Monday, January 16, 2017

Monday Mix 011617: Lingua franca

I've studied language for most of life, even before I declared at the age of 10 that I wanted to be a writer. But decades later I'm unable to list all the languages I've studied, both formally and informally.

My go-to number is 14: I've studied, I speak 14 languages. It might be more, depending on how you distinguish among related languages, among vernaculars.

I'm going to attempt to list the 14 languages I know. (Though, perhaps, it might be more accurate to say the language that at one time I knew.)
  1. English
  2. Spanish
  3. Russian
  4. Polish
  5. Czech
  6. Japanese
  7. Ukrainian
  8. Latin
  9. German
  10. French
  11. Classical Greek
  12. ...
Hmm. Maybe it's only 11 languages. God, what a loser! This is why that stupid test I took told me I live in a bubble.

I've studied quite a bit of Sanskrit, a little Hebrew and Yiddish, and I spent a couple of months teaching myself Serbian, but I don't really count any of them.

The 11 languages listed above I consider my research languages: I can communicate in them (at least in a basic way), I can read them (though I never really developed literacy in Japanese, having only about 300 kanji under my belt), and I can translate from (most of) them, especially Spanish, Russian, Polish, Latin, German, and French.

The language I wish I spoke much better is Spanish. I adore Spanish. I studied for two years in high school, at least a year at the college level, and for a handful of years on my own or with a tutor. I'm always proud when my high school Spanish saves the day, which happens much more frequently in Germany for some reason.

Speak my language.

No comments:

Post a Comment