is spoken everywhere from Asia to India to Africa to Canada (it is more than just one isolated part of the country that embraces the language, French is introduced to students as early as primary school, the option of learning a language other than French or English isn't offered until high school).
The numbers provided are native speakers of the language. It's not as simple as adding up the populations of Britain and the U.S. because there is a substantial number of people in both countries for whom English is not their native language, even if they speak it proficiently.
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Old 12-06-2009, 01:40 AM
 
Location: 30-40N 90-100W
13,856 posts, read 22,979,387 times
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Also Mandarin Chinese is spoken by minorities of people in several nations of Southeast Asia. The GDP of China is maybe as much as 80% that of the whole of the Spanish speaking world.

Human Development Report 2009 - Total GDP (US$ billions)
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Old 12-06-2009, 06:18 AM
 
Location: Hernando County, FL
8,488 posts, read 17,949,198 times
Reputation: 5397
Quote:
Originally Posted by grmike View Post
that's one of the most ridiculous lists posted on the internet.

more than half of the world's people know enough English to carry a conversation. How do you get 322 million English speakers when the US and British population alone is close to 370 million ?
most of the developed world understands English, dozens of countries carry it as an official language. Chinese is spoken mainly in 1 country.

most people in the world understand English and know enough to carry a conversation.
outside of China barely anyone understands more than a couple words.
Spanish is much more important a language than Mandarin and is obviously second in importance to English (everywhere from Russia to China to America English is recognized, Spanish is not, Chinese is not).
Spanish is still an important language in the 2 most powerful blocks of the world today (EU and US) and is the language of over half a billion people in the America's south of the US.

What that list should also say is that outside of the population listed (5.7 billion for Chinese, 6.3 billion for English) more than half understand English, less than 5 % know any Chinese. In India and China many students value English more highly than their native language.

French didn't get lost along the way. it is much more widely spoken than Chinese.
"an estimated 115 million African people spread across 31 Francophone African countries can speak French as either a first or second language"
French is spoken everywhere from Asia to India to Africa to Canada (it is more than just one isolated part of the country that embraces the language, French is introduced to students as early as primary school, the option of learning a language other than French or English isn't offered until high school).
Please don't call something ridiculous because you did not bother to actually read what the numbers were.

The number in parenthesis, which is what you referred to, is the number of native speakers of the language.

Of the 300 million u.s population, over 10% are foreign born. That would mean over 30 million people probably do not speak English as a native language.

The numbers above are from the 2000 census so it is probably higher now.

As far as French being more widely spoken, it may be spoken in more countries worldwide but that does not mean it is more valuable language to learn.

How many of the countries it is spoken in are a valuable trading partner with the U.S.?
Of those countries that are a trading partner what percentage of the population speaks french as a primary language?
How much trade are we doing with those 20 African countries who have French as the official language only because they are former French or Belgian colonies?
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Old 12-06-2009, 08:35 AM
 
Location: Somewhere below Mason/Dixon
6,522 posts, read 7,472,170 times
Reputation: 10928
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingwriter View Post
While French may be more useful in states like Maine, Michigan, Vermont, and other areas that border Canada, Spanish is more useful overall. Also, many French Canadians speak English, while few Mexicans speak English.
Ive lived in Michigan all my life, part of that on the border in Sault ste Marie and I have to disagree regarding Michigan. Ive never heard much French here from any Canadians who come over. This far west its rare to see Canadians speaking French. OVer in New England your right, they are right next to Quebec and its a different story over there. In fact ive heard that some areas of North Maine are french speaking too. Other than the signs being bi lingual, even most of Canada is Anglophone and French is relegated to Quebec.
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Old 12-06-2009, 10:07 AM
 
Location: West Michigan
12,084 posts, read 34,177,379 times
Reputation: 16839
Quote:
Originally Posted by danielj72 View Post
Ive lived in Michigan all my life, part of that on the border in Sault ste Marie and I have to disagree regarding Michigan. Ive never heard much French here from any Canadians who come over. This far west its rare to see Canadians speaking French. OVer in New England your right, they are right next to Quebec and its a different story over there. In fact ive heard that some areas of North Maine are french speaking too. Other than the signs being bi lingual, even most of Canada is Anglophone and French is relegated to Quebec.
100% correct. I graduated High School and went to college in Sault Ste. Marie, MI; as well as moved away and spent 20 years in Northern Maine. I never heard one Canadian speaking French in Michigan. In Northern Maine there is a big chunk that is native French speaking in the home. One you get North of Caribou, ME just a few miles you are very likely to hear French being spoken in stores and in the homes first, English second. All through Western New Brunswick and all of Quebec you hear French as the first language and English as a distant second.
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Old 07-15-2019, 08:53 PM
 
18 posts, read 2,365 times
Reputation: 21
Amen
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