In the ongoing saga that is, “Life After Graduation,” I have begun a new chapter. You see, I’m reading this book called The Know-It-All and I’m loving it fiercely. It’s about a man who decides that he’s going to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica cover to cover. It’s a massive undertaking and he chronicles it in just such a way that is poignant and amusing and loads of fun.
He has many reasons for reading the EB cover to cover, but the one that resonated most with me is that he feels he’s getting dumber. I can totally relate. When you’re in school, your professors are constantly telling you what to read to better yourself. You’re never at a loss for stimulating reading material and it’s your job to grow more knowledgeable.
Enter “real life.” Luckily, one of my jobs requires me to do research constantly so that helps, but if it doesn’t involve work-related issues, chances are I’m not reading it. I read constantly, but fiction, while fun and occasionally redolent of a few fun facts, is hardly the proper medium for giving the ol’ cortex a good workout.
I was at the library this weekend and I stumbled across the audio book section (literally, it was a narrow aisle and someone scooted past me and I fell onto the audio version of a Dean Koontz novel) and I noticed that there are language programs you can listen to on CD. So, being of a mind to stop my intellectual lethargy, I perused the selection and made my choice: Italian.
I am going to learn Italian. I have already finished two CDs of the program and feel I have a solid grasp of the cadence and pronunciation of the language. I doubt I could read it or write it but I can probably have a very slow, very short conversation in Italian at this point.
I gotta tell you, it feels good to learn something and struggle to understand something. It’s a tad frustrating sometimes, as I am wont to only enjoy things I am immediately good at, but when I finally do understand it feels fantastic.
One thing that amuses me is that the program forces you to learn humility. At the end of every unit, the CD professor dude tells you to respond to your conversation partner on the CD. The conversation partner spews out all kinds of words you haven’t learned yet really fast, so that the only response you can possible have is, “I don’t know, miss,” (AKA Yo non capisco, signorina.) Then the CD says, “End of unit” and you learn what your conversation partner was saying in the next unit. It’s pretty funny.
Once I have a firm grasp of Italian, I’ll have a decent understanding of all three romantic languages. Next up, I reckon I’ll take on Russian or Japanese (Wes speaks both of these and I think it’ll be fun to converse in another language around the house.) After those, who knows? Maybe Turkish!
Which language would you learn if you had the option?