Genie grants you a language, which would you choose?

General discussion about learning languages
lowsocks
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Re: Genie grants you a language, which would you choose?

Postby lowsocks » Sun Oct 18, 2020 1:07 am

I have already given a reply, but some other thoughts occur to me:

1) I'm a bit surprised that no one seems to have mentioned Latin. Perhaps many of the polyglots on the forum already know the language?

For my part, I admit that I am reluctant, and maybe a bit too lazy, to put in all the work to learn it. But there is still inside me a lingering feeling, even if it is out of date by maybe a century or so, that a proper Western education should include some knowledge of Latin. So if I could get it for free, even to a B2 level, I might take up the offer.

2) If you have not yet met "the right person", you may want to ask the genie to let you make your choice at a later time. If you should someday meet the right one, you may find that their native language, or the language of their family, might not be one that you have studied. It might impress them, or at least make things go more smoothly, if you can speak Spanish, or Russian, or Chinese, or whatever is needed.

Of course, this raises the question: Should you be honest with this person, and tell them about the genie? Or should you let them believe that you worked so hard to learn their language, in order to be close to them, all for their sake? I am undecided. Some say honesty is the best policy. But others say that all is fair in love and war ;)
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Cavesa
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Re: Genie grants you a language, which would you choose?

Postby Cavesa » Sun Oct 18, 2020 7:39 pm

lowsocks wrote:I have already given a reply, but some other thoughts occur to me:

1) I'm a bit surprised that no one seems to have mentioned Latin. Perhaps many of the polyglots on the forum already know the language?

For my part, I admit that I am reluctant, and maybe a bit too lazy, to put in all the work to learn it. But there is still inside me a lingering feeling, even if it is out of date by maybe a century or so, that a proper Western education should include some knowledge of Latin. So if I could get it for free, even to a B2 level, I might take up the offer.

2) If you have not yet met "the right person", you may want to ask the genie to let you make your choice at a later time. If you should someday meet the right one, you may find that their native language, or the language of their family, might not be one that you have studied. It might impress them, or at least make things go more smoothly, if you can speak Spanish, or Russian, or Chinese, or whatever is needed.

Of course, this raises the question: Should you be honest with this person, and tell them about the genie? Or should you let them believe that you worked so hard to learn their language, in order to be close to them, all for their sake? I am undecided. Some say honesty is the best policy. But others say that all is fair in love and war ;)


Those are very good thoughs.

For me, 1.isnt't too tempting. Why? When I decide to relearn Latin (and this time to a solid level), I will not suffer doing it. So, why should I ask Genie to help me avoid a pleasant activity? And when it comes to lating, C1ish speaking or writing skills are bit of an overkill these days. As to point 2: I think I have found the one, but even if I happen to get to the unfortunate situation of having to find someone else, I think I've got a large enough part of Europe covered (more distant people will be less present in the years to come), and learning his language will be a pleasure too, so again the Genie's help won't be required.
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gsbod
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Re: Genie grants you a language, which would you choose?

Postby gsbod » Sun Oct 18, 2020 8:02 pm

Well I would try to negotiate free and legal access to all Japanese TV, film, radio, podcasts and books in place of any instant language skills.

But if the genie couldn't provide this, it would be one of the big Romance languages, since there are many good reasons to know them, but subjectively I don't find the process of learning them to be very interesting any more.
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BalancingAct
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Re: Genie grants you a language, which would you choose?

Postby BalancingAct » Sun Oct 18, 2020 10:46 pm

Iversen wrote:Well, maybe not be too spontaneous ... Let's assume you are in the company of a genie with no special interest in languages and your back is itching - and then you first thought is "Gee, I wish that somebody would scratch my back - just for a moment". And then you get 1 minut and 17 seconds of back scratching where you could have had the whole of the Russian language for free...


A real genie will ask you to help yourself!Image
Image
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Tristano
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Re: Genie grants you a language, which would you choose?

Postby Tristano » Tue Oct 20, 2020 8:50 am

That would be Arabic for me. It would grant me access to an immense amount of literature and a broader understanding of the world plus a headstart with a lot of beautiful and interesting languages.
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