Une coupe de champagne s'il vous plaît!
I can’t call myself Nick International if I don’t know at least the basics in a couple of different languages, right?
The pandemic gave us all tons of free time, and thrust the world of learning into the virtual realm in unprecedented ways. Learning a foreign language is a great experience to have and one hell of a valuable asset to your personal knowledge bank.
If you didn’t happen to see my IG posts in recent weeks, I have started learning French and I am an Ambassador for Hello Culture Bahamas. I thought it might be cool to step outside of my normal flow and just talk about foreign languages and why I really enjoy learning them.
I went to Spain back in 2004 and studied Spanish, 2012 I went to Beijing and studied Mandarin, and here I am in 2020 learning French. I have an ambitious travel goal, and that is to visit Paris in the winter and do some Christmas shopping equipped with a nifty box of vocabulary words and sufficient verbs to get by. If not, well thankfully there’s Google translate.
Foreign language learning always comes with a fair deal of frustration. I have a theory that it is equally, if not more frustrating for non-English speakers to learn the Queen’s, than it is for English speakers to learn most other languages. Maybe I am right, maybe I am wrong. It’s the pronunciation that does it for me in French.
With Spanish, it was getting into the more complicated verb conjugations (words like Caer (to fall) which is irregular in the first person present tense and adopts “i” in the preterit tense for whatever reason). With Mandarin, it was definitely the four tones; the tones literally change what you’re saying to a completely different word, with tricky ones like the number four and the word death being eerily similar.
I am sure there are times when my tutor has watched my eyes glass over trying to figure out how to make that hard R sound in “Etre”. Pronouncing French words has been the most difficult part of this learning experience to date. I’m getting a little better now though and I am feeling confident in my progress.
The frustration aside, learning foreign languages is another way of exposing your mind and reshaping your thinking. You develop the ability to simplify your speech because you appreciate how much easier it is to say “help” instead of “facilitate”. It’s a beautiful thing to fluidly communicate with someone and the meaning or spirit of your words is perfectly conveyed without syntax loss.
I am really excited to take on Paris. I’ve visited before but the city didn’t have much to offer me at the time in terms of attractions as I was much too young to experience it all. The idea of ordering that first glass of Bollinger Special Cuvee in French is great motivation, the restaurants and Christmas markets are calling. This will be my first solo trip since Mozambique in 2017 – wild!
Can’t wait. If you've got any recommendations for things to do
Hello Culture Bahamas has a really cool language program selection that ranges from German, to Spanish, Mandarin to Portuguese. Definitely go and check them out on instagram (@hellocultureworld) and if you want to take a group class, just to try it out – use my discount code for 15% off !
Bonne journee! A la toute a l’heure!
PHOTO CREDIT: instagram.com/seemyparis instagram.com/evenskild