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Language poll

What languages other than English do you know, or want to learn, and why? I don't expect answers as long as what I type below.

For me, I used to know enough Latin to barely pass the Catullus/Horace Advanced Placement Exam, plus a big of Greek, but have forgotten nearly all. This was due to my parents, especially my mother, trying to replicate their own classics training and interests. She never did really teach me how to read and pronounce French words, which might have been more useful.

I've been desultorily self-studying Spanish and Japanese for embarrassingly long. Spanish, starting back in California, as I figured it was an obvious second language in the US, especially with Spanish radio stations. Now, the facts that I have friends in Chile, and Latin American seems to be up-and-coming in social democracy and economic growth, help too. Japanese, because of all that anime, though less because I specifically wanted to understand the anime, and more because I thought "you have to listen to a language a lot to really learn it, and my enthusiasm for foreign (or any) movies is generally low, but I'm voluntarily watching 6 hours of subbed anime a week..." Also, trying a non-Indo-European language was appealing. F*ck grammatical gender.

If I wanted more, Chinese, French, and German would probably be the next tier, in no particular order. Population and economic strength, utility for possible Canadian or French immigration, Germany's economic strength, plus the strong cultural weights of all three. Absent any actual migratory need, Chinese and French would probably make the most sense, leveraging my kanji and Latin/Spanish knowledge.

Sign language has a bit of interest, for being weird in making use of space.

Not a language, but I've taught myself Morse code, largely so I might have a post-stroke communication channel.



Feb. 8th, 2011 05:43 pm (UTC)
Tangent: A friend of mine says Rosetta Stone is actually really, really good. He's using it to learn Japanese and Hindi.
Feb. 8th, 2011 06:04 pm (UTC)
Really, I've always thought Rosetta Stone is way over hyped. People like it because its flashy and interactive and because it seems "immersion" by having you basically guess until you start to get things right and then repeat them to death. But I only did the first levels or so before I got bored.

In contrast I think the most under-rated language program out there is the Pimsleur series. It's audio only so seems kind of boring but it based on sound methodology and has a touch of humor. When I was studying in China I knew people who had only done Pimsleur at home and were basically fluent when it came to simple things like making reservations or asking for directions.
Feb. 8th, 2011 07:34 pm (UTC)
I saw the commercials and said, yeah, yeah, whatever. I guess taking my friend's and your experience together just means that it works well for some people and other others, just like various diet regimes work better for some and not others. Bummer. Unfortunately, I have no idea whether it would work well for me, and learning spoken Japanese would be neat because of all the anime I watch.
Feb. 10th, 2011 05:35 pm (UTC)
I've been using Pimsleur to learn Greek, and I've been really happy with it so far. It's really good for taking on long drives by myself -- listening to Greek lessons on public transit doesn't really work (unless you don't mind people staring at you as you repeat phrases in foreign languages) but it's fine in the car.


Damien Sullivan

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