If you don’t get the lyric reference, I won’t judge you. If you do; yay you!
I’ve had quite a few brushes with language; because of my interest in culture. I go on these culture interest binges and of course, a big part of understanding cultural nuance is language. Growing up in a melting pot culture and now living in a very large, diverse city; I’ve been fortunate to have a great level of access to people who had very different lives than I did growing up.
My Grandmother stressed the importance of speaking a second language early in my life but I have to say, at 6-7 years old, I wasn’t really interested in the forced Hindi lessons thought I was more than happy to watch 4 hour long Bollywood movies. I was attracted to the bold colors, beautiful scenes and flamboyant people who just seemed to burst into song whenever they felt like it. The best part? They almost always had back up; dancers and singers. Amazing. I begun to learn the language beyond the lessons and appreciated that part of my heritage because I was exposed to it at a young age.
I was never completely fluent but I graduated to watching Hindi movies without subtitles. I felt like a Goddess. It’s awful that lack of practice and the distraction of my widening interest over the years has left me with only a rudimentary knowledge of Hindi. I’m very much trying to invest more time into at least getting into the movies again, even though I don’t like the “Modern” Bollywood movies which just seem to mimic American culture. Bleh.
Spanish was my second attempt at language; I started taking it in High School in NY and passed my regents with a score of 96. I was fake impressed but always too embarrassed to practice with native Spanish speakers. I didn’t want to run the risk of mispronouncing a word and subsequently read and wrote Spanish but never spoke it.
My Spanish fell into ruin much like my Hindi for similar reasons. I’ve been out of HS for about 10 years now and it’s only recently that I’ve had the courage to start being more aggressive with reclaiming the knowledge that I had. I’m doing a lot better and less shy about it since i have co-workers and acquaintances who I can speak to; native speakers who are willing to help me be fluent.
Those are my main languages but I did learn conversational Amharic (mostly lost now, have no one to practice with), some Yoruba (I worked with a great group of Nigerian folk right out of high school) and Japanese. Foreign movies for me are a great snap shot of culture and a great way to immerse yourself without having to leave your room.
What languages are you fluent in?
* Thanks WordPress App for not posting this two days ago*