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Topic: What is ON your bucket list? Tell us. Show Us.
There is a series I have been writing since Autumn of last year (2014), which captures my journey of learning a foreign language. Now, there are a number of things I would like to do in my lifetime, but I haven’t really thought about a bucket list, per se. I did only just turn 40. These things, simply are not on my mind while I am busy making my life. That said, learning another language has been on my mind since I struggled with French in high school. Marvelously, I still remember quite a bit and can muddle through reading it, which came in handy during grad school, when the only copy of a film I needed to watch was captioned in French from the Mexican Spanish it originated from. And, I totally impressed myself with what I had retained from 1989-1993.
This time, I was going to learn the language I had wanted to learn since I was a kid: Deustch. Just as I came into high school, the German program was cancelled, and when I got into college, the same thing had happened, and my curriculum steered me far away from languages. I would have been taking extra courses I didn’t need toward graduation, and those are limited by every program. About twenty years later, Duolingo came under my perusal and here I am, almost a year into using the app and support materials I have gathered. Ich lerne Deustch!
But, how far along are you, without the discipline of a classroom? I have been trucking right along, actually. Some days, I do miss lessons. I have it set to make me run through five lessons every night. It throws vocabulary and phrases at me–translate to and from German. Es ist einfach! Truly! Except, it’s not so easy when you get to the grammar. The German language has tenses and genders. Yikes! The Genders decide which article you’ll use (die, der, das – ein, eine, einen, etc.) The tenses: Nominative, Accusative, etc…hold onto your hats. When you think you’ve got it, they throw a whammy. Just like Englische, there are exceptions.
I’ve gone over much of this experience in So you want to learn German – So können Sie Deutsch lernen wollen series. I encourage you to check it out. My plan is to document the years it takes to learn a language to fluency. The ultimate goal of that is to teach English to Deustch speakers. To do that, I have to have fluency, pass some training and tests and do a lot of hours in preparation of going abroad, to hopefully work for a German company teaching their personnel the English language.
But, why would your bucket list have a work goal on it?
Because I don’t view that as work. The gift of having a second language is having a skill to share with others. How much fun will it be to share my native culture and language with a group of people who I have struggled to learn more about, and speak their language? Why would I waste that on just knowing how to speak German? Besides, speaking another language can take you places. Not only can I teach, but I can be a translator.
So my bucket list is: Learning. Learning languages, cultures and then going to those places to learn even more. There’s nothing you can take with you into the great beyond but yourself. I plan on packing myself with as much learning as I can tolerate.
PJ Fiala is a romance author originally from Missouri. She moved to Wisconsin with her family when she was 13 years old, city kids learning to farm. The farm started out with 28 rescue cows (they were adopted from the Humane Society who took them from abusive circumstances). With all the hard work and the deep winters, Wisconsin was a hard sell until PJ met her husband. They have four children and three grand children. The pair enjoy riding their motorcycles, on which they meet new places and visit places new and old.
PJ comes from a long line of veterans: “My grandfather, father, brother, two of my sons, and one daughter-in-law are all veterans. Needless to say, I am proud to be an American and proud of the service my amazing family has given.”
Check out her books here.
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