it is said that Milo of Croton built his strength to lift a fully grown cow, by lifting it every day from birth. as the calf grew, so did milo’s strength.
is it the same with learning a new language? if i learn a new word or phrase every day, then at the end of the year i should have 365 words and phrases in my vocabulary, right?
my bookshelf is adorned with previous valiant attempts to learn another language. books, tapes, cd’s, and software on Mandarin, French, Vietnamese, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, German, and Auslan.
i envy European people who can speak many languages. what is worse is that they are usually literate in them as well! in Australia, there is a culture of monolingualism. there is more tolerance these days of people retaining their heritage languages as we call them, but English remains supreme. it’s very limiting.
most of our Aboriginal languages are dead or dying, which is a very great shame, because these languages are linked to the earth and a culture that has existed for 60,000 years.
i learnt German for 4 years in high school, which was crazy, because there were no natural German speakers around within cooee to practice with. after i left school, schools went mad for Japanese because it was thought that Japan would be calling all of the shots economically. these days we trade with China, and our neighbours are Kiwi and Indonesian.
anyway, i have a friend who speaks Arabic, and about three other languages, and she is patient and kind. so i am going to try again. just spoken Arabic at the moment, because i think my brain will implode if i try to learn the writing as well.
16 days have passed since the new year, and i have missed out on 16 days of words and phrases, but i am waiting on some new resources, more books and cd’s to adorn my bookshelf.
my boys are keen to learn other languages, but they are finding it frustrating to keep it going. the eldest wants to learn Spanish and the middle one wants to learn Greek (i’ve ordered a kit for him too). the little one wants to learn Chinese. i have tried Chinese, four tones are tricky for Aussie accents that flatten all of their sounds.
i feel i need to be a role model of persistence for them.