Learning languages

I’ve always been interested in learning other languages, but my enthusiasm rather outstrips my actual ability.Learning languages. I don’t think my ear is very good and I tend to do better reading and understanding something than hearing and understanding it. When I was first taught French, our teacher just did spoken language for the first term, practicing the sounds as we heard them not as we saw them. I think that was unusual because other classes in the year were all writing things down in their vocab books. It should have stood me in good stead but although I worked hard, I couldn’t understand what people were saying very well. I guess I am a reading person, seeing the words and sucking them in seems my thing.

I was forced to learn Latin rather than German as I’d wanted, and i was hopeless although i tried so hard and spent more tie on it than any other subject… but that’s another story! Over the years I tried to learn various other languages, teach yourself boos, TV series, and evening classes – Ukrainian, Russian, German, and although I was interested it wasn’t a great success. About fifteen years ago I started to learn Gaelic, in an actual class with others, and although i was not too bad to start with, soon my friends were all out pacing me, and I began to struggle more and more and get further and further behind.

Now there are all sorts of ways to learn other languages, lots of different on-line courses, and I still pursue my interest. I have done MOOCs (massive open on-line courses) i Dutch, Friesian and Gaelic and now like many people I follow Duolingo. At present I’m learning German and Danish. I confess, I’m getting on quite well with German, but of course it is at a very basic level! Danish is a very difficult language to pronounce, but I’m soldiering on and making progress – but I am really enjoying it. There’s something about this language which really inters ts, intrigues and entrances me. There are some lovely words which you couldn’t possibly guess their meaning from the way they are written; My two favourites are tallerken and skildpadde – you wouldn’t know how they are pronounced from the spelling, but they mean plate and turtle. I don’t suppose I will get very far although I’m doing ok at the moment; there will come a moment as has happened before with learning other languages when i realise I am really adrift and can’t remember/can’t understand most of what I’m hearing or reading! In the meantime, I’m enjoying it!

I have no images of Germany or Denmark, so I’m sharing an image of a tallerken – a plate with a nice salad on it.


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