Ha ha, this is a good one. I'm adding this page to introduce the theme, because it could well come up in some blog posts. I'd better say straight away that I'm a lousy language learner and, looked at in certain ways, I don't even regard myself as fluent in English. Nevertheless, I've found this topic fascinating at times and I can offer you this list of languages which I've 'engaged with' at various times, for very different reasons.

  1. English (British)
  2. French
  3. Latin (I remember Greek lessons for a short while at school as well)
  4. German
  5. Italian
  6. A conlang (not that I called it that, in fact I never gave it a name)
  7. Armenian
  8. Cherokee
  9. Finnish

How do you like that lot?
1-4 were studied at school, to a greater or lesser degree, and 5 in a university (not very) intensive course. I gained O levels in Latin and French, and an S level in English Language. I've studied 2 and 5 in adult evening classes, and then taken GCSE and/or AS level exams. And I've studied 7 and 9 in classes at cultural centres. I'd have loved to take the exam in 9 but they stopped offering it in the UK before I got to the point at which I could have feasibly attempted it. I would have gone to classes for 8 as well but I couldn't find contact details for the local Cherokee community (to be serious, I definitely would have gone along to any such classes: it would have been hugely challenging, but totally fascinating).

Do I speak any of the foreign languages? To be honest, I wouldn't make claims for proficiency in the spoken varieties of any of them, but I have tried a smattering of 2, 4, 5, 7 and 9 in real life situations. Nowadays I would only be able to manage any (simple!) verbal communication in French and Finnish.

I had a spell of getting into fonts, and designed and made some: for Armenian and Cherokee on the old RISCOS operating system (doing one for Cherokee on an obscure operating system only ever used in the UK & Europe has to take the cake for one of the most pleasingly pointless achievements of my life!), and a couple for that conlang on Windows. Sadly they seem to have been lost with a previous computer. If it wasn't clear, conlangs are artificially 'constructed languages' - Esperanto being the example most people have heard of - created for either practical or artistic purposes. Mine was for use in the background of a fictional world.


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