Tag Archives: language

Je Ne Parle Pas Français

5th March 2010

So, one of the items on my Mighty Life List is “Be conversational in seven languages.” I studied Spanish for years, and I think language really shapes how I think. Knowing another language besides my native tongue has given me an alternate way of looking at the world. Knowing Spanish specifically makes me sometimes want to cry when I hear a guitar playing at night, and makes me more willing to be the first one dancing at parties. That could also be the tequila of course, but I digress.

When I first made my list, some part of me thought the simple act of writing things down would magically make them happen. Like once I realized that I wanted to pick blackberries and make pies, I’d just find myself passing blackberry bramble on a walk one Sunday with a bucket in hand.

As I’ve started to cross things off, it has genuinely surprised me that I have to plan fun. I guess some part of me thinks that fun will just happen, even very specific types of fun, and that I shouldn’t have to actively put aside time for that stuff.

It took around three years of lessons before I could get the gist of most conversations in Spanish. So if I start now, it will be about fifteen years before I can cross off this goal.

On Wednesday night, I got started. Verizon is sponsoring French classes with Bryan, which we’ll be attending until we can speak French. I’ll keep you posted.

Merci beaucoup to Verizon Wireless for sponsoring my Mighty Life List and helping me achieve my dreams. They’re making my site more interesting by helping me cross off few more goals, and they also gave me a Palm Pre Plus. One that completes calls. Thanks, guys.

Language Links

13th November 2009

(Wood Type Collage #E by Green Chair Press)

How Interpretation Works at the United Nations

“U.N. interpreters don’t need to know every official language. Rather, the U.N. hires interpreters who can translate into their native language from at least two other languages. A Russian interpreter, for example, might also know English and French. But he might not know Chinese. In that case, if the speaker is Chinese, the interpreters will use what’s called a “relay system.” The interpreters in the Chinese booth will translate the original speech into English or French, and the rest of the interpreters will translate that version into their own languages.”

The Infinite Jest Vocabulary Glossary (via @beksandro):

Anechoic (an·e·cho·ic) — Neither having nor producing echoes.

Regarding “Hell for Leather”:

“Hell for leather, in American vernacular, refers to an arduous walk that may have been strewn with difficulties and was a strain on footwear.”

The nicest things anyone has ever said to Antonia:

“I wish you were my mum.”