Wednesday, March 7, 2012


When I began learning Spanish, most of my German flew out the window, as most of my French had departed when I took up German.  Having spent a lot of time working on Spanish, I did not want to forget it when I decided to study Italian.  To combat this trend, I decided to join a Spanish conversation group.  We meet on Sunday mornings and talk about everything under the sun.  Time flies.  It is hard to drag myself away from these new found friends.

Why is this?  These people are basically strangers.

I started thinking about other people I have met in various language classes and at the Spanish language school where I studied in Mexico.  Most of them were pretty great, also.  It dawned on me that, in America where foreign languages are not stressed in public schools, it takes a certain kind of person to pursue learning a foreign language.  Or maybe learning a foreign language opens up some other part of your brain.  Whatever the correlation, most of the people I know who love languages are also open minded, curious, outgoing, generous and adventurous.  They love travel, different kinds of music, and literature.  They seek to connect with others and each language learned opens an irresistible  new range of connections and experiences.

Personally, I feel I am a slightly different person when I speak a different language.  It changes my frame of reference.  Our languages grow out of our traditions.  Some are more formal and respectful, others more concerned with beauty.  English, for example, is heavily influenced by England's maritime tradition, which becomes apparent when you try explaining our idioms to English learners.  Spanish takes many words from Arabic, which brings to mind the 700 years when Spain was dominated by the Moors.  It is hard to study language without absorbing history, as well.  One pursuit leads to another and it is an amazing journey promising fascinating companions.

Buon viaggio.

No comments:

Post a Comment