Today’s BlogHer prompt is very fitting for me personally.
Do you speak more than one language? How did you learn the additional languages?
As most, if not all, of you know I am multilingual. Two foreign language credits were a requirement in my high school so I took two semesters of Spanish. Speaking a second language came in handy multiple times over the two years I worked in a small grocery store while taking college courses online. So much so that I decided to build on that concept and took French on campus.
I guess you can say a love for languages was born because after French came Mandarin Chinese online. I actually started with Cantonese first because it was available on campus, but gave that up after less than a month. Mandarin is the more common dialect (spoken in mainland China, Taiwan and Singapore vs Hong Kong only) and is a lot less complex than Cantonese so I’m glad I switched when I did. I would have preferred a on-campus course but there wasn’t one available. And before you ask “why Chinese?” at the time I was studying the Asian culture and China has always been on my bucket list.
My late husband taught me a bit of German and my friend Amanda taught me a bit of Italian. I fell in love with the Italian language and continued to study it after she moved back to New York City. I am not completely fluent in it yet but I can hold my own in basic conversations. In addition to speaking these five languages I also know ASL or American Sign Language. I learned to sign when I was in elementary school because my friend’s older sister was born deaf. I’m the first to admit that I’m not as fluent in it as I am in the spoken languages because I learned it so long ago and I don’t use it on any sort of regular basis.
I get the most use out of the Spanish (locally) and the Mandarin (it’s actually how I cuss in mixed company) but occasionally I either will take an online course or pull out the audio tapes for each of the five verbal languages to refresh my memory. I keep the guides and manuals on my bookshelf and have the apps on my phone for impromptu studying and translating.
- The Best Apps for Learning Sign Language (healthyhearing.com)
- Which region speaks China’s best non-regional Mandarin? (wantchinatimes.com)
- Dannii Minogue has multilingual son (contactmusic.com)
- House That Jack Built – Multilingual Interactive Book (funeducationalapps.com)
- Apple hiring folks to work on Arabic, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish versions of Siri (9to5mac.com)
- Bilingual siblings and their language preferences (expatsincebirth.com)
- One Skill That Will Instantly Make You a Better Job Candidate (businessinsider.com)
- iTranslate Voice™ – Alexandru Serjant (itunes.apple.com)
- As North America becomes more linguistically diverse, some feel threatened (dcmontreal.wordpress.com)
- More Canadians are bilingual, but they don’t speak French (thestar.com)