June 07, 2002
Friday Five

Found these Five Questions on Meredith’s page.
Let me see if I can answer them just for fun.

1. Did your school system require you to take foreign language credits to graduate? What languages were offered, and what did you choose? Did you keep up your skills in that language after you left school? Also, if English is not your first language, what is, and what does your family speak at home?

Wow, there are about 5 questions right there.
Yes, the School I went to in Germany offered foreign languages. The School was Hohe Landesschule in Hanau and the Languages offered were: English (required), French, Russian, Latin (one of the three required), Spanish, Italian and Esperanto.
I Chose English, Russian, Latin, Spanish. I kept some of the skills in English and Russian. Abandoned Latin and Spanish.
My parents and I speak Polish and German, My wife and I speak English and Russian.

2. Language is a critical element for all communication, but some people are "languageless" - they never learned a language, or developed aphasia and have difficulty expressing themselves. How might you get by if you couldn't easily communicate with people around you?

I found myself in the situation without language several times in my life. I then just use body language or draw. It works.

3. Studies are showing that babies can use a form of sign language many months before they are able to speak verbally, giving them the ability to make simple requests and statements earlier than children ever have before. Some critics, though, feel that babies who learn Baby Sign will be reluctant to make the switch to speech once their vocal cords have developed. If you were the parent of an infant, would you choose to use sign language with your baby? Why or why not?

I will try to use sign language with my baby. It is never a bad idea to know one more language.

4. Over the centuries, there have been many attempts to develop a "world language" to supplement native tongues - Esperanto and Interlingua are the best-known, but there are many more. Instead of one of these becoming successful, English is becoming the world's favorite language for communication, with many people learning it as a second language. How do you feel about international languages, and would you ever consider learning one?

I started learning Esperanto for fun. It was not so bad, except it used various Elements of languages I was using anyway, so it was just a slightly strange experience. I think that we have many more universal languages than fit into dictionaries and it is a good idea to learn these too. Be kind to people.

5. Have you ever played with language for your own purposes? Do you have any secret codes for private use or that you share with friends? If you and a friend both speak another language, have you ever used it in public so nobody will understand you, or so strangers will think you're not from the country? Would you ever consider doing any of this? Why or why not?

Oh, I do this all the time. I know it is rude, but it is just so necessary sometimes. It is a nice backup strategy. I use Russian for that. New York is not easy to trick though. Most people here understand much more than they seem to.

Posted by Witold Riedel at June 07, 2002 09:03 PM

Ah so you've discovered the Friday Five! there's also the Monday Mission, Tuesday Twosome, etc. all good fun

Posted by: sian on June 9, 2002 10:07 AM
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