I’ve always loved to learn new things. I miss school and college and uni and having lessons and homework and all of it. I guess I’ve never stopped learning though as I’m always reading about things. The curious itch to know information will never leave me and I’ll always have this enquiring nature which is mostly a blessing but sometimes a curse. It’s a total pain in the ass when you’re trying to sleep and end up reading about 50 wikipedia pages on various topics and a whole load of reviews about a film you’re considering watching until the birds start singing and dawn breaks. Mostly I just can’t help it though. I just have a need to know and it doesn’t require me to ever actually use what I do learn. It goes nowhere except to satisfy curiosity in the present moment. However it would be nice to use what I learn and it has been a while since I’ve given myself a challenge. I’ve also always wanted to learn a new language and like many other people it is a life goal. If you add this life goal into a pot with enjoying learning and needing a new challenge and hobby then the requirements are fulfilled and the path to being bilingual begins.
At school I did French and some German. The love of learning always lead me to doing extra classes so I did German as an extra class in break times and after school for a couple of years but never did it to GCSE level. I did French throughout school and enjoyed learning it and felt pretty good at it as a 16 year old. I knew I’d never need it though and that was that. It fades away. Although many phrases and verbs are still knocking around in my head somewhere. And I can still count in French. It would be so great to be totally fluent in another language instead of just knowing the basics. First you need to decide which language you feel like adopting. Since I’ve already done a load of French in the past there are pros and cons to choosing it. I would probably pick it up again quite quickly with the base knowledge I still have. So that would save time and effort. However, it’s the least challenging. More challenging would be Spanish as I’ve never done any Spanish at all. However since it stems from the same Romance language as French did it would probably be the second easiest. I don’t want an easy ride and Spanish seems so obvious as it is a popular language. I thought it’d be great to learn something totally crazy like Finnish but having looked at just how bat-shit crazy their language seems I think it is too challenging and I’d give up in frustration. When you weigh up all the pros and cons of all the languages you realise you’re only really left with French, Spanish, German, Italian and Portuguese as the realistic whilst also desirable options. And with the exception of German each of those languages is a gateway to knowing much of the others too. So sod it, I’m choosing the obvious. Spanish it is.
In the end a big factor in choosing Spanish was football. La Liga is massive and I often watch it on some daft stream where the commentary is in Spanish.I follow some Spanish speaking footballers on social media and so see Spanish there too It sounds like a beautiful language. Every English speaking person knows a whole bunch of Spanish words already and they all just sound pretty cool to say. Even words that are almost the same in Spanish as in English just sound more poetic somehow. Like La Policia or estupendo. Imagine writing Spanish poetry – it would flow so well. I’d love to visit Barcelona and I’ve never yet set foot in South America and would love to travel around there someday. It all just makes sense to learn this language and be a Spanish speaking dude. I have far off aims of writing blogs here in Spanish too. It’s going to require a lot of dedication and determination though but after a few days of studying it a bit I’m finding I enjoy it. I’ve changed my facebook language settings to Spanish and been trying to read BBC’s website in Spanish. Sometimes I can get the gist of what is being conveyed and other times I’m clueless and just guessing. Also been listening to ASMR in Spanish, though they talk so fast. It’s all good fun though and a cool hobby. I’ve got hours of podcasts to listen to, the Duolingo app on my phone, loads of online resources via Reddit and Spanishdict translate. Just need something to enable me to practice writing exercises now really. And a whole load of time.
I thought about seeking out some kind of real class to go to but I’m cocky enough to think I can do it without. Words are just patterns and I don’t think you need to be taught much to learn a language unless you totally lack motivation or it breaks many of the rules you’re used to from your native language. Spanish has a couple of curve balls but nothing major from what I gather. Masculine and feminine is something I got used to from French. Putting descriptive words after the noun takes a little getting used to but not too difficult. And there are a few crazy accents and symbols. Like this sonofabitch letter: ñ. Also I’m starting to think I’ll never be able to roll my r’s but I’ll keep trying like a moron. Why won’t the tongue just flap about when I tell it to? How do other people do it? No idea but it’s part of the fun. It is starting to drive me crazy though as I sometimes do it but can’t control it. I must have watched 30 YouTube videos on how to do this trilled r thing but it’s so hard. In English we never need this sound so often lose the ability to do it. I remember as a kid doing this machine gun sound with the tongue and that is apparently close if you were to do it more softly yet I now can’t do that machine gun sound that I used to do all the time. At first I thought this trilled r was just a cool part of the Spanish accent but have come to realise that you actually need this sound to be able to distinguish between certain words. For example Pero without the rolled r means “but” and Perro with the rolled r means “dog”. How very frustrating. But all good fun. AarrrrrRrrRRrggghhhhh.
I don’t expect to be able to be decent at Spanish for a fair while. So it all depends on staying motivated to do it and there’s a definite chance that after a few months I realise that it’s easier to not bother and give up. Right now though it feels like something I really want to do. There’s something about seeing how certain words relate to English and other languages. It makes you realise how connected everyone was when these major languages started spreading through regions and countries during conquests in the past. It’s good to appreciate other cultures and other people. And there have been so many occasions where I’ve been abroad and just felt totally lazy for only speaking English whilst the locals also speak decent English to us as well as other languages to other tourists. If some people can speak many languages surely I can fit two in my brain. There’s a lack of a need for many English people to speak another language since we’re lucky enough to have the rest of the World who are either native speakers of our language already or have become fluent in it as a second language. We’re lucky there. But also missing an opportunity to gain a cool skill and unlock the potential to communicate with many other people around the globe that we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. And since I often feel like running away from the town I live in and heading south for some more sun maybe I’ll run south all the way to Spain. Probably not. But living abroad for a while is another life goal. Not that I ever actually achieve many of these life goals. Let’s just learn the language first. And then write a Spanish blog. And maybe visit Barcelona and order una cervaza.
Anyway. That’s my latest daft idea. Hasta luego 🙂