Okay so it starts off young, very young. Literally since I started learning my first language. As a lot of people don’t know, Ireland has two language and English isn’t out national language, but out casual language. All road signs and most other signs are in two languages. I think it’s good that we’re keeping it but I do with that we used Irish more widely, there are Irish-speaking areas, one of which I currently live in but not a lot of people speak Irish in big cities or towns and in the east there is only one Irish speaking areas, well, there are two but they’re pretty much in walking distance to each other. I’m lucky to live in the only one in the east, in my own opinion. I love speaking Irish but it can be really, really hard to find someone who also speaks the language, I mean, all my friends just speak English. Learning Irish is strictly mandatory from the ages of around 4/5 to 18/19 so most people speak it, at least to a conversational level.
I actually started with Japanese after English and Irish. I’m not fluent but I don’t think I’m that bad. I have other languages now though. I started learning French at school at age 13 but it was easy French like watching stupid videos and learning basic numbers, it wasn’t really learning a language it was just being able to know how to say a number another way other than Irish or English. I didn’t feel it. I hated French, I mean hated. I couldn’t stand it. I didn’t even know I would ever have an interest in language and linguistics at this time so I just thought as long as I didn’t go to French I was happy. I liked math and science at the time. The second year this changed. Big time. After learning some words and stupid things like what types of cheese they like in France, nothing that will ever come up on an exam. Anyway, after what I learned I wasn’t impressed with myself. Whatsoever. I always wanted to learn another European language and I did like the sound of French even though I wanted to do German, we were the first year that it was cut from out school. Anyway, I went onto a website called “Interpals.net” I wasn’t expecting much from it, all I wanted was for somebody to speak French with, well try to speak French . I met this girl called Amélie. I still talk to her today, she’s actually in South Korea, I’m far too jealous. She helped me a lot. I actually can’t express how much she helped me. I started talking to her on Skype. And it was the first time ever I constructed sentences in French. It was crazy, they weren’t the best in grammar or spelling but I made sense in a language for the first time, fresh as fuck.
That year, from my most despised subject in school to my favorite in the matter of a few weeks. Everyone in my class started to see me improve. My teacher was loving it and so was I. We never did much in class, I envied the other’s. I like to think now that I taught French to myself, of course the class was an aid but I did almost all the work at home trying to speak French with my friend. Writing my 50 new learned words per day, it was my expected amount of words. As I started to have pretty good spoken French, I expanded, and again I will say it. Big time. I actually never say that in real life. I kept Japanese of course but I started learning a load more languages. Icelandic, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish and some Korean. Of course I’m not fluent in most of them (yet), I can still have a basic conversation in all of them. I’ve already have been learning German beforehand. For my leaving certificate (a-levels, BAC, uni entrance exams), I was the only person in my whole in the whole school that did German and at honors level I’m happy I taught myself to that standard, I’m not the best at writing German but I can speak it pretty well. Same with French but I feel pretty fluent now with French.
Language has been the most rewarding thing in my life, I’m so happy that I can actually communicate pretty well in eight different languages, not a lot of people can say that. Of course it takes a tonne of hard work but oh my good god, is it rewarding? I can’t stress enough for other’s to learn another language. Well, for me personally I love learning them. I’m one of the few people who will actually find it hard to compare to an evening writing down kanji or vocab to an evening out. Sad, isn’t it? I don’t care, I know what I like and what I don’t like.
Right now I’m actually in university studying applied language and translation. For someone who didn’t like their 1st year French class, I’ve come along way from the thankfully changed opinions of my past. People change. Soon, I’ll actually live in Japan for a year and going to university there. My heart skips even thinking about it, literally a dream come true. I really want to thank Amélie for helping me with French for all this time, it the starting point in what got me to the place I am where I’m doing something I really love.
In the future I really want to work for the European Union. I’ve been thinking about this for years. Maybe something different will come up? I do want to live in Japan though, maybe I can find something there.
To finish, I’m so thankful that I’ve actually found my passion and something that I like doing so much I could and might do it for the rest of my life. Most people don’t even know what their “thing” is. I guess it’s a matter of being optimistic. Doors are always open until you close them. I’ve found my passion, have you?