A Linguaphile’s love story(s)

It’s not easy being in a relationship.

I realized this truth when I started learning a new language. Okay, I agree it is not the same thing. But I can list out a bunch of similarities that will make you think otherwise. Oh, and this is just a fanciful and dramatized comparison. I’m aware of the fact that the scale of impact in both the cases is not comparable, obviously.

The first similarity is that learning a new language requires almost as much effort as a person puts in to keep a relationship stable. It demands a considerable amount of your attention. Cultivating any new hobby is like getting into a relationship, for that matter. In the beginning, you are very zealous about learning new words. In an attempt to use and revise the phrases more often, you start responding to people in your new favorite language. Sound familiar? Yeah, like some people who jabber non stop about their dates and/or partner when they have recently gotten into a relationship. (Just some people. Not stereotyping anyone.)

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Gradually, your language learning / relationship maintaining skills begin to rust. As you get busy with work and life, you forget to complete the daily courses, just like forgetting to call your loved one. It starts getting tougher to remember the words just like trying to remember ‘important dates’ of the relationship. And your memory seems to find merriment in failing you. In other words, the honeymoon period just came to an end.

There are rebounds, infatuations and crushes too. These are languages that you don’t know but come across every day at work places or in the public. You slowly start understanding and learning them as well, just like crushing on someone you see regularly in spite of not knowing his/her name. And being in India, where there are 22 officially recognized languages and a lot more that are not official, crushes can be plenty.

Sometimes there is also this other person you really, really like, but can do nothing about it, for various reasons. It may not be impossible, but it gets so complicated and confusing that you begin to realize that you two are not meant to be. For me, Greek was that person. I mean, language. I have always been fascinated by Greek mythology. This fascination drove me to do hours of Wikipedia research on the Olympus and the Greek gods, and got me setting my eyes on mastering the language. I did learn the alphabets and few phrases and the progress was good. However, as the going got harder, the spark started fading.

There’s a reason people use the idiom “It’s all Greek to me” when they do not understand something. Greek is hard to learn. My relationship with Greek reminds me of this line I once read in a book – “Some people can be like your horizon. You may crave them, you may burn. But you’ll never have them.”

Currently I’m learning French. In this scenario, you could refer to it as my true love. The rich history of French art and fashion is something that I have always found alluring. From Monet to Coco Chanel; from crepes to the city of lights – Paris itself, what’s not to love! I started learning the basics like bonjour, merci and s’il vous plait and then finally decided to join actual French classes with a couple of my friends. After a month or two, we had to discontinue as holidays had ended and the college timings were conflicting with our French classes.

That was more than three and a half years ago. Few months earlier, I stumbled upon this wonderful app for learning languages, and along with it, I also discovered a renewed ardour for French. Thankfully, the classes I had attended earlier were helpful with the basics and in understanding how most of the pronunciations are different from how the words are spelt. Meaning, we could pick it up right where it had ended. It’s safe to say that French and I are now in a steady relationship. After years of on-again off-again, I’ve found a convenient and undemanding way to spend a few minutes daily to jog my memory and to learn new French words. And it’s going good I must admit.

Sorry that it didn’t work out between us, Greek. I guess we were not meant to be.

What can I say..   C’est la vie.

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8 thoughts on “A Linguaphile’s love story(s)

  1. Initially i was like… ” hain! Kuch bhi?”
    But after i started reading, i found it pretty convincing.. Hehe…now i can say..even i have had a relationship with Spanish once..:-p
    You are one hell of a great writer…
    😀
    Keep posting

    Like

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