Thursday, June 9, 2011

2nd (or 3rd or 4th) Languages

Three decades ago I embarked on a German journey learning the language, culture, and history eventually getting close to fluency.  Then I found it boring and containing FAR too many letters... seriously:

kugelschreiber = pen

Having lived in North Dakota for a period of four awful years (sorry to those who live there and knew me - you know how poorly I fit in) at which time the cold war raged onward with nuclear missiles being trucked and installed all over our flat state.  With Leonid Brezhnev in power in the USSR (Union of Socialist Soviet Republics), my current affairs teacher made us learn what we could about the country things like: if a 500 megaton nuke dropped on Minot, how long we'd have to get to cover in Mandan, or how long the missiles were, or how they were launched and it all culminated in watching an extraordinarily eerie movie, "Fail Safe" ... starring Walter Mathau, Henry Fonda, Dom DeLuise, among others.

My fascination with all things Soviet started there helped, of course, by my own great grandparents who immigrated here from Moscow.

I learned Russian finding it easier than German once the obvious alphabet hurdle was overcome.  I took classes on Soviet history, arts, geography, culture, politics and became immersed in anything and everything Soviet.  Then the wall fell and the Soviet Union became Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Georgia, Lithuania, Ukraine, the "Azer, Tajik" and other bajans.

FYI, before 1989 VERY little was known about the internal books, writings, etc of USSR.  It was during Gorby's leadership that information became freely available to the rest of the world.  Anything we had in class was learned from dissident writings or immigrates who felt obligated to tell their truth.

So, today, I started learning about ASL.  As mentioned in an earlier post, I work with two individuals who are hearing impaired - always smiling and waving hello to me, I finally asked, in rudimentary sign language, if they would help me.

I now know:

Thank you.

You're welcome.

Learn.

Three phrases, three small steps toward a 3rd language for my applications.

2 comments:

Beth said...

ASL will be pretty easy to learn, I think. I still remember phrases and words I learned 20-plus years ago.

Have fun!

A Doc 2 Be said...

It was heart warming when the one's face lit up to help me. Just beamed! I think mine did too :)