language

Although I didn't set out at the beginning of this year with any real resolutions, one of my longterm goals is to work on my Japanese, and to improve my French.

When I moved to the UK aged 9, I spoke next to zero English. Thanks to very patient and kind teachers and friends (and my young, sponge-like brain), I became 100% fluent in about two years.

Along with that, my Japanese got lost. I speak it, but reading and writing is a huge struggle and I have been wanting to rectify that for a long time. It's just one of those things that always got put on the back burner, with other, more pressing matters taking priority.

Which sounds silly, because what is more pressing than being able to read and write your mother tongue (I consider it my mother tongue, but not my first language)? It is definitely something I need to make time for this year.

As for French, I really should be better at it, considering I studied it at school for 7 years. My (somewhat feeble) excuse, is that whilst living in Austria for three years to complete my masters degree, I had to learn a basic level of German, and that pushed the French out of my brain. There's only so much space in there, you know?

Wrong. There is enough brain to go round and anyway, it's not even as though I learnt a huge amount of German (my uni was so international that everyone ended up speaking English). I could understand and speak very simple conversations, follow my lessons and know the basic language to work in a little shop once a week. I hope to retain at least what little I learnt.

So, French. I understand about 70 per cent of what is being said, provided they are not talking about anything too intellectual. I don't speak it well, at all. I can listen to people talking in French and catch enough words to get the gist of the conversation, but I can't find the words myself to join in.

I have always loved the language, and being married to a Frenchman really gives me no excuse to avoid learning it properly, once and for all. I think I'm incredibly lucky to be exposed to different cultures and languages, so I need to make the most of what I'm given.

Any languages you're working on right now?