Welcome to week six of Multilingual Living’s Language Challenge 101 – learning a language over the course of 101 days. If you missed our first few weeks, just click on the Language Challenge 101 button on the very left of this website page and you’ll find everything we have done so far.
Here is this week’s video diary. I share with you some great materials that I found from two years ago and am incorporating into our language learning, how I’m feeling about Destinos this week, what V-Me has to do with our daily lives and how very much I adore my Multilingual Living friends = you! Hope you enjoy it!
Each of us taking part in Language Challenge 101 most likely has a different reason for going on this language adventure. Some of you want to strengthen a language that you already speak well. Others are finally learning a language (first, second, third, more) that they have wanted to learn for a while. Others have reasons that I have probably never even thought of. Whatever your reason, it is a valid one.
I don’t think that I have taken the time to discuss my family’s reasons for wanting to learn Spanish, our family’s third language. Part of the reason is because I didn’t want to make it seem as if only people with the same reasons as my family could join. I also didn’t go into detail because I wasn’t completely sure what was driving us.
Love for Languages
Now that we are six weeks into this adventure, I can say with confidence that learning Spanish has more to do with renewing our love with language than anything else. There is something magical that comes with learning a new language. The feelings, emotions, sounds – all of it feels new and exciting. The sense of a new future opens before us each day as we learn new words or listen to the rhythms of music we have never heard before.
This is true for my husband and myself as well as our children who use Spanish phrases each day, especially those from their Theft of the Golden Idol skits. We add in bits of Spanish throughout the day when we greet one another, ask where something or someone is, and so much more. It is all part of getting a feel for the language, and I can say that it is feeling wonderful.
What Does It Really Feel Like?
Another reason for doing this comes from the posts I wrote about how anyone can raise a child bilingually. I believed it then and I still believe it now. Sure, it won’t happen tomorrow and it won’t be the easiest path to follow, but it can happen if we put in the time, effort, motivation, inspiration and fun day after day for the long haul. The question is whether we want it enough to make it happen. I know many families who are raising their children bilingually after having learned a language from scratch simply because they loved languages so much.
However, although I know it is possible and can offer tips and suggestions, I realized that I didn’t know exactly what it feels like to do it myself from scratch. I’d like to know what it is really like myself – to experience it myself. I learned German in Germany. What about learning Spanish in the USA? What does that feel like? How does one go about that?
It is easy for someone to tell us that learning a language as a family is doable. But it is different when they can truly relate to the actual inner frustrations and struggles as well as euphoric moments and intense laughter that comes with the territory. I want to experience it myself so that I can more fully understand it and be able to share the experience with others.
I love the fact that this Language Challenge 101 is not easy for me and my family and that along the way we are making a million and one mistakes (which we so happily share with you). I don’t necessarily want to do this the easy way. I want us to work for our Spanish. I want to put myself into the shoes of any person who wants to learn a language and doesn’t have thousands of dollars to spend on language classes or private tutors. Those things are not necessary to learn a language and, in fact, what I have learned for myself is that the things that really matter in my life are those that I have had to work for in one way or another (emotionally, physically, psychologically) and have demanded that I be creative and develop on my own.