Friday, April 3, 2009

Parlez-vous anything?

I took Japanese language class for three years in high school and while I can retain skeletal basics of the language (Sakuma-sensei, thanks for TTPOV), I don't recall much vocabulary.

I completed first year Chinese in college, and I haven't retained much.
I used to be excited to learn Chinese... it died when I realized that my plans of studying abroad in China wouldn't come true.

For a while I was learning French on my own, I got good enough to understand Brent after he took a first-level class at UCLA... I don't do it much anymore.

I'm more than a little disappointed in my inability to stay committed to a language :|
Maybe I don't have enough people to practice with, or maybe I'm shy and push whoever I've got away. My mom hasn't exactly been impressed with my choices in language... she's always wanted me to learn Spanish, mainly for its convenience but somehow the language itself never interested me (sorry, Spanish-speakers, it's completely no offense to you!).

Not to mention I haven't even tried learning Tagalog, my own home language!

Do any of you have trouble with languages or just learning in general? :(
For me it's more like the motivation to keep going... I'm pretty good starting out, but I just, blah.


Chelsea said...

I've taken Spanish 1 about three times. Once in middle school (although that shouldn't really count, it was horrible and I didn't learn a THING), once in high school, and once in college.

In high school I made it to spanish 2. However, when I took spanish in college, I REALLY learned a lot more. Or at least I felt like I did. I wanted to take Spanish 2, but my mom said it would be too distracting from my other classes, which are the important ones (ie Anatomy).

I NEED to know Spanish, but I can't seem to grasp it too long. I buckle under the pressure of talking to somebody that actually knows the language.

I think one day I will be able to speak it well enough for the hospital. "Tienes dolor?" (Do you have pain?), but that'll be it. I don't think I'll ever have the skills to retain another language. My brain is too full from random trivia facts.

Brent said...

I really don't think it's motivation that's the problem, it seems like you haven't a purpose. That's pretty well manifested in your enervation after learning you can't study abroad.

Nah, I don't think that it's lack of people, everyone speaks Chinese. Neither is it that you're shy. EVERYONE's shy in a new language, it's placing you in a spot where you can't communicate, frantically paddling for life in the sea of conjugations and tenses (and cases <3)

Purpose purpose. WHY are you learning it? Just for kicks? I found out after that French class that there was no reason besides "oh, it's so international and such". But that's not enough. Same with Japanese for me. No reason besides, I guess it was the cool thing to do then. And I totally feel you on Spanish. It just doesn't have that.. "pull". Maybe cos it's so common? I think really, it wouldn't seem like an accomplishment to me EVEN though I know it is a huge one. That's a pride thing.

I found that the focus for my learning Chinese (if I were to) wouldn't be for my family, since no one speaks it, nor would it be to 'return to roots' or 'connect with culture' (yay alliteration). Rather it would be to stand up angrily to all those who preemptively assume and base my language ability on my appearance or name, something that has been a subject of many angry personal journal entries.

I soon found out that trying to learn with vindictive roots is one of the worst methods.

In MapleStory, I get 'motivation' to level only after watching people who've reached the highest level and do amazing damage. In piano, I get 'motivation' to practice only after watching incredible performances of the most difficult pieces. So I would imagine that, in languages, you can get 'motivation' by watching vids of people speaking (or arguing, my favorite :) ).

Songs work too. You know, my next language is gonna be Thai or Turkish. Hahhhhh

Brent said...

Oh yeah, PS.

So you ever hear those people who call their moms and talk really angrily about turnips in another language and wish you could do that? I sure do. It won't happen for me, but you at least have the opportunity. TAKE ADVANTAGE

ERuss said...

My failure to learn Cebuano during my time here is frankly embarrasing. I don't know if its just plain laziness or my brain is not wired for this type of learning. Learning to speak the little Japanese I do know seems to be easier than Cebuano, which is not totally foreign to me since I heard it growing up. I think Filipinos speak just way to fast. And the sounds puts your tongue in strange places in the palate. Yes - that's my excuse.

Melissa said...

I barely remember Japanese. I can watch anime and kinda get some stuff but not to a good degree XD Sigh.

I really am loving Latin right now. Maybe it's the quarter system that makes me work harder on it, but it dominates my life and it's a lot of fun. It has helped me so much grammatically, I have to say. And now I can look at some French or Spanish and kind of understand things more easily. I feel super-hero-like! I'm hoping I can learn the Romance languages better this way... I could go on and on about how awesome Latin is. But I won't!

But yeah I am sad I didn't keep up with Japanese. It was a lot of fun.