Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Learning a foreign language is a task NOT intended for those with a short attention span or anyone over the age of 2. I'm thinking my brain is too old for such a task.
When Honeybuns decided to go to work with for a foreign company I had every intention of learning Japanese. How hard could it be? After all, we would have many opportunities to interact with those folks and travel to that wonderful and mysterious country. It would be VERY helpful to be able to understand their language.
The Rosetta Stone box arrived in the mail and I KNEW it wouldn't be long before I'd be fluent. The promises of success were ringing in my ears. After all, this program was the same one used by the CIA, University Students all over the land and those brave souls that enter into the mission field in far flung places.
I opened it, installed in on my computer and started my education! Oh, my.....what a rude awakening.
The concept sounded perfect! However, unlike my preconceived ideas, translating one word to another is NOT the plan. The student MUST become an infant all over again, looking at pictures and sounding out the strange words, forgetting what that picture actually means in our native tongue, English. It must be one of those right-brain vs. left-brain battles. It is very difficult and requires hours of repetition.
After a few words are mastered the next LEVEL of study is presented. More words, more sounds, more words, more sounds.
THEN...a pronunciation test is given. I had to speak INTO my computer screen and Rosetta Stone presented a ragged graft of my ACCENT! ACCENT? I don't have an accent.
Evidently I do, I failed THAT test! No explanation is given but it became obvious that I would not proceed. Yep, I was shut down! That accent thing must be conquered or the whole dream of speaking Japanese is history.
The only word I mastered was NEKO. There is rarely an opportunity for me to work the Japanese word for CAT into a conversation. The end.
The Rosetta Stone is back in the box and gathering dust on the bookshelf.
Next plan? Befriend a Japanese person and learn via osmosis!
My friend is lovely, and she's struggling with English. She carries a small computer in her purse that helps her communicate with me. We have a good time, laughing, shopping, eating out. We smile and bow alot and shake our heads when we realize that the other one has NO clue as to what has been said. We've traveled together, attended many functions together, been introduced together at business meetings and hosted company events successfully. Understanding each other's language is highly overrated!
I'm learning NO Japanese from her. BUT...I'm teaching her slang! So far she's fluent in several phrases. "Money down a rat-hole" and "trophy-wife" are her favorites. Her accent gives a whole new dimension to English slang. Accents! They're SO colorful!
We're still working on Y'ALL.....singular and "ALL Y'ALL"...plural.