polyglot my world

I’ve always had a life-long goal of being able to speak five languages before I die. “To speak” can, of course, encompass quite a wide range of language ability, and so I’ve settled for a goal of speaking four languages at at least the B1 (intermediate) level, with at least one of those foreign languages at a B2 level (threshold to proficiency). I think it would be quite possible for me to get to B2 with Nepali, as it’s the language I’ve been speaking and using the longest (other than English of course). I also think it’s possible for me to reach B2 in Spanish, as it is most intuitive for me to learn, although not perhaps the most enjoyable. It’s also widely accessible. So let’s say I learn Nepali and Spanish to a B2 level, and German to a B1. I also want to learn Turkish and Hindi to B1… that would bring my language count up to six, surpassing my goal.

My first real conversational level foreign language, which I learned by immersion and also with formal University intensive language program (SASLI at UW-Madison). I love the country, the people, the culture, the food, and oh… the sound of the language feels like coming home to me. I already own many textbooks and children’s books in this language, and have some access to native speakers. Also, I plan to live here for a year someday!

My daughter is biologically half-Mexican, and will be learning Spanish in her elementary years. We’ll also be traveling to Mexico frequently to give her a connection that side of her heritage. I spoke decent Spanish in high school, and took one year of literature and language in college, and the classes were in Spanish, so my vocab is still decent and the grammar comes back quickly. Spanish has quickly become the second language of the US, although our state might have more native Arabic speakers.

I don’t know why, but I love learning this language. I liked so much about Germany, and like that it can be spoken widely throughout Europe. I never imagined I’d want to continue learning more than a bit of basic German for traveling purposes, but now I’m hooked. It would be great to add one more European language to my list (Spanish being the first, although it’s obviously spoken in many more countries than Spain) even though I highly doubt I’d be able to live in Europe due to difficult restrictions and higher traveling prices.

I fell in love with Turkish when I prepared to travel there and began auditing university classes as well as attending conversation groups. In my mind, it is as much a love language as French, with its beautiful sounds and many terms of endearment. I have no doubt that I will be returning to Turkey many times over, as I felt I’d only skimmed the surface of all there is to do and experience there.

I’ve already studied Hindi a bit, but it takes the last spot on this list only because India is such a hot country. I don’t like hot weather. Notice you don’t see any African, Southeast Asian, or Middle Eastern languages (well, except Turkish in some ways) on the list? Spanish only made the list because of my daughter and her connection to Mexico, really, and because it is so popular in my own country. I’m not keen on staying long in any hot and humid country where you either sweat your ass off or stay hidden inside with the A/C blasting. I’m just not able to truly enjoy myself, no matter how wonderful the people or fascinating the country. If I hang out long in a Spanish speaking country, it will be in the Andean mountains, or the southern regions of Chile and Argentina. That being said, I love Nepali culture and it is similar to Indian culture in most of its Hindu traditions. Nepali people also use a lot of Hindi mixed into their language, as they take in so much Indian media every day, from movies to songs to history.

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