For the Love of a Language

I read John le Carre’s Guardian piece on why we should learn German, disagreed in my mind with the German bit specifically.

What interests me more is this line:

it was love at first sound

as I am always curious about why people choose which language to learn, which languages make them feel ‘at home’ and which ones they cannot bring themselves to learn.

I come from a multi-lingual family, multi-lingual from the love of language, rather than from being born into a family where many languages were spoken.  Amongst us we read or speak a lot of languages, interestingly though, with limited overlap. None of us, however, speak German. For me, it was the one language of the Europe of my childhood that I never learned. In fact, I avoided it. It wasn’t structure or form, it was sound, but also, antipathy. Why? I can’t say.

I wish, now, that I could read it, at least, especially with the adelphi project and so many of the authors being Austrian.  I often keep a list of languages to learn, ordered by desire, for when I have more time. For the past few years, the tops are Russian and Arabic, for practicality, but if I were to be unpractical, I would go first with Tamasheq.

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