I have been interested in language learning for a long time. I used to spend much time daily or weekly in studying one language or another. However, as soon as I started teaching Arabic at the United Nations Office in Geneva, sixteen years ago, I reduced my time devoted to language study to a minimum. I had to think of providing teaching materials for my course, adapted to UN needs. There was an urgent need for that. There was nothing available, apart from some material existing on the market, which I deemed not corresponding to the UN spirit.
My study and passion for languages was solely personal and with no ambition. Naturally, as I undertook the study of many languages at the same time, I had no illusions whatsoever of being good at them all, so as to be able to speak, write and read them more or less fluently. I realize that, in order to learn and master just one language, especially if it is very different from one's mother tongue, one must strive very hard. Furthermore, I do not believe in learning a language in a very short time, no matter how easy it is or it seems to be. In other words, I do not believe in fast language. I am saying this, because, I must admit, I am allergic to fast language to such an extent that it gives me nausea and a headache, just as fast food may give me indigestion and stomach ache!
In fact, all I seek in the study of a language is its history, its structure, its script system, the impact it has on other languages and the impact other languages have on it. In other words, its points of resemblance and differences in regard to other languages of the same or different families.