I am very fluent in four languages and can do decent in two other languages and blabber my way out in one other language. So I will just go ahead and call myself a polyglot. Growing up in a cosmo-city as Bangalore introduces you to different culture and languages. Also, its easy and common in our country to know more than a couple of languages with so many different lingua franca.
Someone has told "know one language, you are born once but know more languages and you are born many times". It has been easy for me to pick/follow languages - maybe due to my intuitive nature and that keen interest to learn something new.
So whats the struggle with knowing more than a couple of languages. The struggle is a bit more if you are a woman. You know, its difficult to keep a straight face and behave as if you understood nothing when a group of guys pass lewd or funny comments in their native tongue. Or when you are being scolded for some mischief you committed; and want to get away. You understand whats being hurled at you and yet put up that "I dont understand" face.
Anyway, I picked up bits of Spanish during my Costa Rican vacation. Some words in Spanish are similar to English. For e.g - comprenda, agua, ambiente, perfecta, temperatura, cafe etc. This similarity is an advantage and you can follow what is being told. Thats how we could dabble with other Indian languages that follow these sort of similar pattern right? If you have a keen mind, its easy.
Well, you sure cant master the slang and the rhythm which only a native person could. This very reason makes it tough sometimes - for e.g. malayalam. I can speak the language but can never ever get that tone unique to the language.
I have been indulging in an amusing yet exhausting practice since the time I have known William - our Costa Rican guide. He is a gregarious guy; with special fondness to women ;-) Well, on a serious note; he is a nice fellow. Whenever we bump into each other online, we start chatting. But here is the catch. He can speak English but cant write English. So our conversation would be in; what else but Espanol.
It so happens that I can follow what he says but when I have to respond; I need a translator. At times, with his unique spelling for few words; it becomes dificil de comprender. With online translators now; its not as bad as it seems. Translators at your disposal - you dont really need to know a language. But at times; when it gets out of hand for me to respond; I just insert a smiley with a Si
It sure works. I was asked to learn Espanaol as his writing in English is bad. But that was not the reason for me to inquire about Espanol classes at a Spanish coaching class; this was an opportunity to learn a new language - a foreign language. I could not enroll for the weekend classes and now they dont have a weekend batch yet.
I was talking to William yesterday and had to go through that tedious procedure. That makes me inclined towards learning Spanish; why not? Its worlds fastest growing and it seems easy to pick up. Thinking about languages, I quit midway learning Gujarati and Punjabi. I didnt quit, my teachers stopped midway.
Gujju and Punjabi teachers, where are you?