Being Open is Usually Good

I’ve recently decided that one of my lifelong goals is to be near-native fluent in as many languages as possible before I finally pass on for good, which, on closer inspection, is a rather ill-defined goal. Just how many is “as many as possible”? Have I failed already because my Mum wouldn’t let me learn French when I had the chance 10 years ago? Does “Here lies Vickie / Who spoke a dozen languages / But still died anyway” really make a cooler epitaph?

Anyhow, when I learn a new language, I like to make myself think in that language before I allow myself to do anything fun. You want to eat? Say it in the new language first. You want to play? Say it in the new language first. You want to pee? … Oh screw it, just go pee.

Yes, I talk to myself a lot.

That night, I’d wanted to watch TV. Easy! They always teach you how to say “watch TV”. Should I spice it up a bit? Yes I should. Adjectives, adverbs, time clause, reason clause… And so I said the full sentences in that mysterious new language. It was grammatically correct and I sounded exactly like an awkward native speaker who had to justify watching TV. Damn am I talented.

“And with that, Vickie,” I thought to myself in English, “you may now open the TV*.”

Wait. No. No. No no no. Noooooooooo.

Perhaps I should work on my sipping seeping sleeping slipping English first…


*In Chinese, most things are opened / open (開). You don’t turn on and off the lights or other electrical appliances; you “open” and “close” them. You don’t attend or hold a meeting; you “open” a meeting. You don’t fire a gun; you “open gun”. Flowers don’t bloom; they “open”.

In case you’re wondering, no, I didn’t let myself watch TV that night.

10 thoughts on “Being Open is Usually Good”

  1. I had the same goal as well but seeing as I dont have enough free elective units in college Im thinking about abandoning my minor in japanese

  2. You say “open/close” when you talk about things in Chinese? That’s a pretty interesting way of looking at it. :)

  3. God, what an awesome goal. I struggle with trying be fluent in just one required for my major. I can’t imagine even having the desire to want to learn yet another. Good luck with that, and opening your tv ;)

  4. I “returned all my Gaelic and Japanese back to the teachers”, so to speak. :D I used to want to be fluent in languages too, but now before anything – both my Chinese and English need serious fixes.

    To think about it though, don’t things like this make bilingualism fun? The G string on your layout had me think of something utterly inappropriate at first sight so…

    1. Get your mind out of the gutter, Melody! XD

      Heheh, just kidding. The inappropriate “G String” name is very much intended given the many other proper and relevant names I could have named it.

  5. I am fluent in English and Chinese. I am content, but if I learn another language it would be Japanese

  6. I’d also love to learn more languages, unfortunately I’m so lazy. You know you’re lucky because you can blame your mom for not having learned French. I can only blame myself for not having learned it.

    My motivation for learning a new language is that if/when I visit a country where said language is spoken, I’ll be able to SAY something (doesn’t matter what) in said language. On that note, I’m sooo looking forward to visiting the UK XP

  7. I like learning new language especially when I am living in another country; learning the language of the country helps me to understand a little of its cultures and people.

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