I know enough Spanish to hobble together a few words and be understood and to understand.
But my Russian, Portuguese and Arabic are sadly lacking. I know "nyet". And "jihad" but don't think it prudent to work that one into conversation.
Oh but how I envy those who speak a second language. I am told I spoke German when I was two, courtesy of German nannies who worked cheap in exchange for the opportunity to meet single American servicemen while babysitting.
I took two years of Spanish in high school and three in college, but without daily exposure my skills have eroded away. Strangely though, I can still read Spanish well enough to get the gist of it. Usually.
Jason once interviewed a lady who speaks something like ten different languages and can read a ton more, and stuff like Old Icelandic and Ancient Norse, not just normal French or Spanish. I could barely wrap my mind around the idea of having such skill and intelligence.
And I get irked with people who blithely toss off that new immigrants should learn English. Like it's just a day or so of work to do so. Most of them are trying. Trying very hard. But damn, have you ever really tried to learn a language?
It ain't that easy. But then, maybe I'm just dumb.
Thor sez: But you speak fluent Feline!