Friday, March 07, 2014

What Languages Sound Like To Foreigners

This is amazing.

22 comments:

Cindy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cindy said...

Okay, now that I read what she is actually doing, I realize that she's pretty damned good at it.

Paint Chips said...

I wish I spoke just one other language.

I wonder where she got her glasses from . . .

crila16 said...

Wow...talented. I still don't know what her real language is. It's not USA English, because you can tell by the way her lips tighten (a trick i learned in voice and articulation class).

Also...I think what she's done is taken a few words, perfected the accent and presented it...because what she's saying is gobbledygook. Just a bunch of different nonsensical words placed together with a really cool accent.

Liadee said...

@crila16
i did a little bit of instagram stalking and she's actually Finnish! i honestly would've never guessed.

Silje said...

Her real language is Finnish. And I don't mean to be rude, but it always surprise me that americans don't speak more languages. Most europeans speak up to four languages. Don't you learn it at school? And again, this is not to be rude, I am just curious.

Alita said...

Australians are the same, Silje, rarely have a language other than English (unless they have a different language spoken at home).

We learn another language at school, but because you never get to practice unless you travel OS (and that's a far larger cost than for Europeans, because we're so far), it remains fairly basic for most people - like you take French and maybe remember enough to help out at hotels and restaurants if you travel to France or New Caledonia.

I expect Americans are the same with the European languages. Though I think loads of Americans speak Spanish now?

pompasaurus said...

There is no push in our schools in America, or our society, to learn other languages :( In high school now, it is required to take 1 year of a foreign language, and usually the choices are french and Spanish. Not nearly as many people speak Spanish as you would think. I personally speak very limited "conversational" Spanish, and find that I know more Spanish than everyone else I know. And I live in California, where there is a very large Hispanic population. I personally feel it's very sad there is not more importance placed on learning other languages, because I feel like it keeps us even more isolated from other people's cultures than we already are.

Zeeky_Boogy_Doog said...

Yep, definitely Finnish. (woot!) What's neat is how when she goes Swedish, you hear a gradual shift from a Finn accent to a Swedish.

Silje - The problem with foreign language taught in American schools is they start very late. Schools only offer foreign languages at high school level, around age 15. And then, they may only offer two levels, like Spanish-1 and Spanish-2, so you can't become fluent.

It seems to be changing. Elementary schools are starting to offer them, but they tend to offer random languages. Maybe this school teaches Greek, that school teaches Arabic. High schools tend to only teach French or Spanish.

Zeeky_Boogy_Doog said...

Fun Fact:
YLE.fi (Finnish news/TV) had an article a few years ago that said students are learning English so well, they get bored, and schools have to find ways to make it more challenging.

It's weird: Most Finnish people that I see posting online write in perfect English, with almost no errors. But then I have American friends, native English speakers, whose writing looks like this:

"hey zekey did u see that movie I liked it you wan't beleive what the main guy dose you might of figured it out its so funney!11!!!"

Alita said...

That's interesting guys, it seems there may be a bigger push on learning foreign languages in Australia than the USA, despite my assumptions.

Kids typically start a couple years of a foreign language in primary school (age 5-11) - it's not legally required but all the schools I have ever known/heard of do it. In high school you do a year of exposure to multiple languages, then are strongly encouraged to study another 3-5 years of one in depth. But that only gets you to the intro level, because of the lack of practice issue. My European friends all know a few languages to some extent, because they regularly interact with those nationalities or at least holiday there regularly. Is also just standard, so people don't question it.

We have a stronger focus on Asian languages though - schools typically offer French and German, and maybe Latin and Italian (we have large Mediterranean heritage communities), but Mandarin, Japanese, and Indonesian are also in there. Schools will offer ~4 languages usually. Spanish is not so common.

Interesting what you said, @pompasaurus , I saw some statistic about the proportion of California that speaks Spanish as their primary language and it almost felt like the focus should be on teaching people English! It was huge - I want to say 55%, but whatever it was, it was massive. Maybe what @Zeeky said means that's changing.

Interesting chat! Hope Silje comes back.

Amy said...

Well, if every U.S. state were a foreign country with its own language like Europe is then sure, we'd be more familiar with a whole lot more languages as we frequently criss-cross the borders. There are many many distinct regional and even highly local dialects that aren't that far apart (someone in Boston will sound very different from a typical New Yorker, who in turns sounds nothing like someone in Philly, etc).

cc423 said...

She's adorbs.

Silje said...

Lot of interesting comments! You all gave some good points. I agree with that Amy is saying. I live in Norway, and if my geography knowledge serves me right, I think it takes the same amount of time for me to drive to Italy, as it does an American to drive from NY to Florida.
I also find it interesting that Australians have a stronger focus on the asian languages, makes total sense. In Europe most of the languages are alike as well, and for me as a Norwegian, I can automatically understand Swedish, Danish and to some extend Icelandic (Not Finnish though, thats a completely different language).
Great discussion!

Bubbles said...

Regional dialects apply to every country in the world. Parisians don't speak like someone who was raised 300 miles away in the country side and same for people in Milan or Sicily for instance.

It's really a shame that more emphasis isn't put on learning foreign language in the states. And it would be genius to put your kids in the daycare in Alliance Francais or the Italian or Spanish equivalent so they could grow up bilingual. By the time they reach college age, if they're fluent, the could go to a European university and not spend in 2 or 3 years in tuition abroad what the average US university student spends on 1 year in tuition and fees.

Red said...

@ Silje
US is huge large compared to Western Europe. We can travel more than 4500 kilometers in one direction & still be in country. We have 50 states, many of which are bigger than European countries. California alone is bigger than Germany.
We don't need another language to talk with fellow citizens when it takes days to drive across the country.

Red said...

@ Silje
US is huge large compared to Western Europe. We can travel more than 4500 kilometers in one direction & still be in country. We have 50 states, many of which are bigger than European countries. California alone is bigger than Germany.
We don't need another language to talk with fellow citizens when it takes days to drive across the country.

Henriette said...

@Silje
It's not because Americans don't want to learn foreign languages. Americans are trying to learn Chinese, Spanish, and Arabic at record numbers, but it's hard to practice those languages with such a huge landmass as America and so many who are trying to learn English.

My husband speaks Farsi, Hebrew, Arabic, and French, but they are all rusty due to primarily speaking English. He speaks all of them with an American accent now too. It's hard to keep languages up without an outlet to use them.

It's not because Americans aren't trying though.

OhMyGosh said...

Eh, I guessed it right she is natively Finnish speaking :) She is very good imitating all kind of accents but must say I didn't get much she was talking in Estonian :D
Also I agree with Silje - don't understand it either what Americans and Australians are doing at schools during language class :P

lutefisk said...

Not true everywhere. My kids were taught a different language in each grade of elementary school. By the time they entered middle school they were able to choose what language to study, and took it for 3 years of middle school and 4 years of high school. New York state colleges require 4 years of a foreign language for admission.

Cindy said...

I think you all missed the point of this -- she IS talking gobbledy-gook because that's what we sound like when talking to foreigners. It's great that she can BS is so many languages though, lol

Cindy said...

I think you all missed the point of this -- she IS talking gobbledy-gook because that's what we sound like when talking to foreigners. It's great that she can BS is so many languages though, lol