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Being a polyglot and its social implications

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RE: Being a polyglot and its social implications

Postby chikara » Tue 01.22.2008 7:21 pm

lol my bicephalic friend :D
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RE: Being a polyglot and its social implications

Postby Chris Hart » Tue 01.22.2008 8:26 pm

chikara wrote:
Hatori wrote:
I looked it up and I'm absolutely confused. This is what I got:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyglot_%28computing%29

The very first line of which is For other uses, see Polyglot (disambiguation).

Which gives you this;

Polyglot may refer to:

Multilingualism, a single speaker who uses two or more languages, or a community of speakers where two or more languages are used
Polyglot (person), speaking multiple languages
Hyperpolyglot, one who can speak six or more languages fluently
Polyglot (book), a book that contains the same text in more than one language
Polyglot (computing), a computer program that is valid in more than one programming language


I wonder which one(s) this thread is about ;)


The strange thing is all of those definitions seem to be basically the same thing applied to a specific subject matter.

two_heads_talking wrote:

and here I thought the whole conversation was about two-tongued people and figured I was the only one who could with any accuracy speak on the subject.. two-heads = two tongues.. :D :p :o


And our polycephalic polyglot strikes again.
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RE: Being a polyglot and its social implications

Postby LustBaka » Tue 01.22.2008 8:58 pm

I'm not really a polyglot yet but I often do run into situations that people want to hear me speak Japanese. I still live in America and I'm only in the 10th grade. Seeing as I spend 50% of my day in school I often study there. It's really, really incredible the amount of people who come up and ask me what I'm doing. I usually have to explain to them for about 10 minutes because they just can't seem to understand, and even then so, they want me to say something. It really gets annoying how persistent people can be when they realize that you're taking the time out of your life to be multilingual.

I really enjoy being able to talk somewhat intelligently in more than just english. I think that when you learn another language your opening yourself up to a lot more possibilities in life. Right now I'm learning Japanese and my native language German. After these two, I want to master Italian. When I'm old enough I plan on moving out of America to one of those three countries. After that I want to eventually start my own business with locations all over the world. So I think it really is great to be a polyglot.
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RE: Being a polyglot and its social implications

Postby chikara » Tue 01.22.2008 9:38 pm

LustBaka wrote:
........ After that I want to eventually start my own business with locations all over the world. ......

がんばって
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RE: Being a polyglot and its social implications

Postby Dehitay » Wed 01.23.2008 2:23 am

LustBaka wrote:
Right now I'm learning Japanese and my native language German.


That's a somewhat confusing thing to say. I had to reread it
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RE: Being a polyglot and its social implications

Postby keatonatron » Wed 01.23.2008 8:25 am

I think s/he meant his/her ancestral language. His/her native language is/appears to be English.
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RE: Being a polyglot and its social implications

Postby chchan45 » Wed 01.23.2008 12:35 pm

Multilingualism is normal for most people on this planet. I use three languages regularly in my daily life and think nothing special of it.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that people with English as their mother tongue see monolingualism as normal, and generally do not think it is worth the bother to learn other languages. They see others proficient in more than one language, think that they are a rare breed and treat them as "objects of curiosity". There are two sides to a coin, if you know what I mean.
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RE: Being a polyglot and its social implications

Postby Kagemaru » Wed 01.23.2008 12:53 pm

two_heads_talking wrote
and here I thought the whole conversation was about two-tongued people and figured I was the only one who could with any accuracy speak on the subject.. two-heads = two tongues.. :D :p :o


Not when your head(s) is/are Johnny Cash :p
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RE: Being a polyglot and its social implications

Postby LustBaka » Wed 01.23.2008 1:28 pm

Dehitay wrote:
LustBaka wrote:
Right now I'm learning Japanese and my native language German.


That's a somewhat confusing thing to say. I had to reread it


Sorry about that. I should've worded that a little better, but keatonatron got it right about german being my ancestral language.

also, ありがとう, chikara
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RE: Being a polyglot and its social implications

Postby Wakannai » Wed 01.23.2008 2:40 pm

chchan45 wrote:
Multilingualism is normal for most people on this planet. I use three languages regularly in my daily life and think nothing special of it.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that people with English as their mother tongue see monolingualism as normal, and generally do not think it is worth the bother to learn other languages. They see others proficient in more than one language, think that they are a rare breed and treat them as "objects of curiosity". There are two sides to a coin, if you know what I mean.


I don't think it's an English thing at all, nor do I believe that multilingualism is normal for most people on the planet. Not that most educated people didn't at least study a second language, but I hardly believe that if you totaled the populations of India, China, Russsia, Pakinstan....in short, countries with large populations, and large amounts of inner geography 100 miles or more distant from a country speaking another language, that multilingualism is not the norm. Rather, I would say that people in small countries, that are less than an hour's drive from a foreign country, with a different standard language, have a skewed perception about how multicultural the world is.

