Thursday, November 11, 2010

Linguistic Adventures

Started my Japanese class at the Institut Japonais last night! I was smiling the whole class just to be able to listen to a native Japanese speaker teach us the basics - in French. My nerdy multilingual dream come true. The only problem is, I think I'm learning Japanese with a French accent. Theory has been confirmed by a certain Japanese-speaking American boy I talk to quite often. I am very frustrated by this, because when I learn languages in English, somehow I don't seem to fall into the accent trap. So I blame it all on my fellow French classmates and their cursed vowels. Dangit. I will just have to tune them out. Like whoa.

For five months, I get to tote around a big red binder and spend my free time listening to a CD called "RĂ©ussir en Japonais 1" and finally feel satisfied in formally learning the language of my great-grandparents. I really really need to nip this accent thing in the bud though. Podcasts and anime ahoy!

The flip side of this accent problem is that I seem to have acquired a picture-perfect French accent that, like some sort of bizarre trench coat, I can easily slip onto my English and seem to be French for all intents and purposes. Spending many class hours with students who continue to say things like "I 'av alreddy been beetun bai a cat" (my personal favorite, used as a lie in the game "2 Truths 1 Lie") may dangerously impact my English. Code-switching is the weirdest thing.

And I do it on computers, too. In France, computer keyboards have an AZERTY layout instead of QWERTY, and lots of the keys are flipped or just plain weird. So sometimes my motor memory gets confused and when I type, my fingers itch to substitute a q for an a, or a comma for an m. Why, France, why??

1 comment: