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Foreign Languages…A Lot!

December 7th, 2011

A class should be taught of foreign languages.  Foreign Languages 101.  The class is not about any particular language; it’s about languages in general. How to read them.  How to pronounce them. How they differ, from each other and from our own. (How many american kids are even able to think of English as a foreign language, even to a foreigner?)

  • The Cyrillic alphabet: Do you know how to read it? How to pronounce even one letter? If you suddently found yourself in Sarajevo, how could you identify a street by its sign?
  • How to pronounce French.  To pronounce Italian.  To pronounce German, Dutch, Spanish.  they all use the same alphabet (mostly), but pronounce their words completely differently.  but not completely: what are the differences? What are the similarities?  And why?
  • Chinese, Japanese: How do idiographs work? What’s Kanja?
  • Esperanto:  How come?
  • Sanskrit, the mother of Indo-European: how to pronounce devnagari.

Can you read aloud a sentence in Polish?  Hungarian?  I know I can’t.  Wish I could.

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