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IT and Linguistics

Discussion in 'The Lounge - Off Topic' started by Arroryn, Nov 24, 2007.

  1. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    I have a few questions on language and the IT industry, and given the variety of members here, thought it would be a dapper place to ask :biggrin

    With English as my first language, communicating on these forums and at work is relatively easy. Even though we have now opened an office in Dubai, English is the primary language.

    I was wondering, how many members here do not have English as a first language? If not, what is your first language? And do you have to do most of your day-to-day work in English? How do you find it?

    And for the English speaking members here, has learning another language ever appealed to you? Or do you already know one?

    Also, is IT the kind of industry where you can see knowing a 'modern foreign' as being a benefit? For example, when I thought my career was going to go sales-orientated, I was going to polish up more on my German skills, as bilingual salespeople were seen as quite a premium at the time.

    One interesting point I am seeing is, as my company starts to become multi-national, and has clients in numerous countries around the world, it is becoming more and more fun keeping an eye on the spam traps. We scan for profanity in many different languages, and when one is written entirely in a foreign language none of the IT team are fluent in, it becomes difficult to make a decision on whether the email is client orientated and genuine (when the raw data all looks kosher, that is).

    Sorry about the ramble there - so, basically, language... let's have a chat about it!! :biggrin
     
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  2. jamman32

    jamman32 Nibble Poster

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    Another language would be useful.

    If you were working for a company and they had to send some one abroad , and they had to pick some one ,
    If you spoke that language you have a greater chance of getting picked.

    Looks good on a c.v definitely.

    I have a relation who is from Egypt and i am thinking of trying to learn a little Arabic as you say we are a multicultural society and it is another skill.

    The more you learn the more you earn8)
     
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  3. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    I've recently been considering learning Cantonese. Its not the official Chinese Language (Mandarin), but another dialect. My Tai Chi is based in cantonese, so it makesa bit of sense from that point of view.
     
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  4. C4sper

    C4sper Byte Poster

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    English isn't my first language (as I'm one of those Poles that invaded UK recently :) but I work in English company with English as an 'admin' language (we use a few other ones to contact our customers/consultants)

    And I myself speak almost fluent English as well as German on intermediate level
    And Russian on a beginner level. I can also understand Czech/Slovakian and all that really realy helps. And it’s not only the CV thing.

    I’m actually not surprised that you started that discussion as I’m going over that subject over and over again when meeting with English.

    The funny thing is that we’re almost always getting to the conclusion that English are to lazy to learn any other language AS MOST OF THE WORLD speaks yours

    btw Arroryn I just love your avatar :)
     
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  5. grim

    grim Gigabyte Poster

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    i spk in net tlk if tht cnts ?

    grim
     
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  6. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    I have to say that, outside of business, I think its really arrogant to visit a country where you dont speak the language at all. At the very least, one member of your party should be able to speak enough to get by on a visit. Doesnt need to be fluent, but passable.

    We British are FAR too guilty of this.
     
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  7. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    Thanks :)

    That is really quite impressive. Do you think you personally have an aptitude for language, or do you find that being in England has forced you to 'sink or swim' language-wise?

    I think that yes, this is mainly true; it's an apathy towards language and learning in general. But we shouldn't make the assumption that everyone knows our language, and I think the English can be quite obnoxious about this when abroad. I personally think that anyone wanting to live and work here should make an effort to learn English; but I also believe this should work both ways.

    Polish is a language I have thought of 'dabbling' in as the EU has expanded. We had a case at work recently where knowing Polish would have come in handy!

    My German was intermediate when I left school. Unfortunately, I let it slip, but have joined some language forums to try to get it back up to scratch. I also studied Latin, which I loved immensely.

    No. Burn in hell :tongue

    I'm not sure about Cantonese; a chap I work with is attempting to learn it. I was chatting with him about language the other week. We came to the conclusion that Mandarin Chinese was the best language to learn from a business/CV point of view, given the expansion of Chinese economical strength.
     
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  8. grim

    grim Gigabyte Poster

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    charming, there's nothing like being made to feel welcome :blink

    grim
     
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  9. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    It's all part of the service :funfun
     
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  10. tripwire45
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    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    My understanding is that English is the de facto language of technology. Consider that Microsoft and Cisco are both major IT companies and that they are both based in the United States. Do either of them go out of their way to publish their documentation in all the various languages where their products are used?

