Hello everyone. My name is Meera (you may know me from the language forum Unilang) but if not nice to meet you! David has asked me to be a guest writer on this blog and I figured the best way to start is to tell about my language journey.
I have been learning languages for a while now, well past 10 years already. I was born in Afghanistan and grew up speaking Pashto and Afghan Persian. When I was really young my family moved to Pakistan which meant I had to learn Urdu fast. After Pakistan I came to the United States and had to learn English which to be honest I still struggle with today. However, this may be surprising but the first language I attempted to learn was Hindi and it was the language that got me into language learning in general. My obsession with Hindi started when I was a kid and my cousins made me watch Bollywood movies. The first Bollywood film I ever saw was 1942 A Love Story and I had fallen in love with the language. Of course at that age I had no idea how to learn a language so I just continued to watch the Hindi films. Hindi and Urdu spoken are virtually the same language so I understood what the actors were saying but I couldn’t read the Devanagari (the script that Hindi was used to write in). I had asked my parents if they could get me a book for Hindi, of course they laughed at me and told me I would never have any use for this language and that I should work on Arabic and English instead. However when I moved to the United States, we were living among a huge South Asian community. We shopped at the Indian grocery stores, when we went to the cinema it was usually to see the latest Indian release. For example I remember watching Devdas in the theaters with my parents. We also got the South Asian Hindi and Urdu channels at home so I was constantly exposed to the language. And that year for my birthday my mother had gotten me my very first language book which was the Teach Yourself Hindi. And this is what started my language learning journey. I loved that book so much I carried it everyday with me to school, I’d study Hindi in the library, I’d carry flashcards around with me of Hindi vocabulary and if my grades were good my mom let me go the Indian grocery store to get a Bollywood movie on DVD. After getting a good grip on Hindi I started to get curious about the other Indian languages like Bengali, Tamil, Nepali and Punjabi. My language learning book collection can now probably fill a small library 😛 I ended up doing four years of French in High School but I didn’t like it as much as Hindi. I decided though that I wanted to get a degree in a language. And today I am now majoring in Arabic Language and Culture. I really wanted to major in Hindi but unfortunately I could not find a program for it. I am loving the Arabic program though and I amazed at how much knowing Hindi/Urdu is helping through the course. Throughout the years I have messed around with tons of languages (seriously I have lost count) including Turkish, Indonesian, Sanskrit, Telugu, Swedish, Italian, Korean and so much more. Unfortunately I can barely say two words in most of them though! Now I am trying to teach myself Japanese and my life’s goal is to be fluent in Hindi, Japanese and Arabic and hopefully one day Bengali! And maybe one day a full on Polyglot!