I’ve always loved languages – starting with English – and I couldn’t wait until I had an opportunity to learn a new language at school. For me that opportunity didn’t come until ninth grade.
But instead of opting to study a romance language I took my father’s advice to study Latin. After all Latin was the basis for all the romance languages I would ever want to know later on, he said. And he was right. I took three years of Latin in high school, accompanying the third year with beginning French. While the third year of Latin was difficult beyond belief, beginning French was a breeze. That is except for the accent. I just couldn’t pronounce it correctly.
Even so, I fell in love with French and went on to take more during my high school senior year and my first couple of years in college.
And it has served me well. My husband and I have travelled to France several times, and my few years of French studies always come in handy. I can order off a menu, I can ask for directions and understand the answer, and I can come up with a casual sentence or too. But my accent always gives me away. I never mastered French pronunciation.
Right now I want to learn Italian to get ready to fulfill my dream of living in Italy someday very soon. I’ve actually taken a beginning course at the local city college. However, that is not going to get me by once I actually live there. I suspect I’ll have to do what Elizabeth Gilbert describes in Eat, Pray, Love – find someone just as anxious to learn English as I am to learn Italian to have one-to-one conversations with. Maybe that person will help me learn to pronounce the words correctly as well.
Causes Madeline Sharples Supports
Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center, Culver City, CA
Vistamar School, El Segundo, CA
Crossroads School, Santa Monica, CA (Endowment in...