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Results of Poll by Email No. 22

From:Peter Clark <peter-clark@...>
Date:Sunday, February 9, 2003, 21:11
        The poll question was, "How many natlangs do you speak fluently?" The 31
responses broke down as follows:
        A. One. (15 responses, 48%)
        B. Two. (9 responses, 29%)
        C. Three. (2 responses, 6%)
        D. Four. (5 responses, 16%)

        Careful reader will notice that the rest of the poll options were not
included. That's because no one apparently speaks more than four languages
fluently. Get busy, people! :)
        "One" should be properly labeled, "I'm an English speaker," but then again
better safe than sorry.
        Of special interest to me were the languages (besides English) that people

Bahasa Indonesian 1
Danish 1
Dutch 1
Esperanto 1
Hebrew 1
Hokkien 1
Italian 1
Malay 1
Mandarin 1
Ukrainian 1

Polish 2
Russian 2
Swedish 2

German 3

French 4
Spanish 4

        Danny Wier quiped, "H. I'm an American. I can't even speak English that
well." If memory serves, Mr. Wier is from Texas, in which case I would second
his opinion. ;> Alas, "zero" was not a poll option.
        Christian Thalmann tried to throw a monkey wrench into the well-oiled
machinery of the beloved poll by including Swiss German as a "half-langauge"
since he wasn't sure whether to count it as a dialect of German (which he
also speaks) or not. This required careful thought on my part, but I came to
the conclusion that Swiss German cannot be considered a separate language
because, while it has an army, it does not have a navy. Ergo, it's a dialect,
not a language.
        Hanuman Zhang likewise tried to count "South East Asian English," "American
Slang English," and "Standard World English" as three, but artificially
boosting dialects did not help the esteemed sloth/poet avoid getting pegged
with "One."
        That's it for this week; stay tuned for Poll by Email No. 23!
Oh what a tangled web they weave who try a new word to conceive!


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