Adam is a little annoyed with me. Not really annoyed, but I get his point. While living in California I kept meaning to learn Spanish. Adam speaks fluent conversational Spanish, nothing sophisticated, but he's quite competent. Bennett now responds equally to Spanish and English. I've always liked Spanish, preferring Central American Spanish. Don't know why. I know it's considered 'low class' or something. But I find it musical, fun and more than a little sexy. I have just enough Spanish vocabulary under my belt to follow along with Adam (he speaks slower, thank god, than a native speaker), but I can't really say anything. After learning to read French and Latin (and forgetting it all) it seems to me that the parts of the brain that comprehend language are different from the parts that formulate and speak.
Anyway, I never did learn Spanish. Adam and I didn't make much effort. It's odd because California is a bilingual state..... unofficially. It's like there's a whole world under the surface, white world. Whole neighborhoods that like a foreign country. All the food service workers are Central Americans. But I was a white, educated, middle class woman, not working in food service, and so.... I let it pass me by.
Here, Welsh is everywhere. Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world (after Mandarin and ahead of English). Welsh has something like 600,000 speakers in the world. Did you know that are several thousand Welsh speakers in a region of Argentina? Here, it's truly bilingual. In fact, my eyes are still getting used to making meaning out of forms and signs. I sometimes think it might be easier if everything was just in Welsh. I mostly hear older people speaking Welsh on the streets or in the shops, but families and children speak it too. It seems easier, more accessible and useful to learn Welsh while I'm here. Plus, there is something neat about learning an obscure language. I kind of like the idea that Bennett and I could hold a conversation in the US that no one would be able to understand! And, he's going to be bilingual if we stay here for any length of time, so I may as well learn to count and spell and recognize the colors with him!
I'd like to actually get conversationally competent in at least one other language. My classical voice training has given me a vocabulary in about 9 languages, but a lot of good that does me! My French and Latin have withered away to nothing. My Spanish is about as good as Bennett's.
On top of all of that, there is something about wanting to bolster the world's tiny languages. I saw this article
on the BBC this morning. Languages like, people groups and animals, also evolve and go extinct, so I don't think we necessarily need to save every single language - especially if that people group no longer exists. However, I do think that as languages die, ways of thinking and expressing and relating to the world die, and that is sad.
Maybe I'll learn Spanish to get around the rest of the world and I'll learn Welsh to learn something of an older smaller culture.hrafntinna
, my obscure linguist, what do you think?