Before Rosetta Stone and Google Translate

If you could wake up tomorrow and be fluent in any language you don’t currently speak, which would it be? Why? What’s the first thing you do with your new linguistic skills?

I would speak Spanish…again!  I took 3 years in high school (thank you Senora Smith and Dr. Garnett); and four in college (thank you professor whose face I can recall, but whose name completely escapes me). 

labIn both high school and college I sat through the requisite “language labs”; earphones on my head, watching the teacher flip the switches, craning my neck to try to find out  if mine was the next pronunciation she’d be listening to; hoping that she wouldn’t catch me mouthing the words with no sound. 

In college there was much more in terms of conversation and composition.  I cannot tell you how many times I heard, “Habla sólo en español, Kelly.”  Speak only in Spanish, no English in class.  And when it came to writing papers, those too, had to be completely in Spanish.   

translateOnly once did I pull and “all-nighter” in college.  My senior year, spring semester, I had to take an independent study to have enough credits for a minor in Spanish.  I was also student teaching that semester, so time to write a paper was in direct competition with lesson plans and materials prep for teaching. I got the 15-page paper done, without benefit of computer or internet to help me.  I delivered it to the instructor and then went straight to bed!

stoneI think I did as well as I did in Spanish because I was also a good student in English. In my experience, if you’ve got a good grasp of things, like basic grammar, in your native language it can be easier to learn a new one. So today’s thanks goes to the English and Spanish teachers I had in high school and college; both languages have served me well so far in my life!




Other Bloggers Hope to Speak Another Language:

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