Let’s try to start this up again! This is a series where I ask a question, and you (and I) have to answer it.
Have you studied a foreign language? Did you reach fluency, or near fluency? Would you like to continue to study that language, or a different one?
As soon as I could speak, practically, I wanted to learn French. My mom taught me short words and phrases, and I begged to take French as soon as possible. I was finally allowed to when I started seventh grade. I took four years of French through middle school and high school. Though I was never immersed in an entirely French-speaking environment outside of class, I felt that I did reach near-fluency. I could say anything I wanted to; I would translate thoughts and things my teachers said, and I was able to keep up a conversation with native French speakers who I met.
I was planning to continue studying, but our church was pursuing a long-term relationship with a missionary in the Dominican Republic, and I loved going on those mission trips. To help my ministry, I decided to switch over to Spanish for the final two years of high school. Learning Spanish was super easy, but I never learned the type of grammar that would allow me to communicate all the things I wanted to say. Being able to choose a language again after high school, I enrolled in French again – I took several courses, going back to the basics, as well as a French for Business class that would have been useful had I ever needed it! Oh yeah, I also took a Greek and a Latin class in there too! I love languages!
Lo and behold, my senior year I found myself drawn to a year-long mission assignment in Venezuela. I dropped my French hat again and put on the Spanish one. My dad gave me his copy of Rosetta Stone, which I used for a little while but ended up hating (it’s SOOOO repetitive! the exercises are exactly the same for every. single. lesson.), but I opted out of tutoring lessons because I already had Rosetta Stone, even though I wasn’t using it. Not great logic. Enough time passed that I realized I could get by without taking formal language lessons, so I mostly relied on my teammates and Venezuelans who spoke English. Part of the reason I didn’t want to stick with learning the language was that deep down I longed to be learning French instead. At the time, I was able to understand a lot of spoken and written Spanish, but I couldn’t speak very much because I rarely practiced (I was embarrassed that I didn’t know how to pronounce the words!).
Fast forward to this semester, and I am taking French again! I am declaring it my primary secondary language, once and for all. I love everything about it, from the romantic pronunciation to the way the letters all loop together when I write them down. I went back to the second part of the beginner course, which has been perfect. It’s familiar enough that I remember vocab and grammar when I see them, but distant enough that I still feel like I’m learning. I’m excited to continue with another year of the language in the fall!
Whew, sorry that turned out longer than I expected – don’t feel like you have to write a novel! But I would love to know, what languages have you studied, or would you like to learn??
[Photo by SC Stockshop]