Saturday, May 13, 2017

Thoughts on language #socs

I was basically told that I was taking Latin when I went to high school, and I had no input into the decision. Mom was convinced that it would help me with English, as though that hadn’t been what I had been speaking all my life, anyway. I wanted nothing to do with Latin, frankly, but I managed to get through three years of it in high school and still had to take a quarter of it when I got to college. After that, I was done.

I also took two years of Greek when in high school, the second year as an independent study kind of thing. My teacher, Miss Keoughan, was very knowledgable in both Latin and Greek (she was the department chair, after all), and after having her all three years we got to be pretty good friends. It was easy to sidetrack her, and more often than not our independent study sessions were more like visits.

Still, I’m pretty fascinated by other languages. In Chicago, we had a station that usually broadcast in Spanish, but on Sunday nights they’d have shows in other foreign languages, including Greek, Czech, Polish and Lithuanian, and I would watch them and see if I could pick up any words. I couldn’t, but they were still pretty fun to watch. A couple of years ago, I toyed with the idea of teaching myself Russian, which I quickly abandoned when I saw what I was up against. I did learn the Cyrillic alphabet, though, which comes in handy when I see something on Twitter or Instagram written in it. Not that I know what it says, but it helps with names.

Spanish was pretty easy to learn, at least enough that I could tell members of my crew at Newly Weds Foods what to set up for a run of a product. Of course, as I think I mentioned, I had a guy who couldn’t Spanish, either, even though he was Mexican. I think he spoke an Aztec dialect or something. The other guys could talk to him, but me? No luck. Maybe he didn’t want to talk to me.

Of course, there are other languages that I’ve learned specifically for use on computers: FORTRAN, ALGOL, COBOL, System/370 Assembler, Perl, Ruby, PHP, SQL, and a smattering of C, C++, and Python. Now that I’m retired, they don’t do me much good…



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from The Sound of One Hand Typing

1 comment:

  1. I wish I had a second language. As a Canadian I took French but my French teachers always asked me not to come back to their class because I was so bad. I have an understanding of some basic French but can't speak it.