Another 100 theme challenge, proving the Duck is low on ideas! The newest topic is foreign. The first thing that comes to mind are foreign countries, but I haven’t really been to any of those. Not enough to speak about, anyway (I went to Tahiti once when I was way too young to remember, so it hardly counts). And I already wrote a similar post for topic #21, vacation. It’s one of my most popular posts, so perhaps you’d like to read it. The next thing that comes to mind, and the focus of this post, shall instead be foreign languages.
The Duck has tried to learn multiple foreign languages throughout my lifetime. The first was Spanish when I was in middle school. We spent half a year attempting to learn the language, with the exception of one week where we inexplicably attempted to learn French. I can’t, for the life of me, figure out how to pronounce any French words, even though everyone else seemed to understand just fine. Spanish was a lot of fun to learn, though, even if I still can’t say much beyond, “Me gusta pollo”. That means, “I like chicken”. Isn’t that nice?
I have one rather amusing story to share before we move on. I have actually been wanting to talk about this for some time now, but it seemed quite random before. One day, we were given a bunch of Spanish words, and we were supposed to find their English equivalents in a Spanish-English dictionary. One word was “ano”. At least, that’s what we thought because the word was missing that little squiggle you sometimes see over the letter “n” in certain Spanish words. The word was supposed to mean “year”, but without the squiggle (called a tilde, I believe), it translated to the word for…ahem, cough…“anus”. Needless to say, my fellow classmates and I were quite baffled as to why the teacher wanted us to learn such an…unpleasant word.
In high school, I also spent one year learning Latin. While I can’t speak a single sentence in Latin, I do remember some words, like “canis” for dog and “feles” for cat. Latin was a really interesting language to learn about because you can see Latin words in so many modern English words, which helps a lot in understanding the meanings behind words you had never before heard. The teacher was also very nice, and I have one particularly pleasant memory about her. I was the only student to get 100% on one of our tests, so I ended up getting a delicious cookie, which I proceeded to eat in class with great gusto. I don’t think a teacher had ever given me something for doing a good job before.
Last of all, I tried to learn Japanese on my own. As was the case with every language that came prior, I absolutely failed at learning Japanese. It was a really tough language to learn, partly because there are a lot of words that have no equivalent in English. For example, “wa” is used to specify the subject of a sentence, as is the case in “watashi wa”, “watashi” meaning “I”. One of the only sentences I can still remember is “toire wa doko desu ka?”, which means “where is the toilet?” (A very important sentence indeed.) Mainly, I just know how to be polite in Japanese. “Sumimasen” means “excuse me” or “sorry”. “Arigato gozaimasu” is the polite way of saying “thank you”. And my favorite to say is “do itashimashita”, which means “you’re welcome”.
I also learned the word “baka” from the Kirby anime (Hoshi no Kaabii in Japanese). It means “idiot”.
The most impressive thing I can think of about my foreign language skills is that I can say the word “cat” in three different languages (English not included). Gato, feles, neko. Impressed? Me, neither.