Any of you *not* know another language?

Lynne Murphy lynnem at COGS.SUSX.AC.UK
Fri Jun 30 13:08:05 UTC 2000

> To the esteemed linguists and language experts on this list:
> Are there any of you who do *not* know a language other than English?
> Yet another snooty "my world is the only world" posting on another list, in case
> you were wondering.  But I'm also curious.

That depends on what you mean by 'knowing another language'.  I can say 'hello,
how are you? fine, thanks.  and you?' in a number of languages.  I don't think
this counts as knowing languages.  I can read French with a dictionary.  But
although I've taken courses in something like a dozen languages, I cannot hold a
conversation in anything but English.  (I want to try to regain the French,

I always tell people that asking a linguist how many languages she speaks is kind
of like asking a doctor how many diseases he has.


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