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Multilingual San Francisco: Susanna takes on Spanish, Italian & Russian; Benny interviews Brazilians in Portuguese [video]

| 12 comments | Category: culture, particular languages, video

Title explains it all! :)

I met up with Susanna, who has guest posted for this blog on the topic of “Language is music” and who has her own site about language learning, and she had a great idea to make a multilingual video together to show how any city in the states has plenty of people to speak many languages with, doing it in San Francisco in particular.

So we found natives and spoke to them in Spanish, Italian, Russian and Portuguese, and put what we had together into this video!

We didn’t arrange anything in advance – we just went to the districts or events where we would likely find natives and tried to strike up conversation with them. There are many other ways to find natives without leaving your home city.

My Portuguese part is the entire second half of the video, based around the Brazilian Independence day festival that we just happened to find in Golden Gate park. I made sure to put on my yellow shirt to join in on all the fun! Fernanda, who works for the San Francisco Brazilian community center answered my first questions.

While we had no problem at all finding people to speak with quickly in the languages we picked, the one catch was that all the Russians we talked to refused to be filmed, so Susanna explains that when she’s talking in Russian. But we did talk to a lot of them otherwise happy to talk to us!

Susanna did a great job, and you can hear that her accent is very convincing in each of the languages. She has her own Youtube channel with lots of videos about and in other languages, including plenty of TV appearances!

Any thoughts on the multilingual afternoon in San Francisco? Let us know in the comments!

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  • http://www.lifelafiesta.com Rajith Vidanaarachchi

    That little boy is so lucky to have parents who understand the value of languages :D

  • Valentina Gilbert

    Just wow!! Congratulations to both!
    Though I am from Spain and therefore it is very curious to me to hear a foreigner speaking Spanish with Latin American accent, I must say her speaking skills in Spanish are really impressive, she sounds completely native!

    • http://twitter.com/languageismusic Susanna Zaraysky

      Gracias Valentina! It’s possible to learn Spanish with a Latin American accent, especially a Mexican one, in California. My first accent in Spanish was madrileño as my first real Spanish class was taught by a woman from Madrid. The Spanish accent comes into my speech sometimes.  – Susanna

  • Valentina Gilbert

    Just wow!! Congratulations to both!
    Though I am from Spain and therefore it is very curious to me to hear a foreigner speaking Spanish with Latin American accent, I must say her speaking skills in Spanish are really impressive, she sounds completely native!

  • Valentina Gilbert

    Just wow!! Congratulations to both!
    Though I am from Spain and therefore it is very curious to me to hear a foreigner speaking Spanish with Latin American accent, I must say her speaking skills in Spanish are really impressive, she sounds completely native!

  • Valentina Gilbert

    Just wow!! Congratulations to both!
    Though I am from Spain and therefore it is very curious to me to hear a foreigner speaking Spanish with Latin American accent, I must say her speaking skills in Spanish are really impressive, she sounds completely native!

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

    I have hosted Portuguese via Couchsurfing and had no trouble understanding them. I think my peninsular Spanish may have helped a little here in combination with Brazilian Portuguese. But I never had major communication problems!

    • Adrián Magro

      Benny, a native “peninsular Spanish” speaker does not understand spoken Portuguese (only Galicians do, but that’s because they are bilingual in a variety of Portuguese). So I really don’t think that your “peninsular Spanish” helped you at all.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

    I have hosted Portuguese via Couchsurfing and had no trouble understanding them. I think my peninsular Spanish may have helped a little here in combination with Brazilian Portuguese. But I never had major communication problems!

    • http://www.facebook.com/james.hall3 James Hall

      I’m really liking the video Brazilian Portuguese dialogs from Semantica Portuguese.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

    Obrigado pelo elógio Lucas :)

  • http://www.stoneyphoto.com/ Stoney

    San Francisco also has many opportunities for learning Cantonese, Taishanese ( Taishan is a region west of Macau and Hong Kong ), Vietnamese, and Tagalog ( as well as other dialects and languages ( Ilocano, Pangasinan )) Many newcomers speak Mandarin, but Mandarin is more common to the south of the bay in the cities of Fremont and Cupertino. In nearby Oakland, the China town is mostly Cantonese, Taishan, and Vietnamese. I just started on my Russian adventure which I delayed due to my focus on Mandarin :)