Jen August 18, at 8: I am living and working in Francophone Africa and my French skills were very basic when I arrived, so my position was fairly similar to OP.
Comprehension comes much quicker than fluency too, and it matters most. English is my first language; Spanish my second.
An entire year of full-immersion is usually what it takes to achieve fluency. MK Yes, that comment, even as a joke, was downright idiotic. As the recruiter contacted me, I was upfront about my lack of language skills, but was assured it was not a deal-breaker.
Fairly recently I worked for a company with many clients in Africa, and we were all more or less winging it. OP, it took me about six months of immersion to be mostly okay for work in W Africa — I found the accent there much easier to understand and words more clearly enunciated than when working with French or Canadian native speakers — and probably two years before I really felt fluent.
Neeta RO The thing is, a lot of people all over the world speak at least two languages, and once you know at least two languages, the others become easier to learn. I liked learning languages, was good at it, to the point that I even participated in German language contests.
Learning language is a lifelong process. Some languages are just SO much harder than others… pope suburban August 18, at I have no doubt that if I really buckled down and tried to learn Russian, I could get to the same level in less time, because I learned how I learn— that rote memorization really is THAT important, that I learn by writing things out and translating better than just reading… and that I suck at learning languages overall, so I need to sink time into it.
But meanwhile you have a few weeks to pick up -something- to prove you can learn. Neeta RO August 18, at 8: Of course, immersion is different, but expecting the OP to get there in a couple of months while working full time is not reasonable. Of course, I may be looking at it backwards. Depends also, do you want this job if you have to learn French OP?
Joseph August 18, at 9: And it really is important for the employer to be honest with themselves when hiring candidates in terms of how loose that can get. Maybe the people who have the confidence and aptitude for other languages are more likely to learn them. I studied French almost to the point of fluency in high school and college, and then started studying Russian in grad school.
Christopher Tracy August 18, at 1: Red August 18, at 3: Ginny August 18, at 5: Xay August 18, at Most of my colleagues, who started from scratch were nowhere near conversant after 2 years by relying solely on the aforementioned classes.
Intrepid August 18, at For a mono-lingual American to pick up French, it may take years.
And then the prospective team lead looks at me all baffled: That being said, an honest reality of a number of these positions is that you may not truly know till you get there how bilingual you actually need to be and how that will impact your job.
I was lucky— I grew up speaking French as well as English, and I picked French as one of my foreign languages in middle and high school. It takes so much more than fluency. M-C August 18, at 3: Nina August 18, at 2: And of course really sh!God’s Gift of Language B (grade 5) Both writing and grammar skills receive comprehensive coverage in Language B.
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