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What other foreign languages do you know? Which one(s) do you want to learn?

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I had a year of French in first grade, and three years of German in high school, because at the time, guidance counselors told us a language (and specifically not Spanish*) was required for science programs in college. Can I still speak it? Not a bit, but I sort of get the gist when I hear people talking. Or in a movie, if it doesn't have subtitles. I was on a Japanese ship for month and a Polish ship for two months, and by the end I was recognizing words and phrases, but speak it, no. Polish seems to involve a lot of buzzing and rarely even moving your teeth apart. And growing up in Southern California, you seem to pick up a lot of Spanish words just by osmosis, and I can pretty much read the abstract of a Spanish journal article and figure out what it means, but no still can't speak it. Just your general ugly American here.

*Not sure why this is, Mexico, South America and Spain have as many scientific publications as any other countries. Given that I work in fisheries that cross borders, I attend a conference fairly often that has as many presentations in Spanish as in English, and the occasional one in Japanese (part of same ocean current system).


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August 2011

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