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15 May 2009 @ 09:25 pm
Theatrical Muse: Week 283: Question 283  
Name: Dr. Sid Hammerback

Fandom: CSI: New York

Word Count: 1007

What languages do you speak?

Languages, ah, I love languages. I speak fluent French, and I am especially proficient in American Sign Language. As is requisite from the love life I have chosen to lead I know how to say I love you and please bend over in more than, oh, twenty or so different tongues. However, often enough, as it happens, the tongue is sufficient to get the message across without using any words at all, not that such a talent has any real relation to how many languages a person speaks. It may help, though. Either way, talented with my tongue, or not, as some others may be, I have lived in New York City for the largest percentage of my life, and it was inevitable that I learned more languages than the largely spoken English. Continuing to live in a multicultural society as I do, I keep up the effort to try and speak in as many different languages as I find the time for, because putting phrases together varies so much across all the different tongues, and even still, across different dialects. For someone who loves life, who adores culture and art as much as I do, it just comes naturally to want to know more than I am given by simple hands, more than is readily available for me to learn as typical or ordinary.

My parents, Canadian as they are, ensured that I learnt French from an early age, and sign language was something I happened upon during the course of my life. I was in my early twenties I think, when I spent the most delicious night with an entirely deaf woman whose sense of, and talent for, touch, was beyond the exhilarating exquisite. Now, I was indeed married at that time, but also quite into the already well emerged swinging society. No injury to my wife, no, because she knew where I was that night, and as a result of this awareness I was able to give my full attention to my acquaintance. That night, oh how wonderful it was, I was given the chance to watch and fully appreciate the fluidity of the way her hands moved in her type of physical speech. Suffice to say, being friendly with that woman as I was in times afterward, opened a few doors for me in the deaf community, and I gained, from assorted teachings and classes thereafter, my proficiency in another type of language.

Choosing to do French at school was largely useless for me after a certain age, so as I continued my education I took up Spanish. Spanish is yet another language I find very common across some strains of society, where people have moved from here or there and brought their entire background and culture with them. They bring their food as well, oh, how glorious food of different countries can be. Just as French can be romantic, Spanish also has that ability to sound utterly guttural and deprived of archetypal social niceties if a person is aware of how to use it properly to achieve a desired effect. While my accent, strongly Canadian as it sometimes can sound, is more readily lent to French, being able to speak Spanish has distinct advantages. Where French may not be working with a woman, or a man for that fact, Spanish is often successful, and is entirely useful when I may be out and about and would like to listen in on a conversation or help to solve an argument.

As for the other languages I speak, well, I do enjoy a smattering of different languages. My Chinese is very basic, and my Japanese is rusty but still with a low level of fluency, having not lost any in the passing years. I have more recently enjoyed trying to learn Greek, which now is probably just as good as my Japanese is, and if I remember correctly, I have basic abilities in Portuguese, and am slightly better at German. I have some or much talent with Lithuanian according to the situation. For the time being, when I find time I try to improve my Japanese and Greek speaking abilities, although trying to fit these in with my musical and dance interests, along with my job, sometimes proves hazardous to my brain. It is alright though; I have, hopefully, many years left ahead of me, and plenty of spare hours when all my paperwork is finished, to continue to educate myself in my particular areas of language interest.

New York City is a great place for learning languages, and for providing the impetus to do so. While I may not spent as much time outside of the building I work in as my colleagues do, my languages skills have occasionally proved useful when a translator can not be reached. Aside from that, it is just generally nice to be able to speak so many varied tongues, because I do not limit myself to just understanding one language, just English, or just something else. When I go out and when I walk around my home, so large it is, I come across many different people, who have many different cultures and who appear form many different backgrounds. Knowing so much, I can listen to them, to these people, and I can share the love for life, the zest for life that they have. I probably could not achieve such multicultural understanding and appreciation of this diversity if I spoke only English. I speak many languages because I love to do so, because I am interested in the linguistics of all these different people, all this sheer multitude of living beings. When I was young, I was raised with French and English and soon happened upon so much more. I was raised to be understanding, to be compassionate and loving of life, and while I now work with the dead, speaking their language and translating their mysteries, I have not given up on all else that is out there to do with words and other tongues.
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