I’m still a little upset with myself that I wasn’t motivated enough to also learn Russian when I was a kid (I had already learned how to read its alphabet) and maybe also German. Now that I’m approaching my 40s this is definitely on my to do list, I want to have the chance to read the works of people like Heine or Pushkin in their original language.
Other memory from that period is trying to get larger files from my friends by splitting them into smaller parts and put them on floppies , or when my mother bought me a Norton Commander book and I learned a lot about low level stuff and what does files in C:\ actually do.
About foreign languages similar as the author I learned English and I can understand Spanish too, but also I can understand French and Italian movies but maybe not as good, there were some good italian movies on national TV back then too.
I wonder how do people learn English in countries like Germany or Spain, where all TV shows and games are fully localised.
Nowadays, in Poland these things are localised, too. I guess I will need to hide that fact from my kids.
Despite them being forced to learn English in school, very few will try to consume American media in English, and still prefer consuming the locally dubbed versions. In my opinion, it's the easiest (and most fun) way to get better in English, without doing much at all, except for the initial year or two one would need to invest to be proficient enough to consume said media.
Source: Am a German citizen, who fortunately/unfortunately has English as a native language, spent my first 16 years in Asia, and presently another 13 years in Germany.
I agree it is a generational thing, and I believe this does have a lot to do with the Internet and the "international culture" it promotes.
Have you compared some European countries in your age category? It's true that 22-year-old Germans speak English well, but a similarly aged person from Romania, Poland, Denmark or Albania will almost certainly still be better at English than the German.
(things like: the cheapest way for the world to talk to each other, fun, not replacing native languages, learn it in 1/4 the time of Spanish or 1/10 the time of English, and probably learn it plus a subsequent language in less total time spent, possible travel benefits with "pasporta servo" (free lodging).)
There are plenty of counterexamples to this. Consider Finland, where most of the population is comfortable with English and admirably grammatically correct (though they never really lose that distinctive Finnish accent), but they have never lived in an English-speaking country, and in fact Finns travel in general less than their Nordic neighbors. Learning English does not seem to strike the Finns as “hard”, and if you ask them about the process you often get the usual claim that English is an “easy language”.
Looking around European nations, the key to good English seems to be 1) English in school taught from an early age and with a serious approach, and 2) subtitles on television and films, never dubbing (or, as in the case of Romania in the early millennium, a very active torrent community downloading American releases).
It was not that the combination wasn't fugly, he was right about it. But I was somewhat surprised to hear that kind of language from a sales person.
Would there be 12yo kids somewhere out there in the world that can only express themselves in 4chan English?
I'd be unsurprised to hear it in TV programming aimed at teenagers, so perhaps he learned it from that
I can see someone learning English from YouTube. I already hear tales here on Hackernews of someone's 3-year-old using "don't forget to like and subscribe" as a goodbye.
Back then, I had no understanding why he does so, as he himself and grandfather before him were making substantial money bringing TV sets from Japan.
You can check it out at caplearn.org, if you're interested.