May 21st 2015

Today I found out that through my University I get access to free, unlimited Rosetta Stone Language Packages. So I’ve spent the last two hours learning French.

To be able to speak a sufficient amount of four different languages was one of my aims for this year, or for before I go travelling around Europe in August, at least. And had I have known about this Rosetta Stone package earlier, I might be a bit closer to being able to speak more than just English. The good news is that I don’t think my University log-in details expire until September, so after I finish my last exam next month and I have more free time, I’ll be able to teach myself some French, German and Italian.

There is absolutely no chance that I will be fluent, or sufficient, in any of those three languages before I leave for Europe, but I at least want to try and have a knowledge of the language that will help me with asking where the train station is or how much it is for a bottle of water. (I can’t imagine I’d need to know many more phrases than just those two, right?) When I went to Berlin in November I realised that I’d remembered far more of my GCSE German than I’d’ve thought, but I could only really read it, I couldn’t listen/comprehend/translate when someone spoke it to me other than the picking up of occasional words that I recognised. And my speaking of the language was parallel to that of a two year old child who is just learning to speak their first language.

“Pub. Where. Left?” and such.

Reading the language on signposts or on maps is a lot easier than speaking/listening. I’d find a few words I knew, figure out the context, and even if I didn’t know word for word what it said I’d still have a pretty good idea of what it said.

But I need, or I’d like, my language to be better than that for my Euro-trip. And of course everyone will say that most of Europe speaks English, anyway, and yeah that’s true. But why does that mean I shouldn’t speak French, or German, or whatever? I want to know it because it’s polite, because it’s practical, and because it’s safer.

I’m probably being a bit ambitious in wanting to learn the basics of three languages instead of just mastering one, but the problem is I won’t be staying in any one country for an extended period of time so it’s hard to choose which one to pick. So I’m just gonna try and learn them all.

Until tomorrow, we’ll see how that goes.



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