This is a heart warming language story if ever I saw one – a milkman in Blackburn has learned Gujarati to communicate better with his customers.

The 69 year-old white, English-born John Mather (aka Jimmy) picked up the language from his customers whilst doing his rounds. This seems an especially hard task given that Gujarati is so different from English, with few non-Indians learning it.

Mr Mather is modest about his achievement though, saying:

“It was not very difficult to learn it,” he says. “I just remembered what they told me, kept it in my memory and repeated it when I saw them. I don’t know how long it took me to learn. I’ve known the language for about 30 years and once you pick up words you remember them.

“I’ve got a very good memory, once I’ve been somewhere I never forget it, it’s the same with language.”

“I think my Gujarati is alright,” he says. “It gets me by. I’ve made friends with it and that’s the most important thing. I’ve also had loads of wedding invitations (from the Asian community).

“I’ll keep going as long as I can and my Bengali’s not so bad so I’m having a go at that.” (Source: BBC News)

It seems Mr Mather can give a few tips to language learners: learn a language you will use regularly, talk to native speakers and make friends with the language!