3.22.2009

ambition


I was watching my nephew yesterday and noticed his active attempts to learn language. I thought it silly how incredibly similar it was so my own foreign language attempts, when I realized it's exactly the same thing. He speaks in active present tense fragments with mispronunciation and has a general grasp of commands. He can listen to and understand native speakers, but could never replicate or even repeat a compound sentence or thought without extremely slow word by word dissection. It was so fascinating to observe, it made me want to delve back into spanish or french or asl, and maybe try something new like dutch or czech, greek even? He's 2, i can totally do this. So here i find myself watching the low-budget Education Network shows in French and Spanish. I remember that my back door neighbor growing up has some knack for language learning and speaks in the realm of 13 languages/dialects his younger brother only around 5. It feels so ambitious to attempt learning 1 outside of English in adulthood, but however daunting it seems, it's the one animal characteristic that humans pride themselves on as the great separater of "humans" from "animals", our distinguishing trait. Although I find this ideology silly in so many ways, it is undeniably something that we have evolved to do. to use language.

Hola, habla espanol?
Bonjour! parle vous francais?

...square one.

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