Learning Spanish, Italian, and ASL

Last week I downloaded Duolingo and started learning Spanish. I took two years of Spanish in middle, which was the mandatory number of years one needed to take a language, and chose Spanish because the consensus was it was the easiest.

I did not do well (I think I got mostly C’s and maybe even a few D’s), probably due to the fact that I did not care about learning another language. I loved English and writing in school, and eventually went on to teach myself several computer languages on my own and in college (and beyond), including (in order):

  • HTML
  • Java
  • CSS
  • PHP
  • JavaScript
  • Swift

So Why Now?

Since my kids have been learning Spanish, I wanted to give them an opportunity to be able to practice it in real life since I know that’s the best way to really learn something. I also felt like it would be a good challenge since they say it’s much harder to learn a language later in life.

Lydia wants to learn Italian (based on her love for all things from Italy, originating from her love of pasta), so I started that as well. I also have always wanted to learn sign language, ever since my older sister learned it as a teenager. I’m starting out practicing the letters for now and will slowly add words.

Ultimately, I think I was very selfish not wanting to learn other languages when I was younger. I believed if someone wanted to communicate with me they should be the ones to learn English, especially as it was a vastly popular language.

That was obviously a very stupid opinion.

Why I Should Have Started Sooner

When I was eleven, I found myself stuck at an airport in Venezuela for a missions trip that was starting out terribly wrong. The people who were supposed to meet us there and take us to the place we would be staying never showed up, and none of us spoke Spanish fluently. Luckily, we eventually connected with another church who gave us a place to stay and a project to complete during our time there. Oh, and we didn’t die, which is always good.

You’d think I would have learned a lesson on the importance of learning another language from that experience but remember, I was still young and very stupid at that time. Then again, it was the very next summer I taught myself HTML so maybe my interests redirected that lesson in another direction.

Learning three new languages all at once may seem like a lot, and it is probably rather stupid to attempt something like this. But, I hope doing it this way might actually make it easier. If not, I can always focus on one at a time.


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