L is for...Languages

I am a woman on a mission. That mission - should I choose to accept it (sorry couldn't resist) - is to become multilingual. Knowing only one language is so...blah. Knowing more than one language, tho, opens up a whole new world.

Right now, I'm working on mi español. I can understand Spanish. I can even read it and pronounce it correctly. It's the responding in Spanish that I'm struggling with. Years ago, I worked in an area that was predominantly Latino, so I was able to use my Spanish. But after I left that area, my Spanish left me. Or so it seems. It's somewhere stashed in the recesses of my mind. But I'm slowly getting it out. It helps that my sister is fluent. She usually speaks to me in Spanish and forces me to answer back. And watching telenovelas helps BIG TIME. That's actually how I started learning Spanish: by watching the Spanish channel on Saturday mornings. I do not like American soap operas, but I get so addicted to telenovelas. I start out not knowing what they're saying, but after a while, I get it. With a bit of practice and help from my sister, friends, and telenovelas, I'll become bilingual in no time.

Since I live in Abu Dhabi now, I'm trying to learn Arabic. I'm not so sure I'll be able to read & write it. I mean, it looks so confusing! For example, the word, car, looks like this, سيارة (I got this from Google Translate, by the way). I learned that it sounds like sayara. I'm learning more and more Arabic words everyday. Not so sure about writing/reading it, but who knows. Hopefully, I'll be able to hold a basic conversation in Arabic. 

I wish I'd started learning new languages as a kid. It's so much easier to learn when you're young. I see my students and how quickly they're picking up English within less than a year. They're going to be totally bilingual before they even reach the 6th grade! Unfortunately, I started in my late teens. But I started and that's what counts. I'm determined to be multilingual. And when the time comes for me to have kids, so they will be multilingual, too. 

So, after I've conquered Spanish and Arabic, what language should I learn? Japanese? French? Portuguese? Who knows! The sky's the limit!



Jennifer Lane said...

I hear ya about losing your Spanish. I took many years of espanol in high school and college but *poof* it's largely gone. Good luck on the Arabic!

Kimberlee Turley said...

My husband learned Arabic for the military at the Defense Language Institute. He hated it. He also speaks Portugese, and really wishes he could learn Spanish since it's much more useful here in the US.

Rae said...

Thanks Jennifer! I think immersion will work better for me. If I go to a Spanish-speaking country, I'm sure it'll come back.

Kimberlee, Arabic is NOT easy. At least not to me. From what I hear, there are similarities between Portuguese & Spanish. I have an aunt from Brazil who speaks both.

SharleneT said...

Hello, Fellow Challenger, from #399 - aka Rockin'Chair Reflections! I wish you all the luck in the world, but, unless you spend a lot of time with the people of your chosen language, it will be very easy to lose. I attended a French school for almost 8 years, as a child, but having had little exposure to spoken French, since then, it's very difficult to carry on a conversation. Hope you can achieve your dreams.

Rae said...

Hi, Sharlene! I agree. That's what happened with my Spanish. Thankfully, I have more Spanish-speaking friends now as well as a sister who's fluent. Thanks! :D