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I have been told often that I have a natural aptitude (and penchant and attraction) for picking up foreign tongues, at least the basics, and can internalize, remember and reproduce the exact sounds more easily than most non-natives.  And I have had a lot of opportunities to indulge this little quirk of mine. 

I love the sounds of Italian (the most sonorous/musical) and French (the most poetic/loverly), and Arabic and Turkish and Persian, and Japanese, and surprisingly, Hungarian (Magyar).  Spanish, which I was once fluent in, also has a way of tripping off one's tongue, as does its distant cousin Romanian, which interestingly, is actually modern Pig Latin, philologically speaking, quite unrelated to its Slavic, Finno-Ugric and Hellenic geographic neighbors!  And I am drawn to the mouth-filling heartiness of German (Oberdeutsch/Hochsprache, Österreicher und Schweitzer/Schwitzer), and Russian with its unparalleled bitter-sweet pathos. Dutch and Portuguese I find a little rough for my ears. 

And for reasons I cannot comprehend, I am not attracted to the sounds of Chinese (Mandarin / Cantonese / Hakka / ...), or any of the East Asian / Pacific Rim, or African or Native-American, languages that I have interfaced with. 

Of the contemporary Indian languages, my favorite is Urdu, by far.  Hindi (cognitively the same language) is a significant step-down in quality from the sheer poetic magnificence of Urdu, which to me also overshadows the widely admired Bengalee (native to my Indian family), a rich language (possessing the 5th largest body of literature in the world), and with 215 million speakers, the 7th most globally.  I also like the sounds of Telugu and Tamil, India's most ancient linguistic traditions, from the Indic/Dravidian Deccan, predating Northern India's Aryan / Indo-Germanic / Indo-European Proto-Sanskrit heritage. 

I would have liked the opportunity to study Hebrew, Aramaic, Classical Greek and other languages of the Para-Judaeo-Christian Scriptural tradition/heritage.  I wouldn't mind either an opportunity to research the Basque (Euskara) language, which falls outside the Indo-European Language Family in philology, but is perhaps the only known aboriginal European language. 

Oh, and I believe English -- despite its much-touted shortcomings -- to be the most beautiful and complete of all languages.  There, I said it! 



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