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What is your first language?
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Poll

What is your first language?
English  
 60%  [ 123 ]
Hebrew  
 0%  [ 2 ]
Yiddish  
 23%  [ 47 ]
Russian  
 5%  [ 12 ]
French  
 1%  [ 3 ]
Spanish  
 2%  [ 5 ]
German  
 4%  [ 9 ]
Dutch  
 0%  [ 2 ]
Total Votes : 203


etky




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Nov 29 2018, 3:02 am
chanchy123 wrote:
I voted Hebrew. But really my parents spoke to me in English as a child and we spoke English at home. I am also completely bilingual Hebrew/English. I went to school/college in Israel so my Hebrew skills are a bit stronger. I know some Arabic, can read the language too - but not at a high level.
I am exposed to a lot of Farsi through my work, and I must agree that it is not a pleasant sounding language. It is also very different from Hebrew English and Arabic in sentence structure, idioms, and even intonation.


Farsi is an Indo-European language so it bears no inherent relationship to Hebrew or Arabic which are Semitic languages (although it does contain many loan words from Arabic).
English is an Indo-European language like Farsi but from the Germanic group, whereas Farsi is from the Indo-Iranian group.
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etky




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Nov 29 2018, 3:09 am
English is my first language but Hebrew runs a close second since I acquired fluency in it at around age 4.
I studied French very intensively in HS and acquired a certain degree of proficiency. Unfortunately I haven't kept it up and my skills have seriously eroded.
I would love to know Yiddish actually, as a connection to my ethnic past, and Arabic - given where I live.
I can see myself taking up Arabic actually, at some point, since there are many frameworks around me that offer courses.
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chanchy123




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Nov 29 2018, 3:16 am
etky wrote:
Farsi is an Indo-European language so it bears no inherent relationship to Hebrew or Arabic which are Semitic languages (although it does contain many loan words from Arabic).
English is an Indo-European language like Farsi but from the Germanic group, whereas Farsi is from the Indo-Iranian group.


Yes, I know that. However, there is a similarity in sentence structure between Hebrew and English (and Arabic). Farsi is like German - the verb comes at the end. If I know the content of a sentence in a language I don't speak well such as Spanish, French, Russian, etc. I can tell you roughly which word is which, by intonation and common language structure. I can pretty easily put periods and commas as well (I've done this often in my job) even if I don't know the actual words (I mean I know some words in these language and once you know what the sentence is supposed to mean it's pretty easy to realize the similarities to the languages I do speak when they exist). Even German, which also has the verb at the end is pretty easy to follow if you know English and have been exposed to some Yiddish.

Farsi - sounds like one long run-on sentence to me. I can't tell you when the guy has finished with an idea. I can pick out Arabic words - but many times they have different meaning in Farsi.
BTW, Urdu is almost as bad. However, it has enough Arabic and English words that it is easier to follow. Even Turkish is easier to follow when you don't understand.

Yes, my job includes occasionally inserting subtitles in English to videos of various languages (Arabic, Farsi, French, Urdu, Russian, German, Turkish,Chechen, I've had several Slavic languages as well).
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etky




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Nov 29 2018, 3:37 am
chanchy123 wrote:
Yes, I know that. However, there is a similarity in sentence structure between Hebrew and English (and Arabic). Farsi is like German - the verb comes at the end. If I know the content of a sentence in a language I don't speak well such as Spanish, French, Russian, etc. I can tell you roughly which word is which, by intonation and common language structure. I can pretty easily put periods and commas as well (I've done this often in my job) even if I don't know the actual words (I mean I know some words in these language and once you know what the sentence is supposed to mean it's pretty easy to realize the similarities to the languages I do speak when they exist). Even German, which also has the verb at the end is pretty easy to follow if you know English and have been exposed to some Yiddish.

Farsi - sounds like one long run-on sentence to me. I can't tell you when the guy has finished with an idea. I can pick out Arabic words - but many times they have different meaning in Farsi.
BTW, Urdu is almost as bad. However, it has enough Arabic and English words that it is easier to follow. Even Turkish is easier to follow when you don't understand.

