What's metafilter's second language? October 25, 2022 11:42 AM   Subscribe

If English isn't your first language, what is the language you are most fluent in?
posted by aniola to MetaFilter-Related at 11:42 AM (79 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

I speak almost half a dozen Indian languages reasonably fluently. And then there's a big dropoff until we hit Mandarin Chinese, which I speak almost half a dozen sentences of, and German, in which I know almost half a dozen words.
posted by MiraK at 11:58 AM on October 25, 2022 [6 favorites]


Urdu. اردو

Now I'm really curious to see how many Mefites don't have English as their native language.
posted by tavegyl at 12:02 PM on October 25, 2022 [7 favorites]


Hablo un poquito de Espanol. like I can have a pretty sophisticated conversation with a 5 year old.

I can say/read a tiny bit of French.

Parlo Italiano con i miei gatti.
posted by supermedusa at 12:09 PM on October 25, 2022 [1 favorite]


Sorry comment deleted: I'm an anglophone and shd shut up
posted by BobTheScientist at 12:31 PM on October 25, 2022 [8 favorites]


I suppose Korean is my first language, but at this point I feel it's a toss-up between Korean and English.
posted by needled at 12:46 PM on October 25, 2022 [7 favorites]


ugh sorry, me too
posted by supermedusa at 12:56 PM on October 25, 2022 [5 favorites]


I have buried languages. Three years of high school French (dad said "take Spanish", I should have taken Latin). It's mostly gone thirty five years dormant, still pops up occasionally. About fifteen years ago I knew a rather good bit of Japanese. I was a backend hacker for a Japanese learning site and spent a good bit of time in Japanese chat talking about everything, answering questions, and the like. The site owner ran a book import business, I have like four linear feet worth of Japanese language learning materials. Barely missed JLPT2 because of all of the business vocabulary. Just a bit less buried than the French.
posted by zengargoyle at 12:56 PM on October 25, 2022


English is not my first language. English is the language I am most fluent in.
posted by vacapinta at 1:07 PM on October 25, 2022 [30 favorites]


This post seems to be confusing people because the title asks about second language, but the question is asking people's first languages, for those whose first is not English. People are answering two different questions.
posted by automatronic at 1:11 PM on October 25, 2022 [21 favorites]


Smocklish.
posted by pee tape at 1:13 PM on October 25, 2022 [1 favorite]


Ukrainian is my first language, then Spanish, then English.

In terms of proficiency it's English, Ukrainian, then a steep drop off with Spanish.

(My Spanish comprehension is pretty good, but complex vocab is weak; guess who's parents put them in an ESL program and then learned the wrong language)
posted by larthegreat at 1:20 PM on October 25, 2022 [7 favorites]


I speak a little Spanish.
posted by kingless at 1:32 PM on October 25, 2022


German.
posted by amf at 1:57 PM on October 25, 2022 [2 favorites]


Also German. Though by now I think in English.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 2:41 PM on October 25, 2022 [4 favorites]


English isn't my first language either, but it's the language I've been most fluent in since about age four. French was my first, but it's pretty rusty now.
posted by ourobouros at 2:48 PM on October 25, 2022 [4 favorites]


Danish is my first language, but my English is clearly better. We always some it at home, but I never had any formal schooling in Danish - I somehow picked up reading and writing on my own while I was learning the same in English at school. I still make silly grammatical errors in Danish (hasn't been my primary language since age six), but it's gotten a lot better after my husband got serious about learning, as I use it a lot more. We've also started watching some Danish TV (hurray VPNs!) which helps.
posted by Dysk at 7:49 PM on October 25, 2022 [4 favorites]


This post seems to be confusing people because the title asks about second language, but the question is asking people's first languages, for those whose first is not English. People are answering two different questions.

The title asks about Metafilter's second language, not the second language of any given Mefite. So the most-popular language other than English would be the site's second language.
posted by NotLost at 8:20 PM on October 25, 2022 [3 favorites]


The title asks about Metafilter's second language, not the second language of any given Mefite. So the most-popular language other than English would be the site's second language.

