An Audacious Project – Languages of India

It is a known fact (at least to my friends and family!) that I am a keen enthusiast of Technology in Learning and also pursuing a venture in the same. Today I also embark upon a new personal project that has the potential to change me as a person – the project is

Learn all 22 Official languages of India (aside from English)

“Wait, What?” you say. “That’s preposterous! You live in Karnataka and can’t even speak Kannada properly yet!”.

Thank you for pointing that out. I am not proud of that fact. But I intend to change it. Starting now, I am going to dedicate a good amount of time to learning basic Kannada vocabulary, and at least pick up some Kannada literature to read. But I don’t want to stop there. I want to try and learn at least the 22 languages, maybe even learn some of the other popular local languages and dialects.

Well enough for me means being able to strike a conversation with the locals, being able to read basic words (at least sign posts but would be nice to be able to read a book), watch local cinema/TV shows without needing a translator/sub-titles and so on.

I already know 3 Indian languages pretty well – Konkani (my mother tongue), Hindi and Marathi (courtesy of my upbringing in Mumbai). I can speak broken Kannada and understand quite a bit of it but can’t read or write it yet. I think that’s half-way into the 4th language.. so 18.5 more to go!

Why do I want to do this? I think it’s a pity I know English really well and can also speak few words of French/Japanese but can’t really say a single word in Tamil, Telugu or Urdu. I would really like to be able to speak to locals in their own languages whenever I visit different places in the country. I also think it’s important for my education related work; localization of education does seem to be a huge untapped opportunity but more so because it’s just so much easier to talk to people and understand their problems once the language barrier is crossed. And a problem-solver I am!

I know this is a life-long project, but I’m going to try and go as fast as I can. At the same time, I think the journey is more important than the destination and hope to learn more than just the languages themselves – local culture, cuisines, traditions, history, etc. I will keep this blog updated about my progress. Wish me luck!! And I will take any help/advice you have to spare, I will definitely need it!

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