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Some years ago I played around with ideas for a little book about a multiple language speaker named Polly Glot, but didn't get very far.

I did, however, make two very small (~2" square) books giving the words or phrases for "Thank You" and "I love you" in almost 60 different languages.

(This was,

quite obviously,

made before I began

to learn Spanish!!)

It was put together in about

1993 by the now rather

quaint method of cutting up

pieces of paper and 

pasting them to another piece of paper in the desired arrangement.  Those were then "printed" on a color copier and assembled into the books.

Later editions were more computerized, but they were rather cold and sophisticated compared to my more primitive attempts.  I had enormous fun poring over dictionaries and phrase books in my still growing language library - about 24 shelf-feet with languages ranging from Amharic to Zulu.

There are large concentrations of Italian, French, German and Spanish, including teach yourself books and class texts.  There are smaller concentrations in Afrikaans (the language I was required to learn at school, but for which I have very little use these days) and English as a Second Language for teaching purposes.

Prior to a ten-day trip to Japan, I tried very hard to learn a smattering, but I ended up with a vocabulary smaller than the number of books I had acquired to teach me said vocabulary.  Actually,I learned somewhat more from watching Shogun, than I did from the books!

But I did learn the importance of never going to a foreign country without a phrase book. I was able to find my way around (doko desu ka and point to an address), get help for an unpleasant UTI. and recover the gold Rolex that had fallen off my wrist.

One day I am going to learn Russian (God knows why!) so I also have about 8 inches of books in and about Russian.  Perhaps it is because the Library Book Sale frequently has them.


The last section of any size is books about how to learn a foreign language.  The best of these - and I recommend it highly - is Fluent in Three Months, by Benny the Irish polyglot, who speaks 10 languages to a level of fluency where he does not have to resort to English to go about daily life.  That definition brings my fluency down to English, Italian and French.  I have survived two and a half months in Spanish-speaking countries, I am officially tweetalig (bilingual) in Afrikaans and I have a reasonable working knowledge of German (Fraulein Emmy Fisch was my sister's nanny and we spent three months in Switzerland when I was a child). 

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