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    What makes someone bilingual, trilingual and quadrilingual?
    Is it the ability to speak?
    Or read?
    Or understand?
    OR all the above?

    Yes, there are people who can understand the language but can't speak it.
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    (Original post by LexusMonkey)
    What makes someone bilingual, trilingual and quadrilingual?
    Is it the ability to speak?
    Or read?
    Or understand?
    OR all the above?

    Yes, there are people who can understand the language but can't speak it.
    Interacting in that language with people who speak it for an extended period of time or reading in that language for an extended period of time.
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    What if you can speak and understand them perfectly well but cannot read the language?
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    Being bilingual means to have native speaker-like competence in two languages (or three or four for the other categories). This is the case for instance of children with parents that are natives in two different languages (and then teach them and talk in both of them at home). Another case is what happens to migrants after some years in the new country. Obviously then being bilingual is rare, most people will just speak two or more languages...

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    Trilingual and quadrilingual aren't real words. Past bilingual you just use multilingual.

    Being able to communicate in that language more or less like a native speaker, simply put. It's pretty rare for that to happen and for someone to not be able to also read and write in that language, but in the rare case they didn't, I would still consider them bilingual as they would still be able to use language for its first and primary function. The written word came after verbal communication.
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    I think speaking is most important factor that makes someone bilingual/tringual etc, i mean, that's what languages are for right, to communicate?
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    desdemonata, its not really that rare. I am from Malaysia. We are mostly multilingual (at least for my generation) but a lot of us here can't read or write in at least one of the languages that we speak.
    Let's say that I am trying to write up a CV...Should I put in the fact that I can speak 4 languages (depends on whether you think Cantonese is a dialect or a language) even though I can only read and write in 2?
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    (Original post by LexusMonkey)
    Let's say that I am trying to write up a CV...Should I put in the fact that I can speak 4 languages (depends on whether you think Cantonese is a dialect or a language) even though I can only read and write in 2?
    You should, just specifying the kind of competence you have in each of them...
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    If you want to become an expert in this, you have to try work hard and lot of efforts are made by you for acheving these and there are lot of tutor also available to give you the best coaching. Threre are lot of people also available on the internet they can give you the better suggestions and this makes you perfect in all aspects. But it requires time.
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    (Original post by LexusMonkey)
    What makes someone bilingual, trilingual and quadrilingual?
    Is it the ability to speak?
    Or read?
    Or understand?
    OR all the above?

    Yes, there are people who can understand the language but can't speak it.
    In the best case, all the above, so to understand, to read and to speak. If someone is able to do these requirements at a high level, then its a perfect multilingual speaker in my view. Otherwise someone must mastered the pronunciation and capable of understanding.
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    I think Chinese would be considered as the language if you speak Cantonese, Mandarin etc. So, Cantonese, Mandarin etc on their own wouldn't be counted as one language each, but a dialect. At least I think it's widely considered so.
 
 
 
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