Learning a New Language

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love foreign languages. I consider myself sort of a closet linguist, and as such I have taught myself how to read Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, and Russian. I have dabbled in French, Spanish, Dutch, Danish, and Hawaiian, and I aspire to eventually become fluent in seven languages before my time on earth is up.

Due to a few huge life-changes, I have fallen off track with my language learning endeavors. Now that things are beginning to settle down again, I was recently inspired to get back on track. One of my problems with language learning has always been that I am interested in too many languages. The result ends up being that I study several languages at once, and though I learn quite a bit, I never actually achieve the fluency that I would if I were disciplined enough to focus on 1-3 languages at a time.

Because I know I can learn up to 3 languages at once, I have decided to settle on the first three that I will focus on for the next few years. The first is Spanish. I know a lot of Spanish already, and I simply need to take the time and effort to get me to the next level in my Spanish studies. I believe that, if I apply myself, I could achieve fluency in Spanish within the next year or so.

Spanish is important to me for a few reasons. The first is that I have had many Spanish-speaking friends and co-workers throughout my life. I grew up in the D.C area and it is impossible not to come into contact with Spanish on a daily basis. Spanish is a great language to learn from a professional perspective as well. On a more personal note, my husband was adopted from Paraguay and although he has lost much of his Spanish, he has always wanted to raise our children to know Spanish as they are half-Paraguayan.

The second language I would like to focus in on is Japanese. To be honest, Japanese is one of my favorite languages in the world. I began teaching myself Japanese a little over ten years ago and I know so much more Japanese than I give myself credit for! I was recently inspired to re-kindle my devotion to the Japanese language by a Japanese show on Netflix called “Terrace House,” which is sort of the Japanese version of MTV’s “The Real World.”

The third language that I will be studying over the next few years is Danish. I have an uncle, four cousins, and four second cousins who live in Denmark and/or are Danish. I have always wanted to go and visit them and learn their language. We see them often as they come to the United States for visits, but I think it would be really nice to visit them and speak to them in their own language.

I am hoping that by disciplining myself to focus in on only these three languages, I will make more progress in my language learning than I have in the past 10 years.

Wish me luck!

Photo Source: Elisabeth Renne

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2 comments on “Learning a New Language

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