Yes, my job includes occasionally inserting subtitles in English to videos of various languages (Arabic, Farsi, French, Urdu, Russian, German, Turkish,Chechen, I've had several Slavic languages as well).


Very interesting. I'm going to discuss all this with my son, who's studying linguistics. He told me once that Farsi is somewhat related to (perhaps derived from?) Sanskrit.
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chanchy123




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Nov 29 2018, 3:51 am
etky wrote:
Very interesting. I'm going to discuss all this with my son, who's studying linguistics. He told me once that Farsi is somewhat related to (perhaps derived from?) Sanskrit.


That makes sense and rings familiar.

Sentence structure in English is Adjective Noun Verb Object. Hebrew and Arabic - Noun Adjective Verb Object.

The black cat sat on a hat - English. The cat black sat on a hat. Pretty easy to follow - right?

Farsi - not sure exactly how the noun/adjective/object work - but completely different from Hebrew/English.
From Wikipedia: While Persian has a standard subject-object-verb (SOV) word order, it is not strongly left-branching. However, because Persian is a pro-drop language, the subject of a sentence is often not apparent until the end of the verb, at the end of a sentence.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persian_grammar

So you see, very hard to follow. it seems to be a very indirect language, with a lot of things insinuated to rather than said overtly (probably because of Persian society norms) and you cane have several native speakers who understood a sentence a bit differently when you break it down. They all understood what the guy meant but can't translate it the same exact way into a normal language.
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life is fun




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Nov 29 2018, 6:44 am
nomismommy wrote:
Wow 4 German speakers Hi


Well if you speak Swiss German you usually speak german. SG is a dialect only not a
written language.
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Raisin




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Nov 29 2018, 7:28 am
english. Very imperfect yiddish and hebrew. French from school. I find yiddish the easiest and most similar to english but I meet a lot more hebrew speakers in daily life so I probably speak that better at this point.
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Ruchel




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Nov 29 2018, 8:24 am
I do wish my mother taught me more Hebrew. She found hers imperfect and didn't want to transmit mistakes... I also wish my father talked to me more in Yiddish. So I try to do that for my kids.
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too tired




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Nov 29 2018, 8:48 am
none of the above, maybe add a none of the above Wink
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dvorak613




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Nov 29 2018, 9:10 am
crust wrote:
I cant think of any Yiddish swear word that is so terrible it would kick you off the site?

My first language is Yiddish. My Yiddish writing is better than my English and I express myself best when I use a combination of both languages.


Btw, I read write and talk a fluent Hindu.
( LOL You cant really prove that not. )

Most native Yiddish speakers today are not the type to have much to do with the raunchier parts of the language. I picked up the bit of Yiddish I know from older secular relatives, and yeah, the extent of my Yiddish is basically all naughty, plus a few famous, popular expressions that any Ashkenazi Jew would know. Anyway, even if it's not that bad, and probably won't actually get me in trouble, considering the reaction some posters have for a certain word beginning with F that is used to describe gaseous bodily emissions, I'm going to err on the side of caution here and not share my naughty Yiddish.
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any




 
 
 
 

Post Fri, Nov 30 2018, 12:32 pm
Portuguese first
Then hebrew,english and spanish Hi
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FranticFrummie




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Jan 10 2021, 4:54 pm
Bumping this up, in case anyone who hasn't already voted wants to chime in.
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corolla




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Jan 10 2021, 4:58 pm
Russian is technically my first language since it's the one I spoke first, but in terms of fluency, English is the first. I speak Russian now, but now nearly as well as they tell me I did Smile
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Hashem_n_Farfel




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Jan 10 2021, 5:10 pm
Spanish, then English when I started kindergarten (by the end of the year I knew enough English to be able to communicate, BH!)
Now S L O O O O O O O O O O O W W W W W W L Y Y Y Y Y Y picking up Yiddish through my son and my husband
I’m more open to learning it now lol but that’s cuz I occasionally watch chasidishe children and obviously they don’t know or understand English and I’m left feeling awkward around them lol so I’d rather know a few words than make myself look stupid haha
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Hashem_n_Farfel




 
 
 
 

Post Sun, Jan 10 2021, 5:11 pm
Oh but then someone told me Yiddish in America is not the same as Yiddish in Israel...so that gets tricky.
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