• Noemia Colonna

Give me reasons to learn a new language

Atualizado: 6 de abr. de 2021

I am currently in the process of learning German, my 4th foreign language. Portuguese is my mother tongue, and I have learned English, Spanish, and Italian.
I know German is a demanding beautiful language, but getting acquainted with it, at least, is not an unsurmountable task.

This super funny video down here does not beat around the bush about what I am saying of Goethe‘s language:

In my German class, my fellow students hail from different countries, such as The USA, India, Russia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Vietnam, Italy, and Brazil, of course.

I have a classmate from Vietnam, who speaks very good German for a beginner, but her accent is very strong and hard to comprehend. I was impressed by her ability to learn so fast and to speak so fluently, although almost nobody can grasp what she says, except for the teacher.

I talked to my teacher about it, and she gave me an interesting explanation: “You must have a strong reason to learn a language. When you arrive in a country where you have to face a number of challenges in order to get a steady job, your learning process will be faster than of another person, who is not in the same situation”.

It made a lot of sense to me and led me to reflect over the strong motives I had when learning the three other foreign languages, I can speak.

I learned English when I was 18. It happened when I started to travel alone and went on my first trip to Salvador de Bahia, a very popular touristic site on the East coast of Brazil. I was very excited to meet so many people from all over the world, in a multicultural atmosphere. However, my enthusiasm soon met a brick wall, because I was unable to communicate with all my new international friends. I did not speak a single word of English other than hi and bye. I told myself that if I wanted to expand my world vision, it was imperative to learn English ASAP!

I started to take English classes and became even more excited because I was able to speak English with a British boyfriend of mine at that time. I went to London with him on my first trip abroad. There, I was fascinated by the idea of reliving new experiences: I visited so many antique markets, selling thousands of books in the streets. Whilst browsing all those books in English, I promised myself that one day, I definitely would read all of them. I realized I was missing out on many of the stories that were being told around the world because I could not speak or read English!

My determination paid off! Currently, besides a master's degree taken 100% in English, I have lost count of the significant number of books I have read in Shakespeare‘s language.

The sole reason for learning my third foreign language, Italian, was a romantic one, as I needed to communicate with the family of my ex-husband and the motivation it provided was relevant. I learned the language during my various trips to the South of Italy, as well as by means of conversation with the father of my son, at home, who introduced me to the sounds, the intensive “r‘s” and the melody of this fun language, that I love.

Spanish I learned on account of the tango classes, I took in Buenos Aires during a two months sojourn in the latter city. It was fantastic dancing and learning a new language at the same time.

After that, I pursued my studies at a language school, devouring Latin literature, and catching up with Spanish speaker friends on every possible opportunity.

And German? What is compelling me to learn such a challenging language, when I neither need it to get a job, nor to make new friends or read new books, or talk to the family of my current husband who, thank God, is from Rio de Janeiro? The simple answer is simple: motherhood.

Mein Sohn und ich lächeln auf Deutsch (Here we are smiling in German!)

Coming to Germany with a teenager son, who has to learn the language as quickly as possible, in order to finish his high school in English and German, urges me to be by his side, facing the same challenges, although I am aware that his learning process is going to differ considerably to mine.

However, it does not matter. Kids learn by the example of their parents, so, here I am to put this theory into practice. Suffice to say that, at least, we are having a lot of fun together.

How about you? What is your most substantial reason to learn a foreign language?

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