I’ve long had it in my mind to begin studying a second foreign language.
I started learning German at school ten years ago and reckon I’m conversing at a relatively high-level; it’s my working language in the office, and I use it plenty in my social life too. I’d always been hesitant to take up a new language in case I started to forget German, but it’s a language and culture I love and very much enjoy using and improving. Having made a ton of multi-lingual friends at university, travelling, and through Couchsurfing, I’m no longer intimidated by the prospect of a new set of adjectival endings, declensions and conjugations, as well as a whole new set of vocabulary. My brain is very much up for the challenge.
My reasons for all this are pretty simple. I enjoy learning, for one, and having graduated a year ago now, I miss studying. What’s more, a key part of travelling for me is picking up words and phrases (read: being able to order a beer) in a foreign language, and the more I can master, the wider my travel horizons can stretch. I must admit though, one of my big reasons for pushing for this is employability, and looking at how my potential in the area I’m interested in could greatly increase with the ability to speak another language.
I’ve given it a go before (I tried to teach myself Italian in 2010 in preparation for a holiday in Tuscany, and I took a course in Mandarin in 2012 off the back of a backpacking trip in Asia), but I’m pretty damn motivated this time. The only problem is; which language to choose?
After to-ing and fro-ing with every European language there is, leaning strongly towards Hungarian (family connections and Budapest love), tempted to give Italian another shot, and considering some non-European ones too (damn Korean couchsurfers giving me crazy ideas!), I finally picked one – and it was staring me in the face the whole time!
French may seem like the most predictable language I could possibly have chosen, but my decision was well thought-out and I’m pretty excited about it all! Reasons why;
– It pairs well with German, especially as far as employability is concerned, especially as far as the travel industry is concerned.
– It’s a European language that would give me a hand in plenty of other countries too.
– Therefore, having learned another European language and studied it to a high level, a lot of the technical stuff is familiar and I can relate to it, as opposed to a language without tenses or a Roman alphabet!
– There’s a ton of learning materials available, compared to slightly less obvious language choices, where you could struggle to find an online dictionary. Every library is bound to have a good range of teach-yourself books, and every language-learning centre will offer French courses at all levels.
– Compulsory lessons at school all those years ago (aged approx. 11-13) have clearly come in useful, as I’m recognising a load already.
– France is a country I’m likely to visit, or at least pass through, again and again. I couldn’t say the same for…Portugal, for example.
Note: I’m learning Französisch, not French, given Salzburg library’s lack of English-language French guides. Mindfudge! Am I going to start speaking French with a German accent? Only time will tell.
I’ll update on my progress as I go!