Wednesday, 7 July 2010


Languages, I love languages, indeed.
They're my only true everlasting love and lifelong lovers will they be.

I like learning them, writing them, listening them, reading them, speaking them.
I don't master several at all, but I like learning bits of many of them.

I hide a comforting pleasure everytime I learn a new word or comprehend a grammatical structure.

These cherished abstractions are a useful tool too. Especially when travelling abroad.

Even nowadays I make many mistakes anytime I write or speak in English, and sometimes don't grab instantly the meaning of what people are saying, but English has been so far the longest standing language in my life (apart from my mother tongue, of course).

Basque language too has been here and there all over my life, sometimes nearer, others further (now currently I'm at the peak of it).

Latin at school came afterwards. An old, ancient language which provoked me new feelings and rewarding learning.

Soon after that I started creating my first own conlangs, based on the knowledge I had of English, Basque and Latin, which in turn led me to other Indoeuropean languages (Germanic and Celtic branches, and then Sanskrit and Old Indoeuropean).
I learned some Quenya too, of course, during my Tolkien-fan years (that spanned a long time, actually).

I had also one year of French at the end of high school, but wasn't very profitable.

The quest for the origin of Basque language took me to the Finnic languages (I learned some Hungarian while travelling there with my father, and Finnish has been a favourite language for some time now), and as far as ancient Sumerian and Altaic languages (we're talking about my early youth now).

When I started university (Computer Sciences) I learned to write and read in Greek and Cyrillic alphabet, an acquired knowledge I have never lost.

Further on (still at university) I started German classes for 3 years (and managed to get an intermediate level at some point) and Japanese with a hired native teacher (the lessons were at her flat).

I did even continue studying Japanese when I went on my Erasmus to Bath (England, where I got back my ability to move around easily in English), at the local university there, and eventually I passed the exam of the lowest of the 4 Nôken Japanese Language Degrees.

In my last year in the university I took one term-long Classical Hebrew lessons, which was the most exotical (of the scarce offer) one they offered. I had never really been into Semitic languages, but it was cool enough.

When I started to work I quitted all of this. On the other hand I began seriously to improve my Basque language and marked a kind of start to my solo trips all around Europe.

In the meantime I also assisted a short course of Arabic script, but I don't keep in mind much of it.

Catalan and Gascon (Occitan languages) got my attention too, Catalan since childhood when I used to watch TV in Catalan during my summer holidays on the Mediterranean, and Gascon since I (recently) discovered that was not a dead tongue.

Last year I resumed my French learning and now I can somehow express myself in this language, but haven't mastered it yet, sure.

Apart from all of this, I have read books about the grammar of many other languages, but just for fun, no real skill gained.

Lately, last year travelling in Bulgaria I managed to ask questions, read signs and understand some of the language, and this year in Greece I prepared myself before going there reading about its grammar (which proved handy).

Now I have just registered myself in a basic Russian course in the language school here (A2 level), so I can grasp a bit of it before I depart to Asia next year (I will take these classes, roughly from October till January).

I consider it will be extremely useful in Russia, given that many people there are not very fond of English.
Besides, a workable knowledge of it will be able to help me through Central Asian countries, where it still works as a secondary language (instead of English).

But sure enough I will have to go back to what I knew of Japanese and deepen into Chinese, to easen my trip thoroughly and make it more rich and enjoyable.

Couchsurfing too has helped me a lot in keeping fresh some of my language abilities, which I greatly thank.


  1. And not a word about Spanish. Considering all the feelings you may have towards it, I still think it's not fair.
    Valya (krotkaja)

  2. I don't understand why it is unfair.
    I never learned nor studied Spanish the way I did with the other languages, it never gave me any of those pleasures.

  3. That's weird, Russian gave me a lot of pleasure when I studied Russian linguistics. You know that native language skills are quite unconscious, so it's a great fun to understand how it really works (by the way, I have always thought that we learn foreign languages and cultures in order to understand better our own).
    I don't think that learning all these languages gave you equally great pleasure, nor do I believe that Spanish has never given you some.