Tongue Twisted

I have had a lifelong interest in foreign languages. I have lost count of all the light bulb moments that I have had when I suddenly think that learning Swiss German or Xhosa would be a really good idea. I have had books which promise to teach me Dutch, Turkish, German, French, Welsh… On and on, it goes.  If I had been successful in even half of the languages that I had wanted to learn over the years, I would be a very impressive polyglot, equally at home in Ulaanbaatar, as I would be in Nuuk.

Recently, I took classes in Japanese and although I made a fairly good account of myself, I found that I didn’t get along with the tutors and gradually, the urge to continue faded and I’m left with a few broken sentences in that fascinating language. I think that I am intrigued by decoding the seemingly impenetrable characters and making sense of the cultural differences between us. What can I say? I’m basically an inquisitive and friendly chap.

 So, the will is still there, I want to be able to converse with the locals when I’m in Denmark but I know that beyond saying “Thanks”, I will be frustrated and almost certainly doomed to being spoken to in flawless English by the Danish people.

Another reason for wishing to speak….let’s say, Frisian, is that I want to be able to say something very rude about people on the bus and not get a bop on the nose for my troubles. Saying, “Dat minske stjonkt.” would be very satisfying and I might sound both Worldly and urbane rather than a big juvenile nutcase. Ahhh, how I wish that I had such fluency.

So, right now, I’m stuck with English with tatty smatterings of other languages rattling around in my vocabularic arsenal. Maybe I ought to be content with just enough being good enough? Although, speaking Klingon might be fun?


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