08 December, 2006

Why do I learn Spanish?

Some people ask me that question, not understanding what drives me to spend at least 6 precious hours per week to load myself with new words and grammatical forms. Well, there're two questions, actually: 1) why do you learn a language and 2) why Spanish?

The second question is easy: because Spanish is the second most spoken language around me. I do not, however, look too eagerly forward to being able to talk to strangers in Spanish (although that is a certain benefit, absolutely).

What I do look forward to, and that is the answer to question 1), is that mental triumph, that sudden click that happens in the brain when the knowledge of a language reaches a certain threshold and you transition from being able to understand a random word in an overheard conversation to the complete comprehension of the information stream.

If you don't know the language, there's no information for you in the continuous stream that flows through your ears and your eyes. You just hear noises, some of which resemble words in the languages you know, but that's it. But when that magical click happens, you suddenly find yourself exposed to a whole new sensual dimension... It's just like having a radar detector in your car: you get the ability to feel what your "unequipped" body can not feel, the radio waves.

Estoy viniendo ;)

No comments: