♦Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop!♦
What language have you always wanted to learn? Do you think you will try?
Welcome back to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop! If you’re new to the series, the authors included are grateful for your reads and appreciate, even more so, when you share our writings with your friends. If you’re new to the series, welcome aboard. The authors engage and impress weekly. Be prepared to become a regular reader.
This is an easy question. Yes. Absolutely. I’ve already begun that journey.
Lifelong learning is a passion of mine. There are groups dedicated to it in most universities—the goal being the study of learning throughout the lifetime, and coming up with ways to encourage and provide education for everyone. I believe in it. It’s more than independent study, although that can be a large part of it. I also believe in mentoring and the structure of a classroom. It works. We cannot learn to the greatest effect without a guide and someone to ask questions we aren’t thinking of.
Language learning is a great example of why we need someone else to help us obtain the knowledge we want. I cannot remember a time when I didn’t want to learn another language, and the opportunity to study was the only thing that kept me away from it. When I reached high school, the field of choices had been narrowed, and my top choice was closed down. They forced us all into Spanish class in junior high school, which would have been fine if we actually had been given an option, instead of a directive. It still formed the base for my French studies later. Still, there was only the choice between the two. Neither was on my list. Absolutely they’re useful here in the United States, but they were of no interest to me, regardless.
That held me back from doing my best. You have to really want to learn a language to spend the time and give the effort required to learn it at such a late stage (yes, even as a teenager). If I had been blessed to grow up in a bilingual family, it would have been second nature to gain fluency in two languages (like most of the rest of the world). The real language that I wanted to learn was German. I honestly have no idea where the desire came from, but I can’t tell you if there was ever a time that I wanted to learn any other language in my youth. in the past decade or so, I’ve longed to learn both Welsh (for reasons of heritage) and Mandarin (to continue learning about Chinese culture).
What propelled me forward on this goal was my term as Graduate Studies Secretary in the English Department of The University at Albany. Their requirements for a doctorate degree include fluency in two languages outside of English. This is for research purposes. It should also reflect your area of focus. German and Mandarin reflec my interest in film. The history of German cinema is the history of Film Noir, and Chinese film is fascinating. Have you ever seen the series Red Cliff (2008)? I recommend it. Yes, you will need to read subtitles. I would love to be able to watch the film without the use of subtitles, to know the language in which it was filmed, so that I can better enjoy it, and understand. Language is the key to unlocking a culture.
German also plays a large roll in my life because of my spy thrillers OP-DEC: Operation Deceit and OP-GHO: Operation Ghost. I had to rely a great deal on those who are native speakers and those who have already learned the language. My contacts were wonderful, but I couldn’t help but feel that I should have had a better grasp on my own. There was no reason, only excuses, for not having another language under my belt, especially one that I needed to complete a book. It’s a lot of work to have someone comb through your writing to make sure you’ve written things properly, even when it’s only a limited amount. But, authenticity was on the line. (OP-DEC also utilized my French lessons from High School.)
I was able to finally realize the first step of my dream to study languages via the relatively new app Duolingo. You can track my development through my german language learning blog series (19 entries and counting). Duolingo is a free learning app available to anyone, that teaches you with all the same learning theory as a classroom. You must learn to read, write, and speak. Yes. The app analyzes your speech. It’s just excellent!
Last month, I added Welsh and Mandarin to my lesson plan. I am not certain when I will begin those languages, but I don’t want to disrupt my German learning. Confusing myself at this stage could bring an end to my endeavor. I’ve been going since 2014 with only limited interruption. Let me tell you, Mandarin will be a whole new world. Unlike German, the characters that make the written language will be completely foreign to me. What a challenge it will be!
I’m looking forward to more journeys in language learning. Nothing is more rewarding than a friend sharing a meme in their native language and being able to read it without an interpreter. It’s been a lot of fun to watch German television and movies and catch a lot of the words. I still have a long way to go before I won’t need subtitles. The difference in a voice can/pronunciation can really hinder communication.
Let’s hop on over and see what the other authors have to say about language.