13 July 2011

The Truth about Language School

Some days it's hard, some days it's easy. Building language is like building a staircase. In high school, we built the staircase slowly but surely, testing each step for sturdiness before ascending.

Here, with a semester's worth of Spanish (or so they say) packed into one month, I feel like we're running up and down the staircase at a rapid pace, sometimes stopping to patch holes in the woodwork, other times just skipping steps completely. I have found that it's possible to jump ahead several steps and remain safe, stay afloat--but heaven forbid I turn around, for then I will see the obvious gaping holes in my staircase, the ones I trip into daily that threaten to leave me broken-legged (or at least broken-languaged) in the basement.

In other words, I feel like I'm learning a lot because I need to in order to keep up. And I'm also learning heaps of new vocabulary about everyday topics like homicides, unattractive physical traits, and the royal family. But everything I've learned is totally a jumble in my brain, and it'll take many hours of reviewing and rewriting by myself to get it all neat and sensical again, to descend and begin building a more usable staircase.

It's not bad, though, and certainly not as difficult as learning, say, a tonal language or one from Eastern Europe (thanks, Lord, for Romance languages!). Complicated, yes, but not bad. Except for the Australian guy who always sits next to me and never does his homework.

If this were in Spanish, it would totally sound like my language school class right now.

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