Der Amerikanische Urlauber

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Ich lerne drei Sprachen! Je apprends trois langues!

Speaking My Way Around the World... Posted by Hello

Yes, it's true, my current count of languages I am studying has now increased to three.

In addition to German, which I'm learning on my own, and French, which I'm majoring in at school, I now have taken up Italian for my upcoming trip to Italy this May.

I'm an admitted language-nut. I can't go anywhere without making some attempt to know even a little about the language. Thank God I don't plan on going to China or Japan anytime soon.

When it's something you enjoy, as this is for me, it's not hard, it's a fun challenge. I'm one of those people that really likes to challenge myself. And it's surprisingly not very hard for me to do; I just split time up daily amongst the three.

My interest in international affairs, traveling, and languages really all go hand in hand. One just builds upon the other. I've found that languages, as with anything, it's so easy to get frustrated, because you never become fluent overnight. So I focus instead on how each day I make more and more progress. Each new word I learn is another part of a code that allows me to communicate with millions of people around the world.

Each of these languages also happens, incidentally, to be a language ancestors of mine have spoken. How unfair, that they spoke these all from birth, and I have to devote hours to the same!

I can't pick a favorite language either. Each one is so different. Italian flows beautifully; German is just really fun to speak; French sounds sophisticated. I remember how terrified I was the first day of French back in January. I never thought I'd learn so much in just nine weeks.

I'm really excited to be able to use Italian on my first trip to Italy (and Europe, for that matter). It's going to be the first time I ever get to use one of these languages in a native setting. How fun. :-D And it's when you get to use these languages in these settings where it really culiminates and it definitely is worth it. Sure, you can get around speaking English; but the experience is a heck of a lot better if you can speak their language and not have to be stuck within a restricted Anglophone bubble.

Also on my list are Dutch and Spanish. I took Spanish for two years in high school; but the French and Italian have kind of been wiping out whatever is left of that in my brain.

Incidentally, someone who is learning Arabic once told me that it's easier to learn than French (she also has been learning French) which surprised me. I guess once you get a handle on the written script it's possible! French definitely is not the easiest language either. Though I have a French friend who is still learning English; it's comforting to know that she has the same problems I have, and that she thinks we all talk too fast too!

Fluency is still a distant goal, but I'll get there eventually!

Arrivederci, à bientôt, und tschüß!


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