I would like to know how many languages could one speak?

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Tes | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Oct 8 2010 10:19 AM

I would like to know how many languages one could speak? And what kind of language.

 

Blessings in Christ.

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Dominick Sela | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 8 2010 11:57 AM

The best example I know of, Karol Wojtyla, otherwise known as Pope John Paul II deceased in 2005, was fluent in 8 languages, conversational in 13 languages, and could speak 25 languages total. I am still trying to master my first :-)

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 8 2010 12:44 PM

That is amazing! My native tongue is English. I know French pretty well and have studied Russian, Greek, and Hebrew formally to varying degres but have forgotten most of what I learned. I've picked up bits and pieces of conversational Spanish, German, and Italian through travel and self study. My goal would be to bring all of those languages up to full fluency (at least in reading for the Biblical languages) and also add: Latin, Chinese (not sure which would be most useful: Mandarin or Cantonese), and Arabic. Other languages that have piqued my interest at one point or another (perhaps I've learned one word or phrase in them or appreciated the alphabet) have included Swedish, Punjabi, Armenian, Old Icelandic, Turkish, Japanese. And of course, thanks to Tes, I've taken an interest in championing Amharic for Logos, though I still know nothing about it.

According to YourDictionary.com, there are  6,800 known languages spoken in the 200 countries of the world. 2,261 have writing systems (the others are only spoken) and about 300 are represented by on-line dictionaries as of May 11, 2004. That's old data. Ethnologue indexes 7413 languages (and 41,186 if you include all the alternate names for them). Google Translate is pretty useful, though imperfect. I can usually get the gist of what is being said in the other language. I was able to understand a conversation that Bohuslav and someone else were having in Czech on the forum that way! Smile

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fgh | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 8 2010 1:19 PM

The 'worst' I knew of was Cardinal Mezzofanti, but looking him up he 'only' seems to have spoken 39 fluently, while an Emil Krebs obviously mastered 68, and studied 120 (!) more.

We've got a 29-year-old in southern Sweden who's studied 21, at various levels. Most of them dead, though. But on the other hand he didn't include Swedish on the list (!), nor Norwegian, Danish or Icelandic, nor modern Hebrew or Greek, so I suspect he understands quite a few more.

"The Christian way of life isn't so much an assignment to be performed, as a gift to be received."  Wilfrid Stinissen

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Jarred Edgecombe | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 8 2010 1:25 PM

I know English and since I recently moved to "da far Nordern Wisconsin" i'm learning Yooper.  Youse guy's know what i mean, eh?

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 8 2010 1:41 PM

Tes:

I would like to know how many languages one could speak? And what kind of language.

A professor at the University of British Columbia who co-taught a multilingual Buddhist seminar was a German Jew who in WWII had moved through Russia and China, married a Japanese woman and worked in the US and Canada - that covers the languages he assumed his children spoke. He would always claim to be proficient in 14 languages but the list of 14 constantly changed. From the seminar which used Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese, Manchu, Mongolian, Khotanese, Sogdian, occasionally some Uighur ... we could prove that he knew at least 40 if one included the basic European languages. He would say we were getting close to the 50% mark in the languages he used academically.

A grad school classmate who works as a translator for an international relief agency out of Brussels, is getting close to him in languages she can translate. We do know when Agatha will die - whenever she can't find another non-trivial language to learn. But it gets hard to count languages. Any self-respecting Sanskrit major can read Sanskrit, Vedic, Avestan, Old Persian and the Prakrits - a dozen or so are needed to read Sanskrit dramas ... plus another 3 or 4 to read Buddhist and Jain texts  ....so how does one count? Most the professors and students would label it 2 or 3 languages depending upon their mood.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 8 2010 1:52 PM

My little brother (the Am@zon network security dude) married a brilliant gal from Mexico who is fluent in 5 and now learning Japanese so she can talk privately with her hubby at work (Am@zon hired her too.) She worked for the University of Columbia as a translator/interpreter. (They met on eH@rmony, fer real!)

My Uncle speaks 10 fluently and works for New York City as a DHS Social Worker.

