Monday, September 13, 2010

"He studied Latin like the violin, because he liked it." ~Robert Frost.

Languages intrigue me.

I sometimes wonder why I never began studying another language seriously before this semester. Currently, I'm enjoying Latin. Actually, I'm probably enjoying it more than is strictly necessary. And I am determined to turn my mind to learning Old English, as well. I have no idea when, of course. But there are books available for self-teaching. I think once I've had a semester of Latin, many more doors will be open to me.

The study of linguistics is often called philology, I think. Did you know that J.R.R. Tolkien was a philologist? He knew so many languages, not to mention the many he created! That man is one of my heroes. I'm going to study Quenya, the language of the Elves of Middle-Earth. I know, I know, it's not a "real" language -- but does the fact that it is not spoken naturally here on earth that it isn't a real language?

There are so many languages I want to learn. German is one of them, for sure. Old English. Latin (which I'm so glad to finally be able to say I've started!). Old Norse would be really cool. And I love Gaelic. Italian is another I'd love to learn, if only for the sake of reading Dante's Divine Comedy in the original poetry. (No, my love affair with that classic work has not dissipated any.) I would also love to master Japanese, but I think I'll stick with knowing a few words and characters here and there. I pick stuff up from manga and anime anyway. The only language I do not care to learn is Spanish. This is probably because it's becoming so ridiculously prominent here in America that I just don't like it. And besides, once I know some Latin, making the transition to Spanish might not be too hard.

What is it about the formation of languages that fascinates me so? Letters which form words which form sentences which form ideas. Expression. Just so much to think about! I guess I just want to expand my knowledge of the world, and knowing foreign languages is such a stepping stone to what is beyond the borders of my tiny corner of it.

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