December 29, 2010 | Japanese

Linguistics Angst

Talk of fricatives scares me.

I continue to be impervious to instruction that involves linguistics terminology. I love grammar terminology, but funny things happen in my brain when I read things like “voiced and voiceless bilabials.” Linguistics experts out there: that is linguistics talk, right? 

Post-Blizzard Piles of Snow and Trucks

Post-Blizzard Piles of Snow and Trucks

This Is a Kuruma (Japanese for Car)

This Is a Kuruma (Japanese for Car)

Griping aside, though, and onto another subject: one of the things I find so amazing about language learning is that things repeatedly seem impossible, and then they aren’t. Even with the experience of multiple languages behind me, I basically couldn’t have imagined a month ago that I would be understanding by now what I am understanding and reading of Japanese.

It ain’t much, don’t get me wrong, but more symbols are starting to look familiar, and more sounds are starting to be understandable. I love feeling a language mystery become slowly less mysterious.

A New York language-learning experience: tonight when I went to fetch my Rosetta Stone headset, the little black foam piece from the microphone fell off without my noticing and began rolling around the floor. I saw it out of the corner of my eye and freaked out because I thought it was a roach.

Fortunately, we don’t have an issue with those in our current apartment, but I’ve been in this city—U.S. capital of languages and roaches—long enough that a wiggly piece of Rosetta Stone foam looks more like a bug than a microphone part. 

Post a Comment