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Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Problem with Becoming a Polyglot

It may have been noticeable...last semester...my anger at the school system that I found myself locked within. For good reason, I still warrant. As I hope to convey to you. Why do I still complain about what is gone and finished you may ask? Merely because I am not all the way complete with college.

Harding has this grand idea to make all uncerifying English majors become fluent in foriegn languages by requiring them to take a full two years load of world language studies. Well, this sounds as though it is fine and all for the world-traveler such as myself. Those nearly 2 years I lived in Russia, becoming globally aware of the Russian language should surely count. Wrong when you bring it before our beloved institution, the academic university.

Because such global awareness was far from being accredited. I had to dive into America's most annoying lil' cousin language, Spanish. I endured an entire year (last year) of the stuff. I finally got to the level where I could tell the difference between a fajita and a burrito effeciently and could even order a glass of "agua" to go with them both. A year of torture ensued for I was never a stickler for grammar in my language. And that's how all language courses are taught;they immediately propel you towards the incubating lamp of grammatical rules before the egg is even formed. Forget the natural way of learning a language. Concepts and images...the way a child learns. Let's throw in the do's and don't's before a single idea or sense is concieved. That's why in today's world there are so few poets left and way too many computer programmers. Even language has become a science.

Needless to say, after a year of Spanish the greatest thing that I learned was that it was far easier just to point at the Mexican menu and grunt than it is to actually worry about all those cases and conjugations. I you can see, I learned very little.

Then this year rolled around and I fount out that I could graduate by December, a whole semester early, with one option. I would have to double up on the language courses. I greatly feared going into a more advanced Spanish seeing how I probably would have failed Spanish last year if I had had a very strict teacher. So I thought that I would take 2 fresh new languages. They wouldn't let me do this so I was dropped into the 2nd year (no bueno) of Spanish and beginners Italian(Mama mia!).

The result was of this Arabian merchant undertaking was the broadening of neither my Spanish nor my Italian, but of my curse-word vocabulary. Italian was bearable, even fun, for we only learned to count meatballs and talk like mobsters. -But the Spanish;that was the killer. In my advanced Spanish class, I was the idiot who sat in the back that had no idea what was going on or how to say anything. Some days nothing but Italian spouted from my lips. Some days nothing but Russian spoken like a Tolstoy sprung from my tongue. There was never a day that Spanish made its appearance. The teacher taught the class (not me), how to conjugate in 48 bajillion ways and then instructed the class in memorizing the other 58,279 fabillion irregular verbs. I kept waiting for the day that I would walk into class where a large pinata would hang and the teacher would look at me, pointing to the colorful burro and say, " Una Pinata, Brian, Pinata", while handing me a baseball bat.

To make the long, painful story short and pleasant. I passed Italian and even believe that I could talk myself out of swimming with the fishies, if it came down to it. However, my Spanish class I failed miserably like a knight attacking a windmill. So even though I walked, (or flew, if you've seen my video)and even though I'm done with Harding and done with living in Arkansas, I still have to take one measly 3 hour language class of some sort. I wonder what language this time.


Blogger Fred said...

Try French. It's pretty easy except for figuring out where the "le" and "la" go.

Happy New Year.

8:17 AM  
Blogger Brian Harrison said...

I just may try French. I've actually considered it. But all these latin based languages are killing me. I just may go back to Russian. Hope you have a happy New Year also.

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Angela Landon said...

Yeah, I may have to retake a class as well. We'll miss haveing you around, Brian!

10:45 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

Japanese Dude! Take the Japanese. It'll provide you with another whole set of headaches but at least they'll be new ones!

7:35 PM  
Blogger hsp said...

Do they consider computer HTML language a foreign language? And didn't you have to come up with your own Jungian language? Shouldn't that count for something?Hope you had Happy New Year's!

7:42 PM  
Blogger Adam Newby said...

Your thought on why there are few poets in the world today is quite profound.

2:51 PM  
Blogger Jeremy said...

Осторжно, двери закрываются. Следующее станция ля ля ля город. Платформа справа.

11:43 AM  
Anonymous willthethrill said...

I see that the real world is not so exciting. Come do some fun adventure with me. Hitch hike here and scare your parents, but do it as Dead-Brian. 417-693-8229. By the way I was a catalyst for at least half of the stories here so I figure I can enduce at least a dozen more. Do you take requests?
p.s. take Greek I hear they spell things like the Russians do.

9:58 PM  

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