If a foreign language could be planted in your brain . . .

Babel Fish - The Babel Fish is a fictional fish borne of the imagination of Douglas Adams via The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The Babel Fish is quite the handy fellow in that he can instantly translate any language into any other language.
United States
April 19, 2007 11:26pm CST
If a foreign language could be planted in your brain (i.e., you would be instantly fluent), which language would it be and why? Please, be as elaborate as you can! I have always loved the sound of German. I know it's a guttural language and doesn't sound quite as appealing as some of the so-called romantic languages, but I have always liked the sound of it. I suppose it has something to do with it sounding so stern and authoritative, almost as if it begs to be paid attention to and commands respect! On a practical level, I would probably go with Spanish. While I know enough to get by, I'm far from fluent and, being that I work with several Spanish-speaking individuals, I would love to be able to speak to them in their native language.
11 people like this
38 responses
@dpk262006 (52861)
• Delhi, India
20 Apr 07
Good discussion and an imaginative one. Well, being Indian, English is a foreign langauge for us (our mother toungue is 'HINIDI'). If one has to plant any foreign language .... I suppose for me... it can be English. If I have good command over English... I can learn other languages... because I think German, French etc. have Roman script... and if my English is perfect it will be easier to learn other languages. I agree with you German and French language sound very pleasent to ears.
• United States
20 Apr 07
Thanks, dpk! I know writing and speaking are two different skills, but your English appears to be excellent. I wish I were as fluent in a second language.
3 people like this
@abroji (3247)
• India
20 Apr 07
I am an Indian too. My mother tongue is Malayalam. Hindi is the language spoken by most people in India. If it comes to planting some foreign language to my brain I'll ask for Hindi. Well, you may argue that Hindi is not a foriegn language to me. But as far as I don't know the language, it should be considered foreign in my case.. I use to travel to Delhi and Rajasthan and can manage to converse with room assistants in hotels. I think it is necessary for me being an Indian, to develop affluence in speaking Hindi.
• United States
13 May 07
I live in an area that is predominantly Indian, so I hear Hindi spoken quite regularly. It sounds so difficult. I wish I could understand some of it--all I know are the names of my favourite foods.
• Philippines
20 Apr 07
I would pick up French not only because it's really romantic ma cheri amor, but also because it sounds really sophisticated and grand. Moreso, I would love to travel to France one day (if my pocket permits, hehehe) and be able to converse with the people there. I also wanted to work in Canada one day and French is heavily used out there so I better be ready. Hmmm, but I have a confession to make, 70% of my drive to really want to learn French came from falling inlove with a French-speaking guy. Whenever he tells me his undying love for me in French, I can feel myself swoon, Gosh! It's so romantic! It's a kind of language you would want to hear over and over in the privacy of your room, hehehe! :D
2 people like this
• Canada
20 Apr 07
Actually, here in Canada, it's more english that's spoken, actually almost everyone speaks english, the only place that speaks mostly french is Quebec, and some of Ontario, and even there, they have to know how to speak English fluently to work anywhere. Everywhere else, you don't find anyone who doesn't speak english 99% of the time. And about 80% of the time, most people don't know french well, and There's actually 2 types of french, there's the france french, which is beautiful, and romantic, and there's the french here in Canada, Quebec Moreso, that's a lower level, it's more slang french than anything, especially mixed with english, it's a lot harder to get onto than the france french, which makes you go all dreamy.
@mac1946 (1602)
• Calgary, Alberta
20 Apr 07
As spitfire has mentioned,the Frech spoken in Canada,is actually a cross between arcadian french and native indian languages,if you learn French-French,you will have to learn Canadian french all over again,as many of the words have different meanings. Blessed Be.
• Philippines
21 Apr 07
uh uh... trouble... I wouldn't want to teach myself the both the same and different things, hehehe, much too confusing for me, both French? different meaning? That's way difficult! I think I'll stick with the romantic one, I'm a pathetic dreamer... hehehe :D
@Nebuloso (179)
• United States
20 Apr 07
Great question! If I could, I would have Latin planted in my head. I realize that it's possibly the least practical language imaginable, but I'm a huge Romaphile and I would love to read some of the historic texts in the original language. I'm sure it would also be of some help learning some of the romance languages which I've studied but can't seem to actually "pick up". LOVE the Babelfish pic, btw. I can't help but wonder how much international tensions might ease if they actually existed and everyone could actually understand what everyone else was saying...
2 people like this
• United States
20 Apr 07
I'm with you on Latin; That's another that I would love to know. And I'm happy to see someone recognizes the good ol' Babel Fish. I've always loved the concept and it's what inspired my discussion.
