I’m still reading “Eat Pray Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. I just completed chapter 24 (my objective is to read until chapter 30 before the end of the day). It’s where the author mentions her favourite Italian word, “attraversiamo (meaning: let’s cross over)”. Her Italian friends’ favourite English words are ‘half-assed’ and ‘surrender’. Her experiences learning a foreign language in a foreign country really takes me back to my first year in China when I was learning Mandarin. I found the first 6 months very interesting. I remember the day I learned the word “自行车 (zi-xing-che, meaning: bicycle)”. That was the first ‘extremely Mandarin’ word I had heard. Saying makes me feel fluent in Mandarin. It’s been my favourite Mandarin word ever since.
I love learning new languages, but unfortunately I lose interest after about half a year. So if I ever want to learn a new language in the future I will have to learn as much as possible within a 6-month time frame.
A language I have always wanted to learn is Spanish. I already started learning it with my sisters here in Seychelles but the progress was slow because we had students of all levels in the same class. We had this girl who seemed fluent in Spanish sitting right at the front of the class constantly conversing with the teacher (teacher’s pet) and it really discouraged my elder sister. After 3 weeks my sisters didn’t want to go with me so I just quit with them (also because it was my elder sister paying for the lessons).
When I was in Shanghai, we were on a field trip to Wuzhen during the second month of the course and I overheard a French lady telling an American boy that she had a Masters in Mandarin. She said she could write in both simplified and traditional Chinese, and she was the top of her class back in France. But when she came to China to put all her efforts to the test, she couldn’t understand anybody and they couldn’t understand her. So that would explain why she took up the language course at the university.
That said, I believe that the only way to properly learn a foreign language is to visit a country that actually speaks it as a first language. So if I want to learn Spanish I should head on over to Spain or somewhere around South America at a country that speaks it. But I’ve never really been interested in visiting Europe, and I’m too scared to visit South America so I guess I’ll never learn Spanish.