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The art of being multilingual

My friend Jil knows 7 languages – Assamese, Bengali, Hindi, Kannada, English, German and French. And I mean fluently. Not just one or two sentences. She’s from a Assamese-Bengali family. Lives in Karnataka. Learnt German. And is now learning French.

Leaving me quite impressed.

Indians I think tend to be multilingual, by and large. In school, we had to learn three languages. English, as intruction. Assamese, as the mother tongue. And Hindi, as the third language.

Then, if you live in another state, you tend to pick up that language (at least basic spoken). If you are on relatively good terms with your neighbouring state, then you pick some language skills across the border. If you decide to learn a foreign language, you have one more ace up your sleeve.

My own language skills are limited to Assamese, English and Hindi. I can understand a bit of Marathi (but then they hardly speak the language in Mumbai). And I can understand Bengali, but I can’t speak it very well.

Next on my ‘to-do’ list is to learn another language.

How many languages are you fluent in?


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