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Saturday, November 8, 2014

What's That You Say?

I was a bright and precocious toddler, and apparently had a smattering of endearing french phrases to drop into conversation that my older brother had taught me. He was learning French at High School because it was an important world language and would be very useful in later life.


I have no recall of this, but at the age of nine was placed into some strange educational experiment of an extension class where the teacher taught us Spanish because it was an important world language and would be very useful in later life.


When I got to Intermediate there was lovely old lady (the mad sort with a bun, flowing clothes and level of eccentricity that I aspire to myself one day) who passionately advocated the learning of Esperanto. This was a made up language that would cross international and cultural boundaries and become a world language that would be very useful in later life.


I progressed on to High School where I too began to learn French. Sadly none of the promise I had shown as a toddler was any longer present and after two years, and a dismal 14% in the final exam, I thankfully dropped it. My father lamented that I had not had the opportunity to learn Latin as my siblings before me had, because this had been a very important world language and would have been very handy in later life.



Not all my friends joined me in those dismal French classes. They had taken the newly introduced option of Japanese, because this was a very important world language and would be very useful in later life.


In my early teaching days, one of the children's mothers was setting up the German classes at the local college. This was because it was a very important world language and would be very useful in later life. I actually am quite strong in many phrases in German, thanks to childhood spent with ongoing repeats of Hogan's Heroes.



Now, I sit with my class for our weekly Mandarin lesson, because it is a very important world language and will be very useful in later life. It is certainly a good mental exercise and lots of fun, but it is a weekly reminder of my total inability to learn languages. The children hear the subtleties that are quite lost on me, and no matter how hard I try I'm always the first one out in Simon Says, Mandarin style. I get so excited when I actually recognise the word that my hand is on my nose, ear or head before I have processed the fact the Simon didn't explicitly say to put it there.



Luckily, I'm still going strong in English, and I'm pretty sure it's an important world language and will be useful in later life.





4 comments:

  1. Ha ha! I suck at languages too, though I try hard at italiano - another important world language that is spoken in two countries.

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    Replies
    1. That will be very useful later in life!

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  2. 14% in the final exam!
    Wow.
    Did you even get your name right at the top of the page?
    (En haut de la page).

    ReplyDelete
  3. أنا أتكلم لغات عديدة
    I speak many languages.

    ReplyDelete