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Old 07-07-2021, 11:45   #1
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Language Skills while voyaging

On long passages, it is not uncommon to go weeks without touching the wheel or adjusting the sails. One couple who were rescued during the famous Queen's Birthday Storm claimed to have never hand steered their boat!!


With the language tools we have available today, this seems like a perfect opportunity to practice foreign languages... I wonder how many cruisers do this.... designate French only days or Spanish only days.... togalog? Thai? How about learning to speak Australian ;-)


I have no foreign language to speak of.... I can understand a bit of German, but that's not particularly useful. I've always enjoyed meeting European young people, and listening to them speak "European"......literally.... between each other, often using words and phrases from English, Spanish, French, and German so interchangeably that you can't pin down a single language.........Esperanto never took off, but they seem to have crafted a universal language of their own.


Interestingly, I find that though I speak no Spanish, I can often pick up something written in Spanish and puzzle it out..... but spoken and written are two different things. I've learned for example that Cuidado Piso Mojado means "careful, somebody's pissed" on the floor....... from shopping at Costco ;-)


................... I think I need to work on my Spanish a bit more ;-)
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Old 07-07-2021, 12:36   #2
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Re: Language Skills while voyaging

Careful the language Nazis might be coming for you
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Old 07-07-2021, 13:24   #3
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Re: Language Skills while voyaging

I think you are totally wrong in your area of focus.

Free time during long voyages should be spent on learning to play the banjo — or Sousaphone in a pinch.
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Old 07-07-2021, 14:45   #4
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Re: Language Skills while voyaging

Nice point, music is a language, too. Also, harmonica and concertina are nice ship worthy instruments. But really, whatever you like to play, bring it along. Violins don't seem to like the moist, hot conditions in the tropics. A friend with one seemed to have it re-glued each cyclone season.

But yes, we knew folks who studied French on the passage from Mexico to the Marquesas. Your language lessons add a pleasant structure to the day.


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Old 07-07-2021, 15:04   #5
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Re: Language Skills while voyaging

IMHO learn Spanish first and then some French. The real problem is keeping in practice. My French was pretty good pre-COVID. Now...
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Old 07-07-2021, 16:37   #6
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Re: Language Skills while voyaging

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IMHO learn Spanish first and then some French. The real problem is keeping in practice. My French was pretty good pre-COVID. Now...

Surely, that depends on where you cruise?
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Old 07-07-2021, 16:42   #7
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Re: Language Skills while voyaging

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Originally Posted by owly View Post
Interestingly, I find that though I speak no Spanish, I can often pick up something written in Spanish and puzzle it out..... but spoken and written are two different things. I've learned for example that Cuidado Piso Mojado means "careful, somebody's pissed" on the floor....... from shopping at Costco ;-)


................... I think I need to work on my Spanish a bit more ;-)
Yeah and if you are embarrassed about your Spanish skills, just tell the folks, sorry, you're "embarazada."

ok, that's a joke, best not to say that... unless you really are pregnant...
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Old 07-07-2021, 17:21   #8
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Re: Language Skills while voyaging

The west indian boat boys used to love it when i spoke to them in patois or creole!
Ideal to learn on a 3 week atlantic crossing and easily downloaded as an audio book on the net.
creole is also widely spoken in the fracophone pacific and indian ocean islands and west africa
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Old 08-07-2021, 02:57   #9
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Re: Language Skills while voyaging

Creole is not a very precise term, for describing a language.

For instance; Creole languages include varieties that are based on French, such as Haitian Creole, Louisiana Creole, and Mauritian Creole;
English, such as Gullah (on the Sea Islands of the southeastern United States), Jamaican Creole, Guyanese Creole, and Hawaiian Creole;
and Portuguese, such as Papiamentu (in Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao) and Cape Verdean;
and some have bases in multiple European languages, such as two creoles found in Suriname, Saramacca (based on English and heavily influenced by Portuguese)
and Sranan (based on English and heavily influenced by Dutch). Papiamentu is thought to have also been heavily influenced by Spanish.

List of creole languages ➥ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_creole_languages
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Old 08-07-2021, 04:09   #10
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Re: Language Skills while voyaging

Before we headed off on a circumnavigation my wife and I decided that I would brush up on my French (54% in grade 12 in 1966) and she would learn some Spanish. She is Chinese so no background in European languages other than English and that learned as an adult. Worked out pretty well. Either my collection French nouns and verbs did the trick or if the person spoke English we switched. June got quite good at speaking Spanish but was lousy at understanding it. I remember one cab ride in Ecuador (or might have been Peru) where she was having a conversation with the driver and I translated what he said to her. Her Mandarin proved to be surprisingly useful. In every single place we went other than Pitcairn there were Chinese shopkeepers. When we needed local info she would talk to them. Often they were excited because the local Chinese communities were very small and it was a novelty for them to have someone new to talk to. This was the case from Pago Pago to a remote village in Lesotho.
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Old 08-07-2021, 04:23   #11
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Re: Language Skills while voyaging

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Creole is not a very precise term, for describing a language.

For instance; Creole languages include varieties that are based on French, such as Haitian Creole, Louisiana Creole, and Mauritian Creole;
English, such as Gullah (on the Sea Islands of the southeastern United States), Jamaican Creole, Guyanese Creole, and Hawaiian Creole;
and Portuguese, such as Papiamentu (in Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao) and Cape Verdean;
and some have bases in multiple European languages, such as two creoles found in Suriname, Saramacca (based on English and heavily influenced by Portuguese)
and Sranan (based on English and heavily influenced by Dutch). Papiamentu is thought to have also been heavily influenced by Spanish.

List of creole languages ➥ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_creole_languages
Not to mention PNG Tok Pisin which despite its name, is now a Creole, no longer a pidgin. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tok_Pisin
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Old 08-07-2021, 04:39   #12
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Re: Language Skills while voyaging

I think learning French would be pretty handy. I can communicate fairly well in Spanish, but my Ace in the hole is my wife. She’s from Sweden and is pretty much fluent in German, Dutch, Danish, Spanish, Norwegian, in addition to her native tongue (and English of course). In addition to that she does gigs here and there signing and playing the guitar, she’s pretty much the perfect first mate : )
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Old 08-07-2021, 06:01   #13
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Re: Language Skills while voyaging

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I think you are totally wrong in your area of focus.

Free time during long voyages should be spent on learning to play the banjo — or Sousaphone in a pinch.
Banjo: No, that would be a sin.
Sousaphone: Yes!
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Old 08-07-2021, 06:26   #14
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Re: Language Skills while voyaging

Have you folks tried pocket talk? Pretty amazing at phrase translation. (not just words) Play it back and hear how it should sound. Really good when you need to make yourself understood or trying to understand someone. https://www.pocketalk.com/
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Old 08-07-2021, 07:43   #15
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Re: Language Skills while voyaging

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I think you are totally wrong in your area of focus.

Free time during long voyages should be spent on learning to play the banjo — or Sousaphone in a pinch.

I would agree with you but have zero real musical ability....... I know how to play the Ipod, the CD player, 8 track, LP, etc....... Those skills do not require practice. Believe me, I've tried to learn music ;-)
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