Foreign languages, je t’aime

When I discussed deferring grad school with my parents, one of my mother’s conditions was that I do something worthwhile in my time off. A couple of days ago, I enrolled in French at the local community college for the spring semester.

My foreign language, for the purpose of formal education in high school and college, is German. My mother’s family is German, so the language has always had cultural significance for me. I haven’t had the chance to use my German in quite a while, but I’m confident that if I spent any significant amount of time in Germany, I could get back up to snuff and maybe eventually become fluent.

But now, especially because I’m focusing so much on the European Union at school next year, I think that I should probably be at least somewhat familiar with all three primary EU languages.

My earlier experience with French is limited to about a week and a half spent in Paris, Nice and Monaco. I got the absolute basics down (hello, good-bye, excuse me, please and thank you) and knew well enough how to order food (except for that one time when I ordered fish when I meant chicken).

I think it’s important for people to learn multiple languages. I definitely plan on bilingual (or even trilingual) early education for my own children when I have them. I also think my European cousins have it a little easier, getting so much access to foreign languages and more emphasis on them in school. It’s gotta a lot easier to practice German or French or Italian when you’re a train ride away from Berlin, Paris and Rome.

So this spring, whilst patiently waiting for September, I’ll start studying my third language. I hope it’ll be fun and come in handy next time I’m in Paris.


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