Thursday, April 30, 2009

Languages I have met in my life - part 1

I already mentioned in the previous posts, but again I'd like to talk about which language I have every learned so far.

My first experience of learning foreign language took place when I was 9 or 10 years old. Almost all Japanese people take mandatory English classes at their junior high and high school, but I was so fascinated by the language that was incredibly different from ours and sounded extremely cool for me at that time that I couldn't wait to learn it. So I eagerly asked my parents to allow me to go to a small private English school near my home. There were only 3 or sometimes 4 kids at that school, where we sang English songs (such as the Beatles or the Sound of Music songs) not knowing the meaning, and played games. This first step of language learning was amazing.

About 10 years after that, I took Indonesian, French, and Italian class in my freshman year and Spanish class in my sophomore year in my Japanese university.

Indonesian is very easy to learn because of its simple grammatical structure. For example, they don't have tense; you just say, like "I go to the cafe" and put "yesterday" or "tomorrow" or "in the future," whatever. Sweet. I also felt that its sound was kind of cute when I heard some words like "jalan-jalan" (means "a walk") or "Pagi!" (a casual greeting like "Hi")

Italian and Spanish was a bit difficult, but what was nice about those two languages was that their pronunciation system was similar to that of Japanese. It is great we don't need to care about the difference of sounds, such as between "r" and "l" in English... (this is problematic for many of us because we can't distinguish them! I know it may sounds weird, but it's often a serious problem!)

In that sense, French was really complicated in both pronunciation and grammar. Among those languages I spent the longest time for French class, but the grade was always worst. Meanwhile I like like the way French people talk. Its beautiful sound somehow has a hint of long European history.

Maybe I need more time to talk about my language learning experience, so I will continue this topic in the next post...

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