Yes, that's it exactly.
posted by aniola at 9:15 PM on October 25, 2022 [2 favorites]


Dutch.
posted by rjs at 9:59 PM on October 25, 2022 [3 favorites]


Cereal box French, then my mother tongue Cantonese (not literate).
posted by porpoise at 10:01 PM on October 25, 2022 [2 favorites]


The title asks about Metafilter's second language, not the second language of any given Mefite. So the most-popular language other than English would be the site's second language.

Oh, it’s probably snark.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:13 PM on October 25, 2022 [16 favorites]


Luxembourgish. That’s definitely not gonna win as Metafilter’s second language tho.
posted by ClarissaWAM at 12:16 AM on October 26, 2022 [16 favorites]


Irish (and likewise probably not going to rank up there with the others)
posted by TwoWordReview at 12:21 AM on October 26, 2022 [2 favorites]


Polish, but I'm functionally bilingual in that it's easier to think in English sometimes. (Thinking in French happens sometimes too, yay for learning languages before one's tenth birthday.)
posted by I claim sanctuary at 12:28 AM on October 26, 2022 [5 favorites]


My home languages are Malay and Malaysian English (which is a type of creole), then also at native level would be (international) English (if you see my continual edits with gendered pronouns, plurals, and tenses you're just witnessing my Malay/Chinese grammar in action that's the basis for Malaysian English grammar). Textbook Indonesian is only because it's a sister language. I'm going to claim Singlish (Singaporean English) for the same reason. So technically English isn't my first language, Manglish is one of my mother tongues.

Other than that, French and Japanese I guess, but strictly at advanced beginner levels. I'm more fluent speaking Japanese, but significantly better at reading French. I can read Arabic scripts extremely slowly.
posted by cendawanita at 12:29 AM on October 26, 2022 [9 favorites]


German.
posted by Skybly at 1:13 AM on October 26, 2022 [1 favorite]


It used to be Kannada, but years of disuse combined with my move to Mexico has promoted Spanish to second on my list of fluency (after English).
posted by dhruva at 1:55 AM on October 26, 2022 [3 favorites]


But seriously now, what _is_ Metafilter's second language? This is an interesting question. I imagine a tenth of the regularly using user base isn't 'English' speaking in their day-to-day life (which is maybe another way of framing the question) - so which language is it?

(My alternate, day-to-day language is German but I've built a pretty English bubble around myself)
posted by From Bklyn at 2:33 AM on October 26, 2022 [3 favorites]


My native language is Finnish.
posted by baueri at 3:23 AM on October 26, 2022 [4 favorites]


English is my second language but definitely the one I'm most fluent in.

Apparently I spoke little to no English when I started preschool at age 2, at which point my teachers told my parents (for whom English is a second and third language respectively) to only speak English at home. Well-intentioned, I'm sure, but it means my Marathi stalled at toddler-level and I can now barely communicate with my grandmother, whose English is deteriorating as she enters her 90s.
posted by basalganglia at 4:53 AM on October 26, 2022 [7 favorites]


Français, aka French Canadian.
posted by ddaavviidd at 5:50 AM on October 26, 2022 [3 favorites]


First language is Estonian. I speak Finnish too.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 6:16 AM on October 26, 2022 [6 favorites]


Spanish was my first language. All English now. During periods when I can be immersed, the barrier between the two gets pretty porous.
posted by jquinby at 7:38 AM on October 26, 2022 [4 favorites]


Tamarian. Sokath, his eyes uncovered.
posted by Splunge at 9:45 AM on October 26, 2022 [2 favorites]


Je parle Francais, un peu
posted by Windopaene at 10:19 AM on October 26, 2022 [1 favorite]


German.
posted by CompanionCube at 10:46 AM on October 26, 2022 [2 favorites]


Svenska.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 12:07 PM on October 26, 2022 [3 favorites]