    I'd have to say that Americians also fall into the "too lazy to pick up a second language" category. I've tried more than once to pick up a second language (I tried German in high school and again at uni) but I don't seem to have the knack. My daughter on the other hand is a natural. Whilst studying for her bat mitzvah (she's Jewish), she was taught Hebrew by a wonderful instructor and it stuck. Her last year of high school, the Rabbi at her synagogue asked her to help out with the Wednesday night Hebrew classes.

    She spend 11 months in Japan as an exchange student. She was too lazy to do much studying of Japanese before she left but her survival skills took over when she got there. She says she's not fluent but knows enough to get by.

    She'd like to study abroad in Austria and has been trying to pick up some German.

    The thing about studying for a second language is that you really have to use it all the time in order to retain anything and expand. If you just take a class once a week and study a bit of homework, you'll never get it (unless you are talented that way). If your survival depends on learning that language, that's another story.
     
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  11. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

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    English is my first language (though anyone who's worked with me would probably say my first language is 'profanityI also speak Spanish, Italian and a little French. Languages in this country are not taken that seriously in school, largely because we have the luxury of speaking a language that has pretty much become the standard business language across the globe. That means it can be a right royal pain for any multilingual company to find decent native English speakers who are fluent in another tongue.

    I think being fluent in another language would be as much of a benefit in IT as in any other profession, especially in the finance sector. So many jobs advertised nowadays request another language - even at conversational level - simply because there are many occasions when speaking to someone in their native tongue will enable you to articulate a request or tease more information out of them then attempting to converse haltingly in English.
     
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  12. Phoenix
    Honorary Member

    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    I've always wanted to learn another language, i've never found a method that works for me though
    i think perhaps i will need to take like, a class, in the country of choice, just to 'get it' lol
     
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  13. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    I don't understand about half of what I read here, so I am beginning to doubt I even have a first language, let alone a second language.

    I used to know enough informal Spanish to get by. Well, at least I could swear fluently in it, as every other word the Mexicans I worked with during, and just after graduating from, high school was a swear word.

    They were quite a bunch. All you had to do to see them become track stars was point at someone in an old green army jacket from the Army surplus store and say "immagracion". Those guys could flat out run.... :biggrin

    A lot of them were really good people even though they were "wetbacks" in that they had snuck across the Rio Grande into Texas and then moved on further north and west.
     
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  14. UCHEEKYMONKEY
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    UCHEEKYMONKEY R.I.P - gone but never forgotten. Gold Member

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    I used to speak Italian and if had the time I would learn again as I haven't spoken a word of Italian apart from ordering a pizza at an Italian restuarant.:p

    I think the English are very lazy when it comes to learning another language. It's like what the Canadian tourist stated and that was Europe is on our door step and many of us never go? We could fly from London to Italy in 2 hours or hop on the ferry and be in france in 1 hour (brittany ferry).

    Could it be because English is widely used in most parts of the world? I am not sure but we are lazy.
    Then again how many times do you hear french, italian music played on the radio? Maybe if french was compulsary then we wouldn't be so lazy

    I have some friends in Greece, Italy, France and Canada. In Greece they learn 4 - 6 languages while here in the UK we struggle with the 1.:biggrin - Well at least

    I do know from working on a building site English is not that important. Just reading a copy of the daily star and used the F word in every sentence.:biggrin

    Well That's my 2 bits worth. 8)
     
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  15. UCHEEKYMONKEY
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    UCHEEKYMONKEY R.I.P - gone but never forgotten. Gold Member

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    Freddy which bit don't you understand - the question or the answers? I don't know what the majority of foreign nationals are in the US. But in the UK at the moment it seems to be the Polish, having spoken to some of them the general feedback was they took the time to learn English to come to the UK for better money why can't the English take the time learn another langauge?

    I think fergal hit it on the nose, if we were promoting a product from a UK company and our customers are in another country we should take the the time to learn that langauge.8)
     
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  16. Arroryn
    Honorary Member

    Arroryn we're all dooooooomed

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    That does surprise me, Freddy. You always come across as incredibly articulate! Maybe it's just the way we Limeys write things :biggrin

    I personally think that, when it comes to learning a second language, it's exactly the same as IT; aptitude goes hand in hand with a willingness to learn. What they teach you at entry level language in high school is about as captivating and interesting as a feature film about a particularly lazy sloth. When I was learning Latin, it was so interesting, that the passion to learn it was instilled from quite an early age; in my German and French classes, I was learning how to order cups of tea and baguettes. In my Latin classes, I was learning about Caesar's campaigns in Gaul by translating texts of the time. It's a no brainer!

