Author Introduction – David

DavidMy name is David and I’m a new contributing author here at babelhut.com. Like Peter and Thomas both, I’ve realized my desire to learn another language later in life, though looking back at my life, it’s been a rather obvious result.

The first thing in my life I can remember involving a second language was when I was about 7 or so, in the faraway, but beautiful land of San Diego. My brother and I were trying to conceive a language of our own, not having any real knowledge of languages other than English. It was a short lived attempt, but some of the conventions of the language we came up with opened my eyes as to how different languages could also “taste” different.

Going to middle school, before I took any foreign language classes, I found myself interested in the language of Klingon. I learned what I could through the Klingon Language Institute’s website, but I simply didn’t know anything about learning languages at the time, so I didn’t really get far. Later, I eventually realized that the design of the language and the impracticality of it (there are very few actual speakers in the world) would have killed my motivation to learn it anyway.

Between the choice of Spanish and French, I chose to learn French in high school for two reasons. First, I thought of French as the more romantic language (not that I was really the romantic type,) and second, the large majority of students took Spanish. The French teacher I had for my first year was terrible, but when I had Mrs. Smith as a teacher, I suddenly found myself speaking French with the best in my class. Of course I was terrible at getting my projects done, so I only made Bs in that class.

After high school, my retention for French faded away, as did any desire to continue learning it. I was too busy focusing on other areas of study. It wasn’t until my brother got on this language kick a few years ago that I really started looking at learning another language again. Since I was into anime at the time, Japanese seemed like a logical choice, but as my interest for anime faded, so did my interest for Japanese. I’ve also looked into Lojban, which was probably the  easiest language to get into thus far, but my motivation was not strong enough. As it turns out, the mere appreciation of a language’s features is not enough to get me to learn the language. Instead I discovered that I really need a reason to learn the language, that the language is merely a means to an end.

I’ve begun learning French again with the primary intent of being able to travel to and, perhaps someday, live in a foreign country, perhaps one as strange as Canada. While I do enjoy the country I live in and the freedoms it provides, I feel I may be better suited elsewhere.

Motivation plays a large part in how well you do anything in life. What is your motivation for learning your new language? What are you trying to achieve with it? Let me know in the comments.

Related posts:

  1. Author Introduction – Peter
  2. Author Introduction – Thomas
  3. Babelhut.com launched!
  4. Lojban
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2 Comment(s)

  1. David, while surfing the net on a totally unrelated subject, I stumbled upon your post & I was intrigued. You see, there aren’t too many people like yourself with a goal to learn s foreign language with the intention not only to travel but someone contemplating the idea of becoming an expatriate. As you can tell, my last name is French. It is my married name tho I no longer am but was married.on France to a native Parisian and live over there for 6 years. I had only taken Spanish & that was on high school. How I learned French best was reading. I would have the novel in one hand and a French /English dictionary in the other usually a book I had already read in English. Extremely helpful for learning sentence structure. For conjugation, I developed my own “method”. Bottom line, unless you are an English teacher or ar planning to brcome a fr

    Cheryl Camois | Sep 3, 2010 | Reply

  2. Oops, sorry, hit the wrong pat of the screen. As I was saying, unless you are planning on becoming a French teacher, take my word for it, knowing all the parts of speach & sentence structure, I personally think it’s a waste of time unless it’s the way you can learn better. Note my sentence structure …I think it’s pretty much grammatically correct. I know punctuation is not but that’s because I’m sending from a smartphone & not a desktop or laptop computer. Point I am making is that if you ask me to dissect a sentence & point out nouns, verbs, pronouns, adverbs & the like…..forget it. All I kind of know is that a participle is something you never end a sentence up with. (A little humor?) But actually living there & being married to a Frenchman I’m sure made a big difference, I was able to more than get by & actually have conversations at more than an elementary level. Of course, when they spoke too fast or all at once I would get lost but mostly, the people I was around were courteous enough to accommodate me. I have been back iin USA now for 12 years & am quite rusty but have encountered times where my sentence structure is kind of a direct translation of a French one and to this day there are words & phrases that cannot be translated & when trying to convey an idea with the only word(s) are French, Its frustrating. So few people speak French here and you will notice the French are not like other nationalities. The do not congregate in one area. (ie. Chinatown, Little Tokyo, the Swedish dairymen in the Midwest, the Irish, German & Italian neighborhoods prevalent on the east coast). I do want to let you know before I stop babbling is that do not believe others when they tell you “oh, don’t tell them you’re American, tell them you’re Canadian or something because the French hate Americans.” That is untrue. Of course there are.some that do but while I was living there I found the real reason those people said that. Some American tourists in France behaved abhorrently. There were times I was embarrassed to admit I was American by their rude behavior. The tourists acted as if the French owed them something & I have even heard them say, “God, they’re so rude. Really, if it weren’t for us (Americans),they’d all be speaking German now.” Can you believe that ignorance. I never once encountered anyone that treated me poorly just because I was American. Of course, a small village or rural area is much like here. They don’t like strangers period, regardless of where there from & that includes the French, especially from a big city like Paris. Big city people are treated pretty much treated like that here in a small farming town.

    Well, David, I hope I have given you a little insight and wish u the best on your endeavour learning French. It is a beautiful language. I love it & the country too. If you are interested in more information or are just plain old curious, don’t hesitate to contact me at the email address posted. I have plenty I am willing to share, maybe even my conjugation method, but I’ll have to think on that because I was contemplating seeing it it could be published. I used Berlitz at first & it’s good enough for a short vacation but I think you’re looking at a bigger picture.

    Thank for reading my post,
    Regards,
    Cheryl

    Cheryl Camois | Sep 3, 2010 | Reply

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