Dutch.
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:21 PM on October 26, 2022 [3 favorites]


German
posted by koahiatamadl at 4:01 PM on October 26, 2022 [2 favorites]


Started life in Hochdeutsch (sadly no dialect, we moved around and my folks were from two different regions), then switched to NYC American (except at home and with family) at nine, added Parisian French at fifteen while keeping the American, then switched that (tracelessly) to Oxford English at eighteen, and then finally added Italian at 22, switching over to it, including with my partner and the kids we’ve had, who like to add a Roman accent to theirs. Overall some form of English is probably my most proficient language, but it’s neither my first, nor my main language anymore. (Lately I’ve found myself attracted to interpreting texts in languages I don’t know. I guess adding languages can become kind of a habit.)
posted by progosk at 10:34 PM on October 26, 2022 [7 favorites]


My native language is (Castilian) Spanish, then in descending order of proficiency English (fluent), German (lower intermediate?), Japanese (upper basic?), and French (whatever I remember from school). Also high school Latin (Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres).
posted by sukeban at 12:44 AM on October 27, 2022 [3 favorites]


My native, and home language, is Icelandic. My wife is Finnish, and I’ve gained a basic, very basic, proficiency, in the language. I can converse in it, but how long that conversation will be depends entirely on the patience of the Finn I’m speaking to, though thankfully Finns are generally a patient bunch. Also, I’m spurred on in learning the language by the fact that my wife learned Icelandic in just a couple of years.

My second language, in chronological terms, is French, but to my sadness I lost a lot of it as I moved away from France before I learned to read, so had no easy way to retain it. Again, I can converse in it, but I require a lot of patience from my interlocutor. My other lost language is Danish. I studied it at school as a child, but I can’t really speak or read it now.

I started picking up English from subtitled television shows when I was a kid, and my dad taught me how to read it when I was about ten. When I first moved to the US I had an accent. Americans thought I was “maybe Scottish” which probably means I sounded a bit like Sean Connery. But by the time I left, having lived in Providence for most of that time, when I traveled around the US people would ask me if I was from New England, based on the way I spoke, even getting a “you from Rhode Island” when someone noticed I used some dialect terms. Now when I speak English I start off with a slight Icelandic accent and then drift back across the Atlantic towards New England.
posted by Kattullus at 12:47 AM on October 27, 2022 [10 favorites]


Native: Dutch. Close second: English, then German, Danish and French. Can read Norwegian (and speak a mangled Danish that might be passable), Swedish, and a bit of Spanish and Italian.

Used to be pretty fluent in a couple of computer languages, but doing very little programming anymore nowadays. They've mostly been replaced with Invective.
posted by Stoneshop at 2:39 AM on October 27, 2022 [3 favorites]


English is not my first language. English is the language I am most fluent in.

Likewise.

My native language is Dutch but my entire secondary, tertiary etc education has been in English language international schools or within the Anglosphere as has been my professional career. Even though I work for a Dutch company, I do all my work in English.

I speak English with a pronounced American accent. As in, if you yourself are an American you will 100% be sure that I am as well until I tell you otherwise.

I can read German and French reasonably well and both Spanish and Italian slowly and with recourse to a dictionary if I'm reading something other than a technical document (my technical vocabulary in my area of work is of course much stronger than my general vocabulary in those languages).

I recently discovered that my schoolboy Latin gets me pretty far in reading Romanian.

I can do basic greetings in Russian and Arabic and can read the scripts. I can do basic greetings and weather chat in Frisian

Despite spending much of my life in an environment with a majority of people from the Indian subcontinent, I don't know more than a scattering of Hindi and can't read any Indian languages North or South, which is sort of too bad and I would probably remedy if I ever lived or worked there again but then again, Indian middle classes up to elites have perfect English (by no means an "additional" or "foreign" language to someone from a Mumbai merchant family) so the actual impetus to do it was always weak for me.

