New Life: Languages

One of the things I would like to do once I leave my current job is to learn a language and then travel to another country and use that language. I’d like to do it with Steve so that shortens the list to those languages we agree on. Here’s my list in rough order of appeal and what I see are the advantages or disadvantages of each:

Greek: Who wouldn’t want to be able to say, “It’s Greek to me… Wait I speak Greek!” Of course there is also Samuel Johnson’s quote: “A man is in general better pleased when he has a good dinner upon his table, than when his wife talks Greek.” Can’t we have both Greek language learning and a timely and delicious dinner? Seriously, the main advantage to learning Greek is that it opens up Greece to us, which has so much to interest us as a country: amazing history, amazing food, delicious wine, the original marathon, proximity to the Mediterranean, and pure beauty. Steve is also interested in Greek for the same reasons. Of course it is a bit narrow as a language. It is only spoken in Greece as far as I know so it isn’t like Spanish, which opens up a world of possibilities.

Ancient Greek:  I love dead languages since most of what I want to do is read in the language and it seems that dead languages forge a direct link to the past. It is like having a time machine without having to get dirty. With Ancient Greek I could read a wide variety of literature and philosophy, plus it opens up the ancient structures in new ways to us. Steve is also interested in this one. I’m hoping we could learn both modern and ancient Greek at that same time since the main disadvantage to Ancient Greek is that it is a dead language and therefore difficult to find native speakers. Of course if we stumbled across a real time machine, we’d be set!

Anglo-Saxon: I studied Anglo-Saxon in graduate school and discovered that I loved it. I will probably go back to reading it once I have time.

Portuguese: Main advantage to learning Portuguese is going to Portugal. Bonus: It opens up Brazil as well. This is one of the languages that makes its way to the top of Steve’s list.

Spanish: Talk about a useful language, Spanish would help us in our soon-to-be home in New Mexico and is useful for traveling a variety of places in Latin America as well as Spain. The challenge is that we are not as interested in Latin America as we are in other places. But we’re not averse either. Steve is not all that interested in Spanish. But Spanish is one of the languages I studied in high school so whatever happens I’ll probably end up doing some Spanish refresher once we get closer to moving to New Mexico. I just wish I could persuade Steve to visit Mexico with me. He has some sort of aversion to the country but I love it, especially the Sonora Desert and Mexico City.

Italian: Wine! Italian wine is one of my very favorites and it would be a dream come true to explore Italy drinking the wine and visiting the sites whilst understanding the language. Plus Paul and Suzanne speak Italian so perhaps they could give us some hints.

Hindi: This one is probably a non-starter since Steve has no interest but I’ve always wanted to go to India and Hindi is the national language.

Latin:  It is useful as dead languages go but has never warmed the cockles of my heart. Still, if I learned it would it make all other Latin-influenced languages easier?

Telugu: This would be fun. A lot of the people I know at FedEx speak Telegu and I know that there is a Telegu Intensive course in town. So there would be plenty of people to practice with and it would open up India to me, which is one of the countries I’d most like to go to. However, Steve has no interest in Telegu or traveling to India. Also I’m not certain I want to be stumbling in a Telegu class with small Indian children who all catch on faster than I do.


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