Shifting Focus in Language Learning

Sometime this semester, I realized I enjoy learning a foreign language. Not only the “petty” reward of being able to read characters on people’s shirts or on obscure food packages, or impressing my bilingual acquaintances by using easy phrases for a minimal conversation.

The very process of learning and incorporating new information (vocabulary, grammar) into my brain is something I have discovered to be very enjoyable!

Now when people ask me about my interests, I add “learning languages” to the hobby list. I have such a hunger for learning that I study language just as much as I do for my college classes, even though foreign language is something I am studying independently (that is, on my own/outside of school).

I’ve had some experience in language learning (living in my mother’s home country for a couple years in elementary school, and studying Latin for 2 years in high school), but this past January for some reason I decided to take up Japanese. I’m not exactly sure why I decided to learn, and why I decided to learn Japanese of all things. To actually pursue a level of fluency.

Although not perfectly consistent, I’ve kept up with my studies. I haven’t gotten far: learning two of the “alphabets” (Kana), beginning to learn the third (Kanji), pronunciation, basic phrases, and little vocab. I actually hate to say that I haven’t gotten far, because anyways I’m impressed with my progress considering my self-guidance, 3 month hiatus for drum corps, and welcome distraction of a second language I want to learn.

However, due to regular dates with a romantic Italian and a hopeful & upcoming trip to Europe this summer, it has become more relevant for me to learn Italian now. (Literally: “I’ll be damned if I keep dating a polyglot and not learn another language!”)

So this week I have officially shifted my main language focus from Japanese to Italian.

I have not given up on Japanese and I will not stop. I feel that I’ve made enough progress that I shouldn’t turn back. But it’s just not my primary focus. My current goal is to not lose what I have, so keeping the Kana alive and active in my mind, while continuing to work through the important Kanji. Basically, “reading” Japanese is the back-burner’s new focus.

With Italian in the front seat now, I can spend more time on the grammar and vocabulary so as to maximize my speaking opportunities. In Italian, speaking is the central focus. I hope to write about my tools and methods for studying both of these languages, but different facets of each (reading or speaking).

I have a wonderful problem of too many interests, so moving forward my challenge will be balancing (possibly by reducing).


That’s all for now until any future updates! 🙂




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