I have decided to learn a new language.
I already speak three languages poorly, so why not add a fourth. Question is, which one?
French would be an exciting, sexy and useful language to learn. I would be able to speak to French Canadians and French Parisians and proudly order food at a French restaurant, instead of pointing at the menu. Although, I’m pretty sure the waiter won’t be French and will think I’m pretentious. But, really, they’re the pretentious ones for working at a French restaurant. I would curse them in French if I knew how.
I have tried to learn on my own, but I can’t do the weird “r” thing. You know, that soft purring that sounds like a quiet pirate saying, “Arrrgh.” Turns out, I can’t help but roll my r’s. So, my French version of Paris is Pah-rrrrrrri and Peh-rrrrrrierrrrr. It’s a curse.
That same affliction carries over into German – a language that I’ve also tried to learn on my own. Unfortunately, the only word that has stuck with me is “Krankenhaus,” only because when I say it, it sounds like Crackhouse. Oh, and that means hospital for those of you that don’t know where you need to go when you’ve had too much “bier.”
At first I was completely opposed to learning such a harsh sounding language. But after listening in on a German friend’s one too many phone calls to Munich, I grew curious about the noises she made. “Was she moaning or really speaking?” I thought. I wrote down the words phonetically and then would randomly drop them in my conversation to gauge her reaction. But all I was saying was wheel, doctor and shoe.
Then, I opened a can of worms when I decided I was going to learn an Asian language. China alone has seven languages. I thought about Korean, Thai or Vietnamese, again, only to order correctly off menus, but really I felt drawn to Japanese. I thought it would help me finally decipher what The Vapors were singing about back in the 80’s with their super hit, “Turning Japanese.” Only to discover that the song is actually in English and has an entire page on Wikipedia.org with the explanation.
I even downloaded a few apps to help me get familiar with basic words, but I was unable to repeat them. It was impossible to make my mouth make those sounds. It’s as if I had to speak through my nose and then I couldn’t breathe and I got all flustered and almost passed out. I downloaded Tagalog, which is the predominate language spoken in the Philippines, but, really, how many times can I use the word “paper” in a meaningful way? I downloaded Mandarin, Cantonese and some sort of Hindi, too. But, then I deleted them because they weren’t really that great.
I did, however, find a really good one that helps you learn English. Granted, I already am fluent, but it doesn’t hurt to practice it. And, it’ll help me not forget the language when I finally decide which of the above will be my fourth.
Oh, and the app is Words with Friends. Look me up (MarideAr) and let’s play – I mean learn.