Exactly how I feel during every foreign language class, lost in translation.
Because I love travelling and learning about different cultures, becoming fluent in a new language has become a part of my bucket list. I don’t simply want to be bilingual, but multilingual if possible. The only problem is I’m very bad at languages, and I’m not exaggerating one bit.
My biggest problem is memorisation. Not only memorising the vocabulary, which in itself is already a very big challenge to me, but also memorising the grammatical rules of that certain language. It’s all the more difficult for me when it comes to languages that uses symbols rather than the alphabet, because not only would you have to memorise the pronunciation and the alphabetical spelling of that word, but also the way it is written; which again, is even more difficult when there are rules as to the order of the strokes or whatever, like in Chinese. Chinese was really difficult for me because each word was associated with one certain symbol, so you can just imagine how many tons of symbols you need to memorise in order to be actually fluent in Chinese. Pronunciation is also difficult, especially in languages like French, Danish, and Icelandic. I mean have you guys seen Icelandic? I mean how the hell are you supposed to memorise, spell, and pronounce:
I really have so much respect to people who are fluent in difficult languages.
I joined a language tour to China for a month (which I will blog about some other time), and I
suffered struggled with learning. I had a hard time keeping up with my classmates who were at least a bit more advanced than I was.
Now I’m learning Italian since it’s required by the curriculum. Italian is supposedly one of the “easier” European languages, but still, I’m floundering with it. Thank God my teacher is very (very) patient with me, otherwise I don’t know how well I’d do with a bad teacher. He’s good at teaching and patient, which is really important for a student like me. Of course I still do my best to participate every time to really show effort, but I often end up making at least one mistake. Every. Single. Time. One time I managed to say a sentence correctly (albeit really slowly) and I got a “bravo” from him after executing it perfectly. That was hilarious! I laughed really hard afterwards. I just hope I get an A for this class… I’m not exactly failing, since I’m trying my best and studying hard, and I did learn a lot of new things actually.
Since I watch a lot of Scandinavian cinema and TV, I’m actually starting to pick up a few words. Just some basic ones like “hej” or “skål“, and “tillykke” which I honestly didn’t get the first time I heard it. I honestly find Danish a lot harder to pronounce, but Swedish harder to spell. On the bright side, I seem to be able to detect whether the language is Swedish or Danish when watching Bron/Broen, so that’s progress.
I really want to be fluent in German as well, especially since I want to live in Switzerland or Austria in the future. In fact once the semester is over, I plan to study German online. I just hope that I will turn up successful; I mean I can’t even get simple Italian right, how much more if it’s German. Oh well, I’ll just see how it goes.
Photo courtesy of stillsfrmfilms.wordpress.com