Ineffable Word

And did I mention we speak Spanish?

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I just finished my first semester! How did that happen?  I truly, madly, deeply hope that time slows down after the first semester, because if it doesn’t it I feel like graduation will be just a few stressful assignments away. I can’t believe that I’m already 1/8 done with my undergraduate degree already!

(Don’t panic though)

I will probably get around to doing a blog on my impressions of life at Glendon and university as a whole, but I think I’ll let the trauma of exams wear off before I do. Kidding! Or am I?

However that’s a story for another day. The topic for today’s post is… (Insert drumroll here) Languages!

Glendon is known for its English-French coexistence. Students enrolled are pretty much guaranteed to have at least a certain level of bilingualism by the time they graduate. And what is cool, it I may say so myself, is that it’s not just Anglophones trying to learn French, there’s also a number of Francophones trying to learn English. Thus if there’s a will to learn, there’s a way.

But what a lot of people don’t know is that Glendon is, in fact, trilingual. Say again? Yes, trilingual.  Besides the bilingual program for people seeking English – French proficiency, there’s also the option of a trilingual program for English, French, and Spanish, and there is also a Hispanics Studies department at the campus.

At the beginning of the year I was super excited about my classes. I mean learning Latin? My dream! But there were some classes that at best I was apprehensive about. Those would be Critical, Thinking, Reading and Writing and Stylistic Comparison between English and Spanish. And you may be thinking, what’s wrong with those classes? They seem like a perfect choice for a Linguistics major. And they are. Well…

Honestamente el problema de coger más clases en español era que, para mí, que mi lengua materna es el español, la idea de ir a un país anglófono para tomar clases de español era semejante a montar en triciclo viejo y chiquito después de que uno aprende a montar en bicicleta: es incómodo, no se aprende nada nuevo y  francamente un poco aburrido. Quería estudiar fuera de mi propio país porque como amante obsesionada de los idiomas mi idea era aprender siete nuevas lenguas, no repasar la que a este punto debería dominar, (énfasis en la palabra debería).

I had to sit through enough Spanish lessons in high school I was ready for something new. But I also really loved languages, and the idea of the trilingual certificate was too tempting. Thus not only did I study Spanish in my first semester out of a Spanish speaking country, I enrolled in two classes! But it was the best decision ever.

You could say that I speak Spanish like any other native Spanish speaker. But because of my terrible, horrible punctuation I feel like I do not master it. Do you get what I mean? I belong to the Microsoft Office Word and autocorrect generation. To the people that don’t full heartedly believe in the importance of impeccable spelling, or at least to those who failed to achieve it and therefore deny it. Yet at the same time I really love languages and being able to express myself according to the rules of each language, (or correctly), I am a Linguistics and Language student! Why, oh why, did my spelling in my own mother tongue had to, well, suck?

Tenía dieciocho años, era considerada un adulto en casi todos los lugares del mundo y podía votar, y beber, y manejar (aunque no en Ontario y nunca a la misma vez), pero tenía terrible ortografía, ¿y para qué no decirlo? Terrible puntuación también. Para ser justas las tildes a veces son algo difíciles de poner. Ósea sí, hay unas muy obvias como mamá y petróleo, pero también hay otras que se ponen de manera que casi parecen arbitrarias: como, cómo, porque, por qué, porqué, tenía. Hay tantas excepciones a las reglas que se necesitan más reglas para cumplir con las excepciones.

But then, when I got to class on my first day and the professor asked if there was something that we would like to review from Spanish or if there was something where we didn’t feel strong enough so that we could focus on improving that throughout the semester it seemed to me like an angel sent from heaven itself. That was my one opportunity to remedy the wrongs of my misspent youth.

Con cada clase nueva, sin embargo,  poco a poco, poniendo mucho cuidado y prestando mucha atención empecé a darme cuenta de muchas de las faltas que estaba cometiendo. Ya conocía las reglas, lo único que me hacía falta era escuchar el sonido de la palabra para poder saber dónde iba el acento.

By all means it isn’t an instantaneous process, and I bet I made more mistakes writing this right now than I should after boasting of having improved so much. But I feel like it is at the very least a solid start.

Después de pasar tanto un tiempo con mi familia durante las vacaciones de Navidad puedo notar el efecto de haber pasado tanto tiempo hablando inglés. Traduzco en mi mente lo que quiero decir del inglés al español cuando debería ser al contrario. Se me olvidan palabras o no soy capaz de expresarme completamente sin recurrir al inglés; mi propio idioma se desliza de mi mente mientras escribo esto.

As truly do not wish to lose my mother tongue to disuse and abandonment I am doubly glad that I took the time to enroll in those two classes in Spanish. Not only did they improve my use of the language, which is welcomed, but they kept it alive and rust free inside my mind. What’s more it has encouraged me to think about pursuing the certificate of translation for English and Spanish. So who knows?

Link to Billingual or Trillingual Programs

Link to Glendon Hispanics Department

 

On parlera du français plus tard.

 

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