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 But there is still inside me a lingering feeling, even if it is out of date by maybe a century or so, that a proper Western education should include some knowledge of Latin.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 But there is still inside me a lingering feeling, even if it is out of date by maybe a century or so, that a proper Western education should include some knowledge of Latin.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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Montmorency2020
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Re: Genie grants you a language, which would you choose?

Postby Montmorency2020 » Tue Nov 03, 2020 7:20 pm

garyb wrote:Russian is probably at the top of the list of "would like to speak but can't be bothered studying" for me, plus it would make the rest of the Slavic family more accessible.


Same here. I don't have that much of a desire to travel to Russia, but reading the literature in the original would be rewarding.

And having a leg up in the other Slavic languages would be advantageous. I nowadays have a reason to visit the Czech Republic, and probably Slovakia and Poland as well. Roll on the end of Covid-19 restrictions.
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Φιλόσοφος
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Re: Genie grants you a language, which would you choose?

Postby Φιλόσοφος » Tue Nov 03, 2020 7:33 pm

What fun would there be in acquiring foreign languages instantly without undergoing the process of discovering and studying them? My wish would be to have suitable materials for learning any language that catches my attention - substantial manuals, quality lexical tools, the ability to order books and DVDs without restrictions.
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Montmorency
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Re: Genie grants you a language, which would you choose?

Postby Montmorency » Tue Nov 03, 2020 11:34 pm

Montmorency2020 wrote:
garyb wrote:Russian is probably at the top of the list of "would like to speak but can't be bothered studying" for me, plus it would make the rest of the Slavic family more accessible.


Same here. I don't have that much of a desire to travel to Russia, but reading the literature in the original would be rewarding.

And having a leg up in the other Slavic languages would be advantageous. I nowadays have a reason to visit the Czech Republic, and probably Slovakia and Poland as well. Roll on the end of Covid-19 restrictions.


In the words of American election candidates: "I approve of this message".

Just announcing to anyone vaguely interested, that thanks to kindly admins, I now have access to my old account, and won't be using "Montmorency2020" again in future (as it will soon be suspended anyway).

Signed, the "artist" formerly known as (and known again as) Montmorency. :-)

(Unless of course I fall over the fiendish "Captcha" mechanism (again), which seems highly likely. I understand the need to distinguish bots from humans, but I don't understand the need for what look at first sight to be deeply philosophical questions. Simple arithmetic I like, however...

I mean what are you supposed to make of this:

"My potatoe is Siberia. Where is it named for?"

The mis-spelling of potato is the first thing that throws me.
"Where is it named for?" does not quite make sense to me, as a British English speaker.
I know of course that American English uses "named for" where British English uses "named after".

OK, so I mentally translate that to "Where is it named after?"
But "potato" is a thing and not a place, so I'd ask "What is it named after", or maybe
"what place is it named after"?

These questions seem designed to trip up humans, not bots, so I don't really think they are fit for purpose.

I know we are supposed to be linguists, or would-be linguists, but even so...
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rdearman
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Re: Genie grants you a language, which would you choose?

Postby rdearman » Thu Nov 05, 2020 8:04 am

Montmorency wrote:
Montmorency2020 wrote:
garyb wrote:Russian is probably at the top of the list of "would like to speak but can't be bothered studying" for me, plus it would make the rest of the Slavic family more accessible.


Same here. I don't have that much of a desire to travel to Russia, but reading the literature in the original would be rewarding.

And having a leg up in the other Slavic languages would be advantageous. I nowadays have a reason to visit the Czech Republic, and probably Slovakia and Poland as well. Roll on the end of Covid-19 restrictions.


In the words of American election candidates: "I approve of this message".

Just announcing to anyone vaguely interested, that thanks to kindly admins, I now have access to my old account, and won't be using "Montmorency2020" again in future (as it will soon be suspended anyway).

Signed, the "artist" formerly known as (and known again as) Montmorency. :-)

(Unless of course I fall over the fiendish "Captcha" mechanism (again), which seems highly likely. I understand the need to distinguish bots from humans, but I don't understand the need for what look at first sight to be deeply philosophical questions. Simple arithmetic I like, however...

I mean what are you supposed to make of this:

"My potatoe is Siberia. Where is it named for?"

The mis-spelling of potato is the first thing that throws me.
"Where is it named for?" does not quite make sense to me, as a British English speaker.
I know of course that American English uses "named for" where British English uses "named after".

OK, so I mentally translate that to "Where is it named after?"
But "potato" is a thing and not a place, so I'd ask "What is it named after", or maybe
"what place is it named after"?

These questions seem designed to trip up humans, not bots, so I don't really think they are fit for purpose.

I know we are supposed to be linguists, or would-be linguists, but even so...


Bots can do maths, and they can answer any question that Google can answer. :ugeek:
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Lysander
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Re: Genie grants you a language, which would you choose?

Postby Lysander » Fri Nov 06, 2020 5:19 am

Esperanto. ;)
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