Let’s talk about language. I’ve always been fascinated by languages. When I was a young teenager, I made a list of all the languages I wanted to know. I didn’t just want to learn; I wanted to become a fluent speaker of those languages! A little too ambitious, perhaps, but I hoped to one day be fluent in four or five other languages besides English, including American Sign Language (ASL), French, and Dutch. I suppose it was only natural with a father from the Netherlands and both parents and a set of grandparents working in linguistics. I ended up taking 2½ years of French and ½ a year of Spanish in high school. At my church, my mother and I studied some ASL with a missionary to the Deaf, and when I went on to college, I continued by taking five classes (about 3 semesters worth) of ASL.
Though I no longer really hope to become fluent in all the languages in which I’m interested, I have recently added Na’vi to the list of languages I want to know. I can’t help it! I want to know more!
Grammar & Syntax
I can be, at times, what you might call a Grammar (and punctuation) Nazi. In my book, grammar and punctuation are so closely related they are basically the same subject. I don’t know all the rules, but I tend to be strict about those I know, and I’m always looking to learn more about grammar rules and what is correct. Yes, when spending hours and hours IMing, back in the day, I drove friends nuts by correcting their errors, and they drove me nuts by ignoring my corrections. Some of my pet peeves:
- The commas. I could never comprehend why people have so much trouble learning to use a comma. The biggest mistakes that irk me are below:
– I like to sing and, play guitar.
– My hair is soft, long and blonde. (The fact that this comma usage is becoming more widely accepted does not stop it from irritating me!)
- The wrong-word-usage. For example:
– Its vs. It’s
– Their vs. There
– Here vs. Hear
– Know vs. Now (Yes, people actually make that mistake.)
– Who vs. Whom (If you don’t know which word to use, re-word your sentence.)
- Prepositional Phrases.
– Having multiple prepositional phrases in the same sentence while neglecting to pay attention to the word order.
– Ending sentences with prepositions! It bothers me when I do it, too. 🙂
What is it about languages that intrigues me so much?
Maybe I’m interested simply because I’m able to understand languages. My mind grasps the concepts, the rules, and the similarities between one language and another, and it wants to know more! I don’t plan to be a linguist, but my desire to learn more about languages is hard to ignore. I do plan to take as many language courses and learn as much as I can in the future!
What about you? Do you have an affinity for languages as well? Are you already fluent in multiple languages? Do you have any tips for learning new languages? I’d love for you to share!
And don’t worry – if you don’t like languages, that won’t make me think any less of you. 😛
Note: This blog was inspired partially by Your Friend, The Comma, which I read almost two months ago.