…one man's contribution to the Weeeeerly Wild World
English is my first language, anything beyond that I struggle with.
The requirement in school to learn a second language came late for me – I think I was 11 (these days they start younger in the UK). So at that age I began French lessons, and I struggled more than most I think. I remember a school trip to France, but it didn’t help with my skills in the language.
When I moved on to high school I experienced four years of being taught by a few different teachers, with a range of experiences, from being taught by those that insisted on trying to only speak French throughout the lesson, (which left many of us very lost), to more friendly teaching techniques and even lunch time help. I still only scraped through with a grade at the end of the four years. I can’t blame teachers entirely, sure the best ones are flexible in their approach (not every student learns the same way), but I think I have a lazy brain when it comes to some things.
When I started using the internet (back in the days before you grew up with it from the start), one thing I liked was being able to chat to people from all over the world. Yahoo! Chat ftw! I loved that place and others. Most people I met online were English speakers. These days my “chat platform” of choice is Second Life.
When I ventured into Second Life four years ago I suppose I rekindled my enjoyment of talking to people from all over the world. Again, most people I meet are English speakers, even if it isn’t their first language.
I always appreciate it when someone can speak in English to me when it’s not their first language – I know many have grown up speaking and learning it from an early age and it seems no big deal to them that. It’s a big deal to me and it actually reminds me what my language skills lack. For this reason I love to make an effort, even if my efforts involve using Google Translate. Sadly I do struggle to remember any regular phrases I use – I blame my lazy brain, but perhaps their is a technique I have yet to figure out.
My efforts and interests do go beyond using Google Translate though. My interests in other countries and cultures has expanded over the years and I have read, so far, a few books about Russia, a couple about Iraq, and currently one about Turkey. In the end, I still enjoy how the internet brings so many different people together – if only I could speak all of the languages!
I should add that while I was born in England I moved to Wales over ten years ago. I did attend some Welsh lessons for a couple of years, but beyond the first year nothing more sank in. Again, I blame it on my lazy brain.
Diolch yn fawr / danke / merci 😀