So what languages do people here speak/which languages are you learning?

Greetings to all my fellow ‘SSI’ language learners here. I was just wondering, what languages do you all speak/which language(s) are you all currently learning? You can include your native language if you like.

I’ll start. My native language is English. I’ve reached a pretty good level in Spanish and am doing well with Welsh. Over the last few years I’ve also worked on Polish, Scottish Gaelic and recently have dipped my toes into Arabic. I did have a go at French, Italian and German but unfortunately these are now a bit rusty, but I’m definitely planning on brushing them up again this year. In the future I’d like to learn Mandarin Chinese, Japanese and Esperanto, maybe even more beyond that. I’m inspired by hyper-polyglots who speak 5, 10, 15 or more languages and it’s a real passion and interest to me that enriches my life in many different ways.

Anyway this thread isn’t only about me, nor do I want to sound like I’m bragging about all these languages. I’m just a humble language learner who’s trying my best, and there’s still a lot of work to do :slight_smile: I’d really just love to know what languages everyone else here speaks/is learning, and maybe what language learning means to you and how it enhances your life. I want to know I’m not the only one who’s obsessed with languages!


not at all - that’s why we’re all here


Yes, I think I can define myself obsessed with languages , too! :wink:

I try go get a glimpse of every language I come across either traveling, meeting people from other countries or more recently trying random lessons on Duolingo. :smiley:
However I never went past a glimpse and a few words of each, and I never seriously attempted to learn a language as an adult until now with Welsh.

As for my background - in case we want to compare forumists’ experiences in learning:

Italian is my native language. I actually found it quite difficult to learn to speak it, by the way. I was good at reading an writing, but couldn’t manage long sentences when speaking and - unfortunately - in Italian,they’re essential. Of course, I improved since then, but I’m not a great speaker.

I was naturally attracted to English since I heard it in some song and loved the music and the sound of the language. I started learning it from records - just copying the sounds - then someone gave me a bunch of Beatles lyrics and I learnt to read those. Then studied it at school since about age 10 for about 9 (mostly boring) years.

I also studied French at school (age 14 to 19) but I didn’t like it then, so I just did what I needed to pass the exams. :grimacing: I’m quite fluent now, because I often went/go to France that’s just a few miles away from here and actually also ended up liking it quite a lot, but it took time!

A lot of my relatives are bilingual Italian + German (some mostly Italian, some mostly German), but all my attempts to learn it were unsuccessful. I still don’t understand much and can say just a few simple sentences.

I figured out a few of the reasons why I didn’t succeed, but I think I’m realizing a few more - now that I’m finding so much easier a language I didn’t even know existed until a few years ago. This language is Welsh, of course.
I got hooked on the sound of it, just like English.
And the songs, just like English.

And I’m also sure I’m still here because SSiW works great with me. And the people here in the Forum and those I met in Wales are great and I’m enjoying myself a lot!

So I guess for me it’s probably more of a language curiosity, plus a few other not completely clear factors that really matter. :slight_smile:


Hmm. I got asked recently how many languages I spoke (I was wearing a SSiW T-shirt at a friend’s party) and I said “about 3” - just meaning those I felt able to have a conversation in - but my partner said, “well, on holidays I’ve heard you speak X & Y & Z as well” - and then there’s dead languages that I know a bit but have never spoken. So I think it’s something like this:

Able to speak, conversationally (even on the phone): English (native), French, Catalan… and now Welsh.
Able to speak but a bit less well: Spanish, Modern Greek, Occitan, sort of but not really Portuguese.
Learnt but largely forgotten: German
Able to read to varying degrees, sometimes with heavy reference to textbooks: Italian, Romani, Old English, Old French, Old Provençal, Old Norse, bit of Gothic, maybe let’s not mention Latin or Ancient Greek (too rusty).
Know about three words of: Hindi, Farsi, Middle Egyptian, Sanskrit… and Hittite.

Oh - and a bit of Trinidadian French Creole :slight_smile:


I had varying levels of unsuccessful flirtation with French, German, Latin, Portuguese, Shona, Arabic, Thai and Italian before coming home to Wales in my early 30s.