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Norman Low | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 8 2010 3:40 PM

From the Forward of "Is the Higher Criticism Scholarly" about Robert *** Wilson:

"As a man is interested in his roses, and doesn't think of the thorns," so he studied language. That was Professor Wilson's answer to my query when I expressed amazement at the range of his linguistic explorations, covering some forty-five languages and dialects...

What Robert *** Wilson then believed, and now believes with all his heart is this: that textual and historical Biblical controversies should be taken out of the region of subjective personal opinion, into the region of objective, clearly attested fact. It was to this task that he set himself, and no labor was to be too long or tedious or exacting to enable him to reach that goal.

He could not at that time learn Babylonian in America, so he went to Heidelberg, determined to learn every language that would enable him the better to understand the Scriptures, and to make his investigations in original documents.

So to Babylonian he added Ethiopic, Phoenician, all the Aramaic dialects, and Egyptian, Coptic, Persian, and Armenian. He studied in Berlin with Schrader, who was Delitzsch's teacher, called the father of Assyriology. He studied his Arabic and Syriac under Sachau, and Arabic under Jahn and Dieterichi; Hebrew under Dillmann and Strack, and Egyptian under Brugsch. He became conversant with some twenty-six languages in these years devoted to language acquisition.

For Professor Wilson had a plan, carefully worked out during his student days in Germany, under which he proposed to spend fifteen years in language study, fifteen years in Biblical textual study in the light of the findings of his studies in philology, and then, God willing, fifteen years of writing out his findings, so that others might share them with him. And now it is our privilege in this booklet to read, in terms that we can all understand, some of the gloriously reassuring facts that he has found in his long pilgrimage through ancient days."

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 8 2010 3:59 PM

Norman Low:
From the Forward of "Is the Higher Criticism Scholarly" about Robert *** Wilson:

Ha! The forum auto-censor strikes again. What's wrong with the nickname for Richard? Context, context. If only this thing could be a little more contextually sensitive.

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Alex Scott | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 8 2010 4:20 PM

Rosie Perera:
The forum auto-censor strikes again

You've GOT to be kidding me!!

Longtime Logos user (more than $30,000 in purchases) - now a second class user because I won't pay them more every month or year.

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Dominick Sela | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 8 2010 4:57 PM

Actually I was a little unfair to myself. I know quite a few languages other than English - Assembler (multiple versions), FORTRAN, C, C++, C#, Basic, LISP, SNOBOL, PERL, Pascal......I may have forgotten some that I know....   :-)

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 8 2010 4:58 PM

Alex Scott:

Rosie Perera:
The forum auto-censor strikes again

You've GOT to be kidding me!!

Zip it!  teehee

 

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 8 2010 5:51 PM

Alex Scott:

Rosie Perera:
The forum auto-censor strikes again

You've GOT to be kidding me!!

Dead serious. It's happened before. I suspected it when I saw the asterisks, so I Googled "Robert * Wilson" and found out that, sure enough, his middle name is DlCK. How'd I fool the censor this time? I used a lower case L instead of a capital i.

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 8 2010 10:33 PM

Rosie,

They say Mandarin is becoming popular for business, so you might want to learn that instead of Cantonese.  I'm fluent in both English and Spanish, but I would love to learn Italian and Portuguese I just haven't gotten myself to do so.  But if it was possible, I would rather have the gift of speaking in tongues today that way I could speak all the tongues in the world to evangelize the lost souls of china, russia, france, etc. and wouldn't need to go through the struggle of learning them...hehehe

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Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 8 2010 11:35 PM

Dominick Sela:

Actually I was a little unfair to myself. I know quite a few languages other than English - Assembler (multiple versions), FORTRAN, C, C++, C#, Basic, LISP, SNOBOL, PERL, Pascal......I may have forgotten some that I know....   :-)

Perhaps PL/1, PL/S, CLIST, REXX, JCL, ISPF, SQL, PL/SQL, SAS, SGML, XML, VS COBOL, COBOL II, Algol, VBA, Shell Script, Java, Javascript, PHP, Python, Ruby, ABAP, ADA, APL, SmallTalk, Objective C ?  Albeit these languages lack usability for traveling - bit hard to order food or ask directions Wink

Observation: studying Greek provides new meaning for phrase "That's greek to me." - especially parts of New Testament.