I do sort of wish I'd been less of a language dilettante, then I could just add a third fluent language rather than a bunch languages I know a little about.

Also, my languages are pretty clustered around Germanic (English, Dutch, German, Frisian) and Romance (French, Italian, Spanish) and only my very limited Arabic isn't Indo-European.

To put it in CEFR terms:

English: native
Dutch: native
German: B2 (the only one that's actually verified by exam)
French: B1
Italian: A2
Spanish: A2
Russian: less than A1
Arabic: less than A1
Frisian: less than A1
posted by atrazine at 5:00 AM on October 27, 2022 [3 favorites]


I recently discovered that my schoolboy Latin gets me pretty far in reading Romanian.

Try reading something in Catalan too! There's a lot of great Catalan writers. And my Spanish has been enough to plow through them! I really enjoyed El Navegant by Joan-Lluís Lluís and I have a book by Jaume Cabre I have yet to read.

In CEFR terms, in order of fluency, I am:
English: native
Spanish: native
Portuguese: C1 (verified by exam)
French: B2 (verified by exam)
Italian: B1
Dutch: B1 (finished a B1 class years ago but have continued practicing/reading since then)
Japanese: A2

I've read novels in all the languages. I do have to stop and look up many words in Dutch and it gets worse in Japanese. At the top level, Portuguese speakers have confused me for a native but I'm not native.

On the Dutch side, my spouse and I shared a train car in a sleeper train with two older Dutch women recently and conversed in Dutch for hours - so my Dutch is probably better than I think it is. We also see Dutch-subtitled movies all the time in, say, German (e.g. Corsage) or Russian (e.g. Petrov's Flu) and have no problems.

My spouse speaks all the above languages as well but more fluently, except for the Japanese.
posted by vacapinta at 5:54 AM on October 27, 2022 [7 favorites]


I speak and think in English.
I grew up speaking Lithuanian at home. I still speak it with my Mom.
I went to a French school until university, and then I switched to English.
I still count in French, decades later - can’t help it.
While in school and university I learned Spanish and German, enough to write long essays in either language about literary topics. I wish I had retained that fluency. I can still converse in Spanish, but my German vocabulary and esp the grammar have been relegated to the back cells of my brain.
I am comfortable reading news headlines in Swedish and Norwegian, having traveled there repeatedly.
posted by seawallrunner at 6:09 AM on October 27, 2022 [3 favorites]


My first language is Afrikaans but I'm completely bilingual in Afrikaans and English.

People are always telling me "you don't seem Afrikaans at all!" as if that's a compliment. 😐
posted by Zumbador at 6:42 AM on October 27, 2022 [5 favorites]


English is not my first language. English is the language I am most fluent in.

I am the same. Mine is due to living that extremely common trajectory of American-born children of immigrants -- my first language is Mandarin Chinese because that's what my parents speak to each other and what they spoke to me at home.

But my English surpassed my Mandarin shortly after I started kindergarten, and well the rest is as you can predict.

I also speak French (between a B2-C1 overall) and Spanish (at about a B2 level with speaking being the weakest of my skills.)
posted by andrewesque at 10:36 AM on October 27, 2022 [5 favorites]


German (and then a bunch others).
posted by Namlit at 12:19 PM on October 27, 2022 [3 favorites]


I moved to Germany when I was two and 1/2, I had German babysitters while my parents worked. By the time I was six I was totally bi-lingual and had helped my parents become linguists, for raises at their work. I took first place in stat high school language competition, the three years I went to high school in Utah.This was after a second tour of duty for my family, six years later. I like German, the way it over thinks itsself.
posted by Oyéah at 1:51 PM on October 27, 2022 [3 favorites]


It has been so interesting to hear the language journeys of MeFi users! This was a great question (the actual question asked…).
posted by obfuscation at 3:51 PM on October 27, 2022 [5 favorites]


native english speaker

advanced mandarin and spanish (my mandarin is probably "better" than my spanish but it depends on what you look at, my writing in spanish is better as is my pronunciation but my reading ability and extended vocabulary in mandarin is much better...I can listen to mandarin fantasy audiobooks with 100% comprehension)

advanced japanese (but not as good as mandarin or spanish)
posted by wooh at 10:28 PM on October 27, 2022


The answers to this question makes me very curious how people relate to their cultural identity. How many people have a clear idea of where they belong, that's shared and accepted by others?

