Do You Speak Any Other Languages Fluently?

Can you speak any languages fluently other than your native language?
Why did you learn that language? How long did it take to speak it fluently?

For me, one of my New Years resolutions, is to get back to learning Japanese again. I was doing well last year but my classes were cancelled when COVID hit and I found it hard to stay motivated at home.


  • +2

    Used to be fluent in French, as I went on exchange to France for a year as a teenager. Took about a month before I could talk to express basic needs and ideas and 3 months before I could talk nearly as normally as anybody else at school. From day 1 I had to do all the same schoolwork as everybody else! I loved maths and science even more as I didn't need much language to keep up in class and complete those assignments lol.

    I visited a few years ago for a few weeks and it took about 2 days then I was back to being fluent. But right now I can only read & write (with occasional dictionary help to remember words I've forgotten) not speak or understand. I can understand French movies if there are (French) subtitles to help me catch the words I miss. I have been thinking about enrolling in conversation classes to get my fluency back but I think there is a massive difference between being forced to struggle with people who don't speak English and talking to someone who does as you can always fall back on speaking English for word or phrase you can't remember and don't have to push yourself if it gets hard.

  • +2

    I get told I mumble a lot.

  • +16

    After 4 drinks I speak fluent imbecile

  • Depending on your age, Mandarin is probably get you where others get left behind.
    Long term, you never know say in 20 to 30 years perhaps Hindi will take over?

  • I can listen to any language without problems. Speaking - just one-two.

  • FYI, there are different difficulty levels depending on your native language:

    • From what I've learned so far, Japanese is not difficult to learn. It just takes a long time because there is so much to learn and it can be overwhelming. Once you understand the grammar, it makes sense.

  • I learned English at age 10 and now English is my main language. I did German to end of HSC so once upon a time I could speak good German but not anymore. Now I'm learning French and it's really interesting to learn a new language! Good luck with your Japanese

  • +1

    Portuguese is my first language

    English is my second language, and although I have been fluent on it for 20 years, I still have an accent and I still say funny things.

    I also speak some spanish and italian. But I havent practice in so long. I understand if I watch tv.

    I have studied German long time ago.

    I have subscribed for Japanese on Coursera as I always wanted to learn this as well

  • +4

    I can speak and write Gibberish. Took years of practice and strict editing of my written work as a Public Servant, but I could slip into Gibberish whenever the situation required. It’s fading quickly now as I have left….but I can still understand and interpret it quite well. Useful for the coming months with an election looming.👍

  • +2

    Besides english i know how to speak and read arabic
    I don't know how to write it though

    I would say it is one of the most difficult languages to learn in the world

    I was born into an arab speaking background family and also learnt in school / saturday school

  • +1

    Im a Chinese background Aussie -
    speak Mando (mandarin) Australian Born Chinese (ABC) Level - lol kinda basic but I get by - don't ask me to read anything to you tho. Then I know some Cantonese.

    Anyways, I learnt Japanese thru watching heaps of anime starting from when I was 8, and thru studying it formally in high school and did some at uni - basically studied about 7 years or so
    year 7 - 12 , 2 courses in uni

    i can understand pretty much all of conversational japanese but speaking is very rusty since i didnt put much stock into applying it/ finding much chances to use it..

    basically it takes alot of dedication to learn a language- and even so to reach a level of fluently speaking it a long journey. theres no shortcuts even if dumb youtubers or courses or whatever shit u see online says "reach fluency or learning whatever language in 6 weeks etc"..

    Someome people might pick up certain languages more easily because the language/s they know already have more similarity to the target language because they are part of the same language family or have closer roots.

    Anyways, the first thing to do when learning a language is hearing it! So listen, listen, listen! Each language has like a melodic kinda pattern (imo) and sound set. Get familiar with that and that can translate to speaking (which is the hardest part of language learning!))

  • Mandarin

    Zhongguo di shi jie di yi

  • I speak French as a second language with a very good accent.

    It really depends on what you mean by fluency (which is by language standard different from proficiency).

    I could speak French and hold a decent conversation after a 2 month immersion course. However, I've spent 10 years perfecting it and it's still a work in progress.

    Your one year goal is (in non-immersion circumstances) unrealistic. I feel like you asked this question because you want us to feed you a fairytale. IMO, your goal should be to improve so as to be noticeably better to yourself after 1 year.

    ps If I had to recommend one thing, it would be regular conversation eg 1 hour a week or a fortnight with a native speaker where you get to practice the language. (And, if you can't find someone to talk to in person, I'd suggest; referral code 6HHF6c)

    • I never mentioned a one year goal…

      I just want to get back into studying in 2022. Being stuck at home so much the last two years, I had little motivation.

  • +1

    Study for a JLPT test. Good motivation is the test date in December. Loads of free resources online

    • I'm not particularly interested in that approach. I've tried it and it's difficult when you don't live in Japan and you work full time.

      I am going to learn conversational Japanese via online tutoring and speaking at home. I will learn Kunjin and larger vocabulary once I can comfortably speak passable Japanese.

      • +1

        I work full time and live here. Definitely doable. Find what keeps you motivated. I passed n2 years ago and am going for n1 next December

  • +3

    I speak Mandarin and English fluently.

