Monday, November 14, 2011

Language Chaos!

Today's language update will be comprised of several parts. Please bear with me.

French: French is going well. Since I gave that paper last week in class, I've been much more comfortable about prattling along in my own silly way. It was a major hump to get over, apparently. (And I use "prattle" intentionally when I speak of my French capabilities.) I've generally been pretty good about speaking in French even with people who I know or suspect speak decent English, and with my francophone friends in the foyer I slip into French automatically, even after having to take a pause to say something in English. I had a minor setback on Saturday night when I was at a party and was having sensory ADD, so I simply could not understand (or hear, properly speaking) when people were speaking to me in French. But I did manage to have a halting conversation with someone I've been wanting to get to know a bit better, so that was a success at least. And then today in my British Revolutions class I was involved in the pre-class chatter with other students, which was nice and boosted my confidence enough that I spoke up several times during the class itself.

Latin: I'm still finding it easier to translate into Latin than out of it, which is strange, but not when I consider that it's just a matter of finding the parts and putting them together rather than trying to actually discern a meaning, haha. I've hit the stage already where I'm able to tell if something "just sounds right" in terms of word placement, etc. And my prof told me afterwards that I have made "very good progress", which made me glow, just a little bit. The grammar test is on Dec 12th. I'm going to start studying now, I think.

Italian: Italian! you say, Wait, what? We're going to have to put up with ANOTHER round of whiny language learning experiences? Spare us! Okay, okay, cut the dramatics. (It's very drama-ful in my head tonight.) No, I'm not formally learning Italian, and I have resisted the urge to go out and buy myself an Italian Bescherelle ... at least until I can buy one in English. But tonight I was at a talk given in French and English by an Italian guy, who during the question period ended up just answering in Italian (apparently everyone there could understand). So it was an Italian/French conversation with some English tossed in by the resident anglophones. And I found, to my pleasant surprise mixed with slight dismay, that I understood the Italian at least as well, if not slightly better than the French. As in, I was getting 95% of the Italian and only maybe 91% of the French. (Did you know that 87% of percentages quoted on blogs are made up on the spot? But only 42% of bloggers admit to doing this.) I'm not sure what to do with this information, actually. But there you have it.

Spanish: Despite my repeated recent attempts, I can no longer speak Spanish. This is kind of a good thing, because it means I have suppressed it enough that I am no longer having to wade through it in my attempts to construct French phrases. I certainly haven't forgotten it; I still think in Spanish quite easily. But my brain now refuses to connect itself to my tongue in that language. Ergo, I should apply for doctoral programs in Madrid, Barcelona, and Buenos Aires. And other Spanish-speaking places that may or may not have beaches. Obvs.

English: I've given up almost all attempts to retain my English grammar and have let myself just enjoy the ride of improper Romance-language-inspired syntax. I'm having a lot of fun noticing the mistakes I make in sentence construction and even more fun making up words when I can't recall the one I want. I'm sure you've noticed this even in this post. And I'm going to read some Milton tonight, whose sentences read more like Latin than anything else. By the time I get home I'll just be a babbling idiot. But whatever, the cows don't mind.


  1. Quelle domage che tu non puoi ricordare hablar English very well ni traduire linguam latinam tampoco. Fortunatos, buona fortuna, buena suerte avec tutto the trabajo.

  2. LOL I understood that on the first try!! Hooray for code-switching!