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Old 11-13-2012, 07:29 PM
 
Location: Sometimes Miami sometimes Australia
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To be fair, it is too easy for native English speakers not to learn another language. The minute they travel they are bombarded with English from locals either keen to sell them something or keen to practice English. And when they try to learn the local tongue...most people reply in English

As for the example of Canada being multi-lingual, the poster forgot to point out that the speakers of foreign languages and doing the interpreting are not white Canadians, but rather the children of immigrants. So it just proves the point
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:25 PM
 
Location: Brisbane
5,059 posts, read 7,504,251 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tropical87 View Post
To be fair, it is too easy for native English speakers not to learn another language. The minute they travel they are bombarded with English from locals either keen to sell them something or keen to practice English. And when they try to learn the local tongue...most people reply in English

As for the example of Canada being multi-lingual, the poster forgot to point out that the speakers of foreign languages and doing the interpreting are not white Canadians, but rather the children of immigrants. So it just proves the point
Pretty well all the major English Speaking countries are like this. Close to 1/4 of Australians regularly speak a language other than English; the huge majority of them being immigrants. I’m pretty sure it’s almost exactly the same in the US and NZ.

In Oz what I really think makes things even more difficult for us, is that we do not have a major second language the way the Canadians and Americans do.

Last edited by danielsa1775; 11-13-2012 at 08:36 PM..
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:28 PM
 
Location: Chicago
38,707 posts, read 103,213,286 times
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Americans in particular get a lot of flak for this, but realistically speaking, what chance am I going to get to speak another language? I live on a giant land mass where English is the predominant language across roughly 80% of that land mass. If I got in my car tomorrow at sunrise, pointed it any direction, and started driving, by sunset I'd still be some place where everyone speaks English. If I did the same thing the next day, I'd still be some place where either everyone speaks English, or depending on which way my car was pointed 2 days ago, maybe I'd be in the tiny French-speaking sliver of my continent.... where half of them also speak English. So what practical need is there for me to learn another language and what practical opportunity do I have to consistently practice one?
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:42 PM
 
7,800 posts, read 4,402,596 times
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Originally Posted by tropical87 View Post
To be fair, it is too easy for native English speakers not to learn another language. The minute they travel they are bombarded with English from locals either keen to sell them something or keen to practice English. And when they try to learn the local tongue...most people reply in English
I agree with this. I can read Spanish and French somewhat, but when I was in Argentina and tried speaking Spanish, I was always answered in English. I was a little angry about that. You can only learn a language by constant use and practice and it does not help if everyone you talk to knows English.
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:43 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,544 posts, read 56,076,059 times
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Originally Posted by tropical87 View Post
To be fair, it is too easy for native English speakers not to learn another language. The minute they travel they are bombarded with English from locals either keen to sell them something or keen to practice English. And when they try to learn the local tongue...most people reply in English

As for the example of Canada being multi-lingual, the poster forgot to point out that the speakers of foreign languages and doing the interpreting are not white Canadians, but rather the children of immigrants. So it just proves the point
Also, the unofficial world language is English and that includes tourists. European tourists these days from different countries talk to each other in English. Also I've noticed that many backpackers can speak basic English, so a Korean can converse with a Brazilian in basic English. Asians often assume that any white person who visits can speak English...things can be bit complicated when you're an Asian who can only speak English and you have to explain that to them.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:26 AM
 
Location: North West Northern Ireland.
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Originally Posted by Catbelle View Post
I've noticed this fact always I've travelled... in fact I know a very very very few English native speakers who learn another language.
I was living in the UK and I met many people, smart people with lots of studies and who have travelled a lot but they were monolingual... more or less happened in USA, where the multiculture is everywhere.

Any reason? Is not compulsory at school the study of a second language?
First off. In Northern Ireland learning French is compulsory from year 8 to year 12. We only learn the basics and we get a GCSE in it.

People from Northern Ireland aren't really a language learning country, simply because we don't live next door to non-english language speaking countries and we do not really need to learn a foreign language because most places we visit in Europe speak English.

The majority of us are not really interested in moving to a foreign non-english speaking country either. The majority of the young immigrants move to Canada, Australia or New Zealand. Not really USA because its impossible to move there,

It is actually quite a challenge learning a language. There is no point in learning a language and hoping to excel at it without speaking it everyday and living in a country that speaks that language.

Last edited by Mac15; 11-14-2012 at 09:34 AM..
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:28 AM
 
Location: North West Northern Ireland.
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Originally Posted by irish_bob View Post
i belive manadarin should be included in the school corriculum in european schools , will be hugely valuable going forward
Indeed it should not.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:31 AM
 
Location: Leeds, UK
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It is compulsory here to learn French from year 7 to year 9, after that you can choose a language of your choice - most don't pick any language, and those who do opt for German rather than French in my experience.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:34 AM
 
Location: In the heights
37,156 posts, read 39,430,503 times
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Originally Posted by irish_bob View Post
i belive manadarin should be included in the school corriculum in european schools , will be hugely valuable going forward
The issue with Mandarin though is that it's targeted towards just one country whose fortunes no one can predict. Mandarin should certainly be an option, but it should be one of several options such as Spanish, French, English, Arabic, and maybe Portuguese and Russian (that is, learning at least one of these is required) which all have large and growing numbers of speakers while also being used in a wide variety of places and fields.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:40 AM
 
Location: In the heights
37,156 posts, read 39,430,503 times
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Originally Posted by Drover View Post
Americans in particular get a lot of flak for this, but realistically speaking, what chance am I going to get to speak another language? I live on a giant land mass where English is the predominant language across roughly 80% of that land mass. If I got in my car tomorrow at sunrise, pointed it any direction, and started driving, by sunset I'd still be some place where everyone speaks English. If I did the same thing the next day, I'd still be some place where either everyone speaks English, or depending on which way my car was pointed 2 days ago, maybe I'd be in the tiny French-speaking sliver of my continent.... where half of them also speak English. So what practical need is there for me to learn another language and what practical opportunity do I have to consistently practice one?
Yea, pretty much with you though I think the practical need part is sort of dodgy. You can technically get by being functionally illiterate, having poor grammar, being really bad at arithmetic, not knowing how to fix anything in your garage, etc., but it's better to have those skills. Since ehe vast chunk of the population in the US is fairly close to areas that speak other languages (the Caribbean from the Gulf, the very large border with Mexico, or the border with Quebec) or have large percentages of people who are immigrants who speak another language, it can be very practical to speak another language though possibly not a need.
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