    At school I learnt Afrikaans and French to a B2 level (intermediate) and German for fun at home (I grew up in South Africa).

    Now I’m working in Europe (i still occasionally browse ozbargain) I picked up Dutch to a B2 level (there are free courses at work). My French and German are now a bit rusty but it’s okay, I can travel around and do stuff and communicate with no problems.

    Since the pandemic I started listening to Spanish music (reggaetón), and picked up Spanish from there. I’d say I’m at an A1/A2 level. No stupid textbooks just music and google translate. Sometimes SpongeBob in Spanish also (it’s every evening on Spanish’s public tv channel at 8:30 ish). I also look up the verb conjugations but after a while you get the pattern. So now it’s just memorising the vocabulary, and you’d be surprised to find out how similar Spanish is to French (and even more so to Italian).

    Part of the motivation is that I love visiting Spain - I go there every few months for cycling, food, good weather and Spanish hospitality in general (it’s also relatively cheap there) and I also have Spanish-speaking colleagues. I think the environment in Europe is way more encouraging to learn a new language. For me it’s mostly about travelling. Once you identify the patterns in the language you can sort of see it like mathematical equations - there are patterns and rules/order you need to follow. And the rest just comes naturally. Don’t bother with those paid learning material. You do it because you enjoy learning, and enjoy communicating with people. There’s some idiom I can’t remember exactly where it came from, but it goes like this: If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.

    The other suggestion I could give is that just speak it, even if you’re consciously aware you’re making mistakes. That’s how kids learn to speak. Just say whatever and get your point across. Tell the person you’re speaking with (especially with friends and colleagues) to correct you, that helps a lot too. If you’re only gonna speak after you think you get everything right in your head, you’re gonna waste a lot of time.

    If you want to speak whatever language fluently in no time, the deep end of the pool would be just to find a job in a non-english speaking country and just move there for a few years. It’ll also be good for your resume in the long run ;) you’ll either sink or swim. I think more the latter. It’s something you’ll remember for the rest of your life and do things many of your friends and family will never experience.

    Good luck and enjoy ;)

  • Fluent in 2 european languages, beginner to intermediate in 2 others.

  • +2

    Profanity, afrikaans and english. In that order.

    • +3


    • +2

      I think that the South African English accent is one of the coolest of all the English accents. Wife's friends are from ZA and I like hanging around them just to listen to them speak.

      Their kids speak Afrikaans as well, and it's funny listening to them language swap with my kids who try and teach them some Vietnamese in return.

      • It’s funny because when I move to Australia I tried really hard to learn the Australian accent to hide my South African accent. Because everyone was like “hey you’re from SA” a minute into the conversation 😑 now I sound like an Australian (am one as well) but would’ve been nice if I kept it. Can’t do it anymore, it’s hard to tune back to the old accent.

        If you have CNN they have quite a few South African presenters for you to get your dose of the saffer accent.

  • +3

    Indonesian - moved there when I was a child and picked it up. Fluent enough to confuse people. Took about 2 years to be this fluent.

    Malay - almost the same as Indonesian and my wife is Malaysian so we speak in a mix of Malay/English. 6 months of living in Malaysia helped me pick up the differences from Indonesian.

    Chinese (Mandarin) - studied it for 2 years, still terrible at it.

    Japanese - currently learning. It's slow going 😂 I lived there for 6 months but was busy with work.

  • No, but thanks for asking!

  • +2


    That’s all.

    • how can you manage to keep them in one place?

  • About 5 fluently and a couple others half arsed ones. Pretty normal where i'm from.

    • +1

      Where are you from?

  • Can you speak any languages fluently other than your native language?

    Yes, Japanese.

    Why did you learn that language?

    Initially I was forced to in High School. I then took a liking to it and have kept it up for the last 19 years. March 2022 will be my 20th year.

    How long did it take to speak it fluently?

    20 years..? Jokes but it depends on what people hold as fluent. I can hold conversations for hours without a dictionary or falling back to English with some people for some subjects, but move into unfamiliar territory in terms of dialects or subject matter and I'll crumble to pieces.

    As your restarting I can only recommend to not obsess over fluency; it's possible but it'll be years away. Too far away to keep you motivated. I kept myself motivated over the years by getting myself into the culture; music, TV and video games are great ways to bridge gaps between real human interaction. For example I am currently listening to this album whilst writing this comment. It's difficult right now due to COVID, I know I've struggled to speak to anyone in Japanese over the last few years… but my final thing is get out there and talk, that's where I found my ability grew. It's confronting, but the grow potential from the process of creating your own sentences in your head on the spot cannot be understated.

  • French. Lived and worked there for over 10 years.

    Learning a new language is an entré into alternative ways of thinking and another culture. Doesn't matter which.

    If you can, try to learn a language you can practise in real life, as it will help with motivation and satisfaction, e.g. in restaurants, community events, markets.

    Good luck, and have fun.

  • Enough Japanese to navigate and order food and get me into trouble.

