Languages I Speak

10 Mar

The fire to learn, burns brightly everyday.

In Every Language

The neighborhood I grew up in, had people from a variety of backgrounds. Our floor had 8 houses, with nearly every family speaking a different native language – Punjabi, Farsi, Bengali, Marathi, and my mother tongue Gujarati. As an Indian, Hindi becomes the default second language, after English, and Marathi the next compulsory third language. Briefly, I also studied Sanskrit, as an add-on language to Marathi, since it was a more scoring language.

During my childhood, my father, who has studied in Urdu medium, would read beautifully descriptive stories in the language.

Being a Moslem, prayers have to be learnt in Arabic; the only problem with this language is that I can hardly decipher the complex pronunciations, let alone the meaning of the words. Arabic however came really handy during a holy trip to Iraq, where everyone spoke the language. I discovered the music in the sonorous words, and made sincere efforts to understand, and respond, even if only in monosyllables.

Like Sanskrit in school, French was considered a scoring subject during my college years. So I did pick up a few words and phrases in French, but I wouldn't dare utter them when hailing a taxi during my trip to Paris!

Friends have been as diverse as the community I grew up in. That's where I picked up a bit of Konkani, Sindhi & Kutchi. I make no high claims of making intelligent conversation in these tongues, but I can understand a good amount of what is being spoken.

My 3-year stint in Bengaluru, which is the only liveable city down South (according to me!), I picked up fragmented Tulu, Kannada and I daresay Tamil.

Do I want to learn any more languages – why not!

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One Response to “Languages I Speak”


  1. Learning French Again (Speaking In Tongues) « The Wandering Mind - March 14, 2011

    […] Languages I Speak ( […]

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