Keep Smiling Smile

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Rich DeRuiter | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 9 2010 12:04 AM

Uh, guide-lines? So far nothing in this thread comes close. Does it?

 Help links: WIKI;  Logos 6 FAQ. (Phil. 2:14, NIV)

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DominicM | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 9 2010 12:40 AM

I dont speak English well, although its my first language, I can see/formulise in my head what I want to say, but expressing it is often difficult for me, am 13 chapeters into Nunns Elements on NT Greek ad realise how little english grammer I know.

I pick up foreign phrases to break the ice, but its only surface level

Lol, its amazing isnt it, since the Tower of Babel, where God confused speech or introduced languages, we have been trying to undo what he did.

 

Never Deprive Anyone of Hope.. It Might Be ALL They Have

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Tes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 9 2010 3:10 AM

Douglas Alvarenga:
I would rather have the gift of speaking in tongues today that way I could speak all the tongues in the world to evangelize the lost souls of china, russia, france, etc. and wouldn't need to go through the struggle of learning them...hehehe

Very interesting, I couldn't pass it.

Amen.

Blessings in Christ.

Posts 1374
nicky crane | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 9 2010 7:34 AM

Douglas Alvarenga:

Rosie,

They say Mandarin is becoming popular for business, so you might want to learn that instead of Cantonese.  I'm fluent in both English and Spanish, but I would love to learn Italian and Portuguese I just haven't gotten myself to do so.  But if it was possible, I would rather have the gift of speaking in tongues today that way I could speak all the tongues in the world to evangelize the lost souls of china, russia, france, etc. and wouldn't need to go through the struggle of learning them...hehehe

CT STudd and friends triede to lesarn their languages thro the Holy Spirit, but eventually supplemented/replaCED THAT BY normal study methods!

I speak fluent German and ALbanian, Southern  dialect, but have  difficulty in villages in Kosova.  Not only is the grammar  different, but they also use a different  vocabulary.   I even find different understandings of words a problem within Albania.  e.g. here "fanatik" means fanatical in a negative sense, but in another town it means very particular about keeping your house clean, positive. 

I read NT Greek fairly fluently, but have forgotten classical Greek, after neglecting it for the last 46 years.  Modern Greek I can communicate, helped out by hands and feet.  OT Hebrew I have a useful knowledge, but need the English crib quite often.  

I used to be fluent in Hungarian, Slovak, Polish, Russian, Bulgarian and pan-slav salad in Jugoslavia, but have lost these.  They would come back if I were in the country again.  I started learning to communicate in Romanian after the revolution.  Before that I was so closely followed by the secret police that I didn't try to make new friends, and my old friends all knew good English or Hungarian or German.

Learned French at school, but never progressed, as the French teacher used to correct me every time I opened my mouth before I had spoken 3 words.  This gave me hangups about speaking any language, which I only overcame with great difficulty and the Lord showing his strength in my weakness.  I needed the languages for communicating with East European Christians who didn't know foreign languages in the Cold War Era.

I can communicate in Turkish on a tourist level, when in the country, which I haven't been for the last year or so.  

When in the Philippines I have a go at Tagalog, but have never made much progress.l

I have started learning Arabic at least 5 times and never got far.  Once I could write in Arabic so an Arab could read it, but I couldn't read back what I'd written.

What I have not succeeded in doing is finding a way of communicating the relevance of the Gospel to most of the Albanians among whom I live.

Joke:  "You should learn a foreign language.  I know 5."

"True, but you can't say anything sensible in any of them!"  Stick out tongue

 

Posts 3142
Tes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 9 2010 11:40 AM

Very interesting! Well, my native language is Tigrinya (Eritrean),  I can do as perfect as my native language in Amharic (Ethiopian),little Tigre(North and west Eritrean language) little Arabic, Deutsch(German) and English, I use Englsh and Amharic for Bible study, I pray in Amharic,I worship in Amharic I lead my bible study group in Amharic.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,I love to communicate with you,I appreciate what everyone has said. 

Blessings in Christ.

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