Je ne suis pas polyglotte


Argh, so many things I haven’t blogged about in all that gap… Soon!

But in an effort to blog more and to capture the thoughts as they happen, let’s go with the one in my head right now: languages!

I’ve always (a) dismissed myself as ‘not good at languages’, and (b) super-admired people who speak more than one. Britain is not great at language teaching; we start far too late (11, in my case), and we have the dual downside of no obvious choice of a second language to pick up (I’ve used my school French precisely once in public, for one sentence; two holidays saw me needing Italian or Spanish – which should I have picked?) or practice, and English being so global that it pushes laziness.

However, looking at (a) in particular made me think: if someone laughs at themselves as being ‘rubbish at maths’ I tend to grind my teeth a little. It’s not cool to not try, just because you pass yourself off as not having that kind of brain. Ah, right.

So… okay, I’m not going to push madly to be bilingual. I have a dozen other things screaming for my time that have more relevance/resonance right now (and really, .net, javascript, etc are languages too – right?!). But.

Turns out, modern technology makes languages super convenient to learn. I downloaded the Duolingo app, and am currently on a 12-day streak of French. Is it sticking? I dunno, but it’s five minutes a day and it’s kinda fun 🙂

Thing is, French is revision for me. I wasn’t that good at it back then, but the beginner’s stuff I’ve started with is pretty familiar. So today I went a bit mad and started the German – and wow, but it’s so different! I don’t mean in terms of language, but the contrast between revision and ‘this is utterly unknown to me’. I’m kinda liking the challenge, to be honest – new parts of my brain are firing! Bonus: the German accent comes much more naturally for the Scottish throat!

No idea where I’m going with any of it, but wanted to note that moment of ‘oooh!’ that came from puzzling over “Ich bin eine Frau” 🙂


One response »

  1. I know exactly what you mean! On foreign holidays, just when I’m starting to get the hang of the local language, they’re over. I can do a few tourist phrases, and I pick up the reading as I go, but it’s never for long enough to sustain any fluency…


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