I’ll introduce my languages in order of their present importance to me.
Latin – I teach Latin during the academic year. I’d like to do more with it, but usually after prepping classes I want to use other languages. I also speak Latin regularly both inside and outside the classroom. I really should develop a plan for making consistent progress, but again, after teaching it every day I just want to do other things. Lately, outside of teaching, I’ve been reading more about Latin than in Latin (e.g. Woodcock’s A New Latin Syntax, Sihler’s flawed but still interesting Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin, the Italic section of Fortson’s Indo-European Language and Culture).
Ancient Greek – my first love. Since Latin takes up so much of my time, I can’t do as much with Greek as I’d like. Currently I’m working very slowly through North & Hillard’s Greek Prose Composition, mostly just to keep my active morphology and syntax fresh, and reading Euripides’ Hercules Furens. I used to speak Greek regularly with friends online, but recently I’ve been too busy for that too.
German – I’ve studied German off and on since 2013 or so. If I’d studied it properly and consistently, my German would be much better than it is now. But I’ve never been able to devote my full attention to it, and so I still read very slowly with excessive dictionary use. Even though my day job doesn’t involve any German whatsoever, I try to do the following each day:
- Review 5–10 Anki cards (very few, I know, but better than nothing)
Watch at least one short YouTube video in German
Read DW’s Langsam Gesprochene Nachrichten (these are probably too easy now) or some other news article of interest.
I recently found a 19th-century retelling of classical myths that has been both easy and rewarding, partly due to my familiarity with the content.
Spanish – I started studying Spanish in high school and minored in it in college. At one point I read the first half of Don Quijote. But, like German, I’ve gone for months or even years at a time without using Spanish at all. About a year and a half ago, I decided to revive my dormant Spanish and watched every episode of La Usurpadora with subtitles on Amazon Prime. That was fantastic. Since then, I’ve used Spanish almost every day, even if only to read the news. If I’m in the mood to concentrate, I can watch DW documentaries in Spanish without subtitles; if I’m not, then I use the subtitles. I’d like to dramatically improve my listening proficiency and then, one day, work on my production skills. Recently I read the first fifth of García Márquez’ El amor en los tiempos del cólera before losing interest.
French – I don’t have much time for French these days. When I need to read scholarly articles, I can do it without much trouble. Every now and then I read a bit of 19th-century literature.
Italian – I don’t have much time for Italian either, unfortunately. I find it a little bit harder than French, but since I’ve neglected it for years I suppose I can’t complain too much. I would love to spend time listening to opera with libretto in hand. For a while I was reading Dante with a parallel English translation; I should pick that up again.
Hebrew – I used to know a bit of ancient Hebrew, but now I’ve forgotten just about everything: I don’t even remember the entire alphabet. Perhaps one day I will become trium linguarum peritus.
Ambitions – aside from Hebrew, I’d like someday to learn Old French, medieval Spanish, Old English, a Slavic language (perhaps Russian or Polish), and maybe Japanese. “Had we but world enough and time . . .”