Oh, it’s wonderful to be a linguaphile. For each new language you learn, you gain a whole new perspective on life, access to an entire culture, including the literature, and insight into a place and a people, among many other benefits.
I would imagine that a number of us linguaphiles long to learn as many languages as we can, even if we can’t or don’t learn them all fluently.
So what languages do you know and what’s on your languages-to-learn list? And why?
As for me, I started out with Latin (okay, technically I started with English, my native language), which I think is a great place to begin because it’s the basis of the Romance languages and has had a big influence on English as well. I moved on to Spanish and then Swedish. Swedish became my first love, linguistically speaking, and it’s still the language I work most with now, as a researcher and a translator. I’ve also worked a bit with Norwegian and Danish. In the past few years, I’ve taken classes or studied on my own Portuguese, Italian, and Finnish. And I’ve got Japanese, Polish, and German textbooks at home that I’ve scarcely touched yet. So I can’t claim to be all that good at most of those languages, though I’ve enjoyed my exposure to them. I often feel that I ought to try to learn some French and I’m fascinated by and drawn to Faroese and Icelandic. But I seem rather stuck in Europe for the most part, so at some point, I’d like to take a class that would move me to another continent in terms of my language skills. Any suggestions?
You might want to check out this list of difficult languages. Do you agree? Are those some of the hardest ones out there?
I’m lucky to be able to work with language and literature. Hurray for linguaphiles!
ZYGMUNT MILOSZEWSKI AND HIS TRANSLATORS
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