[LANGUAGE] Learning another language

Brian D Williams (talon57@well.com)
Mon, 21 Sep 1998 11:26:16 -0700 (PDT)

My fellow Extropians,

In the interest of personal growth and trying to maintain a certain brain plasticity, I have decided to take up learning another language. Although this not my first attempt (three years of French in high school, living in Japan for a year) it will be the first serious attempt in a long time.

I had considered doing this when I was considerably younger, (I turn 41 on Thursday) but was dissuaded after learning just how many languages there are, and the fact that I do not seem to have a gift for learning this material.

I thought I would share my reasoning in the hope of encouraging others.

I have decided to start with Spanish, because of the large number of Spanish speaking people living in the Chicago area, as well as it's percentage of the worlds population.

I have realized that it is not necessary to try attain the fluency I have in my native tongue, (which I am still learning) but that by acquiring a few thousand of the most commonly used words and the structure, I should be able to develop it to good conversational levels.

I then intend to move on to a second, then a third, and so on. I may choose French or Japanese next as I have some familiarity with these.

I am currently training useing a module from the Random House living language series which has a textbook and 8 accompanying CD Roms. I also keep the TV or radio turned on to Spanish programming as background when I am at home.

Any and all comments or suggestions are most welcome.

I thought I'd share some charts I came across while researching this.

                        Languages spoken
                          (In Millions)

           World                        U.S

Language   Local      Total      Language   Total

Mandarin    863       1,025      Spanish     17.33 
Hindi       357         476      French       1.70
Spanish     352         409      German       1.54
English     335         497      Italian      1.30 
Bengali     200         207      Chinese      1.24
Arabic      200         235      Tagalog
Portugese   173         187
Russian     168         279
Japanese    125         126
German       99         126
French       75         127
Malay        57         170

Hasta Luego!

Member,Extropy Institute