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POLL: How Many Languages Do You Speak?


202 votes were cast.


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Personal logo Saginaw Supporting Member of TMP writes:

I said 2, but it's more like 1.5, that being English and Spanish.

Well, more like Spanglish.


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1,154 hits since 21 Sep 2015
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VOTING RESULTS
AnswerVotes%Chart
1
99
49%
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2
51
25%
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3
31
15%
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4
13
6%
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5
5
2%
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6
1
0%
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7
0
0%
 
8
0
0%
 
9
0
0%
 
10 or more
2
1%
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POLL IS CLOSED
POLL DESCRIPTION

Personal logo optional field Supporting Member of TMP wonders...

This topic made me wonder about how many of us understand language.

The following two paragraphs are an explanation of my observations and thoughts. Those who wish to simply get to the poll question may skip ahead and read the last sentence of the post.

While I have not been able to approach fluency in most languages (my native Gibberish excepted), I have learned that some concepts are very hard (or even impossible) to express in some languages (e.g., expressing the future tense is easily done in English, but doing so in Mandarin Chinese can be challenging, and doing so in Ancient Hebrew is virtually impossible to do with 100% clarity). Beyond that, some concepts that are easy to express in some languages are easy to understand in others but still very hard to translate (e.g., Hebrew has a word that means "the word that follows this word is a direct object in this sentence." While the concept is simple, there is no easy way to put that into an English translation of Hebrew, and while the direct object in an English sentence is usually obvious, that is not true in 100% of cases in English. Hebrew posses a method to clarify things in a way English does not). Finally, some translations must, due to the nature of one of the languages used, either add or deduct specific meaning from an original statement (e.g. to use the example of Hebrew above, a statement in Ancient Hebrew can easily be purposely made ambiguous so that it is not clear if it is future or past tense. Without a lengthy explanation, translating that statement into English would add a level of certainty that is absent in the original).

I have also observed that some individuals have difficulty understanding these concepts, even to the point of disbelieving that such ideas are real (e.g., some individuals are inclined to believe a language must have a clear system of past/present/future tense to function. Others will erroneously maintain, because they have read English translations of certain languages, that the meaning which is clear in English must be equally clear in the original language). However, I have also seen that those who have such difficulties are usually monoglots.

All of which leads me to ask: How many languages can you speak (and/or read and write), and to what degree?

Poll set up by Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian, based on this pre-poll discussion.