There’s something about other languages that I find absolutely fascinating.
English: English is my first language, and the only one with which I speak fluently.
Spanish: I have picked up some Spanish along the way since childhood. Though I do not speak Spanish fluently, I can understand it usually enough to “get the gist of things”. I love music in Spanish, most particularly from Selena (Quintanilla-Perez, NOT Gomez), Jennifer Pena and Shakira. Though I don’t speak Spanish fluently, and have no wish to, I would like to build my vocabulary enough to improve my Spanglish – which I use daily as a result of where I live. Plus – it’ll help me when I am purchasing my favorite breads, pastries, drinks (horchata, tamarindo, jamaica), and foods (tamales, chile relleno’s, etc.). Also, I have Hispanic blood running through my veins, so it is only natural that I know at least a little.
French: Took two years of it in High School, but don’t really remember much. Not a language I particularly am fond of.
Hebrew: Learned some of the language, but had to stop as I don’t know anyone who knows Hebrew. I like to pray in Hebrew as I am more of an Old Testament person, though I am not religious and my beliefs are all over the place. Would love to learn Aramaic as well.
Arabic: Know the alphabet, but would like to learn the language. Learned about Islam and gained a more positive perspective as I learned the alphabet.
(Would love to tour Israel and the Middle East someday)
Gaelic: As my blood is part Irish, and I particularly enjoy Irish Music (Celtic Woman, Celtic Thunder), I feel as though I should learn this as part of my heritage. So far, the alphabet has been confusing, so I am just going to stick with phonetically sounding out the songs.
Hindi: I love Bollywood, my favorite film ever is Kal Ho Naa Ho. My friend said that she’d help me learn Hindi if I ever get around to it, so I have been (rather slowly as I am pretty busy) learning the Devanagari Script (the alphabet). I tried once before to learn, so I know it will be a bit complicated as the language changes due to gender.
Thai: As much as I love Thai food, I never really had any interest in the language until recently. This is because my friend has a habit of slipping into talking in Thai with her friend when she is around, forgetting I don’t understand. She also said she’d teach me, so I have been (slowly) learning the alphabet to begin with.
Japanese: Tried learning Japanese in middle school, but had to move schools so I forgot what I learned. Recently, I have been watching a lot of Anime and Japanese Horror, so I have picked up some Japanese, but not enough to hold a conversation with. Would love to learn this language fluently as I like the sound of it, and it is part of a culture which I find fascinating.
Korean: Last, but certainly not least. This language hit me hard when I realized how beautiful it is. I wonder if this is why I like Korean music and drama, which I like to watch on Netflix. My favorite band of all time actually is from S. Korea. They are called, “Nell” and have more of an alternative/rock sound than the k-pop sound, and they are an actual band that plays live with instruments – which is refreshing. Currently, I have begun actually trying to learn Korean on my own. I already know how to read and write the alphabet, and some basic words and phrases. Right now, I am working on trying to conjugate verbs, which is freaking hard in this language.
My goal is to transfer to the University of Washington from my current school within the next two years. Since I will be trying to earn a Bachelor in Communications: Journalism, I have to take two years of a foreign language as a requirement to get the degree. I want those classes to go as smoothly as possible (to keep up with my super awesome grades), so I am learning now so that when I start taking the course that they offer there, I will be able to have a slight grasp on it and not fail miserably. Then, I will see about transfering to a University in S. Korea for a semester or two. :-)
One of the reasons that I enjoy language so much, is that it allows me to learn and understand more about their culture. For example, when I tried learning Hebrew and Arabic, there was no way to escape also learning about Judaism and Islam. Since Cultures can also be defined by their religions, I indirectly began to learn about them. Due to this, I was able to set aside preconceived (and what turned out to be prejudiced) notions and beliefs.
Another way I like to learn about different cultures is through their cuisine. A friend of mine (since High School) is from Nigeria, and her mom is from Ghana. Her mom cooks traditional foods all of the time. While I do not recall the names of what she makes, I love eating over at her house. The sauces, or stews as she calls it, tastes so yummy over meat and rice.
At my Internship, there are some Ethiopian family’s. They have cooked for the center a couple of times, and each time it has been so good. This is actually how I found out that my current all-time favorite food is Injera and Wat. The only thing is, I have to use my hands to eat it! I am okay with it now, but at first it was a bit of a culture shock. Plus, I have never really liked using my fingers. But then again, don’t we use fingers for things such as pizza and fries?
In Seattle, next to the Pike Place Market, we have this little (seriously – little) Russian bakery called, “Piroshky Piroshky”. They sell Piroshky’s (duh), and they are so freaking delicious! A Piroshky is this filled pastry. The pastries they sell are filled with meats and veggies, even rice. They even have desert Piroshky’s. Ok, maybe I haven’t learned anything about Russian culture, but I did learn that, even though its a small bakery, they make everything right there, and the line generally is really long, and way out the door during the lunch hour. No wonder. The first time I’d ever been in there, I was walking past, on my way to find a snack. I caught a delicious waft in the air and followed the smell. I couldn’t help but to buy one, and since then, I’ve been hooked.
Whether through language or through food, I find learning about as well as experiencing different cultures to be wonderfully fascinating. As I feel so passionate about this, as well as writing, I have decided that my ideal career would be to travel the world (or at least to countries I want to go to such as: S. Korea, Japan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Palestine, Moldova, Ethiopia, Egypt, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Ireland, Hong Kong, Taiwan, England, Thailand, Switzerland, Iceland, Philippines, Lebanon and Australia). I really want to immerse myself into their cultures and learn everything I can, and write a detailed account of my experience.
Either that, or I was thinking of Anthropology and Linguistics. :-)