2 people like this
• Canada
20 Apr 07
Oh yeah, latin, that's a great one, i'd love to learn that too. It's so nice, gosh i'd love to learn toungs too!
2 people like this
• United States
13 May 07
What's nice about Latin is that it gives you a common base for learning other languages. There are many similarities.
• Malaysia
20 Apr 07
erm... i like 2 types of languages.. chinese and france language.. i don't know what they call it.. but i do like the sound.. the way the prounounce it.. it sounds so unique.... as for chinese, i like it because i do believe it helps me in the future.. china is one of the country with largest population.. so.. no doubt everyone willing to learn chinese.. and chinese is a very interesting language.. their literature especially.. very unique.. as for france language, i watch a few drama before.. and i heard them speaking it.. erm.. quite special.. and the way the pronounce it. .with the hand movement.. haha.. cool :)
2 people like this
@mailovee (265)
• China
20 Apr 07
Welcom lerning Chinese I think you won't regret that.In China foreigners who can speak excellent Chinese are very popular,if you are good looking or have some special skills you can be famouse easily and get high paid. ????!Good luck!
2 people like this
• United States
13 May 07
Very interesting. Maybe I should think about moving over there, then! Hmm, now to go buy a copy of the Chinese edition of the Rosetta Stone!
@Denmarkguy (1845)
• United States
20 Apr 07
For me, that would come down to a close call between Russian and Japanese. I already speak or having a working knowledge of several European languages, but I have always wanted to learn a language that is not onl quite different from something with a typical Indo-European root, but also one that involves a different type of script than I am used to. In the end, I'd probably go with Russian, since I have a few Russian friends, and would be more likely to go for a visit to Russia than to Japan.
• United States
13 May 07
I've thought about Russian, too. Like German, it's a very "powerful" language!
• United States
20 Apr 07
at the moment i'd have to say spanish. i know it's not very original but i need it for practical purposes, not fanciful ones. i work in retail and the area i work in has a lot of spanosh speakers.i would like to be able to communicate in spanish (can already sepak a bit)better so that i can serve my customers better.
• United States
13 May 07
Oh, I would love to learn, and master, Spanish. Many of the people in my workplace speak Spanish as their primarily language. It would make things a lot easier. I suppose I know a fair bit already, from having been around them.
• United States
20 Apr 07
Oh my. for fun I would so choose French. It just sounds amazing to me when spoken. But for my career purposes, as a nurse in Texas, I would have fluent Spanish planted. I know enough to figure out if they are in pain and need meds and simple things like that but it would be beneficial to me and them to get the full spectrum. And it would open up even more job oppurtunitites in medical office settings.
2 people like this
• United States
13 May 07
There's little doubt: French is a truly beautiful and romantic language. For that very reason, I wish I knew how to speak it.
@winky73 (1396)
• United States
20 Apr 07
Since I'm already fluent in German and English....I would pick Spanish.I do speak a little and can understand quite a bit...but like you....I'm far from being fluent.I also speak a little French....but Spanish just would be more practical....since I live in the U.S. Since I have moved here I have hardly needed my French anymore....but due to work I had to learn Spanish. It would be nice to just speak any language you want....but I do have to wonder if your brain would not go into overload at some point.I have been known to slip in a few words in English when I'm speaking German....so I can only imagine how bad it would be if I spoke more then the laguages I already do.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 May 07
Wow, you've certainly done some studying! Foreign languages must come very easily to you. I'm envious. I struggle with them.
1 person likes this
@winky73 (1396)
• United States
15 May 07
I don't really have to study to learn another language.If I'm around people that speak a certain language....I just start to pick it up.I'm very thankful that I'm this way....because I hate studying and if it took a lot of effort for me to learn a language I most likely would not even bother with it. I've lived in the U.S. for a few years now and most people that I meet don't even realize that I'm not from here.Most of the time I get asked if I'm from up north...since I don't have that southern draw.....but when I tell them I'm from Germany...they just look at me in disbelieve. My best tip for you on making it easier for you to learn another language.....go live with people that only speak that language(if you ever get the chance).You would be amazed at what a difference that makes.One other thing is....if your reading is good enough...start to read some books in that language....that helps a lot as well.
@Modestah (11195)
• United States
21 Apr 07
Oh, I really like the sound of Gaelic, I suppose....however, I would definitely choose classical latin from which most other languages are derived. I also love the sound of it, it is not for no reason that it is considered the language of the angels. I would love to have my words soar with my heart - uplifting prayer and prose in that heavenly tongue.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 May 07
Gaelic? Be still my heart. I've been listening to Enya for years now, trying to learn what I can, but it's such a daunting task. With Gaelic, I've found, the words don't always sound like you would expect them to.
