Thursday, October 30, 2008

The superficial polyglot

Thanks to Dora (whom I loathe), Uma now understands that there's English and there's Spanish. I was telling her the other day that there were other languages, and giving her examples of words I knew from them. I realized I actually know words from a lot of languages. I know at least one word from each of the following:

  • Arabic

  • Chinese

  • English

  • French

  • German

  • Greek (ancient)

  • Greek (modern)

  • Hebrew

  • Hindi

  • Italian

  • Japanese

  • Korean

  • Latin

  • Marathi

  • Mongol

  • Portuguese

  • Russian

  • Spanish

  • Swahili

  • Swedish

  • Thai

  • Turkish

Actually, given that many Indian languages use similar words for things like chick peas, I could probably add another 5 or 8 languages to the list. That seems like cheating, though. Restricting it to non-food words would make that list a lot shorter, as would needing to know, say, 5 words. Still, it surprised me. How many do you think you know?



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