Home ->A Fantasy Nerd Transported to Another World ->6 Learning a New Language is Difficul

 Ethan woke up the next morning to the smell of sausages being cooked over a fire. It seemed like the some of the knights were cooking breakfast. After they finished their cooking, they began to distribute the sausages, as well as some beer among the rest of the knights. Ethan's right hand was untied and he was handed some more stale bread and lukewarm beer by one of the knights who was himself enjoying some sausages, who was watching Ethan. As Ethan ate the stale bread that he was quickly starting to dislike, he listened to the knights talk among themselves more and more, and he thought that he was beginning to pick up a little bit of their vocabulary. Ethan had always been good with language, and in fact had been majoring in Latin at the University that he had been studying at, so although it was very difficult for him to try to learn this strange Germanic sounding language from scratch, he gave it a try.

[Okay, I think that I know their words for 'sausage', 'beer', 'bread' and some form of the verb 'to eat'. The vocabulary isn't all that difficult; it's not all that different from Dutch which I studied in high school. The real trouble is the grammar. Their words for 'sausage', 'beer', and 'bread' seem to have different endings on them depending on how they're used in a sentence. That could mean that they have declensions for their nouns.] thought Ethan.

Declensions were when the endings of a noun or adjective were changed depending on how they are used in a sentence. This makes word order of sentences a little bit more flexible, but it also makes it much more difficult to learn a language for the first time. On Earth, a lot of ancient languages have declensions, but many modern languages don't. Ethan knew from his time studying Latin in his university just how difficult it could be to learn declensions.

[There's no way around it. If I want to learn this language, I will have to try to speak with these knights to practice. The trouble is that speaking will be difficult with my limited vocabulary] thought Ethan.

Ethan then turned to one of the two twin knights who were guarding him and tried to say "I eat bread." In that language by using some form of the verb 'to eat' while pointing to himself and then using some form of the noun 'bread' while pointing to the bread. The knight looked a little bit surprised to see Ethan attempting to speak his language, and unfortunately also a little puzzled as to what Ethan meant. After a few seconds of thinking however the knight finally understood what the young man was trying to say. He then pointed at Ethan and said the same form of 'to eat' that Ethan had used, and then pointed at the bread and used the word for 'bread' but with a different ending than the one Ethan had used. He then pointed at himself and used a different ending for 'to eat' than the one Ethan had used and then pointed at his own sausages and used some form of the word for 'sausage'.

Apparently what Ethan had ended up saying when he tried to say "I eat bread" was "You eat (with the) bread". The knight had then corrected him and said "You eat bread. I eat sausages."

[Wow, this language is pretty difficult to learn, especially under these circumstances. If I'm going to survive here though, I'll probably need to know it. Well, thanks to that knight, I am starting to learn how the verbs and nouns work in this language. I should try to pick up more words and practice speaking more from now on.]

After breakfast, the leader of the Knights whom Ethan learned was called 'Mia' by the other knights started giving some orders to the knights, and the knights began disassembling the campsite. While they were doing that and talking amongst themselves, Ethan learned about a half dozen more words, mostly related to camping gear. The knights worked quickly and efficiently and all of their gear was neatly packed away in about ten minutes.

After everything was put away, Mia gave some more orders and the knights all got in a single file line with Mia in the front and Ethan in the middle, standing right between the two twin knights who had been guarding him, and who Ethan had learned were called 'Hans' and 'Friedrich' after Ethan had told them his name. The Single file line then moved westward from the cleaning into the forest with the rising sun at their back.

As they walked, Ethan tried talking with Hans and Friedrich to learn more of the language, which Ethan had learned was called the Vorbei Language. Those two seemed like the best option for him to try to learn Vorbei as they were immediately in front of and behind him respectively as well as the fact that unlike most of the other knights, they didn't look at Ethan like he was an undead monster. This was all fine and good, however to say that it was difficult for Ethan to hold a conversation with them would be an understatement. Not only were they trudging through many kilometers of forest, but also Ethan had a very limited vocabulary and very broken grammar. Hans and Friedrich however seemed to be understanding, spoke slowly, and used only simple sentences mostly of words that Ethan already knew but with a few new ones added in. By the time they stopped in a clearing for lunch about eighteen kilometers to the west of the previous clearing where they had spent the night, Ethan was starting to really understand how to decline regular nouns and how to conjugate verbs in the present tense in Vorbei, and he had memorized a few dozen more words.

Once they stopped in a clearing, Mia began chanted in the same Romance language that she had chanted in before that Hans told Ethan was called the Magicae Language which was used for magical incantation. She chanted for about five minutes before a silver dome appeared above the clearing and then disappeared they started to eat lunch, Ethan was given more stale bread and beer, while the knights had beer something that resembled pancakes which Ethan subsequently learned the word for. Mia then approached Ethan and held up his smartphone using hand motions indicating that she would like him to unlock it again and have it play music without realizing that Ethan had learned a little bit of Vorbei.

[This actually gives me a little bit of leverage now that I think about it. Mia really seems to like the classical music, and she can't listen to it without my help. I could potentially ask for something in return for unlocking it, if I want to be a bit daring. I shouldn't ask for much as I'm not in a very good position to negotiate, but some minor quid pro quo may be doable.] thought Ethan.

"You give me pancakes. I play music." Ethan said in Vorbei.

Mia narrowed her eyes. This new course of action by Ethan shocked Mia who because she had thought that Ethan was just a simple undead barbarian who could not possibly understand the complexities of the glorious Vorbei language, nor did she think that such a barbarian was smart enough to demand something in return for doing something that only he could do. She had thought that Ethan just was someone who had come across (and probably stolen) a convenient electrical tool that could be recharged with lightning magic and which she had merely not her figured out the trick to get it to work yet. She thought for a moment and then said "Alright, barbarian, if you play music, I will give you pancakes."

Ethan took the smartphone and unlocked it with his finger print. He could have unlocked it with the passcode, but guessing that Mia would try to memorize the passcode if he did so, he thought that the fingerprint was the best option. He then selected his classical music playlist, pressed play, and handed it back to Mia. Mia said "Give him pancakes" to Hans while pointing at Ethan and Hans did so.

[Well, that's a lot better than stale bread] Ethan thought as he ate the sweet and fluffy pancake.

After lunch, they all got ready to continue moving west.