Peter M Howard ::

wintermute.com.au

Languages I Want To Learn

10November2005 [personal]
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This year in France (and travelling in Europe) has changed the way I think about language. I don’t want to be proficient in French, I want to understand it; I want to be able to have conversations in a mish-mash of languages - whatever works best at the time. Being in Europe, where so many people speak, or at least understand, a handful of languages (trying not to generalise, this is obviously only really the case in certain circles), highlights what’s missing in Australia: we barely have _any_ contact with people that speak (regularly) languages other than English, by which I mean, those that do speak other languages are expected to speak English to communicate in commons. (What’s nuts of course is that three of the Aussie girls in Reims can speak different languages with their families; Australia doesn’t really want to admit that it’s an immigrant nation and that languages-other-than-English are so widespread). But slightly off-track, because I _don’t_ want to just speak a second language to say I can; I’ve loved being able to travel and get by with a mix of English, French, and (horribly) basic Spanish. So when I return to Aus, as well as keeping up my French, I also want to learn (in no real order, just as they come to me):

Only problem (beside there being way too many languages) is that I’ve _no_ idea where to start… Ancient Greek and the Celtic variants aren’t starters, but beyond that I can’t choose. Nothing stands out as more ‘useful’ than any other, and really, I don’t want to learn something just because it’s ‘useful’.

Final note: this entry will be updated whenever I think of another random language

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