How is it like to to speak in multiple languages

How is it like to to speak in multiple languages

We have 22 official languages in India.
Out of which 13 languages have their own scripts. Then there are more than 700 dialects.

Country with the largest number of english speakers in the world.

Each state has its own language. Completely different languages with different scripts. Thats one of the reason, why Indians from different states speak with each other in English. I always tell my friends that India is like Europe. A big continent with many languages, foods, customs and cultures, dances etc. For some reason we all decided to call ourselves a country.

That is one of the reason, I am not able to explain why many things happen in India. When my friends ask me that they heard this and that about India. I look at them with a perplexed face.
For example sacred cows. In kerala, we eat cows. In North India You get beaten up for eating them. You see??

Polyglot? Maybe because of necessity, not talent.

I can speak 4 languages. Hindi, English, Malayalam, and Polish.

In schools, from seventh grade up until 10th grade, we have to choose an additional language, from either Hindi, our regional language(in my case Malayalam), or Sanskrit (Sanskrit is mother of many Indian languages. Something like Latin in Europe). Sanskrit is too boring. Only elders speak it nowadays. There is no use in speaking Sanskrit anymore.

Since we already know our regional language, why choose it? So I chose Hindi. Actually most people choose Hindi in schools.

In India we have tv programmes in all languages available on cable. So besides programmes in our regional languages, we have news and bollywood movies available 24/7 on our television sets. After watching Kal ho na ho, and Khabhi khushi khaki gham for the umpteenth time, I started to speak some Hindi. I haven’t used Hindi in a long time. But I can still hold on a conversation with a Hindi native for some time. I would just have to refresh my memory for a couple of days, and I will be fine.

Since I am the grandson of a Malayalam professor, and grammar specialist(May he rest in peace), I always had the best scores in school 😀 No mistakes in speech or writing was allowed at home or at school.

When it comes to schooling, we have two options. Either send the kids to govt. run public schools, or Privately run schools. Government run schools use curriculum that are taught in the regional language. My parents decided to send me to private school, because the curriculum was in english. They thought it would help me in the job market when I would be an adult. And they were right.
The funny thing is, even though I learnt in english for twelve years in school, I was super shy to speak in english. It was actually when i moved to Poland, that i started speaking in english and make fewer and fewer mistakes. 😀

They say necessity is the mother of innovation. The first thing i told myself was, If I am going to live in a foreign country, I would have to speak their language. Imagine speaking in english every single day in Poland. There is no way I can get to know the people or their culture that way. The only way to immerse myself in their culture, is to learn Polish. I had to go through a lot of painstakingly embarrassing times. But it was worth it.

One funny experience comes to my mind. Once I went to an emergency department due to a stomach ache. When the nurse asked me what brings me there. I said to her, that I have ‘’the runs’’. Instead of saying that I have diarrhea, I used the colloquial word. The nurse couldn’t hold back her laughter.

I am not a polyglot. Nor am I super talented in languages. it took me 7 years to speak polish on a daily basis, with very few mistakes. So i dont think I am a prodigy. We can learn any language. Provided we live in that particular country. If we have a constant touch with the country and its people, we can learn any language. Put me in Finland, and I will learn Finnish in 5 years.

Actually I wish some one would put me in Brazil. I am trying to learn Portuguese but I am super lazy.
Actually i think Polish people are super smart in this case. I see people going to language classes and speaking Portuguese. I mean what the hell? How much motivation should one have to learn a foreign language, while not even living in that country?

Flash cards, and private tutors? You are the poliglots, not me!

Weird fact
The two national languages of India are Hindi and English. Hindi is spoken only in the Northern part of India. Our capital Delhi, is in Northern India. So they decided to make it our national language. Go figure.
That is like Warsaw deciding to create their own language and saying that, from now on xxx is the national language of Poland. But the rest of Poland speaks only in Polish.

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