This very technical article concludes that being bilingual is an advantage. So, how about someone who is multilingual?

According to Census of India of 2001, India has 122 major languages and 1599 other languages. However, figures from other sources vary, primarily due to differences in definition of the terms “language” and “dialect”. The 2001 Census recorded 30 languages which were spoken by more than a million native speakers and 122 which were spoken by more than 10,000 people.

Almost all urban Indians will speak at least two languages and quite a few will speak at least three, the third being English.

I can fluently speak read and write four languages and converse quite comfortably in three others.  This came about primarily because of my career having been in sales in transferable conditions and I also was blessed to have been able to see every corner of my mother land, often in depth including visits to rural parts.

There are many like me in India and I am sure that all of them will agree with this:

19 thoughts on “Languages.”

  1. I’m sure speaking at least two languages stimulates your brain and makes your life richer. I’m probably an unusual Brit in that I know quite a lot of Italian. Most Brits are still educated in monolingual schools where they might or might not become fluent in a second language. It’s obvious to me that all schools should be bilingual and while you’re there you have to learn and speak another language.
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    1. There were two other Indian languages that I could speak with some ability but cannot now as there are no opportunities to where I have been living for the last over twenty six years.

  2. I can ‘get buy’ in French and speak ‘food and drink’ in Italian, Spanish and German. Also my ‘American’ is not too bad, but when it comes to ‘keeping my mouth’ shut I must admit that I sometimes struggle.

  3. I’m definitely not fluent in a foreign language, but I studied Spanish in high school and learned some German for Stanford in Germany. I was pleased years later when I went by myself to a town in the Bavarian Alps where no one spoke English and I managed to get by for a long weekend. Who would have guessed?

    I also took some college French and Andy and I lived in France for over a year. When I was there I went to Alliance Francaise in Paris every weekday morning for about six months and learned a lot more there. Again, I wasn’t fluent, but I knew enough to muddle through.
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  4. I’m not sure if my American would past justice but I do know how to “spell in both English and American” and my computer often helps me even more…

    But as for speaking a non-English language zilch…

    Yes I would imagine being able to keep thy mouth shut on occasions very useful, as it is when you’ve speaking the same language as another…one of the online shows I often watch is quite interesting because the contestants are from all around UK and their differing pronouncement of the the number 3 is quite often charring on my ears!

    some clearly say what looks like “three” whilst others seem to go for “free” (similar sounds)

    1. I wonder if you have ever seen a serial called Mind Your Language in the BBC. It is all about a bunch of foreigners from old British colonies trying to learn the Queen’s English. A fascinating serial. Youtube has the whole series on tap if you are interested.

  5. I’d have to say that’s pretty cool, but in a country as large as yours it’s definitely a necessity. As a child I spoke Japanese but like someone above said, as soon as I came back to the states I forgot it because there wasn’t anyone to talk to anymore.

    In this country, if we could learn Spanish we’d all prosper better since it’s the fastest growing demographic here. I’ve tried over the years but the best I can do is count to 20 and know just a few words. Oh well…
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    1. Going by what I have been reading about your country here, it may not become necessary to learn Spanish there to survive. On the contraty, they may have to learn English to!

  6. I admired your grasp of languages. I can say that learning languages is easier for me than for some people I know, but I have limited need for them. I speak English fluently, Spanish enough to be quite comfortable conversing and living, and I have made it a point to learn my list of 20 verbs in the language of any country that I visit. I feel that an honest attempt to converse in the language of the people I visit is a courtesy. India would certainly be a challenge. I have found Greek and Korean to cause me the greatest difficulty but they are both very welcoming countries and a little courtesy goes a long way. I didn’t do so well in Chinese.
    Mother recently posted..The Circle of Life, Death, and Learning

    1. I knew about your comfort with Spanish and I agree that when one tries to converse in the local language however inadequately as one does, it breaks down barriers and opens many doors.

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