Jul 28, 2012 at 07:51PM EDT
Perhaps I overemphasized the grade aspect of it, because that’s what I mostly mull about these days, since French ruined my straight A record in high school. It wasn’t the only or major reason I decided to stop pursuing Linguistics; rather, it brought in to focus my lack of applicable linguistic capabilities. And by that I mean I wasn’t really good with learning languages. I could and was interested in analysis and the mechanics of language, but I couldn’t put it into practice very well.
For me, I’ve always been pretty good at pronouncing the sound inventories of languages, whether vowels or consonants. Trilled r? Close-mid back unrounded vowel? Easy. Problem is, I just never truly “understood” languages. I always found myself having to translate everything back into English in my mind, which is the completely wrong way to do it, and I could never get myself out of that mentality. It takes me a while to parse everything in my head, making it hard to speak both fluently and accurately. Even with Vietnamese, my parent’s native language, I’m much less proficient than you’d think. Part of the problem might lie in the fact that I invariably responded to them in English, no matter if they spoke to me in Vietnamese or English. Must have been detrimental to my ability to acquire other languages or something.
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