Linguistics and Polyglotism

I’m a huge fan of languages. I can already speak French, some German and Spanish, and a little bit of Russian. I spend multiple hours a week studying them with dozens of different books, foreign movies, and even iPhone apps. If you spend enough time on one language at a time, you can teach yourself a lot. My personal goal is to be a hyper-polyglot. For starters, a polyglot is a person who speaks three or more languages. As you can infer, a hyper-polyglot speaks many more languages.

In the future, I would especially love to be fluent in Spanish, Japanese and German so I can speak with some of my friends in their native languages. I have very close friends in Bavaria, Germany; Kyoto and Tokyo, Japan; and Oaxaca, Mexico. But there are other languages that I’m really keen to learn for many reasons.

The Russian language is extremely appealing to me. I love the way it sounds and I feel like a secret agent when I speak it. The fact that it has a different alphabet seems like a good challenge for me too. Some letters in the alphabet are the same in the English alphabet as well, but some are sneaky and look the same but are completely different.

I’m also planning on learning Korean. As you may know from a previous post (click here to view), I am going to study in Seoul, South Korea for a few months next summer. This language is very important to me to learn because after I graduate from UCSD, I plan to move to South Korea to teach English for a year or two.

A great way to study languages is to go down to the basics; linguistics. This is the scientific study of the structure of languages. People learned in linguistics are known to speak multiple languages and have an easier time understanding them.

A few great books on linguistics include the following:

The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker

The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature by Steven Pinker

Why You Say It by Webb Garrison

Spoken Here by Mark Abley

The F-Word edited by Jesse Shiedlower

I also recommend Le Petit Prince by Antoine de St-Expuéry. It’s an easy-to-translate French children’s book and can help teach you some basic sentence structure. It’s one of my favorite books of all time and they’re even making a movie out of it!!

Have a reason I should learn another language? Tell me about it in the comments 🙂

Here are some other posts that I’ve made about linguistics:

Learning a Language

Mon Temps à Nice

Nelson Mandela said something like, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”Teach me some of your native language in the comments below!

4 Comments

  1. I am your fan now.

    I speak 4 languages n I am from India, but I that’s naturally around here.

    I am learning Spanish from Duolingo since long, haven’t been able to make a strong progress 😦

    I intend to take up other languages once I am at par with Spanish.

    Following your blog here on.

    Native Hindi – “Namaste. Dhanyawaad” “Hello, Thank you.”

    Like

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