25 Things All Languages Students Know To Be True
Languages degrees are arguably the most varied of degrees out there. In spite of this, there are some things that all languages students know to be true.
1. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t love absolutely everything about the language and culture you’re learning.
2. Partly because a good percentage of what you learned before university turned out to be incorrect.
3. Learning grammar in a foreign language teaches you, above all, just how little you knew about English grammar.
4. You worried that you’d be the least fluent after the Year Abroad.
5. But, really, neither you, nor anybody else has any idea what fluency means.
6. Or if it’s even possible to be completely fluent in a language.
7. You cannot trust Google Translate.
8. And you can’t always trust WordReference either.
But you do appreciate their examples.
9. You’ll never learn to be OK with people randomly asking you to say things in your target language.
Or translate everything on menus.
10. Mostly because, when it happens, it’s usually something you don’t know how to say.
11. So you just say something that gives the general gist and hope they’re not testing you.
12. No amount of improvement in your language skills makes speaking exams or phone calls abroad any less distressing.
13. And you will never appreciate people telling you how jealous they are that one of your exams is “just a conversation”.
14. You automatically know to falsely claim you can’t hear the recording during a listening exam so that you can listen to as many test snippets as possible.
15. The struggle against subjectivity is real.
“What you said was perfectly correct but it’s not how I would’ve said it, therefore it’s not right. Even though it is, technically.”
16. As is the fear that Word will automatically change all the accents in your essay again before you submit it.
17. You will be irreversibly traumatised by at least one film in a foreign language.
18. And you’ll spend a small fortune on various, obscure books on your reading list that you may or may not actually need.
19. You regularly hear how many doors are open to you thanks to your degree.
But you’re yet to see what all of these doors lead to.