10 Untold Truths About Modern Languages Students
Modern Languages is a difficult thing to study. However, anyone knowing two or more languages is considered a genius. A creature that goes beyond other people’s comprehension…
Our lives are littered with misconceptions.
What people think: You are the human version of Google Translator. You can translate nearly anything simultaneously and in so little time with ease and confidence. You can’t be human.
The truth: What they don’t know is that you have spent days, months and even years of your life practicing, translating, studying annoying grammar rules with their exceptions, learning endless lists of words. And even with a 1st in your degree, you still find yourself making things up. Always for your reputation’s sake of course.
They’ll never know.
What people think: You know everything about the world.
The truth: Where’s Honolulu? Does it even exist?
What people think: You have absorbed dictionaries and have a vast vocabulary.
The truth: Well, yeah, kind of; but most of the time you were too lazy to do so. Online translators are much more quicker and easier.
What people think: You know tonnes of people coming from abroad, which makes you a cool friend.
The truth: If only.
What people think: They think you’ll easily find a good job.
The truth: Ha! That’s a good one.
What people think: You are the traveller, the adventurer.
The truth: You don’t even have a job! How are you supposed to afford a trip around the world?
What people think: You can easily switch from one language to another.
The truth: No, no and definitely no. Have you any idea how confusing it is?
What people think: You are a great communicator.
The truth: Half the time you need someone else to speak for you.
What people think: You just have to learn the language. Simple.
The truth: You have to study syntax, lexicon, literature, phonology, cultures, traditions, idioms, even punctuation and how other cultures organise their thoughts. NOT simple.
What people think: You can watch movies in other languages.
The truth: Of course we can. But only with subtitles.
Et voilà. The truth has been spoken.