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Where Do You Find the Time?

June 23, 2013

I’ve made reference before to the fact that my wife’s a monolinguist (or at least, I think I have).  I don’t put it down in the slightest – it’s her way, and the language-learning is my hobby when I’m not on the ice – but I do find that it certainly makes it interesting when I’m trying to practice or learn something new.

Basically, it means I don’t have anyone to practice with in the house, and someone who looks at me strangely when I’m talking to the kids/cats/computer in tongues.

Now, my wife is very intelligent, and it’s not that she doesn’t want to learn a foreign language.   She did, while in high school, actually take French, but has since forgotten almost everything she learned as do so many other Americans.  When we talk about it, she’s expressed that she’d like, at some point, to learn Spanish, if only because it seems like it would be more useful than trying to resurrect her French…

It does fall into something that Benny Lewis says a lot about wanting to learn a language, that “there are seven days in the week, and someday is not one of them.”

I work my language learning around other obligations – I have Duolingo on my phone so I can practice while I’m waiting for a drink at Starbucks or while my son’s doing gymnastics, I have Memrise so I can work on vocabulary when I’m watching for his bus, or while I’m having lunch at the office, and I have my conversation group at the office to practice my Spanish.  I’m going to be joining a local conversation group as well, so I have other folks to chat with… and that doesn’t count looking for a local Esperanto group, or perhaps trying to find some time to chat with my cousins in Hebrew…

It’s really an aspect of the joke about whose in-box you would drop important work into – the coworker who has a full box, or the one who has an empty one.  (Hint – it’s counter-intuitive:  The one with the full box is going to make time to fit in the task.)

Now, if you’ll excuse me, my nearly-sixty-day streak on Duo demands my attention…

  1. I get the same weird looks from my wife too. Sometimes she humors me, though, and will repeat what I say. Thanks for stopping by at my blog.

  2. Commenting on an older post, sorry, but this article just resonated with me. Despite my love for languages I’m surrounded by monolists. For me it’s not only the ‘someday’, but more the fact that they simply don’t understand what it takes or can’t appreciate a curious fact about a language. The other day I was trying to explain that verbs need to be conjugated and that you exists as singular and plural or that you can’t translate word for word and the reply is ‘huh, I didn’t think those languages were that different’. And these people are Canadian who presumably had some exposure to French at some point. So to me it’s not so much the lack of speaking a different language as it is the lack of awareness and interest , though I suppose each to their own is the best way to look at it. But it would be nice to share my hobby with people in my real life.

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