The original idea
In 2012, I proposed to travel to 12 countries and learn 12 languages. I even began the journey–flying to New Zealand to learn a new variety of English, and then to Indonesia to learn Bahasa–but the timing was wrong. I returned to Vancouver. As I now travel across Canada and encounter Francophones, I’m reminded of how much I wish I could speak French, and not just French, but Québécois French. It was on the list. One day!
My dear friend and fellow language educator Alaina wrote her own list of 12 languages for fun. It included: Romanian, a “lifelong dream” and “the only Romance language crazy enough to retain the case system”; Tamazight (spoken in Morocco), “no limit on consonant clusters!” and an alphabet “that looks like a top secret code!”, and Guarani (spoken in Paraguay), “a Tupí language… a cute word that lends itself to many jokes.” Such great choices and reasons. I remember re-thinking my own list after reading hers.
How do you choose?
Alaina’s strategy was, “to get as many etymologically and structurally different kinds of languages as possible, while at the same time trying to get the most out of my efforts. Hence, learning Hindi so that I could later ‘claim’ Urdu, and learning Serbian so that I could immediately claim Croatian.” I love it.
Which 12 would you choose? And why?