I seem to be entirely defined by what I'm not.

Afrikaans speaking, but not an Afrikaner.
Autistic, but passing as Neurotypical.
Non Binary, but passing as either a woman or a man depending on what people assume.
posted by Zumbador at 10:39 PM on October 27, 2022 [8 favorites]


This article on how autistic identity is experienced differently might interest you.

How many people have a clear idea of where they belong, that's shared and accepted by others?

I assume, based on popular media tropes, that it's a minority.
posted by aniola at 11:10 PM on October 27, 2022 [3 favorites]


This article on how autistic identity is experienced differently might interest you

(Fellow autist here)

This was interesting, but I feel like there is a bit of self-serving bias in the author's constructions and examples especially. Lis (autistic) is painted as sensible and rational compared to Rita (non-autistic) who is portrayed as irrationally unable to get past knee jerk emotional reactions to think about things. And then the (presumed neurotypical) world rewards Rita for being a team player and chastises Lis. It's just too pat and... almost reads like a kind of autism supremacy, in how it painted autistic people as dedicated to values, versus venal, self-serving, irrationally team-minded neurotypicals.

I mean, I understand that it's perhaps a counter-reaction against a world that constantly problematises autistic identities and traits, but it doesn't make it any less odious - two wrongs don't make a right.

Like, I don't necessarily think this theory is wrong, I just think the way he writes about it and the examples he uses are steeped in a fairly naked "I'm the best" kind of bias. I wish there were an article on this that didn't just make me groan and roll my eyes every other paragraph.
posted by Dysk at 1:27 AM on October 28, 2022 [2 favorites]


(Realise on rereading my comment that I probably shouldn't use a male gender default, especially given no reason to assume it applies)
posted by Dysk at 2:20 AM on October 28, 2022


Native: Bengali.
Close to native proficiency at Hindi, can understand bits and pieces of a few other regional langauges of India as well.
At work and increasingly among friends (it makes me sad, but friends come from all over the country so it's just commonality at play)- English.
posted by Nieshka at 6:34 AM on October 28, 2022 [4 favorites]


Malayalam is my first language but really only use it with my parents and in-laws.
Does Bahamian Dialect/Creole count? If so then that too, but really only sparingly with childhood friends.
posted by bxvr at 3:57 PM on October 28, 2022 [2 favorites]


1. Chilean Spanish.
2. Vaguely American English.
3. Python.
4. I understand like 5-10% of words in German, and can say with a decent pronunciation: "I have and idea: let's go to the movies tonight! However, I don't have any money, could you pay for me?" This sentence has been actually useful 1 time, and a party trick a dozen or so.
5. I can say "I can't speak [your language] do you speak English?" in 6-ish languages.
6. I once had a conversation with a Croatian soldier on a train whom I did not share any language with. We spoke in Greek.
posted by signal at 6:53 PM on October 28, 2022 [3 favorites]


German.
posted by sohalt at 12:26 AM on October 29, 2022 [1 favorite]


The answers to this question makes me very curious how people relate to their cultural identity. How many people have a clear idea of where they belong, that's shared and accepted by others?

As I've added idioms and locations to my Werdegang, it's a question that's often been posed (along with "what language do you think in?"), and it's often felt halfway between a trick question and an attempt to just ground the asker's own simplified idea of what/who they are.

In terms of where I belong my go-to concept, both as a viable reply and as a personal reality-check, has long been "European". Lately, this looks like it's going to become somewhat untenable, as intrinsic and extrinsic forces concur to fracture it fatally. I found comfort in the multiplicity of inputs, and the gamut of guises I could credibly choose from thanks to them (my physical person registers as normatively privileged on all other social axes).