    Met my wife a few years ago and have been picking up on Indonesian, honestly feel if we moved to Jakarta for a full year id hit conversational level

  • +1

    Spent many years of my life learning and then living in a mandarin Chinese speaking country. Had the best time of my life, ended up doing what I enjoyed and glad I did take the leap of faith and moved overseas for that period of time. I was once dedicated and spent hours learning the language. One day, not sure why, I'd had enough. I'm not fluent but can easily get by. I know I should have continued but I just couldn't be farked. I don't regret what I did but just one of the many things I wish I was better at but there's only so many hours on the day and there are other things more important to spend my time on.

  • Japanese native speaker with English as my second language (even though I have now been in Australia longer than I lived in Japan). I mainly think in English except when I can't think of a word (or trying to use expression that only exists in Japanese)

    • so desu ne!

    • Japanese native speaker

      @lunartemis: must be nice to watch Sailor Moon without subtitles.

  • Considering 3/4 of OzBargain is OzAsian it would be hard not to get a good result on this question.

  • Հայերեն = Armenian

  • Besides from English, speak Turkish.

  • Why would you want to learn a new language? If you can't use it, you will forget it. I am fluent in 3 different languages and can understand and speak a little bit of 2 more and that was because I stayed in India and I had a chance to interact with people from different states. If not, I probably wouldn't have. But nothing wrong in being interested in learning a new language though. The best and fastest way to learn is to be with people who speak that language and you try to communicate in the same language.

  • Speak, read and write English and Italian.

    Understand Spanish and Arabic.

    Would love to learn Xhosa.

  • +2

    Does C# count?

  • Mandarin is the most commonly spoken 2nd language in Australia. I work in Architecture and I found the industry loves to employ foreigners especially the Chinese. Probably because they are hard-working and willing to start with lower pay. however I now experience some awkward situation at work. Because I am Chinese too they always try to speak Chinese with me, I am fine speaking Mandarin afterwork but at work it just doesn't feel right. I can understand why they do it. We all have accents and TBH our english proficiency is at best 80-90% to the native speaker. so when 2 Chinese are communicating with each other the effectiveness reduce to 60% where misunderstanding becomes a problem. I didn't have this issue few years ago when the office was mostly local. there isn't much I can do about it. When I studied architecture the class was 60% Chinese and they just keep pumping out graduate to the industry.

  • Pig Latin.

  • The international language of love.

  • I can speak and write three languages fluently.

    Javanese (second most spoken language in Indonesia)

    I can do conversational Japanese and some writing, but I can only really remember hiragana, katakana and only about 50 kanji. I know enough to get by when travelling in Japan.

  • People still cant understand my English when try to order from drive-through. Have to try few times to make the order right. May be my indian English accent 😔

  • Fluent in Esperanto

  • +2

    Japanese. To work and live in Japan.
    After 20 years I still don't consider myself fluent, but there are a few benchmarks I can give from doing on and off casual study, and relying on mostly immersion :

    • Reading hiragana sentences: 1 month
    • One-on-one conversation: 1 year
    • Sitting in company meetings and understanding: 2 years
    • Understanding a basic song: 2-3 years
    • Participating comfortably in a group conversation: 3 years
    • Comfortable with a phone conversation: 4 years

    (Intense study would give much better results…)

    For self-study I recommend setting a time and a place for study and doing it every day as a rule. When I was single it was the local coffee shop at 9:30pm, these days it's the kitchen counter every night.

    Many years ago I used a private tutor from the Sensei Shokai introduction service in Japan. (I'm sure there are many such services - I liked that one as was just an introduction, not a middleman.) That was in person, but it looks like they do online too.

    Another resource is your local library. Here in Adelaide (Burnside Library has a good selection, including children's books. Reading children's books aloud is a basic way native speakers learn a language and develop vocabulary, I found it surprisingly hard to do even after I had been working in Japanese for many years.

    Recently I started studying for the JLPT to benchmark and round out my knowledge. I found plenty I didn't know, even though I've been pretty comfortable in day-to-day language usage for a long time. It's a good target, but not necessary to be conversational.

  • I speak Japanese fluently and can read about 6000 Kanji. I have a JLPT N1 (Though given I did this back in 2006, I suspect it is invalid) which came about from spending 12 years living there as a student and later, working in IT.

    Aside from the occassional translation gig, I only ever get a chance to use it when I head over. Not many Japanese tourists come down to Victoria so even helping the occassional stray Japanese person or striking up a convo with them was rare pre-Covid.

    Interestingly, I find I forget it when I don't use it, but when I go to Japan it comes back within a day or two, or I'll occassionally have a dream in Japanese and I wake up remembering it all too.

  • Good on you! It's a great resolution, plus it makes your brain healthier (can delay dementia by 5 years if you are meant to get it.)
    I speak fluently Italian, English, Spanish and French (plus a dialect from my region in Italy). I have a huge passion for languages, albeit I never tried to learn Asian languages.
    I learnt English at school since I was 11, but most improvement it has been by studying at uni and later living and working in an English speaking country. Spanish and French mostly from studying (I did Spanish and English at Uni while I restudied French later in life after a traumatic 5 years in high school), listening and watching the movies and music.

  • Punjabi, Hindi, and Mandarin (Chinese) - other than English!

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