Language Like High School, Right?
Language. What is learning a new language? Learning a new language is very tough. Because what exactly does learn a new language mean? Does it mean to speak, does it mean to comprehend, does it mean to have perfect grammar? I guess it applies to all three. After being at the institute for a few weeks, there are so many students with different varieties of French, but none of us seem to be equally proficient at the ensemble of comprehension, oral, and writing. Picture it like cliques in high school
First up, you have the BAND:
The kids in band are incredibly great at reading the French. Much like reading sheet music, they can comprehend complex text whether its letters of the alphabet, or various sheets of different instrument. We can tell that they took the time to read French books, literature, and spent many nights annotating the structures and things they don’t know.
Then you have the THEATRE KIDS (me):
We’re actors dahling, of course our accents are going to be a little better! The theatre kids have studied accents their entire life. In order to correctly portray characters, you must listen to different types of people thus being able to closely portray their accent. Theatre people spend their time listening to French music, and looking at French series online and other things that involve listening are key elements to learning an accent
Last but not least, the YEARBOOK STAFF:
YOU MAKE AN ERROR IN THE YEARBOOK, AND YOU’RE BOUND TO BE KICKED OFF STAFF! And don’t you even dare make an error in front of them, because you will get checked! They’re into the magazines, they’re into the books, and their grammar is incredible. Sometimes they’re a little shy when it comes to speaking, but if you give them a computer and something to blog, the personality and the life comes out! You always text your yearbook friend before you send in a paper, because it’s imperative that they grammar check it.
The best advice given to me while being abroad and learning a new language is
“If you want to write a language you must read it, and if you want to speak a language, you must listen to it.” And these are the elements that we can learn from the “outside cliques.” When learning a new language, we must challenge ourselves to think like the members in the band. Understanding the versatility to read and understand different sheets of music (text; newspapers, books, magazines, etc.) We must have the confidence of the kids in theatre.
Knowing that mistakes will be made, but still being confident enough to fake it until you make it. We must be attentive like the yearbook staff, because the tiny details of grammar are the most important to learning the language. Once we take candy from each of these bowls you’re reading, speaking, and understanding the language beautiful! Language is like high school. It’s hard, and it takes a lot of patience to get through, but when you make it a musical, you can break free!