In first class I started to learn English. I was six years old. It wasn’t at an extraordinarily great level. I just carried on. Until high school. We got that teacher who really wanted us to talk and have discussions and think in English. I will be forever grateful for this woman. Over the Christmas break she offered us English books. I took them all. I read every single one of them. At the beginning it was really bad, I didn’t understand a word of what was written there. Then I started consuming other media in English. Within a few months I got obsessed with youtube and from then on it just got better. Conversations became natural, I was just talking in English, no big deal. My blog certainly helped, too. In the last week before the finals in 12th grade I asked my teacher if she thinks that I can study in English. She said “Of course you can!”. I did an English test to get into the study course and I did a LOT last summer for this. Became more confident. Listened to English radio shows every night. Read all day. Now I’m studying in English and when I am in a stressed situation all that comes to mind are not German sentences and words anymore.
In third grade I started French and it was kind of nice. We sang songs and drew pictures and did all that funny stuff. We learned some French words, along the way. Our teacher was great, she was a real badass. She was from la Reunion and she had this wonderful accent. In seventh class when I got to secondary school we just talked about grammar. Now, French was a horror for me. I didn’t like it at all. After school I actually wanted to do a year abroad in France but that didn’t work out. My French is pretty bad now. Every time I hear this lovely guy in my study course speak this language I get so jealous!
In eighth grade I started with Latin. It was actually really cool and we had a nice teacher, too. I always was really interested in history and we talked a lot about it. The thought just fascinated me: We are reading the texts that were written 2000 years ago. Holy moly. It was a lot of grammar, though. I enjoyed it but I have lost nearly all of it. The only thing I can remember is that in my latin book on the vocab pages in the end there is the word “appropinquare” right at the top right hand corner. It translates to “to approach”. Nearly the only thing I remember. A bit sad.
When I started uni I really got into Spanish. There are people all around from South America and I was so motivated! You already know how this ends.. My motivation lasted for exactly half a year. The last few months I had to beat myself out of bed once a week to get there. It is a lovely language but I often confused it with French, which is not quite fortunate. Furthermore…
I have been studying Swedish for half a year now. You know… Languages. I just love them too much. I really want to go to Sweden in my semester abroad so the right thing to do is learn Swedish. This is actually the first time that I learn a language without any teacher at all. I started with duolingo and read every single Swedish guide book in my library. Right now I try to get this language in my head through CD’s. I just love the process. The language is quite similar to German and English so that it is not that hard for me. Sometimes I just want to give that language a big hug because it has such cute words and sounds so lovely. Once I have found a new language, I’m all in.
This is my language journey and as you can tell, I really really love them. If you speak some of those languages mentioned (they are not that uncommon, are they?) please leave a comment and tell me about your experiences. Especially if you speak French or Swedish. I already love you if you do. How do you study them, what keeps you motivated? I will try and answer in that same language and will probably sound like a first grader. Who cares? Kató Lomb said
“Language is the only thing worth knowing even poorly.”