What is your favorite part of language learning?

General discussion about learning languages
Finny
Orange Belt
Posts: 242
Joined: Sun May 22, 2016 3:01 am
Languages: Native: English.
Advanced: Spanish.
Intermediate: French.
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Re: What is your favorite part of language learning?

Postby Finny » Mon Feb 20, 2017 5:00 am

Teaching it to my kids. Hearing my daughter talk to me in a mixture of French and Spanish on French days and realizing that she's using increasingly more French each week. Having my son ask for milk from mom and then turning to me to ask for leche after mom asks him to ask me because she's cooking. Trying to explain a grammatical point to my daughter (On dit tu l'as caressé au lieu de tu le caressé alors que le chat est male parce que, quand il y a les mots le et as, on dit l'as et pas le...mais si je dis je vais le caresser, alors j'utilise le) and realizing that her questioning means she's processing the language on a very deep level.
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aledda
White Belt
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:26 pm
Location: Uruguay
Languages: Español (N)
English (C2), Português (C2)
日本語 (intermediate)
Italiano (beginner), Deutsch (beginner), 한국어 (beginner)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?t=5561
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Re: What is your favorite part of language learning?

Postby aledda » Wed Mar 15, 2017 7:16 pm

I must confess I hated English when I was younger. :oops:

At the age of 6, my parents made me study it, because it will be useful for me (which it has been and still is, I can't deny that) and all that blabla. But I didn't enjoy it. I didn't like it, since I barely interacted with things in English at that age (on the other hand I loved Portuguese, because my mom always listened to brazilian music while doing things at home). On top of that, my teacher wanted me to conjugate the verb "to be" when I had no idea what a "verb" was in the first place. I didn't understand most of the lessons, the pronunciation was difficult for me, and all those things summed up made me very reluctant to study the language. I did it for years anyway, because I "had to".

Those were my feelings toward it, until one night watching a movie (in English, with subs in Spanish) with my family, I laughed at a joke that involved some word play, while the rest of my family stared at me like "..." due to a poor/simplified translation of that joke. It wasn't a big thing but it made me change the way I felt about learning (not just "study") English.

After that I started reading books in English (I love reading btw). At first, I chose books I have already read in Spanish, so even if I didn't understand every word, I could still get what was going on. You can't imagine the joy I felt after discovering things in those books, that were lost in the Spanish translations I had read (well, maybe YOU, all the people here, can understand how it felt).

More than grammar, I've loved learning vocabulary in English (and all the languages in general) after that.

Other languages made me love different things, for example:

My pronunciation from my point of view is awful for most languages (although, everyone knows that I can't pronounce ANYTHING in Mandarin correctly :lol: ). That's why I don't feel confident about speaking and tend to suffer a little every time I have to say something in my target language. However, thanks to Portuguese, I enjoyed speaking it. Portuguese is so beautiful that even with my not-so-good pronunciation sounded great. Of course I like reading things written in Portuguese, but to be able to speak comfortably in a foreign language? Priceless!

Something written in Hanzis (Mandarin) or even Kanjis (Japanese) looks like a piece of art for me. Specially by someone with a good calligraphy. Yeah, Kanjis and Hanzis are hard as heck to learn, but I love not only writing them stroke by stroke, but I love the logic of the radicals and compounds to form a word: Symbol A means X, symbol B means Y -> AB means something related to both X and Y... genius! (Of course there are exceptions, some things do not make sense at all, and you end up like Jason asking "Why japanese people? Why?") The "aha!" moments while learning these languages made it worth it.

And the fact that learning a foreign language helps you learning the next one. It's like you're learning to learn!

But what I love the most about learning languages is that while you learn those words, that writing system, those grammatical rules, you learn a little about a different culture. You get to know different customs, new people, new art (books, music, movies, ...), and even new perspectives of your life, your culture, your mother language, etc.
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