@Kalikala (433)
• United States
20 Apr 07
I love languages, so this is a hard question! Spanish would be handy, since it's the language we come in contact with the most in the US. However, I'd probably pick one that I had trouble learning, like Dutch or Chinese. I usually pick up languages quickly, but I've had a lot of trouble with those! Wouldn't it be great if our brains worked like in the Matrix and you could just download an entire language instantly?
• United States
15 May 07
The Matrix! Great minds think alike, so to speak. That was one of the inspirations behind my post.
• United States
20 Apr 07
I am confused with french, German or Spanish.OK I wan't to be fluent in Italian so that I can visit the romantic city of "Rome".
1 person likes this
• United States
15 May 07
I'd love to visit Rome. But, even more than that, I'd love to visit the Catholic capitol of the world, Vatican City. It's not that I'm religious, it's just that I'd love to be witness to the secrets that it holds. Ah, I had better stop that line of thought right there.
@chrisboo (17)
• United States
20 Apr 07
I would choose spanish. A lot of my coworkers are spanish and it is hard to communicate with them.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 May 07
Spanish seems to be the most practical choice for a great many people. I wonder if Spanish will become a mandatory language in grade school, here in the states, that is.
@Arkadus (899)
• Canada
20 Apr 07
I actually don't find the "romantic languages" to sound very pretty. I'd probably learn japanese just for the hell of it. Or maybe Swedish or one of thos eother european languages since I like how they sound. The only one I'd have a practical use for would be japanese, and it wouldn't be too practical ereally. It'd just give me a better grasp of all the anime I watch. :)
1 person likes this
• United States
15 May 07
Wow! I don't believe I've ever heard someone say that about the romantic languages. Swedish, you say? That's very cool . . . I have some Norwegian blood in me, so I have an affinity for much of Scandanavia.
@dbeast (1500)
• India
20 Apr 07
i would love to learn French.it is a really lovely language to learn.it sounds really nice.it is a really romantc language too.most of the greatest love letters and notes are in French.moreover i learnt a bit of French when i was in school and i really liked my French casses and the French lessons a lot compared to other subjects.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 May 07
French is, without a doubt, a romantic language. I know this may be more than a G-rated repsonse, but I've often wondered what it would be like to be made love to by someone who's speaking to you in French. Rrr!
@naka75 (797)
• Singapore
20 Apr 07
Wow it's like buying a upgrade on a memory card and slot it in..well I'd choose French, Vietnamese and Mandarin, because they tend to be elaborate and graceful in pronounciation.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 May 07
Exactly! I suppose I've read one too many science fiction novels, not to mention having seen one too many science fiction movies.
• India
20 Apr 07
Sounds can be interpreted in any language it depends on the stamna and knowledge of the person uttering the words. For better musical sound you listen bollywood hit songs which are sung in Hindi then you will definitely exited by the beauty of Indian songs.
• United States
15 May 07
Oh, I love the films that come out of Bollywood, and the music. I'm always trying to find new Indian music to listen to.
@mac1946 (1602)
• Calgary, Alberta
20 Apr 07
This is a very hard question realy,there are so many. I beleive I would start with Russian,as I have a few freinds in Russia,then Spanish,as I am not that far from Mexico,and plan to visit there and would love to be conversant with them,and German,as my sister has married a couple of Germans(divorced and married second one). I beleive that would do for starters. Blessed Be.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 May 07
Bilingual Friends can certainly be a great source of inspiration for learning a new language. I wish I had a few, myself, who might be able to help.
• United States
20 Apr 07
i would love to speak fluent hebrew !I know but a few words and for years have wished to learn but never did !
1 person likes this
• United States
15 May 07
Hebrew! Finally, someone said it. I've been trying to teach myself the letters. That, in and of itself, is a chore.
@babs0818 (1192)
• United States
20 Apr 07
I would go with spanish also...but only because,I live in California,and here it is almost matetory to know it...everybody speaks it..and if getting a job,knowing how to speak spanish pays more.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 May 07
I spent some time in California, so I can completely releate. I picked up a fair amount of words while I was there, especially those relating to food.
@cherylmae (173)
• Philippines
20 Apr 07
i think the ADAMIC language. the first language ever because a lot of their words sounds really really cool.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 May 07
I'll be honest, I didn't know what you were talking about. I feel so foolish. I had to head over to Wikipedia. For those of you, like myself, who didn't know what the Adamic language is, here's what they had to say: "The Adamic language is a term for the hypothetical proto-language believed spoken by Adam and Eve in paradise, either identical with the language used by God to address Adam, or invented by Adam (Genesis 2:19)." How beautiful!