I wonder whether I'll be forced to revise this cosmopolitan idea of myself that's been foundational so far. (Thanks for asking; I too have loved discovering the manifold that is Mefi.)
posted by progosk at 7:20 AM on October 29, 2022 [4 favorites]


Native English speaker.
Japanese is my best second language, although much better written than spoken.
I was taught Hebrew as a kid. I retain none of it.
There's some high-school French rattling around in the back of my brain, and a lot of those synapses were reactivated recently when I started working on Portuguese in Duolingo—although I kind of gave up on that when I realized how different Brazilian Portuguese (what Duolingo teaches) is from European Portuguese (what I was interested in).
posted by adamrice at 8:31 AM on October 29, 2022


German, but I'm far from fluent in it.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 10:33 AM on October 29, 2022


I don't know why it annoys me so much that some people answer the question 'What is your second language?' as if that was what was asked. But it does. I wish I was less petty, but here we are.
I would have been interested in the results, but they're going to be difficult to summarize since not all of us have answered the same question.
posted by Too-Ticky at 11:40 AM on October 29, 2022 [4 favorites]


I was frustrated with it, too. My guess is people didn't read the comments far enough to get the clarification.

I did my best to tag this post with the languages I thought were answering the spirit of the question I tried to ask. If anyone feels that their language tag is missing or incorrectly present, please let me know and I will fix it.
posted by aniola at 12:26 PM on October 29, 2022 [2 favorites]


My fault. But also, seems like MetaTalk doesn't highlight the OP's replies. The question itself was malformed in that the title and subject didn't match. It also does not take into account bi/multi lingual people.

We all can do English because we're all here. Assuming English was second or third or fourth, what other language did you grow up speaking. Which language are you more comfortable with. Asking native language is rather pointed as in the "where are you from?" sort of way. The question people answered.... is actually a better question than trying to pin down a unique second behind English answer.

It's also MetaTalk so rules are a bit on the fuzzy side, a bit more room for tangents. This question was going to go this way from the get-go.
posted by zengargoyle at 3:28 PM on October 29, 2022


Agreed, I didn't get the question right. You're right, I know perfectly well people can have multiple languages. And I in no way meant to imply "where are you from," which I know from personal experience can be a painful question.

trying to pin down a unique second behind English answer.

I think there might be something that's still unclear, so I'm going to bold a bit of this quote from up-thread:

The title asks about Metafilter's second language, not the second language of any given Mefite. So the most-popular language other than English would be the site's second language.

I think there's room for more posts with more questions. There's a lot of nuance and I'm still not quite sure what the best question to ask would be. I know this is a difficult question to frame, and that the framing was unclear. My apologies.
posted by aniola at 5:55 PM on October 29, 2022 [1 favorite]


Japanese. It's the only language I hear and speak on a daily basis because there are no other English speakers around me, but I still write better in English. I read and understand Japanese equally well, but have always had trouble writing kanji and hate having to fill out forms in front of people. I speak English maybe once or twice a year with English-speaking friends, and feel kind of self-conscious because I still sound so, so American -- with a slight Southern drawl even because that's where I spent years of my childhood -- though I haven't set foot in the country for about 30 years at this point.

I found everyone's answers interesting, thanks for putting the thread up, aniola.
posted by misozaki at 6:07 PM on October 29, 2022 [6 favorites]


I don't know why it annoys me so much that some people answer the question 'What is your second language?' as if that was what was asked. But it does. I wish I was less petty, but here we are.

We answered what was literally asked by the subject: our best language as non-native English speakers. (It’s pretty obvious that that answer was going to be: English.)

The statistic that the title seems instead to be aiming at, the non-English language that most users of the site are proficient in, will mostly need answers from native English speakers, since they’re the majority of users, surely. But they were uninvited from answering by the post subject.

