Monday, October 24, 2011

Language Learning and Laziness

Latin class this morning was downright silly - in a good way. Half the class was missing because pretty much everyone but me and one other guy are in the Theology faculty, and they had some sort of theology practice this morning out of town. Yes, "theology practice", and no, I don't have any idea what it means. Being a Catholic, however, I have visions of Protestant wannabe ministers chucking Bibles at each others' heads. But I digress.

Basically, the prof started making jokes about how much she enjoyed making our lives difficult by teaching us irregular verbs (so sue me, just about anything is funny at 8am on 4 hours of sleep), and we all kind of came down with a collective case of the giggles which erupted during random translation bits, and it finished off with one of the guys buying us all coffee at the break, and then class ending early. It was pretty ridiculous, in a very fun and relaxed kind of way. Maybe you just had to be there. But I definitely hope we have class like that more often.

The translations seemed rather easy for the second week in a row. This led me to a disturbing conclusion: my inability to speak French here, I think, is an entirely psychological impairment. Allow me to draw the connection: The first few weeks we were doing translations from Latin into French. Normally this should be easier; it's always easier to translate from a new language into the language that you know. But during the last couple of weeks, we've been translating from French into Latin. To me, this is (comparatively) a breeze! It should not be thus. And in fact, when I realized that this was the case, I went back and tried some of the Latin-to-French sentences and nearly panicked. I could not, could not do it. 

Ergo, my problem is clearly twofold: firstly, I have totally psyched myself out and I need to get over it. Secondly, I need a lot more practice being creative with French. If I'm having an easier time creating sentences in Latin, a language that I've been exposed to for only five weeks, than French, which I use every day, this is bad. Ergo, assuming I ever become disciplined enough, I think the best way to attack this is to do translations of English writings into French, one paragraph at a time. They don't have to be perfect, it's more a matter of getting those neurons firing in my brain. For whatever reason, they've decided to go on vacation, and I need them working. Eleanor Roosevelt, your autobiography is soon to be fran├žaisized. 

Also (part 3 of 2), I need to get over my fear of embarrassing myself, and just enjoy the chance to be the new girl with the cute accent. Soon (hopefully) I will speak well enough that I will no longer have that excuse when I say wrong things, so I should really milk it for all it's worth now, while I have the chance.


Now I have to go make myself read the last 10 pages of the damn philosophy book I'm presenting tomorrow in my methodology class, and draw up the presentation, so that it will be done and out of my life. I suffer, suffer, through philosophy.

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