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I used to believe that foreign languages just had different letters, and if you knew what the letters sounded like it would make sense in English.
When I was small I believed that there was a secret trick to turn English into any new language, as with Pig Latin. Perhaps a more complex trick with a few new sounds, but a pattern that could be easily learned. Then I began French lessons. The first week we were told about an important "irregular" verb (etre - to be), but that most were regular. So I still expected to learn the secret trick the next week. When I discovered I would have to learn every single french word, I was surprised and immensely disappointed.
Used to believe that Spanish was just English with random o's and a's tagged to the end of the words (probably because there are many cognates that are formed in just that way).
Also believed that the written forms of languages were merely coded English, and if I could just figure out which letters/symbols stood for which English letters, I could read them.
As a child i grew up in england but spoke portguese at home. I didn't know anyone outside of my family who could speak it, therefore i believed that portuguese was a language invented by my family and used only by my family
I don't totally recall how this worked, but I was convinced that there were various languages in the world: French, Chinese, etc. but English was "the REAL language" and referred to it as such.
I am from Scotland, and I used to believe that Gaelic was the language they spoke on an island called Garlic, situated off the north coast of Scotland.
As a child, I believed that anyone who spoke a foreign language had to translate it into English in their heads in order to understand it.
I used to believe that even though people may have spoken different languages, we all thought to ourselves in english in our heads.
When i was a little girl i had a tea set that i always kept in it's box on my bookshelves. The box was all written in another language but i didn't understand this and so i always got incredibly frustrated when i couldn't read it. It got to the point that my dad had to put the box at the top of my wardrobe because i couldn't sleep.
when I was little I thought that to speak a foreign language all you had to do was say an english word backwards. (i.e. soft was tfos)I thought there was only one foreign language and that was how they were doing it. It sounded weird enough when I tried it so it made sense to me!
We once had an Austrian exchange student, Maria, stay with us. We were driving around her showing her the Aussie countryside and we passed some emus in a paddock. 'Look!' Maria exclaimed, 'Emos!'
This was met with much laughter. She didn't have any idea what we were laughing at.
When I was in college, I took Swahili. When we came in the door of class the first day, the instructor started pointing to stuff and saying "Nini hii?" (Nina hee) Which later we found out meant "What is this?". For a few seconds I was convinced that if "Nini hii?" was the name for everything in the room, the class would be a cinch to pass. I still enjoyed the class when I discovered I was wrong, and went on to study it for 2 more years.
I used to believe that kids in France were really smart. They already had learned French! It didn't occur to me that they had been taught French from the beginning and had to learn English in school like I learned French. Unfortunately, I was in Jr. High School when I came up with that - before then, I never thought about any other language. I thought everyone spoke English.
I used to believe different languages were just the English alphabet in a different order eg for french A was D or G was T and so on, I thought learning a different language just meant learning the code!
I used to think everyone in the world knew and thought in English, but choose to speak different languages.
When I was 6 or 7I thought that American was a totally different language, despite the Simpsons, and other cartoons, having American accent, yet speaking in English.
When I was little, I thought that all translations had to go through English- for example, if you wanted to translate something from Spanish to French, you had to translate it into English first.
I think this is because I only ever saw Spanish-English and French-English dictionaries.
When i was a kid,I used to think that everyone thought in english.And just spoke different languages.I proved this to myself by trying to think in french.
When I was around 11, I started to teach myself Japanese. So, once when I was reading a manga I came across a scene in which a character is waiting to cross the street and the light changes to green--the character notes that it has turned green. However, in Japanese, the word used to refer to the green of traffic lights is "ao" which is usually the word for blue. So, I thought that in Japan, what are our 'green' traffic lights were actually blue! It wasn't until about a year later that it occurred to me that "blue" can sometimes mean "green". (And when I visited Japan six years later, I took special note of the green lights and laughed at myself again.)
I thought that even though different languages were written differently, that they were all said the same. I was so adamant about it that I got my mom to write out the alphabet and then write down which letter in German meant which letter in English, but she didn't quite get what I meant and it didn't end well.