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UC2: Multilingualism (I just need a yay or a nay for the red parts)


Haru21 6 / 18  
Nov 29, 2009   #1
Very tentative 4th try at the prompt: Tell us about a personal quality or experience that is important to you, how does it relate to the person you are.

Note: I'm thinking of cutting out the stuff in red because I can only write about 450 words on this one, but am quite fond of them. Please let me know what you think.

I'm also afraid that my focus when from all my experiences in languages in general to Spanish. Maybe it's better if I kind laundry list my experience with each language?

Suggestions and edits are appreciated.

Thank you.

Dove, Dů, Donde, Saan, Doko, Where

Survival one-oh-one for when I travel, I thought.

I was constantly surrounded by languages. Japanese, English, Spanish Tagalog, Hindi, Italian, and French were some of the ones I was familiar with, since I had friends and family of these nationalities teach me a phrase or two during social events. Maybe my love of languages was innate, as my mother was once an ambassador's representative in the Philippines and can converse in roughly seven languages.

Being raised partially in Japan and America, as well as having a cultural loving Filipino mother made for a multilingual home. I also had close friends who speak Spanish, Hindi, Italian, and French, so I made myself familiar with a few of their phrases during social events. I even found a passing interest in Latin.

I had survived just fine visiting the various countries of Europe, I even picked up some German from a friendly bartender in Switzerland. While enjoying my virgin appletini, I sat entranced by his tales of travels, learning nine languages by the age of twenty-four so that he could do odd jobs to support his family and kids. I laugh as I remember the uproar I caused amongst the teachers, losing track of time and running back frantically to the hotel at midnight.


I was proud in my lingual abilities. I had a pocket full of phrases for almost all the countries I held interest in. When I became a Junior the following year, however, that confidence came crashing.

I got a C in Spanish level four.

For someone who despised Bs, I was shell shocked. The vocabulary was right and the grammar was decent, yet my teacher continually docked me off for the little articles and accents even the natural born Spanish speakers made. From using flash cards to Spanish for Dummies, I religiously studied to fill the scattered gaps in my knowledge to no avail. Those Cs kept on appearing, with occasional spurts of Bs, I despaired that she only counted a few verbal and written tests in our grade, rather than crediting any of the meticulously checked homework I did. I obsessed over that class and soon neglected my presidential duties as book club president, and stopped going to debate practices entirely. It was nearly impossible to get an A from her.

Then one day, I helped out on the Halloween arts and crafts night at the city library. A little kid stood before me, lost on what to do despite my attempts to show him how to construct a q-tip skeleton on paper. I was equally as puzzled until I head a voice fire off in Spanish across the room, delving into a fast paced instruction on how to construct a pumpkin shaped masked to a parent.

Oh. He doesn't speak English. I realized.

I was baffled, how do I explain how to make a skeleton out of q-tips and glue to a five year old? Hesitant, I looked around. "Do you want to put on little hands?" my partner asked a little girl while pointing at the skeleton.

Taking a breath, I tried softly, "Quieres poner las manitas?", and to my surprise the boy nodded his head. I learned from then on, that simplicity is the key.

Languages are more than mere words structured in grammatical rules. They allow us to truly understand each other by providing invaluable means to rely our feelings and thoughts. Now I practice Spanish like I practice Japanese. I watch soap operas.

Der Frieden, La Paix, Paz, Pace, Heiwa, Peace

I aim to be multilingual.
OP Haru21 6 / 18  
Nov 29, 2009   #2
Though syntax and proper usage are important, but language extends beyond the words themselves. They allow us to truly understand each other by providing invaluable means to rely our feelings and thoughts- a way to connect with one another. With this realization, I found a stronger love for the diversity of this world. I want to value what each person has to say, and in turn I want them to understand who I am. Thus, I will not allow a few phonemes and semantics stand in my way.

Der Frieden, La Paix, Paz, Pace, Heiwa, Peace

This is my new resolve to be multilingual.

new ending
yang 2 / 313  
Nov 29, 2009   #3
So what happened to your spanish class?

Well, if the only part you need to be criticized upon is the 2 red paragraphs, lose them. At first, I thought they are quite nice, but then your attention shifted (a bit too harshly) to the "experience" of your C, so these paragraphs that defines your "personal quality".

It's hard to describe both "quality" and "experience".

O and your soap opera reference could be considered in two ways:

1. distracts the essay, kills momentum.
2. funny relief.

Depending on how you consider it, keep it or not.
Vulpix - / 71  
Nov 29, 2009   #4
I think the first two paragraphs you put in red should be condensed to give a brief history of your experiences with languages. You could probably sum that up in one or two sentences, and add it to your first main paragraph. The line about the soap operas is fine- it's not necessary, but it adds humor.

Also, I am a little confused by the premise of your essay. So are you indeed multilingual? What languages are you actually fluent in? You mention "picking up phrases" of certain languages and that sort of thing, which implies that you aren't entirely fluent...

I agree with yang; I think you should also address the resolution of your Spanish class. Did you end up doing better? How did learning that "simplicity is key" help you learn Spanish?

Other grammatical edits:

"I was constantly surrounded by languages."
The past tense implies that you are no longer surrounded by languages.

"I was proud in my lingual abilities."
It should be "proud of", not "proud in".

"[...] how to construct a pumpkin shaped masked to a parent."
I'm assuming that you mean to say "how to construct a pumpkin shaped mask to a parent"?

"Der Frieden, La Paix, Paz, Pace, Heiwa, Peace"
I'm not sure how the word "peace" relates to your essay. If you're trying to parallel the structure of the opening of your essay, then maybe you should pick another word?
OP Haru21 6 / 18  
Nov 29, 2009   #5
Ya, I'm going all over the place because I'm rushing, my mother wants me to turn everything in the next hour. But this really helps!

I'm fluent in Japanese, English, Conversational spanish, and basic travel phrases for Europe. Maybe I should concentrate on that and scrap out the whole Spanish trauma that I had in my moment of bitterness haha. (I ended up with a B in that class)

Then for a fleeting moment I wanted to say I want to learn more languages because understanding each other is the key to peace or something like that.

But I ended up condensing everything to make it into 400 words.

Thank you! I tend to stray from points too often.


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