As you force yourself every night to sit down and do your horrendous pile of foreign language homework, the words “it’s important to learn a second language” flash through your mind. You think back to freshman year course selection and curse yourself for tormenting yourself through years of tedious grammar rules, excessive vocabulary lists, and ceaseless conjugations. Why did you do this to yourself?
Through elementary school, I was forced to take Spanish. I absolutely despised it. I felt like my time was being wasted with useless words that I didn’t even care about learning. The extra homework (which I refused to do) and the extra tests added another reason to object to the school systems’ growing mantra of learning another language. Once middle school hit and offered the choice of taking a foreign language, I dropped Spanish and never looked back. I happily spent my three years of middle school foreign language free.
Before I knew it, however, I was once again faced with the burdensome task of choosing a foreign language for high school. Spanish, French, German, and Chinese were my options. Spanish was a definite no. I saw little use for German, and I was hesitant to jump on the take-Chinese bandwagon. That left me with French. So, I held my nose and circled it, hoping that my pronunciation and accent wouldn’t be too atrocious.
If you can’t tell by now, I wasn’t enthralled with the whole foreign language business. I would probably still have that attitude too if I never moved right before high school. That was when my foreign language miracle occurred.
It was time for course selection take two, and I was already ticked off before I even got to the foreign language part because I heard that we had to do a fetal pig dissection in Accelerated Biology. (I actually ended up never doing the dissection. One look at that shriveled, pink blob, and I ended up sprinting out of room, refusing to go back in until they were done.) Sulking my way through the sheet, I finally got to the language section. I was just about to circle French again, when something caught my eye. Between German and Mandarin was an option I never expected to see: Italian.
It was love at first sight. There was no doubt in my mind of what language I was going to take. The idea of taking Italian was captivating to me. It was exotic, it was romantic, it was intriguing, and, above all, it was the language of marvelous food!
I am now in my third year of Italian, and I have loved every second of it. There has never been a moment where I have regretted my decision to take the class. It’s a beautiful language with unique and quirky characteristics. For example, Italian gets it’s bouncy flow from having ninety-nine point nine percent of its words end in vowels. You can tell if an “-ire” verb is an “-isc” verb if you count five letters from the end of the word and that letter is a vowel. Finally, Italian has hilarious idiomatic expressions. The title of this article is the expression cavoli riscaldati, which translates to “reheated cabbage.” It really means, “to revive an old relationship,” which is very appropriate since Italian revived my moribund relationship with learning foreign languages. Along with learning the language, I get to soak in the culture of Italy and learn about her intricate architecture, lively people, deep-rooted traditions, and, of course, food! There has been many feasts in class, but, as the saying goes, what happens in Italian class stays in Italian class…
Learning something new is hard. It can be tedious and frustrating at times, and it requires a lot of patience and effort. Being forced to learn or do something you have no care in doing only adds to the torment. Find something you are passionate about. If you enjoy doing something, then it is no longer work.