The further you are from the tourist traps and places with cultural mixing the more monolingual a population becomes. It is the rarity of having so many small countries in close proximity, such as in Europe with separate defined cultures and languages, that makes them a rare breed.
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RE: Being a polyglot and its social implications

Postby two_heads_talking » Wed 01.23.2008 3:01 pm

:o
Wakannai wrote:
chchan45 wrote:
Multilingualism is normal for most people on this planet. I use three languages regularly in my daily life and think nothing special of it.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that people with English as their mother tongue see monolingualism as normal, and generally do not think it is worth the bother to learn other languages. They see others proficient in more than one language, think that they are a rare breed and treat them as "objects of curiosity". There are two sides to a coin, if you know what I mean.


I don't think it's an English thing at all, nor do I believe that multilingualism is normal for most people on the planet. Not that most educated people didn't at least study a second language, but I hardly believe that if you totaled the populations of India, China, Russsia, Pakinstan....in short, countries with large populations, and large amounts of inner geography 100 miles or more distant from a country speaking another language, that multilingualism is not the norm. Rather, I would say that people in small countries, that are less than an hour's drive from a foreign country, with a different standard language, have a skewed perception about how multicultural the world is.

The further you are from the tourist traps and places with cultural mixing the more monolingual a population becomes. It is the rarity of having so many small countries in close proximity, such as in Europe with separate defined cultures and languages, that makes them a rare breed.


Personally I think you are both right and you are both wrong. The problem is that you don't realize you are standing back to back. India, china and russia are using English more and more to the point that I would call that a multi-lingual culture. there are areas that are too poor where education is not as good and of course there won't be so many bi-lingual people.

so, what do we learn? that you can't spread peanut butter on a piece of bread without getting it on your fingers, and the knife used to spread it with. and quite possibly on your hands too.. :D
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RE: Being a polyglot and its social implications

Postby chikara » Wed 01.23.2008 7:10 pm

chchan45 wrote:
Multilingualism is normal for most people on this planet ......

You give your location as the United Kingdom. If "multilingualism is normal for most people" why is it that the majority of immigrants from the UK that I have met/worked with in this country only speak English?

Many of my friends speak Italian or Greek as a second language as their parents were born in Italy or Greece but majority of my friends and associates are monolingual.

two_heads_talking wrote:
... India, china and russia are using English more and more to the point that I would call that a multi-lingual culture. there are areas that are too poor where education is not as good and of course there won't be so many bi-lingual people. ....

That is an important distinction between a multilingual culture and a majority multilingual population. Many people in the south of India only speak Tamil and many people in the north only speak Hindi.
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RE: Being a polyglot and its social implications

Postby chchan45 » Thu 01.24.2008 12:40 am

Wakannai wrote:
I don't think it's an English thing at all, nor do I believe that multilingualism is normal for most people on the planet. Not that most educated people didn't at least study a second language, but I hardly believe that if you totaled the populations of India, China, Russsia, Pakinstan....in short, countries with large populations, and large amounts of inner geography 100 miles or more distant from a country speaking another language, that multilingualism is not the norm.


For your first point, please refer to point 9 of this link.

Your second point is based on the assumption that the populations of the "big countries" speak one standardised language. There are many languages and dialects in India and Pakistan. The various Chinese "dialects" are so different from each other that they are not mutually intelligible. In Africa, people generally can speak their own tribal language, a "trade" language (e.g. Swahili in Eastern Africa) and for some, their colonial language (e.g. English, French, Portugese, etc.). Even small countries can have surprisingly high linguistic diversity. Somebody from Switzerland told me that a person from Basel (north of the country) would struggle to communicate with his/her compatriot from Chur (near the south-eastern end) if they speak their respective German dialects.



Anyway, I fear that I am straying too far from the topic so perhaps I should answer the original question.

No, being a polyglot does not define who I am - it is just as things happen that I have to use more than one language in my daily life, and I am somehow managing fine. An intelligent person may work it out if he/she knows my surname, but I do not generally publish this fact unless I am asked.

I try to separate work from home (as much as possible) and use different languages in these contexts, so I suffer from no "split personalities".

I do not understand what you mean exactly by "learn a new language, gain a new window". If you say something in English, I am sure that there is a way to say it in Japanese (with maybe a little more explanation of the cultural context of course). If you want to say that newspapers in different languages report news from different angles so we have a wider view of current affairs, for example, then perhaps you have a point.

Please understand that people generally do not acquire languages to show off their abilities - they do it because they have to use them - so we would not analyse how we are different from, or "superior to" other monoglots. It is just a part of our daily lives and who we are.
Last edited by chchan45 on Thu 01.24.2008 1:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Being a polyglot and its social implications

Postby keatonatron » Thu 01.24.2008 8:40 am

chchan45 wrote:
For your first point, please refer to point 9 of this link.


I'm more interested in number 10: You should stop if your pediatrician tells you to.
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RE: Being a polyglot and its social implications

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Thu 01.24.2008 9:19 am

I don't think knowing two languages qualifies me as a polyglot, but I would say that in some part it defines who I am because my current career track is based entirely on Japanese, so even in just saying what my job/school subject is "reveals" that I know an additional language.

Of course the first question people always ask is "Wow, do you know Japanese?" I always have a slight desire to be mean and respond something like "No, but don't tell my department that".

But I've been doing it for long enough now that it no longer really seems remarkable to me -- and I guess it never really did because I never had any long-term goals with studying Japanese other than a vague desire to be able to read Japanese novels and play video games.
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