My language struggles and connections

Well, to say this has been a difficult semester personally, would probably be the understatement of the century.

This week has been par for the course.  With losing a second person in my family since January, countless illnesses (both my own and my children’s) it’s starting to feel a bit like I can’t catch a break, but alas, onward and upward I suppose.

I feel like I haven’t looked at Mango in two weeks, let alone practiced with it.  I have managed to meet my daily goal for Duolingo, I have also continued to listen to French radio, and I would say my french conversations have been sub-par as I have not initiated them nearly enough this past week.  I have also failed to practice my french reading this week.

I did however find an interesting article which I  think my classmate Genna may appreciate given the discussion of benefits associated with being bilingual.  Unlike Genna, my daughter is monolingual, but I often question if we made the right decision when we opted to not put her in French Immersion.  She’s almost done grade two and I still question if it was the right choice.

CCO public domain 

While I don’t think I’ll ever be content with our decision, I am confident that she is a motivated learner and I know she would find a way to learn a language if it was important to her.

All of these questions and thinking of my daughter’s learning had me connecting to an idea I owe to my late grandmother, who immigrated from Germany and told me once that she didn’t remember when she stopped thinking in German, and started thinking in English.

I know that in my own language learning journey, I certainly think about what I want to say in English, and then I try and convert it to French.  This had me wondering, at what point does a second language become automatic?   How do our brains work to process more than one language?

I was happy to learn that language learning may increase the size of my brain!  Additionally, I have been reading that learning new skills at any age (however they were looking at language learning specifically), increases the density in brain matter.  Now I know that I can say I’ve been “working my brain out” on a daily basis I feel less guilty about “working my body out” at the gym consistently!

After watching Genna’s vlog this week, I was totally inspired to give it a try myself – and I accept your challenge Vanessa!  Next week – Disney show tunes en francais coming your way!

3 thoughts on “My language struggles and connections

  1. My brother spent time in Quebec throughout high school on an exchange and he said the big shift in learning the language was when he started dreaming in French!

    I look forward to seeing your Disney tunes!

  2. Good for you for managing to keep up despite losses and illnesses. I am struggling this semester and have not lost anyone, but do understand the children’s illnesses. You might start dreaming in French soon!

  3. Thank you for this article, Amy–good find! I share your frustrations about the difficulty of learning a language, particularly when unexpected life events get in the way. That being said, I totally see growth… and that’s what this is all about! I’m looking so forward to your Disney show tune this week! Please alert me when you post it, as I don’t want to miss it 🙂

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