Friday, 1 July 2011

via experience

languages are one of those things that you can pick up easily but can only master through constant and prolonged use. just like how a native speaker of a language can differentiate between regional accents, so can he tell when a non-native (non-fluent) speaker is butchering the language. much like i do. much like illegal immigrants do. much like pretentious posers in cowboy boots and overly-warm sweatshirts. ahem, i digress.

languages are also one of those things that, with failure to continually exercise, it falls into decrepit decay and slowly ebbs away, leaving one with fumbled gestures and stuttered words. it's like a literary muscle which suffers from the withdrawal effects of a proverbial steroid, leaving us hapless in the absence of injections of farfetched words and uncommonly-used phrases.

so how, pray tell - how does one improve on a language by shortcuts and improvised lies? by turning on the subtitles to movies when one should be listening for nuances in speech? by not looking up alien words or culturally placing exotic phrases? by dismissing education for ignorance?

i don't pretend to know the answers, being a speaker of foreign languages. i don't pretend to know how one would attempt to answer these questions, being a writer of foreign tongues. all i do pretend to do, is write. and speak. but not so much that i'm a pretentious poser in cowboy boots and overly-warm sweatshirts.

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