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Hello, Hola, Hallo, Bonjour

I love languages. All languages. I would love to be one of those people who know multiple languages, I once dreamt of this. I wanted to grow up and be an interpreter for the UN. Pretty high aspirations for an elementary student, but I wanted to learn every language I could.

In my school system at the time (mid 70s) language courses were only taught during a student’s high school years. I don’t know if this is still true, I think some charter schools and advanced programs now teach foreign languages in elementary school. I believe the earlier the better.

I decided to start with Spanish. I had heard Spanish spoken on Sesame Street as a kid, so why not? My other choices were French or Latin. I loved my Spanish class and my teacher was wonderful. He insisted on only Spanish being spoken in his classroom and we learned quickly. I have such fond memories of Senior P and his classes. I later had him for a French teacher and a Spanish teacher in the same year.

In tenth grade I took Spanish 2 and German 1. I was so happy to be learning two languages. People asked me if I mixed them up, but for some reason my brain was able to sort them out, I really don’t know how.

In eleventh grade I was not able to sign up for French 1; I couldn’t fit it into my schedule. I still had Spanish and German, but I also had these annoying required classes I had to take! The nerve! I could fit the French classes in for second semester, but how could I catch up? I took French 101 at our local community college. I’m glad I did. The class was taught at a much faster pace and I was allowed to enter the second semester of French 2 instead of French 1.

Wow, I’m getting confused…Junior year I was taking Spanish 3, German 2 and French 2. I was in heaven.

Then my senior year, there are not enough students to form a Spanish 4 class. Thankfully, my German class was full and German 3 was offered. French 3 also did not have enough students to have the class, I was so disappointed. I kept up with German, tutored in both Spanish and French all senior year.

After I graduated high school I met and married a deaf man and became fluent in American Sign Language. I even learned a few Australian signs after a friend of mine visited there as an exchange student. I would not call myself fluent anymore, but maybe rusty would be a good description, I still love sign language and keep up with some of my deaf friends from time to time.

Years go by and I don’t use most of these languages anymore. I miss hearing, reading and slowly learning the accents and nuances of other languages.

I would love to try to learn with Rosetta Stone. I am going to save my pennies and pick a language and take the plunge. I am going to learn another language fluently again before I die! In the old days of my youth, we used to have pen pals who wrote us in French, Spanish, or German back in school. How I wish I could learn enough to be able to do that again.

If I work hard enough, this wish can become a reality. I watch Univision as much as I can. I still can only pick out words and phrases, but it’s fun to be learning again. I watch foreign films without the subtitles. Anything I can do to hear something other than English.

Which is not to say I don’t love the American English I speak, and the accents of different areas in the U.S, too. I like to read and learn accents and how to speak English from other countries as well. There’s just so much to learn about communicating with other humans.

What kinds of things do you really wish you could learn to do?

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26 thoughts on “Hello, Hola, Hallo, Bonjour

  1. I’ve always wanted to learn how to make lampwork glass beads. It’s something that can be done in a home garage, but it’s kind of expensive to get started in and I’m honestly not sure I have the fine motor skills to pull it off.

  2. This is a great question. I would love to take a class in cooking – culinary school. And sewing. I know how – but to refine my skills and be formally trained. I took costuming in college and loved it. It would be so cool to design and create a costume for a ballet or opera.

    • Oh sewing! I wish I could sew. My aunt is a seamstress and we keep talking about her teaching me to sew. I like to watch passionate cooks, my brother is wonderful at designing dishes. I am really enjoying the different answers.

  3. We only had Spanish and German offered in high school. I took Spanish like most of the kids, mainly because it was easier, and foreign language wasn’t one of my things. I have managed to learn some German from watching every episode of Hogan’s Heroes, though!

  4. There are very few languages offered in high school here now. But the way it’s taught doesn’t seem to encourage many takers. That then has a knock on effect to what’s offered. It’s a pity. One language is taught in primary school, just basic vocabulary and some expressions. And kids are obliged to take one foreign language at secondary for the first couple of years. Usually either French or Spanish.
    Saying that, my kids took it and didn’t have a clue what they were saying! They learned expressions without knowing how to put sentences together, just to pass exams. Then dropped the language as soon as they could.
    When I was at secondary we could take French, German, Latin, Russian and Greek in various combos. I initially opted for Latin and French then dropped Latin to pursue sciences but kept the French going for about seven years. Later, I worked in Greece and learned Greek pretty well. But, without using it, it does get rusty.
    I downloaded a free software programme called ‘Before You Know It’ http://www.byki.com/ It’s not bad for keeping up vocab and pronunciation and there’s a paid version that I haven’t tried. I just hate that stuff I used to know is dripping away! BYKI offers quite a range of languages and is good for a wee taster. 🙂

    • Thanks for the link. I’m going to check that out. I think most students here also take what’s required and then quit.
      I was once in Martinique, I believe, ands the people there spoke French to me and I responded in English. I would love to travel and be able to at least understand the native language. Other than English, of course.

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