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View Poll Results: Could you?
Yes 77 85.56%
No 13 14.44%
Voters: 90. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-02-2009, 10:40 AM
 
2,450 posts, read 5,602,342 times
Reputation: 1010

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Really? I read somewhere that you'll generally think and dream in your mother tongue, the language you first learned in your formative years.

I can't imagine thinking in another language, actually. Forgive my seeming pride, but English is as much a part of the world to me as gravity or the sun.
You must never have tried very hard then.
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Old 04-02-2009, 12:13 PM
 
186 posts, read 794,566 times
Reputation: 130
I think one will always be an "outsider" in another culture no matter how fluent in the adopted language. I arrived in France with approximately 6 random words of French and went to sleep every night with my brain on fire from my struggle with immersion in a new language. Within a few months I was able to gesticulate my way through a basic conversation accompanied by my newly-learnt vocab of about 12 random words. It was tough, and I learnt mostly to discuss replacement parts for farming equipment......not especially helpful in later navigating around Paris! I've studied French off & on for a few years and spent yet more time there, and have vaguely improved my French, but am told by a close Parisian friend that I speak like the Maghreb. Most odd, as I'm American. ??
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Old 04-02-2009, 01:11 PM
 
5,781 posts, read 11,873,729 times
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No wonder, everyone speaks like the Magreb now in the dustbin called Paris.
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Old 04-02-2009, 01:45 PM
 
Location: Outer Space
1,523 posts, read 3,901,182 times
Reputation: 1817
Quote:
I can't imagine thinking in another language, actually. Forgive my seeming pride, but English is as much a part of the world to me as gravity or the sun.
Heh. My husband asked me the first time he met me in person how in the world I spoke English all the time.

I rarely think in German when it is not required, but knowing German for years has corrupted my ability to think in English at times.
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Old 04-02-2009, 02:34 PM
 
Location: Emirates
27 posts, read 89,256 times
Reputation: 29
To be honest, no, and I think most people who think they can are probably kidding themselves. I've been an expat for years now and the longer you are one, the more annoying it seems to get. Even more annoying because you find you're no longer completely comfortable in your home country, nor are you completely comfortable in your host country. And the fact that, long-term it isn't fun to be an outcast. I have never met a country who would "accept", for instance, a child who was born there, had one native parent and one foreign parent. Nearly always, they will still refer to them by their foreign parents nationality or think it without saying it. The US (Canada and Australia fall into this category too) is a much easier place to be an expat though, because, even though there are plenty of "old American" families, it still is a country based on immigrants or people who are not from there and many people are already somewhat familiar with it beforehand, even though, of course there are bound to be cultural differences. It is a good long-term place to immigrate, whereas many other places are not quite a welcoming for a long-term immigration. I do not mean that as people will not be friendly or essentially racist, but as in: you will never fit in. And it takes a real "gem", one I haven't found yet, that can honestly live with that and smile without it bothering him. Many people say it does not bother them, but you can read it clearly through their actions or speech that it does, at least after a certain amount of time.
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Old 04-02-2009, 05:28 PM
 
101 posts, read 763,552 times
Reputation: 80
My dad was a UN diplomat too so I visited and lived in many places (from UK to Germany to US to Australia) and someday I would love to live in either the Netherlands or Belgium
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Old 04-02-2009, 08:13 PM
 
4,253 posts, read 9,453,396 times
Reputation: 5141
When you start counting in your mind in foreign language - that's when you are really converted. I think it happened to me in the 3rd or 4th year. It was weird. But it did happen. As well as thinking and dreaming in English.

I understand what Kalinka says, for some people it's hard to integrate. Though I feel pretty comfortable in Canada, after 14 years. It's my home. I understand what's Huckleberry saying, too - maybe even though I feel comfortable, people around me don't necessarily accept me as theirs. It doesn't bother me much. I think different people are wired differently. For some, like OP, the idea would be unbearable. For others, it's a thrill of life.
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Old 04-02-2009, 08:57 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,544 posts, read 56,060,466 times
Reputation: 11862
I personally think unless you're too old - say over 65 - and have to come along for family reasons, anyone who comes to Australia should learn some English, along with Australian history, culture etc, especially aboriginal history. Same goes for non-English speaking cultures and their heritages. Little Italy's or Chinatown's may be nice for exotic food or shopping, but if you go to a job in your own country and the clerk has trouble communicating in basic English then I think it's too much.
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Old 04-02-2009, 09:44 PM
JL
 
8,522 posts, read 14,537,016 times
Reputation: 7936
If someone would pay me to live in Japan, that would be great! I could pick it up pretty easily!!
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Old 04-03-2009, 02:22 AM
 
Location: Aloverton
6,560 posts, read 14,459,845 times
Reputation: 10165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
I personally think unless you're too old - say over 65 - and have to come along for family reasons, anyone who comes to Australia should learn some English, along with Australian history, culture etc, especially aboriginal history. Same goes for non-English speaking cultures and their heritages. Little Italy's or Chinatown's may be nice for exotic food or shopping, but if you go to a job in your own country and the clerk has trouble communicating in basic English then I think it's too much.
I'd think that's the basics and most people should go beyond them. If I moved to Australia, for example, I already speak the language (at least, a different colonial variation of it), but I can't see how I could hope to relate to the people around me without learning their history, what they value, how they see the world. I know that when someone comes to my country, I don't expect them to jettison their entire culture like a live grenade. But I do expect them to make their peace with mine, and show respect for things we respect. And if they do that, and learn functional English if need be, then I'm cheerfully prepared to welcome them as being as American as anyone born here. Perhaps more so in many cases, since immigrants have often really bent their backs to the task of making a good living, giving their children every possible opportunity, and enriching our culture by what they brought from theirs. Whereas a lot of those who did nothing to earn US nationality but be born here don't give a rip about anything but borrowing money and spending it.
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