In a manner of speaking

I borrowed these images from my daughter’s scrapbook. I made this graphic to show her the journey the last thee generations before her had taken and that is what makes her uniquely her.

You could say mine is a multi-lingual family. Bengali, Nepali, Malayalam, Tamil, Punjabi and Hindi are some of the languages spoken in my household. My parents are fluent in 4 languages and so are My husband, his mom and his brother & sister. My sister and her husband know 3 languages each.

India where we have 22 ‘official’ languages and many dialects, it should have been relatively easy for  me to have learned more than the two that I know- English and Hindi. Especially since so many were being spoken all around me. Sadly though, I didn’t realize the value of the good thing I had going on until now. So far I have been content to be able to understand a few things from each language and never dug deeper.

Recently I decided to learn French and I enthusiastically registered my self into an online course and joined a local French conversation group. Honestly , I am finding learning a new language a bit difficult. I am realizing that there is a huge difference in how children and adults learn a language and it is amazing to me. It was so much easier to learn to understand  Malayalam during the six weeks of summer break without even the little bit understanding of grammar or syntax. “Use it or loose it ” rings as true for grey cells as for muscles.

My progress in learning French has been really slow but I recently stumbled upon this piece about 22 year old Alex Rawlings who can currently speak 11 languages. I like what he said about seeing Afrikaans and Dutch as two very different languages because their personalities are SO different. May be this is what I need to keep the languages separate in my head.

As for my daughter, I hope she would be more curious than I was and would be interested in making the most of her heritage and learn as many languages as she can. I can hope. 🙂

Phir Milenge!! (or as the French would say Au Revoir!!)


1 thought on “In a manner of speaking

  1. Pingback: Making progress …..Ok! May be not so much. | Jaajaabor

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