When you’re a language specialist, it is not unusual study more than one foreign language. It usually starts with one or two, learnt at school by chance or by default. Then the passion slowly grows and and leads you to devour more languages. Because they are of the same family and you think it’s an “easy” challenge. Or because you’re interested in finding out the difference and how two languages from a same family took different paths.
Unless you feel like learning something crazy nobody would think you capable of mastering and still you do. Or simply because you need something to keep your hands busy during your commuting time.
At any rate, many of my friend who work in the field of languages speak 2 or 3 of them fluently and also have a certain feeling for many others. I can say without boasting too much that I am fluent in French, English and German. I have a decent level of Spanish that would suffice for daily conversation. But I also have a basic knowledge in some other languages and some obvious help from the previously learned languages that let me understand (to a limited extent) Dutch, Swedish, Italian, Portuguese, Danish and Norwegian. So languages are part of my life and it’s always been rather difficult for me to tell which one I like best.
For quite some time I considered English to be my favourite one. I thought I could express all I wanted in a much faster and subtle way than in French. Now I must say I have semantic preferences. One word will sound better to my ear than it equivalent in another language. Or I will find one concept to be better represented in a German word than it is in French or English. Seasons tend to influence my incline toward some languages as well. The beginning of spring almost every year triggers in me a need to practise some more Spanish.
What is your favourite language? Let me know in the comments and if you’re interested in knowing what the most popular language is, check out bab.la’s language world cup 2013.