Thursday, April 29, 2010

C'est du Chinois

I've never been that adept at acquiring a second language. And keep any thoughts about the problems I'm having with my first language to yourself. Some languages are harder to learn than others. Chinese in particular.

I describe myself as a unilingual anglophone.

Apparently when I was young I could speak some Polish. Now I can tell when people are speaking Polish but there's no comprehension. As a Canadian I took French in school. However conjugating verbs and learning vocabulary never translated (no pun intended) into the ability to be conversant in French. I may be more aware of the French language than Polish but I never became bilingual. C'est la vie.

In high school, back in the 80s, I remember thinking that if I was to learn a foreign language (which ruled out French because in Canada it's not a foreign language - no matter what anyone West of Ontario says) I'd probably learn Russian or Japanese. Not that I did of course. Other priorities distracted.

I'm not sure what the 'best' languages are to learn to broaden one's horizons now. Politically and economically a case can be made for learning Chinese. Mandarin in particular. A case can be made for learning written Chinese or Pinyin. But now that I know how hard Chinese is to learn...

I'll think I'll just be happy being a unilinguist.


Lene Andersen said...

I once heard that the two hardest languages to learn are Danish and English, mostly because of all the exceptions to the rules.

And I'd like to point out that as far as I can tell, your Japanese is excellent. ;)

Janet said...

Does everyone think that their own language is hard to learn? Because I've impressed people with my broken Polish, they seem to think it's very difficult to learn too.

And as far as I know you only knew the word for ice-cream.... not sure if that qualifies as speaking "some Polish" (LOL); though it is a very important word.

I could see the languages with the pictorial alphabets being hard. And English is hard, we have no rules and pronunciations.