There's this stereotype of natives of foreign countries being annoyed at American tourists for not knowing even the basic greetings in their local languages. Consider that that annoyance is directed at a visitor. What can be said about those who come into the States on a more permanent basis, who come with limited, if any, knowledge of English and make the decision not to learn?

I'm not talking about supporting the "Learn English, peon!" crowd - that's one part of the internet for whom I have a cactus armchair in reserve. I'm talking about the flip side of that, where the frustration of learning something new at a certain age becomes a decision not to try. (Food words and swear words.)

There are other ways to get started in new languages besides vocab categories that inject some fun into learning. Here's one of mine - I got curious to see if any of the Sherlock actors were ever filmed actually playing the violin, so I went looking. From behind-the-scenes material, I think it's only Benedict Cumberbatch who has some ability to play the instrument that he used on screen, and even at John's wedding, there was a 'stunt violinist' on hand. Every other Sherlock actor I've looked at so far has mimed it entirely. (I'm just waiting for some 'oh, you missed this old piece of information from our archives, you call that research' mess - useful though the info may be, cactus to you too.)

Beside the point. In that search, I found a fanmade music video with Jeremy Brett's Sherlock set to a German pop song that I quite liked. Now I have bits and pieces of German stuck in my head. (Thanks, video platform, for something more useful than a tasteless trend.)

I understand there's a risk of forgetting their native language - I'm facing that myself, being able to understand Tagalog while having difficulty responding, or mixing English in with Bisaya when I don't know the term, simply because I tend to use English more often. But to choose not to learn a common language because of that risk is causing more problems than it solves.

Then again, why not just say what you want, when language is made up anyway?

Featured Posts
Recent Posts