RDP Wednesday: Language

language books

What more can I say, an in which language? The photo shows it all more or less. Some people collect stamps as a hobby, others music and me, I collect languages.

I do have a mother tongue, but sometimes am not quite sure what it is. According to my first original passport it would be english, but cockney, my dialect, does not exactly follow the rules. It had to be polished up at school. And then I moved to Switzerland and discovered the German they spoke was not the German I had learnt at school, another dialect. After 50 years I more or less speak perfect Solothurn German, one of the numerous Swiss dialects. I think every part of Switzerland has its own.

And what about the rest? I always wanted to speak, write and read Russian since my school days, but I had to learn 5 years French at school, also did evening classes for Spanish a year, but have not forgot everything. My other dream language was Italian which I more or less taught myself. I always found that if you did not know the word in Italian, just used the english one and add an “o” or “a” at the end, with the Italian pronunciation and you would be understood. At some time I did eventually get my Russian course, 12 years, and I can still read and write it now. The words are for me entirely different to anything I had in my lantino-anglo language brain, but I discovered that I could even understand the Yugoslavians with their various serbo-croat-Slovenian languages, all with a sort of Russian basis knowledge that I had acquired.

In the meanwhile, with my 72 years I speak a bit of everything, but probably nothing perfect. Even my english suffers. How often do I begin to write my pieces in Internet and suddenly find that the word I want only appears in German in my brain. I have a quick Internet check and it tells me the english word.

Oh and then I decided that Arabic would be something interesting and yes, I could write it when I did my year of learning the language. I then discovered that none of the so-called Arabic speaking countries, actually spoke pure Arabic. The Maghreb states of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Western Sahara, to name just a few all had their own version of Arabic and rarely understood each others language. Egypt spoke a straightforward Arabic and the Emirates were apparently the best. Needless to say i decided Arabic was a little complicated.

Let’s face it, the only way to learn a language is to use it and communicate with it. I am a typical example of how to communicate in a language by not bothering about the silly details like grammar. Just say what you want to say, use your hands, your feet and you will get there eventually. I must have been doing something right somewhere, as although my kids all grew up in Switzerland, they understand and speak English. One is fluent in French as well.

And Switzerland has four basic languages: French, German, Italian, Romansch. This means that almost all food packets in the supermarket are covered with text in these languages to cover all aspects of the population. Perhaps not Romansch, as there are only a small percent speaking it in the mountains of Graubünden and they also have about 4-5 dialects, so they also have to learn German at school to be understood by the rest of the country.

You know what, I could go on for ages about this language thing. Just do not expect a perfect explanation. I was always someone that liked to talk and why bother about rules and regulations, it only slows you down. I däm Fall wurde ig säge genüg gseit. I bi sicher dir wüsset wie Sprache cha dr Fall kompliziere. U das isch e chli wenig Schyzertutsh (the last few words were in Swiss German, not really a written language, because according to where you live and your origins, you speak a different dialect. Just write it as you hear it, but with a German touch).

View of the Bernese Alps from Feldbrunnen

RDP Wednesday: Language

10 thoughts on “RDP Wednesday: Language

    • But you spoke it, that is the main thing. What often annoys me is when I speak French. the French speaking understand me, so what more do I need. Mr. Swiss corrects my accent and my son seems to find it amusing.

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  1. I was taught a few languages, since I went to Catholic schools in the USA for the first twelve years and then a non-religious college. I studied English, Latin, French, Spanish, Greek and German in school, picked up chunks of Pali and Tibetan from Buddhism, and bits of Japanese from martial arts–I still can’t count in Japanese in anything but a loud yell. These days I mostly use English, recall tons of Latin and Greek for etymology, and am helping someone learn French. It’s fun to know bits and pieces, but they leave the brain if not used, certainly. I enjoy all kinds of languages, usually written more than spoken.

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    • One thing I discovered is that no matter what foreign language you are speaking or in which country you are, counting with numers is mainly always done in the so-called mother tongue. I once had a boss that was Indian. He spoke good english, but if he had to do something mathematical with numbers, it was always done in Urdo.

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  2. Love languages too.. Arabic.. I’m impressed.. I have notions of Russian and a little more Greek.. French because I live in France and smattering of Afrikaans, nederlands because I come from South Africa. I am trying ALbanian at the moment because I go there a lot but very slow process.. 😉

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    • One of the office apprentices I was responsible fortwehen I was a working woman was Kosovo Albanien and i picked up a few words, but interesting was the cultural background. Arabic was so confusing because of the many dialects

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