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Friday, August 08, 2008

Learning languages

I really like languages, although I can properly speak only Spanish and English. My natural laziness and the lack of time during past years are the reasons. However, I can manage in some other languages. During last academic course I started again to learn French, and even if I hardly can speak it, at least I can read it. It happens the same with Portuguese. After a year in Barcelona I learnt Catalan as well. I can understand, and even if I make quite many mistakes, I can also speak it.

But now the challenge is really more difficult. Last monday I started my Estonian language lessons -- wow! It's really different from any other language I have studied. Since it is not indo-european (as most of the European languages are, from Greek to Swedish and from Portuguese to Russian) some structures are really difficult to learn (every name has 14 different forms, for instance) and most of the words are completely unfamiliar (so the 'reverse engineering' that I use with Portuguese or French does not work at all).

But Estonian language is beautiful and interesting. It has only a bit more than one million speakers, and out of all the languages in the world, is closely related only to Finnish. Why to learn it, then? well, as a Estonian would say: Miks mitte! (why not!). After all, knowledge never hurt anyone.

After just four lessons I am starting to understand some (few) things, and I can impress my estonian acquaintances. It's really rewarding :) Moreover, I already know by heart some songs in Estonian, as our teacher really likes to sing (Estonians... singing nation, they call themselves :D).

And talking about languages... in less than 4 weeks I will start learning Greek... I hope that my Estonian is good enough by then! Nägemist! (See you!)

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