In case you were wondering, “Montag” means Monday in German. Not saying that I know anything about Germany or the German language–because I don’t–but I would really like to! Three goals in my life are about languages: One is to learn German, the other is to learn French, and the last is to learn Russian. I know that learning new languages is kind of hard when you don’t have a professional tutur or anything but there are people out there who learned entirely different languages on their own, with the help of recordings and tapes and movies and music.
I want to learn German because it’s a really important language (kind of sort of also because I would love to be able to understand the German lyrics to Tokio Hotel songs). I want to learn French because it is also a widely-spoken language and it sounds so beautiful when it’s spoken by native speakers (that perfect, sing-song, lilting tone sounds so amazing!) and because it would be awesome to be able to sing all those whimsical French songs, and I want to learn Russian simply because when I was little, this friend of the family taught all us kids to say some phrases in Russian, and he told my parents that I said them the best. Plus it would just be cool to know five languages, you know? There aren’t really any other languages I would like to learn for now…maybe Japanese? But first I would like to learn either German or French. Russian I would like to learn last, and then maybe, if one day I become fluent in all three, I’ll consider learning some other languages.
My mom has often said to me that I have a talent for languages and reading/writing in general. So she’s totally on board with the idea of me learning a new language by myself, which is great, but I don’t know what my dad will think. I do know that he wants me to concentrate on my main studies, and I also know that he was annoyed that both my brother and sister decided to learn French as one of their electives in high school, so he probably won’t be happy if I decide to learn another language. But I really do want to. There’s a huge ‘book city’ (translated literally from Chinese) around this area, but, because my parents would both say no to me taking a bus there, I have to wait until my dad can drive us. There are German, French, Spanish, Japanese and other books, CDs and learning materials there–I saw them the last time I went. But I highly doubt that he’ll agree to take us, as he doesn’t seem to approve of us buying a ton of books anyway; and even if we do go, I can’t buy a German or French exercise book or tape without him noticing. Maybe I should learn the very basics (alphabet, pronunciation etc) online first, and THEN go to a bookstore for some actual materials.
Another thing. I know my dad doesn’t like me to spend lots of time writing my stories or drawing–he seems to see these things as a waste of time. He just doesn’t understand that I NEED to write. The moment I stop writing or stop thinking about writing, I will drop down dead. Never a day goes by without me at least spending half an hour writing, or thinking about new stories. I MUST write down ideas by hand, type ideas out on the laptop, or take notes on my phone EVERY DAY, no exception. Most of the time I do all three. I love the feeling that comes when I’m writing. To me, the rush that comes with brainstorming and plotting stories is like the high that comes with a dose of heroin (not to say that I’ve ever tried drugs–I’m strictly against them). I also love to learn. Learning is hard but it’s all worth it when you can do a very difficult problem without breaking a sweat, or when you get a 117/120 (highest score I ever got on a math test), or you get a one hundred on a sheet of homework. Now that I’ve gotten into learning chemistry, I’m surprised that I actually kind of like it. I still don’t like physics–it keeps reminding me of my eighth-grade physics teacher, who was a bastard (not to be blasphemous or prejudiced against teachers)–but chemistry is really interesting. Hard, but interesting. And Chinese is fun! That might be because I have fond memories of both of my old Chinese teachers, and of course I love the third one (because she is my mother!)
You know, in eighth grade, my Chinese grades were good even when compared with my classmates. Not to brag or anything, but I was especially good at writing essays. Yes, long, five-to-seven-hundred Chinese essays. We used to write one for every test, most quizzes, and nearly every time we finished a unit in our textbooks. In the first semester of seventh grade, I refused to write essays and weekly journals because they all turned out to be full of wrong words and PinYin when I couldn’t write out a particular word (the Chinese teacher, who was also my head teacher, was very understanding about that), but in the second semester, I started writing essays that got better and better (I still refused to write journals though–too lazy for that). And then in eighth, I sucked it up and I wrote both essays and journals. And my teacher liked to read them! My essays and my journals were given back with good scores and comments and underlined sentences. Every time we wrote a journal or an essay, I would get excited when they were handed out because I loved to see the comments and scores.
The point of that last paragraph is, I picked up Chinese much quicker than many Americans, even though I knew nothing at all about Chinese when I first came to China (I barely knew anything in my first year either–I only started learning the basics after a year or so). So I believe that, as long as I put my heart in it, I can learn a new language well, even on my own. I think that I know how to learn the different parts of a language quickly. In other words, I’m fully confident that I WILL be able to learn German by myself.
So wish me luck guys. Don’t post any mean comments like ‘You can’t possibly learn a new language by yourself’ or stuff like that because that would be total bull. I CAN. So there. And if you don’t believe in me then just go away and troll someone else.