Learning foreign languages is also a great way to excite my own brain about language in general. To hear familiar ideas expressed differently, to sample exotic flavors of thought, to become acutely aware of tone, phonetic sound, and layers of meaning--all these things enrich my use of English. I know a little bit of a few languages, but I am only fluent in English. I suppose I could still become fluent in something else (my brain feeling not entirely crusty and dried up at 27), but even if I don't, it's fun and sexy and stimulating to learn to comprehend and converse in different ways. And I expect it to benefit my WIP, my poor neglected WIP that has lain fallow throughout my first trimester of pregnancy.
At the start of my second trimester, the hormonal exhaustion and nausea have subsided, and it's time to get down to business again!
Our language crash course schedule is:
Because we already know a bit of Spanish (me more than him), we're starting easy with a refresher course. Besides, this month starts out with Frida Kahlo's birthday (yesterday). We've already watched a couple of movies in Spanish (Amores Perros, which I saw for the first time 10 years ago in a Mexican theater, and a film adaptation of Carmen starring Paz Vega). We have Spanish pop songs to sing and Pablo Neruda love poetry to recite. We also have a couple of Spanish for Gringos instructional books. Additionally, we are friends with some real live Mexicans--my friend Esperanza's cousins--on Facebook. I suppose we could use them to practice, but unfortunately they tend to use an incomprehensible form of Spanglish text speak which probably has its own value but might as well be Japanese to me. Oh well.
Next month will be a refresher for Mr. G, who was once near fluent in French and even "passed" while sneaking away from the class on a school trip to Paris, and challenging but not intimidating for me. I am slightly familiar with sentence structure and basic words. I'm sure we'll watch Amelie, which Mr. G has not even seen (can you believe it?), and we'll listen to some French learning CDs I nabbed from my brother after he took a high school class. I will familiarize myself with spelling by reading a French Vogue that I stole from a hotel waiting room on a recent trip. Also, I noticed that the local Barnes and Noble sells French and other European magazines if I need more material.
September always brings back memories of my time in Rome, so it will be a good time to refresh my Italian. Mr. G doesn't know much Italian, but he will be motivated to learn so he can keep up with the cycling tours and news that are sometimes only accessible in Italian. I expect we'll have no trouble finding good films to watch, and I have a friendly set of CD ROMs from ca. 1990 that are still good for learning the basics.
October, of course, is the month of Oktoberfest in Germany. Sadly, I will be sampling no beer this year! But I look forward to playing games on the German CD ROM set that Mr. G found at a used bookstore and also singing a lot of Rammstein songs at full force while we drive around in the car. We already do it, but soon we'll know what ingeniously obscene things we are wailing out the window! Sometimes Mr. G hums Rammstein lyrics at work, and his coworker who used to live in Germany flinches or gives him a really weird look and sputters, "WHAT did you say?" Mr. G only shrugs, because he has no idea. But I can't wait to find out. Haha.
Neither of us has any connection to Brazil, Portugal, or the Portuguese language, but I think it sounds sexy, and I would like to get a handle on the official languages of all the nations in my hemisphere. That would give me a sense of completion. I can see us watching beachy films and listening to bossa nova music. Maybe I could even learn some very pregnant samba moves.
Dutch will also be a stretch for us, but I think it sounds lovely, and we have wanted to visit (or even escape to) the Netherlands for a long time. Bikes, tulips, health, wealth, smart children, and hash cookies! Who could argue?
If we run out of language learning tools, we are confident we will find educational resources at the library, online, or as a last resort, at the bookstore shelf with all the shiny new Rosetta Stone boxes.
So friends, wish us luck. What languages do you speak, besides English? And do you think it affects the way you express yourself?