Want to learn Polish? Cook Pierogi!

Language Lover   Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:39 am GMT
That's the opinion of a Greek interpreter who speaks 32 languages according to an article I read on-line recently from the Frankfurter Allgemeine.

I believe the correspondent/writer of the story is Hendrik Kafsack and the interpreter is Ioannis Ikonomou. The title may contain words like "der Allessprecher" or "EU-Dolmetscher" if you want to look it up.

The article is in German, but it is not very difficult to read. Anyway, Ikonomou's idea is to delve into the culture. In his case (I don't recommend this), it looks like he got deeply interested in the culture and religion-maybe even adopting the dominant relgion of the people whose language he was learning. Now he is an atheist.

I don't know all the languages he knows, but apparently he has learned some exotic ones and forgotten some languages as well. He is only 44.

One interesting thing about him is that he had trouble with Vietnamese. I can understand that. I've had trouble with that language too. He may have even given up on it. The tones were too much. So even people who learn languages easily have trouble with certain languages.

What do you think about his idea? How necessary is it to delve into the culture?

I was thinking about the languages I enjoy. I like a lot of the food in the countries where my fav. languages are spoken. What about you?

I think maybe I just like food and languages. There may not be a bigger connection. Btw, the interpreter for all his love of food looked to be of normal weight.
zhri   Tue Feb 17, 2009 3:32 am GMT
Culture is irrelevant to learning a language. Sure it might be a good motivating factor, but as for the process of actually learning the language it is of no consequence (except for some culturally specific vocabulary, but that doesn't require one to partake in the culture to learn).