This is a ramble post and it’s not funny at all so unless you are major bored, don’t read on.
I know one language. English. Lucky for me, the majority of the world can speak some form of it. Unlucky for me, the majority of the world can speak some form of it.
I grew up in Canada where I am surrounded by English in every direction. Hop on a plane:
- 3 hours south- USA.
- 3 hours east- Canada
- 3 hours north- more Canada (haven’t even left my province yet!)
- 3 hours west- ocean
In elementary school, I took French for seven years and I don’t speak a word of it. We had class once every two weeks and only for about an hour if that. In high school, we had to take French in grade 8 (since Canada is technically bi-lingual). Then afterwards, we had the option to take Spanish or French or no additional language. I ended up taking Spanish for four years in high school and it didn’t stick. I assume it’s because I never met a Spanish or French-speaking person while living in Canada. It angers me that there is no emphasis on it in school because it is so much easier to learn a language when you naturally pick it up as a child. Thanks, mom and dad for not speaking Dutch to me growing up.
After living in Europe for the last five years I still get blown away by the number of languages people speak. In the Netherlands, the majority of people speak English as well as Dutch. That doesn’t even include the German that most people know as well.
I feel ignorant having travelled so much, and experienced so many cultures and yet I only know English fluently. I can speak and understand a bit of Dutch and even less Spanish but I am not forced to learn their native language here because English is so common. It gives me an excuse to not broaden my mind and I hate that. I feel a bit stupid and rude since I have lived here for so long, you think my silly brain would just get it but it doesn’t.
I have read countless books, and blogs and asked many people how to learn a language, to no avail. My one friend who speaks 5 languages said to me that some people are better at languages, just as you would have people who are more gifted with maths (being from Canada I always said math, but I think it’s wrong). It made me feel a little better, but still dumb overall.