Sunday, April 05, 2009

Languages!!! Languages!!!

Learning languages can be fun (as if knowing how to read, write and speak in 3 languages wasn't fun enough!!!). Yes, for Indians, we are generally comfortable in communicating in 3 languages (generally) - English, Hindi (our national language) and our mother tongue (and we tend to create a new language by concocting the three languages most of the times). But, some people (including a good friend of mine) have a flair for learning new languages. Unfortunately for me, whatever I have learnt in my first 5 years of life has been permanently stored in my memory, and any new language I learn is automatically purged after a few years of inactivity.

I have traveled a lot since I was a kid, been to almost all the states in India, so have been exposed to a number of languages. But, somehow, I never made a conscious effort to learn that region's language. So, I was stuck speaking in Bengali at home, Hindi with friends and English at school. In my school life, I had French and Sanskrit as a part of the curriculum, and, I think I managed to get good scores in those subjects quite well, but actually didn't get a chance to converse in those languages. So, after a few years, the only things I remembered were a few unrelated words.

I stayed in Kerala for more than 2 years, but somehow, managed to be just fine by not learning Malayalam - English was fine enough :). Then, when I moved to Pune, haven't even made any effort to learn Marathi, even though it has been about 7 years here.

But now, I realize that learning languages can be fun. Other than knowing the various ways in which you can communicate to the residents of the place, it helps you to understand that region's culture even more. For example, currently, I have started learning German, and other than learning about the language, I am also becoming aware of their culture and lifestyle.

So how do I rate the languages I know (refer the picture at the starting of the post)?

1. English - 6th box
2. Bengali - 5th box
3. Hindi - 6th box
4. Sanskrit - 5th box
5. French - 5th box
6. German - somewhere in between 3rd and 4th :)
7. All other languages = prelinguistic :P

The ultimate level of perfection? Profanity, of course :)


  1. nice classification. i can safely add that punjabi must be in some 7th box.
    something like
    "#%$&$ i #%$#%^$ want ^&*^&*^&*^)*ball ^&*^*&^E$%#W$$"

  2. Thanks sir. Yes, the 7th box is something which we need for typical AIT lingo as well, what do you say? :P