Monday, October 1, 2012
No D Day
I was born in Great Falls, Montana, and raised in Los Angeles. When I was 8, we took a family vacation to Ensenada, Mexico, and I was fascinated by the fact that people were talking some kind of bla-bla-bla to each other. (Remember, I was only 8). But then a startling idea took hold: I was in the lobby, looking at the clock, and I suddenly realized that they weren't thinking "clock" and saying "bla-bla", but that it really WAS a bla-bla to them.
That inspired my life-long interest in other languages, and I resolved to become fluent in another language. In high school, I took Hebrew, French and Spanish, and in college, I took Japanese, and a smattering of Russian and Hausa, the language of Northern Nigeria. I was lucky enough to be selected to spend my junior year abroad, and actually DID become fluent enough in Japanese to be comfortable with conversation and to read at about a 4th grade level.
When I got back from Japan, I finished my major in Linguistics, and eventually decided to become a teacher of the deaf, because sign language is a real language, too (at the time, many people thought it was just pantomime and gestures), so I got my MA in Special Education of the Deaf. I did that for 5 years, and then switched to teaching English as a Second Language (which I had done in Japan), and eventually Japanese, too.
At some point, I found out about Esperanto, which is a language created and published by a Polish-Jewish ophthalmologist in 1887. It's fascinating, because he intentionally made it as easy to learn as possible, eliminating such bugaboos as gender, verb conjugations, irregularities of noun formation, and by regularizing formation of classes of words. I learned it in 10 hours (remember I have background in French and Spanish, and it is based mostly on French and Latin), and I have since used it to make friends worldwide, and to travel all over the world. It has been a lot of fun.
So my life has been very wrapped up in language, which of course expands to include culture, art, food, music, architecture, and everything else that is wonderful about our human family. How lucky I was to be able to take that vacation to Ensenada! :-)