Sorry the interesting answers did not scratch your specific itch, aniola.
posted by progosk at 10:42 PM on October 29, 2022 [2 favorites]


The statistic that the title seems instead to be aiming at, the non-English language that most users of the site are proficient in, will mostly need answers from native English speakers, since they’re the majority of users, surely. But they were uninvited from answering by the post text.

Thanks, this is helpful. I think there's still some confusion.

Imaginary example response I was not asking for: "Hi! I was born in an English-speaking country, grew up speaking English, and learned a bit of another language in high school. I know swear words in 8 different languages!" This is where any grumbling on my part was directed, and where I believe the person you quoted's grumbling was directed as well. I think people who answered the question that would fit more in this category were answering the question they thought they read in the title of my post.

Imaginary example responses I was asking for: "I spoke as a child/speak at home/am fluent/CEFR native/most comfortable with/feel a sense of relief when I speak/prefer to speak/etc. this other non-English language or languages, let me tell you my story (or give a one-word answer, or whatever)." One of many real examples of this would be the answer you shared.

Answers that literally answered the post text were pretty much what I was going for. My regrets about post wording are that it could have been more inclusive.

We answered what was literally asked by the post text, our best language as non-native English speakers. It’s pretty obvious that that answer was going to be: English.

You have the correct audience in mind. However, the answer I was looking for is your non-English language or languages. Let me try to say another way what I meant with the title by making an analogy:

English is the dominant language in the US. The second-most useful language to know in the US (by number of speakers) is Spanish. There are lots of other languages in the US. (Unlike Metafilter not all commenters in the US speaks English.) I think most people would say that the second language of the US is Spanish. That was the same sort of question I was trying to ask. It seems like the answer may not be nearly as distinct as it is with the US. Which is neat! Yay, language diversity!
posted by aniola at 11:45 PM on October 29, 2022 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure the necessarily is a dominant second language like that, and I really don't know how you'd go about finding out other than by polling mefites for what languages they speak.
posted by Dysk at 12:48 AM on October 30, 2022


aniola, are you interested in the best non-English language of non-native anglophone Mefites, or the best non-English language of all Mefites? (For non-native anglophones, that might be their own first or third language, for native English speakers it would be their second - if I’m understanding you right.)
posted by progosk at 2:12 AM on October 30, 2022


I thought aniola was asking:
"if English is not your first language, what is your first language?"
posted by Zumbador at 10:14 AM on October 30, 2022 [10 favorites]


Hah, I read the question even more incorrectly: I saw "only" where the question was actually about one's "first" language. Whoops!
posted by Juffo-Wup at 2:51 PM on October 30, 2022


Juffo-Wup, that's a relief! I was worried when you seemed to say that you were far from fluent in your first language.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:08 AM on October 31, 2022 [2 favorites]


Some people are far from fluent in their first language.

Here's a jessamyn post on language justice.
posted by aniola at 9:14 AM on October 31, 2022 [4 favorites]


Native: Hungarian.

Can get by with German on a farmers market, but not in an office. Just enough Russian to get basic directions, though I'm working on it.
posted by kmt at 6:29 AM on November 2, 2022 [2 favorites]


Native: Bengali. Because I was taught English at school and exposed to English media and really pushed to develop proficiency in English as a child, I am very comfortable with English and I think my Bengali has suffered as an result - I definitely stumble a bit when reading, which is a real shame, and I feel self-conscious about my accent and grammatical lapses when I speak in Bangla.
posted by unicorn chaser at 3:12 AM on November 3, 2022 [2 favorites]


I grew up as a native speaker of English in an English-speaking home (although one grandmother came from Oslo, and the other came from Cobh, so I have a bit of an accent.) I learned French in Ontario high school, and lived with Québecois hippies for a year, so I speak some French... not as much as I would like. I also studied German for three years in high school, so I speak some German. Again, not as much as I would like.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 7:38 PM on November 6, 2022


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