Then I became a Welsh speaker, largely to my own surprise - and then (via rigorous testing of alcohol levels) became fairly conversationally comfortable in Spanish, and a little later on discovered that the same process brought my school French back to a fairly conversational kind of second life.

I’ve done what we’ve got available in SSiDutch and SSiManx, and now have an unexpected hunger to get to conversational proficiency in both of those - I really want to do the bulk listening work I need to get my Spanish and French over into ‘follow the radio or TV fairly easily’ kind of territory - and I’d very, very much like to do Breton and Basque as well. Oh, and I’d like to bring my Italian, German and Arabic up to speed - I suspect there’s enough raw material in there to be able to do it pretty quickly once we publish SSi courses for them.

All of this keeps getting interrupted, though, by the time-consuming process of trying to get SSi to the point where it can build courses for all those languages… :wink:


I’ve been collecting ways to say “Thank you”. Currently up to 30-ish.


I was near fluent in German 15 years ago. nd it comes flooding back when I met up with German friends. I can get by in French and have a smattering of Spanish. But I’m focusing on Welsh to make that number one if possible.


I grew up speaking only English (well, of a sort… I’m Australian :grin: ), learned Japanese to the equivalent of A-level but have since forgotten nearly all of it (having not used it for about 20 years), learned to read Biblical Hebrew and New Testament Greek for my university degree but can’t actually speak the modern version of either, and am now learning Cornish. That’s the only language other than my native one that I’ve become reasonably fluent in, though I still have a fair way to go with it (doesn’t help that the SSiCornish course is still stalled at only 10 lessons, but I’m aware that’s not the fault of anyone here…).

I chose Cornish partly because I’ve wanted for years to help save an endangered language, and partly because I have Cornish ancestry and I fell in love with Cornwall pretty much the moment I first set foot there. Now I’m concentrating on gaining complete fluency in Cornish and hopefully working through all the Cornish Language Board’s exams, before I spend any serious time on any other languages. I have picked up little bits of many other languages along the way, but I’d prefer now to concentrate on just the one rather than scatter my fire. I’m still hoping Welsh and maybe Breton will follow eventually!


English is my mother tongue, italian a close second, portuguese (brazilian version) a fairly rusty but competent 3rd, french I read and write pretty well and can certainly get by in spoken form, can cobble-together an effective if not elegant spanish plus a weak smattering of hindi (been to India lots and studied hindi in Mussoori at the well-known language school there), and can order food and barter in Thai! (Just gotta know “Tao rai?” - how much? / “Pang maak!” (too expensive!) and “Pom blien jai” - (I’ve changed my mind) - for the walk-away before they lower the price to get you back! LOL

Welsh is currently blowing my mind with how much I’m enjoying it. Have got a 20-day streak on Dewi Lingo’s program (pretty good for vocab if not modelling the best spoken word) under my belt and just completed C1 and C2 of Level 1 SSiW. I’m talking to myself a lot in welsh already and probably making a complete sow’s ear of it but I will get cracking with hangouts and such like very shortly.

I feel it is absolutely essential that Yr Iaith Gymraeg par hau achos I believe true ‘diversity’ should consist of the maintenance of unique languages and cultures in harmony side-by-side rather than a homogenizing of everything into an undifferentiated hotch-potch in which people lose sight of their uniqueness.

See you all across the aether…sometime!


Reading the answers, I think it could be interesting to hear more about how people (who haven’t explained it already) end up choosing and learning even just a little bit of minority languages. Since I guess it’s not always that obvious.

For me Piedmontese (sometimes defined dialect, sometimes language, I don’t know) should get honorable mention because I can understand it - especially in a few Canavese variants (that’s where my Piemontese side of the family comes from) and actually also can speak it a bit.

But as a teenager I thought it sounded horrible, stuff for old people from the country (that I didn’t want to be in any way seen as related to), and utterly uncool.

Which happens to remind me of things I heard from non-Welsh speakers in Wales - by the way.

And the funny thing is that every time I say I’m learning Welsh people tell me “why don’t you learn Piedmontese (or a local minority language in danger) instead? That’s your tradition, that’s you’re connected with!” :grinning:

But…I just like Welsh more, and I thought it was cool since I first heard it!

p.s. other languages I know a few words/sentences of, but didn’t feel attracted enough to study them: Breton, Irish, Bambara, Wolof, Basque, Hawaiian, Occitan, Provençal, Niçard, patoué valdotèn, Walser, Ladin (and all Italian dialects).


