48 countries in Europe????? LOL !!!
And even IF there were that many, you surely realize that there's a lot less real languages?
Have a look at the map. Germany, Austria, Switzerland > 1 language (never mind the dialects). France > also 1 lang. Belgium & Holland > 1 lang, and Luxembourg shares the aforementioned 3 languages. You realize this is the biggest part of Europe already? Only 3 languages!
Then Italy, the lang very close to Portuguese, separated only by Spanish which is different indeed. Mind you though, these are all Latin languages hence 'inter-familiar'.
Slavic & Baltic langs form the remainder and are quite different than Latin ones, but rest assured that they also are interrelated or plain dialected, quite like the former 3.
I left English for last, for reason they still persist on pretending they live on an Island. It is this attitude that must have contributed to Americans being somewhat reluctant to acquiring another language (very politely expressed as you must note :), but blaming the Europeans for being multilingual because they're a multitude (48!!! :) of countries goes a bit lame, don't you think? Try 'accomodating' due to either need or courtesy?
But you're a nice chap so I'll round off with a joke:
What do you call a person who speaks 3 langs? Trilingual.
What do you call a pesron wh speaks 2 langs? Bilingual.
What do you call a person who speaks 1 lang? British.
Have a good 'un Beemer ;-)
Actually Switzerland has 2 languages ( i wouldn't refer to German & French as a mere difference of dialect), Belgium has 2 languages (Flemish & French), there is no such country named Holland, the English might, in the main, speak only one language however the British speak some 3 languages, it is compulsory for kids in Wales to learn Welsh and any English speaker that's tried to watch early evening Scottish TV will understand it ain't in English :)
Whilst France & Germany may be 2 very large European countries they remain small in comparison to a continent that stretches as far east as the Ural mountains and as far south as Canary Islands and/or Malta. There are all the national languages of the former eastern block countries and even such a small country as Malta has 2 official languages!
I only now have completely read the brunt of this thread I think.
You remind me of myself. By erroneous browsing I found the most stunning woman I'd ever seen on a Russian dating site. I though bollocks, can't be, let's have some fun and sent her a short letter - to which I got a super arrogant tiny reply. Amused and pissed off I ignored this, took it as 'proof' of this all being nonsense, but browsed further, utterly amazed by the sheer beauty of these Slavic women.
Then, after having seen enough I decided to reply to her, but quite a bit better, telling her her place, and I did so at length. What I got back was the most genuine letter I've ever seen, to date still.
I went to see her, but due to 'work commitments' I waited for 4 months. Long story short she's married to a German now.
My advice to you is MAKE time, and go see her - soonest! Simple huh? Only this way you (and her!) will know if there's this magic you now only think there is, and she might well be dreaming ditto. A tete-a-tete will sort this out in minutes, and trust me it is worth it.
You'll be the one acting, having taken the lead, and this is invaluable if this all works out. If not? Hell, you've had a holiday to a new place, go see the world dammit :)
Oh, on your boyfriend-rushes-in fantasies, let it go pal, you're reading too many comics. Paranoia is unwarranted, you're hardly visiting a war zone ain't it? Have fun instead. Don't stay with her but in a hotel/appartment so you'll be your own boss at all times, that's all you need.
Money-wise you can afford it too - so what are you waiting for? ;-)
Thunder, thank you for your informative lesson. I was merely stating that europeans(i think)speak multiple languages because of their close proximity to each other..
Not to sound technical but there are actually 53 countries in europe(some of these are Eurasian countries thou). Various other sites quote from 46-48.
Albania,Andorra,Armenia,Austria,Azerbaijan,Belarus,Belgium,Bulgaria,B osnia and Herzegovina,Croatia
Cyprus,Czech Republic,Denmark,Estonia,Faroe Islands,Finland,France,Georgia,Germany,Greece,Guernsey
Hungary,Iceland,Irela nd,Isle of Man,Italy,Jersey,Latvia,Liechtenstein,Lithuania,Luxembourg,FYROM
Malta,Moldo va,Monaco,Montenegro,Netherlands,Norway,Poland,Portugal,Romania,Russia,San Marino,
Serbia,Slovakia,Slovenia,Spain,Sweden,Switzerland,Turkey,Ukraine,Uni ted Kingdom,Vatican City.
As for languages, I think there is much crossing of borders, hence knowing multiple languages. From what I read 230 different languages spoken in europe( 30-40 main ones). Wrote that just for you Thunder!! ;-0
You are right, there is a just a handful of main languages, german, english, french and italian.
