Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How many?

Language, לָשׁוֹן, γλῶσσα / διάλεκτος, ܠܶܫܳܢܳܐ, sprache, lengua, 언어

These are some of the languages that I've interacted with over the years and while learning a new language is hard, I suppose it's also rewarding to be able to read something in a language that looked like scribbles just a few months ago. I'm just wondering where this will end... I'd much rather be very good at a few languages than knowing a little bit of many, but with PhD applications, ability to interact with a broader scope, etc., it seems like having "acquired" numerous languages is more advantageous. This is hard though! The more I get into one language, the more I'm prone to neglecting another and then I start wishing I had some type of time-freezing machine so I can just study these languages for 5000 hours in one day. One of my professors amazes me with the ease at which he moves from one language to another, not just in terms of translations, but its linguistic tendencies, idioms, etymological background, etc. He seems to be pretty comfortable at all of the following (and this is probably not even exhaustive!): French, German, Greek, Latin, Syriac, Aramaic, and Hebrew! I hope someday I can know half as much as he does...

2 comments:

Nick Norelli said...

They say that Gleason Archer was at home with 30 languages!

Mike S. said...

Nick: What!? That's unbelievable... I wanna see the list!