Sunday, December 10, 2023

"... I want to go to the sea today ... because it's that time in December"


Still studying Spanish on a daily basis.  It's been a little more than three years since I learned about Duolingo and committed to fulfilling a nearly lifelong dream of learning a second language.  At this point, I have the fluency and joy of a three-year-old child learning a language, which is immense progress.  This came to my attention recently and has been encouraging.  My reading comprehension is far beyond my listening comprehension, although if a person speaks slowly I can understand much that I never dreamed I would be able to understand.  Although my accent is good (except for those rolled r's -- and even those are coming along -- something I never thought possible), my confidence in being able to speak is still a work in progress.  It's not difficult for me to come up with a large number of nouns and the "to be" form of verbs, but my ability to speak the way I would like to speak is limited.  I know that as long as I don't engage in daily conversation, my knowledge of Spanish will remain focused on reading and listening.  It has occurred to me that I am more of a reader and listener and writer than a conversationalist in English.  It's okay.  The joy of language is still there.


Not sure where I learned about this website.  On a daily basis, thoughtful essays are suggested to me, some of which I read and many of which I have meant to share for some time now.  That day has come. When I read something on a specific topic, the website sends me more essays on that topic.  


It's that time of year when the cloud cover can be so heavy that it looks and feels like dawn or dusk all day long.  This morning there are openings where blinding light comes through the dark clouds.  Interesting to see that on 4.0x Zoom on my cell phone, the image is textured.


Sabine said...

All my school years I struggled with foreign languages. At age 15, I spent three months on a school exchange in England and came back with many curse words, a strong accent but my grades did not improve and when I had done the absolute minimum English requirement, I was happy to drop it. French was even worse, I failed it, years later at uni, I attempted French once more, without success. I've been to France many times and I could be in China for all that I understand.
Half way through uni, I met R who speaks English (and Irish, Spanish and French). So English rapidly became my/our emotional language, I moved to Ireland and had to survive in his large family and their Sunday afternoon games of charades, my father in law's crossword competition and long debating sessions, friendships and work.
When we moved to Germany 12 years later, neither R nor our daughter had much German. Our daughter picked it up rapidly, without any accent, simply by being with kids her age and watching tv. She picked up several languages when we worked and travelled abroad as a family, some she forgot again, but she never shied away and has immersed herself in several languages since, due to her work in far away places. R did not make much of an attempt to speak German for many years because he did not need to speak it at work and had two translators at his beck and call at home. But he figured it out along the way, albeit not with my help. We still speak mostly English with each other, also with our daughter.
But when we want to watch a film or a series, R opts for the German version and I prefer the English one. He reads German books and I prefer English ones.
Somewhere, in all these years, I completed a university degree in English, something my younger self would have never felt possible.

37paddington said...

We never stop learning, my husband studies Portuguese on Duolingo daily, and brushes up on his Spanish, too. He was thrilled the other day when some Brazilian scientists came through the museum where he works, and he got to use his Portuguese.