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Second Language? How "Fluent" is fluent?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by kreno, May 10, 2002.

  1. kreno

    kreno Candy Man

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    This might sound like a dumb question, but, how fluent is fluent? Anyone putting a second language even though they don't speak "like a native"? For example, if you took spanish 4 years in college, that's fluent... but, not really (you don't get fluent until you live in a country and really learn stuff). I speak conversational greek, but I'm not fluent (i.e. academic vocabulary, writing, etc). So, what have you guys done? Should I just leave it out? It says on the instructions "languages in which you can converse fluently." whereas, i personally feel i can just "converse" minus the fluent part <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />
     
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  3. Doctora Foxy

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    I had the same question last year, so I looked up "fluent" in the dictionary. Here's what dictionary.com says:

    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Able to express oneself readily and effortlessly: a fluent speaker; fluent in three languages.
    Flowing effortlessly; polished: speaks fluent Russian; gave a fluent performance of the sonata.
    Flowing or moving smoothly; graceful: a yacht with long, fluent curves.
    Flowing or capable of flowing; fluid.

    </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I'm not a native speaker, but I took Spanish in school for the past 10 years (omitted 2 yrs in between) and I'm able to translate between doctors and patients. I am also a Spanish major. While I definitely don't know every word, I consider myself to be able to "converse fluently," so I put it down. I have a feeling one of my interviewers doubted this, so I was all ready for him to test me during the interview, but he didn't. Make sure you would be able to interview in your second language, because you never know! <img border="0" title="" alt="[Eek!]" src="eek.gif" />

    Reading/writing in the second language is very different from speaking it, so be careful with this. But if you would be able to interview in your 2nd language, then put it down. I think that's a good way to tell. :D

    Buena suerte!
     
  4. kreno

    kreno Candy Man

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    How did your interviewer "doubt" this?

    Yeah, good suggestion about the interveiw technique to determine if you speak well enough. But, the thing is, haha, surely I could interview, but I'd sound a *LOT* more intelligent if it was in english. Again... academic vocab, etc. So.. what do I do? Does being bilingual help so much that I should put it on the application, or do med schools not care if I speak greek, I mean... spanish is a lot more usuful in medicine.
     
  5. Doctora Foxy

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    I thought he doubted it because he was a native speaker and he just asked me" So, how do you know Spanish?" with a weird expression....but the whole interview went like that; he just had a weird pesonality.

    Does being bilingual matter? It depends on how much you stress it. If you only mention it there, it won't matter much. My personal statement was about learning a second language, so it mattered a lot for me. :)

    I guess just be honest. It's up to you what to put. Fluent means fluent. Could you teach a class in Greek? Could you go to Greece and get by without a problem? etc....
     
  6. Legend

    Legend Super Senior Member

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    English is my second language but I still don't consider myself being 'fluent' in English.
    Yeah...and I am still applying to med school.
     
  7. kreno

    kreno Candy Man

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    Here's the deal. I'm actually in greece right now. I've been here for 8 months, with a few more to go. Everyday wise, my skills in the language are fine to get by, yes. And I can carry on conversations, and do... in fact, the people i'm staying with speak no english, but i communicate with them just fine. However, I often make gramatical errors, have a heavy accent, etc. I could not teach a class, because my writing/reading skills are not up to par. But, I speak decent... I'm often complimented. ahh, i'll put it... i'm not stressing it anywhere else on my application... it's not like i'm lying, i can converse. waddaya think
     
  8. qkitty

    qkitty Junior Member

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    I think you should consider yourself a fluent speaker, since those Greek people complimented you and you've been there for a while. There are not many people can speak Greek here, if there's a patient speaking Greek, definitely you can help.
     
  9. Jeffy

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    See if this thread has any information that will help you out:

    <a href="http://forums.studentdoctor.net/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=1&t=011265&p=" target="_blank">Trilingual</a>
     
  10. LBJeffries

    LBJeffries Senior Member

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    My french is little questionable. I am often complimented on my grammar and dialect when I say things like, "I'm cold" and "I do not speak French." I also know such usefull phrases as "what will be, will be" and "such is life." Sould I put that I am fluent in French?
     
  11. Girl next to me at a Tufts interview: her app said she spoke Spanish fluently...

    ... The interviewer was from Chile and proceeded to interview her in Spanish, from word one.

    She got super flustered and tried to explain her Spanish wasn't that good.

    Just a warning.
     
  12. Mr. H

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    I'm kinda wondering what you think. i can speak ok in Arabic, would I have to worry about someone interviewing me who can speak Arabic? It seems like there wouldn't be hardly anyone that coud speak it, so I'm wondering whether or not I should risk putting it down
     
  13. if you can manage a conversation without embarresment i'd say you're fine. its okay if you can't talk about philosophy or literature in arabic.
     
  14. Socceroo4ever

    Socceroo4ever Senior Member

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    If I can find the specific thread... there was an applicant not long back who raised the question of whether we thought it would be possible for him/her to falsify having had four years of a language just to get a competitive edge on the application. Of course there were many, many responses indicating the ethics being trodden over by doing something like this, but in the end, the applicant was caught red-handed at the interview: didn't know a word of the language and consequently bonked.

    In your case, however, you know conversational Greek, nevermind the written and academic portions of Greek. Can't you put down on your application that you "Speak conversational Greek fluently"? There never are black and white divisions in something as abstract as "fluent in a language." English is my native language and by no means to I make any claim to know all the words in the language, yet I still consider myself fluent.
     
  15. Assassin

    Assassin Assassin

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Doctora Foxy:
    <strong> But if you would be able to interview in your 2nd language, then put it down. I think that's a good way to tell. :D

    Buena suerte!</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">this is exactly how you should define "fluent" for med school application purposes - make certain you would be able to interview in an other language, it does happen:)
     
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  17. Jeffy

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    Not that itd be too much of a problem if it were to happen to me, but do you guys know of adcoms finding someone who speaks your tongue just to see that you arent lying about which languages you know? I mean, I don't know how hard it is to randomly find someone who speaks Nepali, but this is LA and hell, Ive never even met anyone from Nepal. Just curious...
     
  18. pwrpfgrl

    pwrpfgrl Senior Member

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    Don't you think that med schools are looking for people who could potentially translate medically relevant information? I can speak Russian pretty well, but I have no idea about any medical terminology - apart from "my foot hurts" or something like that. On the other hand, I can understand pretty much everything - do you think that fluent for this context would mean being able to explain medical information to a patient and not just general conversational speech? I'm confused!
    <img border="0" title="" alt="[Frown]" src="frown.gif" />
     
  19. pwrpfgrl

    pwrpfgrl Senior Member

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    awww man - i just realized I got bumped down to "junior member" instead of senior member.

    oh well :rolleyes:

    &lt;PAD&gt;

    :)
     
  20. Doctora Foxy

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by pwrpfgrl:
    <strong>Don't you think that med schools are looking for people who could potentially translate medically relevant information? I can speak Russian pretty well, but I have no idea about any medical terminology - apart from "my foot hurts" or something like that. On the other hand, I can understand pretty much everything - do you think that fluent for this context would mean being able to explain medical information to a patient and not just general conversational speech? I'm confused!
    :(</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I think it just means conversational speech. I don't know medical terminology in English! :D (yet) <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />
     
  21. pwrpfgrl

    pwrpfgrl Senior Member

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Doctora Foxy:
    <strong>I think it just means conversational speech. I don't know medical terminology in English! :D (yet) <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Good Point!! <img border="0" alt="[Clappy]" title="" src="graemlins/clappy.gif" />
     

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