"Words are not important, but their meanings ..."

“Words are not important, but their meanings, and it is of no spiritual advantage that I can see to know half a dozen languages. I have met polyglots; I have not noticed that they were wiser than the rest of us. … and if it[a country] has a considerable literature it is pleasant to be able to read it. But such a knowledge as this can be acquired easily. To attempt to learn more is futile. Unless you devote your whole life to it, you will never learn to speak the language of another country to perfection; you will never know its people and its literature with complete intimacy. … It seems hardly worth while to take much trouble to acquire a knowledge that can never be more than superficial.”–THE SUMMING UP by W. Somerset Maugham

If I can read English literature or literature written in English, I will not want more in learning English. This is my tentative conclusion or goal.

Try communicating meaning without using words! (Although admittedly there are certain expressions using body language which by and large exclude misinterpretation).

But: why should the opinion of someone who never seems to have had fun with languages bother me/us? Who cares?

For that matter, I have yet to meet a native speaker who knows his/her own people and literature with “complete intimacy.”

Je vais continuer m’amuser avec suedois, allemagne, francais, hollandaise, etc. Et anglais naturellement!
C’est ma vie :slight_smile:
Tot ziens!
Viel Spaß!

If I had nine lives, I could possibly learn at least nine different words for “life”.

Maugham had a wonderful grasp of words and their meaning. In his search he may have applied the strict rules of perfectionism to his idea of wisdom. “If you can’t do it well, don’t bother doing it at all”. I noticed, however, that he wrote “It seems hardly worth while to take much trouble…”, ie he seemed to allow dabbling in a language :slight_smile: