I have always loved languages. Below are a list of the ones I have both dabbled in and immersed myself in.
- English: my mother tongue. But I also taught English as a foreign language for 7 years in Japan. That teaching experience, and the many books I read to support it, has taught me much about the language I naturally speak. [see my popular diagram called “The History of the English Language“]
- German: When my mother was a child in her small rural Ohio town, spoke German to her grandmother. But to avoid trouble during WWII, her parents forbid the language. I studied German in Jr High School, High School and college, but I learned the most when I studied at Goethe Institute in Murnau, Germany for 3 months.
- Ancient Greek: 1st year at Cornell University. I did terrible — it was very hard for me. Read this post on “The Original Language Mystique” to see why I studied Greek.
- Hebrew: I attended synagogue for one year. I attended the synagogue while deconverting from Christianity and actually considered becoming Jewish. During that year I taught myself how to read Hebrew orthography so I could read along in the prayers though I did not know what I was saying.
- French: Took 6 months for fun at a community college. And have only used it a little in my travels in France. [read about how I lost my French Bias]
- Hindi & Urdu: I first picked up some Hindi when I hitchhiked to India. Then I continued in graduate school, then back to Pakistan and India with fellowship money to study more. Hindu uses Devanagri script and Urdu uses Arabic script (which is beautiful!).
- Japanese: I did not speak a word of Japanese when I landed there for a short vacation on my way back from India. So I bought some Japanese grammar books, mingled a lot and taught myself. Within three years I passed a college entrance Language exam. Two years later, I passed the highest level of the National Exam in Japanese. I then graduated from Japanese College and took Acupuncture Boards in Japanese.
- Chinese: I worked for Peace Corps in China as medical officer. I had a tutor three nights a week but worked with Americans at the consulate all day long, so I only learned very little compared to my Japanese and German. But I could order tests at hospitals for my patients because I could read the characters due to my Japanese background.
- Spanish: Taught myself a little using Berlitz tapes for travels in Mexico and Guatemala.
- Tibetan: at one time I thought about studying Tibetan Buddhism in detail so I began to study it — but only superficially. I LOVE the script.
See: About (for more about the Sabio)