As often happens, starting to write something redirects me to Google.
First diversion: is “googling” recognized as a real word? Auto spell checkers seem to say no. But it’s there in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary.
All worthy topics! And perhaps more related than one might at first think.
This past week I had the experience of seeing a colleague from Germany for the first time in a year or so. He was the person who forced me to speak only German while in Germany. That was the only way to really learn, he said.
It was a bit depressing trying to talk with him this week. I realized how rusty my German has become. I found myself pausing and having to think through everything I tried to say. You really do lose it if you don’t use it.
The thing is, if you don’t have a compelling, practical need to learn another language it’s difficult to stay motivated to do so. I think that is a primary reason why so few Americans are multilingual. When I KNEW I was going to be spending time in Germany, I had a good reason to work at learning German. Without that reason it’s easy to find other things to spend your time on.
So what’s a good reason now? This brings it around to the first link of my Google search. I remember telling people that when I was spending a lot of time and effort learning German … I just felt smarter. Like my brain was working better. Not just at German but at other things too. I don’t know if it was focusing on learning something (anything), or that it was specifically related to learning a language. All I know is that I felt mentally sharper.
And of course it’s cool to be able to impress your friends when you can say something in another language.
I need to load up the MP3 player with some German language podcasts again.