    But if you want to learn a language yourself, there are ways of making it interesting. Just think 'topical'.

    I'll pick on German as the classic example, as it's been mentioned here a couple of times, and it's the modern foreign language I have the most experience with.

    1. Popular music. The language you want to learn will almost certainly have popular music, and bands that sing in their native tongue. Pop online, and try to get your hands on some; invariably, you should always find some that appeals to your musical tastes. I have listened to Rammstein for ages; and though I generally don't repeat some of the awfully gross things they mention in their songs, they do stick to grammatical structure, so it comes in handy!

    2. Podcasts. They're free, and they're topical - pick a subject that you're interested in, download, and see what you think you can understand from the basics of the language and the subject matter you already know.
    EDIT: Linky. Foreign language lesson podcasts.
    Linky. More language podcasts.

    3. Foreign language forums. There are plenty around that support entry level users. I have signed up here as it looks quite interesting.

    4. Audio books/literature. Again, it's topical. If you have a basic grasp of the language already, immersing yourself in it, with subject matter you find compelling, can only be beneficial for the learning process.

    German to me was a nightmare, until I hit A Level. We started reading Die Physiker, which is an interesting play, and I picked up a book of short stories... and it started sticking :) I also combined it with history, politics and debating; for my A level oral exam, I spoke about the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the impact of Germany's recycling culture on its economy. I haven't got anywhere near that kind of ability now, as Trip says, if you don't use it you lose it. Trying to get it back though! And I personally find all of the above useful (and some free!) ways of keeping the language interesting and relevant.

    I know what you mean about building sites, UCM. I learnt to swear like a trooper in my two years as a forklift driver. Delightful. :rolleyes::biggrin
     
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  17. grim

    grim Gigabyte Poster

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    if that's part of the service i think you need to [​IMG]

    grim
     
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  18. UCHEEKYMONKEY
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    UCHEEKYMONKEY R.I.P - gone but never forgotten. Gold Member

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    Arroryn, your right, when i was learning french I use to buy french newspapers from WH Smith and listern to french rap music like MC Solaar I think it's the only way to learn a langauage and that is to immerse yourself in it! :biggrin

    There really is no excuse not for learning another langauge with all these resources around us.

    Come on England - What's stopping you?
     
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  19. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    I believe that since IT, Business and finance are now world-wide and basically have no borders, the need to learn a foreign language is increasing.

    Because Microsoft, Apple, Cisco - basically all the major IT companies are English speaking, and produce the majority of their documentation in English* (*they may also produce their documentation in other langauages, but in alot of countries their people may not be up to scratch when it comes to IT - eg IT is relatively new in some developing countries, etc) and/or your company may have to support branch offices in different companies, eg centralised IT, IT support has been outsourced to your country, etc. You can see where I'm coming from...

    But I know that learning a different language isn't an easy thing to do, I've learnt Spanish (4 years in school), French (2 years in school), German (yes I'm German), Tagalog (lived in the Philippines for 4 years), Japanese (due to karate). And I have to say that I do not have an aptitude for languages, as I can really only speak 1 language - yet my dad can speak over 6 languages.

    If I was going to now learn a language it would have to be either Cantonese or Mandarin, this would be due to:

    1. I'm half Chinese so I should learn that language (but then again I could say that about German) &
    2. Now that China has/is beginning to open up, and because of the fact that Mandarin Chinese has the largest speaker base. If I ever has going to work for an international company that would really assist me :)

    -ken
     
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  20. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    See, here's what I mean.

    I start off with my tongue planted so deeply in my cheek that I thought no one could miss it, and I get two responses telling me that fact wasn't comprehended. :biggrin

    As to not understanding what's written here, well, between all the neds, chavs, blimeys, crikeys etc.... I am able to recognize a word here and there, but you all seem to speak a different language than I do. :rolleyes:

    Below are two links. The first is an article that was linked to here. The second shows what I took from a posted article. It clearly shows we speak different languages, so if you all are speaking English, well, then I'm not too sure what my first language is.

    http://www.334notout.com/ashes/reports/report6.htm

    http://www.certforums.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?p=115755&highlight=cricket#post115755
     
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