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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 06:19 pm (UTC)
I grew up in Malaysia and was sent to a Chinese grade school. Plus, my mother was a school teacher looking for something to do when she retired when her first kid was born, and decided teaching her child English would be a great head start. I speak English natively, and Mandarin too. My Mandarin is getting decidedly rusty, but whenever I go home and start using it again, it all comes back within a day.

Growing up in Kuala Lumpur means my Cantonese is conversational. I can go to Hong Kong and survive pretty well. I wouldn't be executive-level, but I should be able to do most retail jobs decently (well, linguistically speaking. Aptitude is an entirely different matter altogether.)

My Malay is also conversational. I have never been very good at the language, and I must admit I didn't do all that well in Malay at school, either.

Living in Japan has given me enough Japanese that I can speak it well enough to live life on the basic level. I wouldn't be able to do business, but I'd be able to understand enough people and make myself understood in order to get my basic needs met, and deal with tradesmen, and all that jazz.

I can understand the most basic of French terms. Fire a French speaker at me full blast and I can't understand a word, but if the French speaker is intentionally speaking slowly and carefully to me in French, I can follow enough to understand the gist of what they're saying. Unfortunately, my ability to respond is much lower.
Feb. 8th, 2011 07:13 pm (UTC)
Not knowing Malay well despite being Malaysian still sounds funky. :)
Feb. 8th, 2011 07:14 pm (UTC)
LOL! That should illustrate how little the language matters. ^_^;


Damien Sullivan

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