Jilara (jilara) wrote,

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Language skills

I can read a lot better than speak the languages I know (well, Japanese doesn't count, in that I'd recognize the words better in the Roman alphabet). But when I have someone say something to me in the language, it gets even worse. It's like my brain spasms and can't formulate a reply at all---it just goes south. It's like I'm so afraid of making a mistake that I can't even access the data.

And wow, I was trying to read some 19th century French magazines lately, and realizing how rusty I am. I can follow most of it, but there are a few phrases I just don't know, interspersed. And my Spanish skills are so basic as to be ridiculous, for someone who lives in California. I think I'm better at Latin than Spanish! Japanese...rusty, rusty, rusty, and it was pretty basic. I also need to really start learning my basic written Japanese.

What prompts all this? Antique books, for one. I got bunch of antique books, lately. I looked at the title of a 19th century woodblock book in Japanese, and saw something with "origin" that might be "original" and something incorporating "woman," but that was all. I don't want to just look at the pictures! (Which are admittedly why I got the Japanese ones.) I've also gotten a lot of antique cookbooks and women's magazines in French, and need to get back to reading like a pro. Also, I have a cookbook in Spanish, and need to be better at translating.

And people have been speaking French and Japanese around me, lately! I feel helpless if I can follow part of what they say, but can't figure how to interact...

Great, I get to work on all this in my copious free time...
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