Nice to hear from you too thunder......
you haven't been much in Europe I take it? Your "1000 miles" earlier refer here, and you'd be amazed how small it really is, Europe is small. 1000 miles will take you from Holland to Italy, through various mostly German speaking countries. Luxembourg is tiny, just some villages really, and of course they don't have their 'own' language. Same for Switzerland, although their spoken lang is quite different than German, ditto Austria. But they're official accents rather than languages. I'm either fluent or can help me with them, this in contradiction to Martin - and this will explain his reaction ;-)
Russian does share some words with both Italian and German I've discovered, and sound-wise it sits right there too. But I've got no real 'entrance' to any Slavic langs hence am lost with them (up to quadruple negation, come on now). Same like here in Africa, of course I'm fluent with the two local one's too. But there's 9 official other langs, however all originating from Zulu. Speak that and you've got it made, but by Jove one has to go to school for such. No can do I'm afraid, in my next life maybe.
I peek in from time to time, but no offense, it's become a bit boring for me. But Newinthis needed a bit of advice I though. Cheers :)
Sorry to be a bit boring...but I do have couple interesting things, In latvia, most people speak russian, well in government offices only latvian is spoken, so many people need to bring their own interpreters with them!!!! I understand spanish but I have trouble understanding italian and a some of spanish from spain....apparently something was losdt in translation coming to americas......also some people I talked to in ukraine told me amny people don't know ukrainian language....
No I haven't been to europe very much...only france, spain, italy, germany, romania, greece and czech Rep.....oh I don't forget, latvia, moldova, ukraine and russia......... ;-)))
Ah, erm, well, you freeking globetrotter you... :)
But then you know how small it is, a fact which you really do find out by driving yourself rather than flying, say on a holiday. A single day takes you quite far, especially now with most borders being a mere signboard. However, I'm talking about the more developed part, ahem, no pun or sneer intended. Behind the old Iron Curtain, East Germany a notable exception, all is still somewhat backward, this of course even more pronounced now since the unification of the more developed (Western) part.
Then move to Africa, and discover how VAST the world in fact can be. Single countries spanning the size of several of Europe's larger one's combined, with - within that same country - the landscape ranging from desert to swamps to dense forests, with each landscape posing it's own threats - of which the human one is the most dangerous still.
That latter part particularly will set it apart from your world Beemer, also a huuuge continent. Your States would be quite large countries if in Europe, and this might well contribute to the fact that the average American does not really have a proper grasp of the rest of the world.
I also thought that I'd cope with Spanish because I have some basic grasp of Italian, but jeewizz, no hablo eh? :) But Portuguese sits right next to it though, quite handy in Mozambique as it turned out.
Talking about the Mediterranean - any idea where Jet is?
Having lived in Luxembourg I can assure that it does have it's own language of Luxembourgish which many of the 'Burgers' speak amongst themselves. The working language is French, the first language kids learn at school is German, and the court system there works in German also.
Quite a phucked up scenario really and glad I got out of there. :)
I see you know much about the world thunder, I am quite jealous..;-) It would be interesting to just drive through europe...I've only been in the cities, only time in country is driving between cities. I cannot even imagine how it is in africa, I know of its vast expanse, seems recently that many natives are restless( politically, watch your arse). As an american, we do think the world revolves around us, which in one sense it does,ie: economic turmoil.
What I originally posted, was the fact it takes me hours to get to another country and that is only one other language(spanish), in europe it can be minutes and several languages.
Be careful about spanish....there is spanish(spain),italian,latin,from mexico, central american and south american....last two can have many different dialects.....
"you know exactly when you pass from Swiss French to Swiss German to Swiss Italian"
Yeah, right, uphill & downhill eh? Jeewizz dude, they're REAL mountains, like in YOUNG ones, and if the San Gottardo is closed the other end of the tunnel is 'the other lang'.
I take it such mountains are not to be found in Texas??
No mountains in North Texas to speak of unless you count some big fire ant nests!!
Come visit us and see the Texas hill country and Big Bend...beautiful but not the Alps.
Example: You can go from Neuchatel to Bienne/Biel and the difference is noticeable when the language is different and the signs are different and
you realize you are not in Kansas anymore. The are no mountains or lines on the road to differentiate.
Swiss German is almost incomprehensible to many Germans. Our Amish/Mennonite brothers and sisters speak the same here.
In Neuchatel it is said the purest French is spoken there. The French strongly disagree!
When we moved to Switzerland on a cloudy day with my poor French I thought our landlady said the sun was shining upstairs. So we all ran upstairs to see.
No sun!! She then loaded us up and drove up the mountain where the sun was shining and the Alps were brilliant. We still laugh about running
upstairs to see the sun!
Beem...I don't mean gutter Spanish in a bad way. Here we have what is called "Texican." Spoken mainly by 2nd and 3rd generation Mexicans who may have
never been to Mexico their entire lives. There are some differences.
I disagree with the posts that say you shouldn't get intrested in a Russian women who does not speak english. My wife used to work for a dating site in Tagliatti Russia. She has kept in touch with many of the women who married Americans. Most of them could only speak a few words of english when they met their future husbands. After being in the US for four or five months they were able to talk to me without any problems. The clildren of the Russian wives learned english even faster.
