Friday, January 2, 2004

Foreign Languages

Foreign Languages

     Foreign languages have been an integral part of my life ever since I became obsessed with Spanish early last year. Glad enough to say, I think I’m succeeding in my goal regarding this.
Spanish has never been better. Having taken half a semester of Spanish 12 proved to be beneficial for me. Not only did my Spanish skills improve, I was also able to prove that I really love the language. I brought along with me here in Malaysia, my books in Spanish: Abreganas, Idiot’s Guide to Learning Spanish on Your Own, and the readings that I’ve compiled through the years in UP, which I think is equivalent to two more books. I made another attempt to make my days here sensible by coming up with a schedule in which language studies is the core. I allotted an hour for Spanish review but it didn’t seem to push through. The good thing now is that I feel that I really am conversant in Spanish already. Most often than not I understand most of the Spanish readings I’ve brought along with me. It is actually amazing. I think the only thing lacking in my Spanish level now is the vocabulary. I think instead of reviewing, I’ll just enhance my vocabulary and allot a couple of minutes for it everyday. Anyway, I plan on continuing with the language when I get back to UP. I wish to reach at least Spanish 40 or if that is not possible, Spanish 15. I will then get an examination for the Spanish diploma at Instituto Cervantes if ever I choose Political Science.
     French is freaking hard. I only started studying it lately when I was able to purchase the Idiot’s Guide to Learning French on Your Own at Kinokuniya. I was lucky because Mamá gave me book allowance when we were in Singapore. Getting a copy of the book lessened the pressure and difficulties I had with the language. I really should meet Gail Stein because she is such an excellent teacher and her books helped a lot in enhancing my language proficiency. Unfortunately, I find French really hard to learn. The book is helping me a lot but it still is hard as it is. I’m getting the hang of its phonology on the other hand and I think that is good news. It’s just a matter of familiarization and discipline. I don’t know up to where my efforts in learning this language will bring me but French is one of the languages I am more interested in learning. I am not that interested in Spanish but it is an easy language at least for us Filipinos so I had an easy time dealing with it. I don’t know if it’s enough but I wish my passion alone and love for the language will help me get by with French. I will really try hard to gain the funds in order to enroll in Alliance Française whenever we get home. I think it’s worth the money. By the way, I wish to use the readings I gathered in UP soon. I hope improvement would finally come.
     German is still foreign to me. I haven’t learned or tried to learn anything connected to it yet. It is not a romance language and so learning it would entail some difficulties. I don’t really know why I am so drawn to this language. Maybe it is because of the fact the Goethe Institut exists. I really want to go there and learn the language. The schedule is also inviting because it’s always a Saturday session. I will also try my best to be able to enroll in this. I hope I amass enough funds.
     Bahasa Melayu is hopeless. I don’t know again why I am not putting any effort in learning this language. I am in Malaysia for heaven’s sake! If there’s a language that I should be learning, this should be it. I was able to find a book Malay for Everyone but even if the chapters are short and a chapter a day won’t bother me much, I still can’t do it. Maybe it is because of my frustration of going home.
     Japanese is also a hard language for me. Abet bought himself a book in Kinokuniya. Japanese Phrases for Dummies was the title but it is not as good as the Idiot’s Guide. I tried learning with him but it simply won’t work. Maybe it is because of the fact that I am also learning French and I can’t learn two very different languages at the same time. It’s quite a pity because at least if I get myself to learn the language with Abet we would have something in common. But since he is reluctant and I am also hesitant, then I guess it is goodbye Japanese. Besides, Mandarin Chinese is my target Asian Language, not Nihonggo.
     Latin is one of the languages supported by the Idiot’s Guide and I want to learn it simply because it enhances the vocabulary. Latin is the root of the romance languages and English borrowed heavily from it so it really will be beneficial for my foreign language learning. I will just invest in an Idiot’s Guide if ever we return to Singapore.
            Russian is also a target language. It seems interesting and will really be a challenge for me. I’m just planning to be a sit-in student in the Russian classes and I think the professor won’t mind because not too many students enroll in it anyway. It is one of the official languages of the United Nations so I guess learning it would be an advantage. The Cyrillic alphabet is also fun. It’s like writing in codes!

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