On Learning Two Languages at Once


jeudi le 1 juin 2017

Rueil-Malmaison, France

Today I bought a French/Spanish dictionary.

Since I have a bit of a foundation in both languages, I thought this might be a good way to fill in the gaps of words I still don’t know. I’m determined to become fluent in both languages; French because I’ve always been a Francophile and I spend so much time in France, and Spanish because it’s the most spoken language along with English and Mandarin Chinese (both of which I’m already fluent in). Other languages I’d like to learn someday are Sanskrit, Japanese, and Latin (in that order).

Since a person can think in two languages at the same time, perhaps it’s more prudent to learn two languages at the same time too. Especially these two, because they are both Latin-based. To be self-taught in these two languages, I’d need to first acquire a breadth of vocabulary; then hear the languages every day (a good resource I’ve found for this is News in Slow French/Spanish); then make flashcards of verb conjugations, and lastly trudge through the grammar. But when broken down in this way, it doesn’t seem as daunting a task.

Plus, it’s much less boring learning two languages versus one. I’ve already made a bit of a game of it since this afternoon, thinking of a word such as “tree” as I was walking through the park with my micro-dictionary in hand, and looking up “arbre” to find “árbol”. Same thing with “voiture”/”coche”, and “chat”/”gato”. It’s fun.

It’s my “Frespañol” Challenge. Starting today, I’ll be aiming to get from beginner to A2 in the CEFR for both languages, and I’ll keep everyone updated on the progress each week.

In other news, after spending four months in France, almost all of 2017, I’ve finally booked our first flight out of here — to Boston, day after tomorrow. We have never spent four months in one country in recent memory, nor will we likely ever do so again for a long time. We are travelers.

Being in France for this long this time was made worse by the fact that we’d only intended to stay a week, tops — this is more our travel style — and thus only packed for a week. It was easy enough for us to stock up on everything we needed in Paris, it’s our second home after all. But it was all just so completely unexpected.

So flight booked, check. Hotel booked, check. We just have to drop off Sir Percy (our 7-month old white Netherland dwarf lapinou) in our 211 apartment in Paris 7ème (the whole reason for our delay) and we’re off.

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