Tuesday, July 5, 2022

How Many Languages Do You Speak?

Lots of folks ask me, "How many languages do you speak?" Well, if you mean, "How many languages can you order your food in?" I'd have to say, "A few." 

But I do not consider myself a polyglot by any means. I speak at least some Spanish, French, and Modern Greek. I can read these languages much better than I can speak them. I have a good enough knowledge of German to teach and preach in it. In my doctoral dissertation I also cited Italian, Dutch, and Biblical Hebrew. I used to study Hawaiian but I have forgotten much of it, but that's what happens when you have no one to practice with. I'm still in the process of mastering Latin (which I can read fluently but can't speak very well). Natively, I'm a Hawaiian Creole speaker, but in Hawaii you also grow up speaking Standard English. 

For me, languages are a passion. They've also been my livelihood I guess you could say. I'm actually more interested in linguistics (how languages work) than in languages per se. I would describe myself as a language enthusiast, and being able to teach Greek for all these years has been a wonderful blessing from the Lord. I do not speak Restored Koine because I would have no one to talk with. Otherwise, I am a big fan of the living language approach to pedagogy. I think it doesn't really matter how many languages you can speak. What matters is what you do with your knowledge. 

Languages are so interesting. I'm glad I stumbled across Greek in college.