English first language, Welsh learning, Spanish fluent (speaking, reading and writing) but not as good as a native speaker and I’ve learnt (from sorry experience) never to get into an argument with a native speaker about politics, football, money or love because you’ll never win!


I kind of did just that.

Basically, my grandfather worked on the railways, in a carriageworks in Buckinghamshire. He fought in the Balkans in the First World War, and got a field promotion to Captain, so he was sent back home to England, by train through much of Europe, for officer training. After the war he went back to his job in the factory: the army wasn’t needed, he’d been sickened by the war, and anyway they wouldn’t have wanted working-class officers.
So after the Second World War, my dad’s French teacher was organising exchange visits for the schoolchildren with French schoolchildren: being in a railway town, he organised it all through an office of the SNCF, which dealt with such things, and they all went off by rail to different parts of France to stay with the children of French railway workers. So they asked my dad whereabouts in France he would like to go, and he asked his dad, who told him that the South was nice, having seen it from the troop train, so that’s where my dad went.
So when I was a child, we usually used to go to France on holiday, and I started picking up French from about the age of 4, just from playing with other children. And we usually went to the South, because he still kept in touch with old friends there. This meant two things for me, as far as language was concerned: firstly, when we went to Wales it seemed natural to me to be curious about a language that had such recognisable words as pont and eglwys and ffenestr; and secondly, that I began to wonder how come we always went to the Languedoc without ever seeming to hear the Langue d’Oc.
So, basically: I learnt some Occitan from textbooks, but could never really speak it; then learnt Catalan, which was easy, because it was so close to Occitan; and so started to understand some of the issues around minority languages. But I always felt slightly guilty – almost a slight shame – that I’d managed to speak Occitan (just about) to people in the village my parents moved to in France, and that I always speak Catalan in Catalunya (it’s much better than my Spanish), but had never learnt any of the indigenous minority languages of these islands… So I finally have, a dyma ni :slight_smile:


A native English speaker, I did French and German GCE O Levels over 50 years ago but they still ooze through even after all this time. I’m now learning Welsh but I have a copy of Beowulf I’d like to be able to read one day in the original language so that’s a project for the future.


I’m a native Dutch speaker and fluent in English. I can speak some basic German and am now learning English to Welsh, which even teaches me some subtleties about the English language, which I use every day without thinking, but if you have to translate word for word there are a few little surprises.

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I enjoy asking my English friends to remember that Welsh is one of our British native languages, and they should perhaps respect it rather than deride it! I was a qualified Interpreter in German which, now I am 83 years young is a distinct disadvantage when trying to master Welsh. I get in a fearful muddle between German and Welsh, which, for those of you who know German, is very apt, as the German word for a muddled or mixture of two languages happens to be “Kauderwelsch”!


Reading the posts here leaves me awestruck. Everyone’s like, “Oh, I’ve studied this language and that language, I know a bit of this, and I’m fluent in five others.” :open_mouth:
Meanwhile, I’m just a monolingual human who hasn’t put much effort into trying to learn a language before now. In my freshman year of high school, I was put into a Spanish class, but at the time my mentality was sort of “I didn’t sign up for this, I don’t want to take a foreign language class”. And some of the stuff was a struggle, further exacerbated by the fact that I didn’t study much for classes. (It’s kind of astounding that I did decently in history because of that.) Due to budget restrictions, the class was cancelled after the first semester, and I never took a language class in later years when the schools I went to offered them. So I basically have a half a school year of foreign language, and I’ve forgotten most of what I did learn due to disuse.
Anyway, I had the vague knowledge that there was a Welsh language, though I really didn’t know much about it, or about Wales. Learning more about those, and hearing Welsh music, got me interested. So here I am, testing if I can actually commit to this. (Unlike Spanish, the clarinet, the piano keyboard, those stories I started years ago and never completed, etc.)
Long story short, I’m fluent in English (whatever ‘fluent’ is–there’s always new aspects of a language :laughing:), and hoping to make some progress with Welsh.


Hello all.

