notes from the road

Skiing, dreaming, pubescent superheros – what isn’t language like?

I feel learning a language is quite a kin to learning to ski.  I debuted on the white fluffy gold just several months ago armed with the knowledge that it could be done, and the naive will that I was going to do it. Training, or guidance save from some encouraging words from my friends didn’t really come into the equation. Yet within a short time I was sailing down those Godly slopes and having an absolute ball, though I was never really sure if I was actually in control. You see gravity wanted to take me to the bottom of the slope, and I also wanted to get there – so it may have just been a coincidence that I arrived at my desired location.

I am now using the language for the sorts of useful things for which it was probably designed – discussing directions with a taxi driver, answering queries about train directions and chatting with my housemate about foxy ladies. I’m accomplishing the things that I want to do, and if the language had a voice, it’d probably want to do as well, but I don’t feel entirely in control or really sure how it happens.

For instance,  I was watching TV the other day, not understanding much like usual when I just decided that enough was enough, I gave that news reader a death stare that would make Julie Bishop blush and he responded by speaking to me in language I could understand. I got exactly what I wanted, but I’m not sure how. It was like one of those dreams you get where you get a super power but as soon as you realise you have it you wake up. Once the next newsreader started talking my newfound power had diminished. So now like a hormonal teenage superman I need to learn to harness and control my language powers. Hopefully the next three weeks of French classes will teach me how.


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