Friday, January 20, 2006


Well, the heady days of self-study are long behind me, and 5 hours of Portuguese a day are kneeling heavily on my windpipe. They always tell you in language study to expect irrational bouts of anger and unhappiness, and it is certainly proving true in my case. I'm having trouble controlling my attitude toward a language that was essentialy forced on me, which is pleasant for neither myself, my instructor, nor the other people in my class. Occasionally, I've found myself close to tears. I asked a friend the other day if my feelings were normal, or if I was just going a bit nuts. He maintains this is a standard reaction, and I suppose he ought to know -- he's doing Korean from scratch. Mild blow-ups in his class are apparently not uncommon (though not from him, he assures me).

I think what I'd like most of all is for people to quit telling me how easy Portuguese should be after Japanese. A romance language may be closer to English than an asian one, but it's still a foreign language; I'm expected to progress in Portuguese a lot faster than in Japanese, but that doesn't make the process any easier or more palatable. Still, I can sense that I'm getting more comfortable with things -- coming up on the second week of training, my brain doesn't seem so resistant to forming new pathways as it did at first. But an unexpected amount of German, Japanese, and even Spanish (which I hadn't given a thought to since elementary school!) seems to be competing for space in my Portuguese sentences. If Japanese study produced linguistic incontinence, this is something more akin to linguistic Tourette's...

Eu estou cansada. Or something like that. Tchau.

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