I’ve decided that after a month of this topic being silent I’ll hop in to disturb that silence and that’s only because I’m not either English, neither Italian, German, Spanish or any other of those “big” languages native speaker but rather the native speaker of the language which (I believe) no one is native speaker on this forum of.

I’m native sLOVEnian speaker, the native speaker of the language spoken by about 2 million people home and abroad - the language which is not mentioned or rearly mentioned when there’s the conversation about languages going on.

Apart from being Slovene native speaker (DO NOT MIX IT WITH SLOVAK, please) I’m, (as you can see), quite fluent in English although I make many, many mistakes hence writing or speaking and if you add the awkward accent to it, that’s prety much awkward all of this.

I once self-learnt German and italian through the course on the cassettes but as the chance to use it vanished through the years, the knowledge has vanished too. I’d probably say some sentences (quite wrongly though) in German yet, but Italian went to slumber although I, when reading, can still understand quite a lot.

Nowdays, Welsh is the love of my life and I’m trying, more or less successfully, to get some degree of fluency. There’s still a long way to that although I’m speaking the language every week for an ahour and am still doing lessons (switched from South to North now) every day.

I’ve learnt some Serbo-Croatian in primary school and mostly used it from time to time through all my years. As the ex-country of ex-Yugoslavia we have a lot of native Serbian and Croatian speakers (alnog with other people from other republics of ex-Yugoslavia) so there’s still a lot of opportunity to convers in these two languages if you just want that. It’s rusty but most is still here.

I have plans to learn more languages but I am (like many others here) focusing on the Welsh at the moment. I’ve tried Manx but I see I’d have to put more effort into it so I’ve dismissed the idea of really learning it at the moment.

French cassettes (the same kind as those of German) are still waiting here to be used but, to be honest, French was(is) the last language I’d want to learn as I was told it’s extreamly taugh to learn.

I’m doing some Czech, Slovak, Russian and Esperanto form time to time, but apart from maybe one sentence, I can’t really say much.

I plan to re-build my German and Italian since I was quite good at it in the past, but this will have to wait a bit at the moment.

Spanish I did some too and back in 90s I could order Sangria totally in Spanish before I consumed some of it later on … now I’d probably have to turn the order :smile:.

This is approximately it … all and nothing one could say. But that’s me! Too many interests of all kinds, too many languages out there to learn and too little time to do it everything properly.

I also have to mention that (except some occassional trips like it was to Spain in 1994 and 1995 and to Wales in 2016) I didn’t travel anywhere so I really didn’t (and still don’t) get the chance to speak with native speakers “in the wild” in any language apart from my own native language though.

Tatjana :slight_smile:


At school I had 6 good years of Latin and French. I really enjoyed Latin and it has since proved useful in studying other Romance languages. I have worked as a physicist in Canadian French and, as Aber Uni’s European Officer, I have worked in French in Belgium and other Francophone countries. I become fluent again when I go to France or meet with French friends. I took classes in Italian followed by an intensive course in the University of Pavia which has equipped me to converse socially in Italian especially after a few days in Italy (and a few glasses of Barolo). I attended an intensive course in German in Blaubeuren ( Baden-Württemberg) and have enough German for travel purposes. My wife and I started to learn Russian when she was carrying our son 39 years ago. Building on this is on my bucket list. I’m currently trying to learn Portuguese in preparation for celebrating M’s ** birthday in Madeira. So far, I’d rank Portuguese as the hardest.
Oh and Iestyn tells me I speak Welsh, ond sa i’n siwr am hyn. :smile:
I LOVE languages (and dialects) because I enjoy talking and listening to people.


Unlike many folk here, maybe I do not find languages easy so they are not my first love—mathematics, physics, art and music would be my picks.

Over the years, I have ‘had to’ learn Latin, Greek and Hebrew for the purpose of reading not speaking them. At school French and German were a ‘must’ and I did revise the basics for travelling—which was fun. For work I needed S, American Spanish, and that was the first one that really ‘clicked’ although my vocabulary revolves around mining and metallurgy.

Then along came SSiW and finally a way to enjoy learning a language ‘out loud’. Welsh is now a genuine interest and passion—thank you.



Please see my private message “A long shot”, Marilyn :smile:

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