Saturday, October 16, 2010

FLXIV Interactive - When did you first realize knowing a foreign language was cool?

Can you understand Japanese in an anime film?
Do you know that Spanish won't get you anywhere in Brazil?
Can you read Plato in ancient Greek?
Do you know what the German motto of Volkswagen means?
Can you translate the motto of Hogwarts into English?
Can you read street signs in Russia?
Can you successfully order (or avoid) ossobuco in Italy?
Do you get more out the Lion King because you know Swahili?
Can you read the Old Testament in Hebrew?

When did you first realize that knowing a foreign language was cool?  Leave a note in the comments!


  1. I really didn't think much about learning a foreign language. I grew up with Cajun family and always assumed that French would be my language. But when I took the test at LSU, I didn't test out of any hours of French. Somehow I tested out of five hours of Latin after just having one class in high school.

    I walked into Latin 251 with Joey Sandrock. She made Latin fun and interesting and ignited a passion for the language in my that still unparalleled. I was lucky enough to be taught by Althea Ashe, Rex Stem, and Deborah McInnes (for Greek).

    It changed who I was on a very fundamental level. I love the ancient languages and the rest of the my life has been shaped by them. I am deeply grateful to all these wonderful people.

  2. I cannot remember a single moment but a multitude of moments in my life that have left me amazed of how revealing, surprising, satisfying, beautiful ... and finally connecting languages can be! I´m grateful to have had great teachers who sparked this flame within me!

  3. My first foreign language is English. I was nine years old when the wall came down and learning English opened an entire new world to me - from understanding lyrics from New Kids on the Block to going on class trips to England.
    Later on, I studied German as a Foreign Language and am now a teacher of German at an Irish University. I also learned French and Spanish and taught in France and Spain as well. Without foreign languages I'd be half the person I am now. Cutting languages means cutting lives.
    P.S. Ireland, but mostly the UK, are also facing cuts. I really despise the 'all-about-numbers and money' attitude of programs at Universities.

  4. As a child I always wanted to be able to speak another language. However, thanks to my high frequency hearing loss it's quite the challenge for me. I was fortunate to attend a high school that offered Latin. This experience naturally gave me an interest in the antiquities which led me to Joey Sandrock. I can absolutely say that my experience at LSU would not have been worth attending if it wasn't for Joey Sandrock. She naturally took an interest in her students and wanted to be there for them. In her classes, I wasn't just a number, I had a name and she knew it.

    I graduated from LSU almost 3 years ago and I still keep in touch with Joey Sandrock. LSU needs it's humanities and languages. While they are smaller departments, they are often the courses that change people's lives by opening their eyes to the world beyond LSU.

    Also, why does our society cut education, healthcare and mental health first when the going gets tough? What does that say about our priorities today... Sometimes I'm scared to think about what it says...

  5. just a quick note of my own lightbulb moment. I was in the first week of high school Latin with Mrs. Daugherty. Our first story went something like this: "Brittania est insula. Italia non est insula. Italia est paene insula."

    When I saw what the word peninsula in English meant literally, and understood instantly the impact of Latin on English, I was stoked. However, I never expected it would be my career. But that little reading experience is what made me a word lover for life.

  6. My first moment when I realized that having learned a second language was such a benefit was one evening while I was working in a popular computer store. A customer walked in, speaking broken English, upset about something his computer was doing. After asking several questions he did not quite understand, he pulled out the computer for me, opening the lid and showing me the error. After a second, he apologized for the fact it was in French.

    "Oh, ce n'est pas une probleme. Je parle un petit peu de fran├žais."

    The look on the man's face as I fixed his problem and sent him on his way with a fond farewell (in French of course) was one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had.

  7. I was never really a language person as a kid, and honestly thought I'd grow up to be a scientist or engineer of some sort. Then I ended up in a Jesuit school and was required to take Latin. And I LOVED it. Something about it just got to me in all the right ways, something in how the language itself worked, how the difference in language reflected a tantalizing difference in point of view and thought, how knowing this other language gave me peeks of insight into language as a concept itself. That, and the poetry of the language well-written, like some beautiful secret, hooked me. Discovering Greek was much the same, and I fell deeply in love with Classics.

    In college, however, I grew to appreciate it even more the way you come to appreciate knowing a lover better. The more I knew, the more I loved Latin and Greek, and I found myself craving sight readings, wanting to tutor people, earnestly desiring to evangelize the glories of conjugations and declensions. I discovered that I want and need to teach, and am working on getting into grad school to prepare to do just that. Others must be shown the beauty I've seen.

  8. I realized the beauty of foreign languages in high school while taking French. I heard the story "The Adulterous Wife" by Albert Camus in the original french and could not believe how lovely and flowing the original text was. I immediately began researching existentialist philosophy, and am now about to graduate with a philosophy degree.

    My junior year of high school I discovered ancient and medieval philosophy, and with it, Latin. My classes with Mr. Buras at SJA; and Wheeler, Fletcher, and Sandrock at LSU allow my to read works in their original language. The classes have also changed the way I understand translated texts,helped with my general vocabulary, improved my understanding of English grammar, and instilled in me a love for other cultures.

  9. I realized it was cool the second I translated something in a way that no one had translated it before. I was reading Caesar for a class and the line was translated "The soldiers were listening to the orders" but I translated it as literally as possible. It came out "The soldiers were about to be listening to the having been said things."
    There was joy that day.


Thanks for your support!