Before I met so many Russian women I myself felt it was crazy to date someone who did not speak English. My wife has a Masters in English from a Russian University. If you are committed to her pay for some english lessons. If she does not start speaking some english to you on the phone then don't waste your money or time on her. She is not as committed as you.
wow, to kirk and the rest... for someone like me just getting started with this new adventure, this is an awesome thread... I have to give a shout out for all the amazing advice and perspective. MANY thanks to all.
I think the way I'm going to approach this is, I'm just going to take an exploratory trip in-country. Just a short holiday... maybe a week or so. Go visit a couple of the towns I've been getting letters from (mostly Nikolaev and Odessa), and see what's what. Absorb some of the culture and atmosphere.... not even worry about 'hooking up' and dating the first time around...
I'm going to Paris in a few weeks for work... can take some time off after we're done with the event there. Would be a fine time to visit Ukraine, I'm thinking.. although, I did notice it's due to snow this coming week.. Winters come early, eh?
It'll be interesting to poke around "anonymously", just get to know the vibe... should be fun. And who knows, maybe I'll let one or two people know I'm passing through. A meet-and-greet just to say "hello" would be awesome....
Oh, and kirk, in my younger days, Spain was my absolutely favorite country in the known world.. not to mention the beauties of Andalusia... I lived down there for about 18 months all told, and at the time rumor had it there were about 8 women to every man in that area of Andalusia... I had no reason to doubt it.
The Spanish heart is warm, passionate, vibrant and classy. You've done well if you've found yourself a partner for life down there... ;)
Good idea to go on an exploratory. I did and found it really useful. Be careful around Odessa and Nikolaev though - they're both infamous for scammers. I think you noted yourself on here the number of 18-21 year olds who apparently love older men? I met a girl there (there's a thread about it here somewhere) who was writing scam letters for agencies as her job to put herself through university. According to her there were 200 such agencies - and Nikolaev aint a big town!
Odessa's nice for a holiday and sightseeing (scenery both of the 'nature' and 'wears a skirt' type), but its also got a fair few shady characters, men and women.
On another note mate, I'm glad to have you on the forum. It's a nice change to have someone positive join. You may have noticed the bad blood runs like rivers round here sometimes. Ignore the 'children' and soak up the advice - it really does come in handy.
Living in the US you really only need to know 2 languages since we share borders with 2 countries and one of those speaks English. The other language is obviously spanish. Depending on your field of employment knowing both gives you an advantage. Europeans know more languages because they are so close to varous different countries which likely do not share their native language. Very few people learn another laguage for the hell of it. They learn other languages usually because it is needed. I speak 3 languages and all three are needed.
The comment "English-speaking people are so lazy for studying foreign languages. I think it's because English is the easiest language to study" demonstrates your supreme ignorance.
I wouldn't be so harsh on Armin for that statement as I tend to agree.
To an extent English speaking people do have a tendency to ignore the learning of a foreign language.
This could be down to some sort of misplaced superiority complex due to the fact that half the world at one time was under British rule.
Could be just plain laziness.
We were all taught a second language at school up until the point where you could choose to drop it.
Most of the kids at my school dropped it.
I don't agree with your statement "I speak 3 languages and all three are needed".
In my line of work I deal directly with all countries in Europe on a commercial level.
I speak fluent French, reasonable Italian and am learning Spanish and German just for the hell of it.
Well actually Spanish because I intend to live there and German because I find the Germans an interesting people and also because Iím sick of being in the company of Germans who wont translate what they are saying for your benefit.
As Iíve said in my job I donít find it necessary to communicate in whatever language Iím dealing with as 99% of the time the initial contact is made in English and I reply in English.
On a personal level; if I go to a foreign country and continue to speak in English throughout, itís usually not a good idea.
Countries like France and Spain especially have certain arrogance and will look down on you for not trying. On the other hand if you walk into a restaurant and order in their language youíll get good service.
Germans donít mind too much as they think you are thick anyway. The Dutch donít mind as they think they should be speaking English. (And they are usually the best English speakers in Europe IMO)
It is just plain arrogance for most of us Americans to expect everyone else in the world to speak English - American English, don't want to confuse it with real English. And that is spoon fed into the mindset of Americans all their years. There is an internal war going on over press 1 for English, press 2 for Spanish. Almost all Americans expect anyone coming into this country to speak English. And when they travel abroad they expect to find English speaking people all over the world.
Call it laziness, arrogance, ignorance or whatever you wish. Americans are becoming dumber and dumber with each generation. And once again a part of that is the system in place and the liberal agenda. But it is also a basic function of poor parenting that America is going downhill on a slippery slope. There are kids in college that read on an 8th grade level. WTF?
God Bles America - because we need some help!