Hungary is waaay ahead of the times here!
That’s pretty incredible! All difficult languages in their own right (accept for Swedish, perhaps. I did a year of it a few years back, and if you’re an English speaker with a basic understanding of German - it’s pretty accessible).
This raises the question: why are the English such notorious monoglots??
Though have to say, so many people on this Forum seem to speak at least one more language. Is it wine-related, I wonder…?
Related in which direction? People who have lived in other countries and/or with relatives who have may also have had more chance to come across wine as a normal part of life? (Are we all part of May’s citizens of nowhere?)
What I had in mind was a connection between a passion for wine, which by virtue of it being mostly grown abroad, encourages an appreciation of other cultures and their languages. Also, I wonder whether the extensive travel so many on this forum seem to enjoy, in relation to wine (but not exclusively) - encourages learning the languages of say, Italy, Spain or France.
It might be more to do with the direction of travel you mentioned… i.e. an interest or a period of living in other cultures (especially those whose food and wine are entwined) - resulting in a passion for and appreciation of wine.
Probably a mixture of both.
I think the fact that English is almost ubiquitous across the globe encourages laziness on Brits behalf. Also I think language teaching in UK schools is pretty poor generally (speaking as a former TEFL teacher). I speak a little French and Italian (although I learnt Italian in Campagnia so its full of Neapolitanisms.) I guess I can order wine in most European languages!
To be fair I think native English speakers are also at a huge disadvantage with regard to learning foreign languages. In our everyday life we are generally only exposed to English. In most other countries people tend to be exposed to an enormous amount of media in English: pop music, books, tv, films, internet and, importantly, from a very early age, especially nowadays. We native English speakers just don’t get anything like that level of exposure to any other languages unless we make a special effort.
I often think we (and others) are a little too quick to beat ourselves up over it.
I went to Copenhagen last year and I swear they all spoke pure Geordie. In Geordie, going home is gan’ yem - same as Danish when you use the accent. I suppose that could mean that geordies speak Dansk but may not even know it
Loads of Viking influence on the east coast of England and all around Scotland, for obvious reasons. Still amazing that well over 1000 years later this influence is still there.
I’m fascinated by language. I remember, when encountering Swedish for the first time, the holes in my etymology knowledge were suddenly filled. I knew about the Latin, Germanic and Greek influences in English, but then words like little (liten in Swedish) and window (vindu in Norwegian) suddenly came alive!
The influence of Norse languages on English is huge. It’s embedded in place names (anything ending in a ‘by’- which still means a village or a settlement in Swedish and Norwegian), in words we use daily like shirt, hound, house, home… And words we hopefully don’t use too often like berserk, or shriek. I love the fact that the Swedish word for time (tid) is connected to our word ‘tide’.
I believe in Scotland they still call children ‘barn’ which is still the word in Swedish and Norwegian for children. Same with ‘fells’ for mountains (fjäll in Swedish, fjell in Norwegian).
Swedish is such a beautiful language in my opinion - sing-songy and light and fairly easy to grasp because if its strong ties to English. At least that has been my experience of learning it.
Vindu is of course derived from “vin” - the Norwegian for wine. It is how the Vikings used to get wine deliveries into the house
I though a vindu was a Scandinavian cheese & wine party …
… and of course that is where vind(al)u originates from… that is where you chuck out the stuff
And don’t forget their influence on all things culinary …
We use the word bairn in Cumbria for child and there are loads of other places and lakes with Old Norse derivations like Elterwater - literally swan lake.
Ha! Ha! Swedish Chef never fails to make me laugh
He captures perfectly the ‘hurdy-gurdy’ sound of Swedish! Jättebra!
Reminds me of one of my favourite jokes “What’s a hindu? It lays iggs”
@szaki1974 More seriously, the “vin” in “vindaloo” DOES have a wine-related etymology - through the Portuguese influence, and the use of vinegar in the dish.
One of my favourite language migrations is ‘you know’:
In England we say ‘you know’
In Scotland (though not all parts) we say ‘ye ken’
but in Shetland (very heavy Viking influence) they say ‘doo kenst’
With silver bells and cockleshells…
…and pretty girls all in a row…?
Bairn, Inbar, but very close to the Scandi version indeed…it’s possibly less common in Scotland now than when I was growing up, been supplanted a bit by ‘weans’…Kirk is another Scottish word which is a straight lift from the Germanic/Scandinavian languages. Quite a few more too.