Learning a Second Language

10:06 AM

In September 2010, Bryan and I went to Munich for Oktoberfest.  While we were there we traveled to the Bavarian Alps and to Switzerland.  So many people spoke to us first in German and then when they realized that we were tourists they switched to flawless English.  Quite embarrassing for us.  Although I can say a few words in German it was by no means enough to get my point across.  I was 4 months pregnant (so much for participating in Oktoberfest!) and we decided while we were there, that as a family we would learn a second language.

I took five years of Spanish in high school and college.  But that was a long time ago.  As they say, use it or lose it.  Again I can say some phrases (mostly two beers and the bathroom please) and understand a little if spoken slowly enough.  So I think we should learn Spanish.  It really would be the most helpful language  here in Colorado and in the Southwestern part of the US.

Bryan wants us to learn French.  I'm not sure why.  We would have no call to use it here.  I've also thought of learning German.  But again there is really no use for it here.  Although it is our dream to have a chalet in Switzerland (ok a pipe dream).  I have also said, half seriously and half jokingly, that we should learn Chinese. (Unless the government balances our budget, China will totally own the US is my reasoning).

Corrine isn't talking yet.  She says mama and barely says dada.  I know we have some time to  make our decision.  In the  meantime I have loaded a couple of apps on my iphone that are for Spanish and German.  More of a refresher than a teaching tool at this point.  I'm just not sure what direction to go.

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  1. I think you are smart to go with Spanish since that is the second-language you are most exposed to. If you learn french and are never exposed to it or use it - exactly as you said above you will "lose it". I also believe French is a much more difficult language to grasp! Here (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) french is extremely fluent and a necessity for most jobs within the city limits and beyond. Having been born, raised, educated and employed in Ottawa I was fairly comfortable with French. Since moving away from the city I have definitely "lost" it. Sometimes I will borrow a library audio book in french (that I already read in English) just to keep my French "fresh"!

    1. That's a great idea to listen to audio books in french. Then you still know the story line and can keep up in French!

  2. I must agree, when I moved to Switzerland, I was under the impression that English was an "international" language. Boy, was I wrong! I knew that in order to integrate myself quickly into the life here, I had to learn German asap!

    The way I did it was to watch TV series that I had watched back home and knew what the story line was, then I could try and follow the story along in German. It took a while but it worked!

    Good luck!


  3. while i'm pretty sure that we as a family aren't going to learn a second language, i really want our daughter to learn one. i took three years of french in high school and two years of russian in college. i think my husband took a little spanish in high school, but he doesn't remember any of it. there are a few language immersion magnet schools in our area. i'd like to start reading to her in a different language, but we won't know what school she'll be going to until she's almost 5 (she's 22 months right now). the languages are spanish, french, chinese, russian and japanese. i agree that spanish and chinese are the most practical. even if china doesn't end up owning the us, i'm sure we'll have business relations with them for the foreseeable future. selfishly i want her to take french. i know it the best and i think it is beautiful, plus she could end up being a wonderful translator for family trips to europe and canada. i too have pipe dreams of living in europe someday...


I love your comments. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


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