Why Do We Do This?
If there's a discussion I wanted to get into in terms of why which we talked about already a little bit you know why I do this it all we talked about this right the beginning of the course and they're a lot of reasons we talked about some of them in terms of travel and love and romance and all that reasons of feeling self accomplishment stuff like that um and how it makes you smarter than how it makes you a more rounded person but in terms of the sense of more round in person like what is this spring to you well just just give you when you actually do this and give you a lot we went over all these things in terms of better creative problem solving skills and better math skills better english skills and better just sort of makes you I'm smarter now poof just from learning language but there's something else that's kind of really magical about learning languages which is um which I saw over and over and over again every time I've done this particularly in the middlebury programs because ...
you start get to see this switch there were a number of teachers I had in aa friends school for instance where there's this one teacher who was the most elegant woman I've ever met I mean just articulate beyond words was speaking about these thes french playwrights and these french philosophers and you're just her like just elegance and just sort of we knew her firth for this this seven week period we knew her entirely in french and she was this most just like this this goddess of brilliance leaves like wow I'm just like I'm speechless like this is amazing and then on the last day of the program we'll switch into english and I find out that she's from texas she's his party girl from texas she swears like a sailor and it's just sort of like a whatsapp what do we do it? And it was this this sudden personality shift that just just was insane I've never seen anything like it and I saw this again with another actually one of the teachers there where were you this this was one of the acting teachers and super suave french guy just sort of teaching his acting class swap sauce wild beyond words and then last day switches into english and this is sort of this like really got a sweet kind of nerdy guy and you're like, who are you? Who are these people that we meet? And I noticed this in myself where in every single language I've learned I become a different person, you know, in italian we'll get to italian I mean in french I found that I could uh I could talk about things that were usually uncomfortable to talk about I have I have topics that were just uncomfortable topics about my my own feelings and about, you know, family and about friends and about just things that you don't know there are things you don't always want to talk about, but I could talk about them just fine in french I mean it's just french I'm that french guy is talking about me I'm just sort of putting this little french mask on and going la la la it's fine, whatever we could talk about whatever you want sure it's all true, but I'm just I'm just talking in a male languages is a game when it doesn't really matter uh, I found that in italian, for instance, I every single word was filled with, uh, joy because it was italy and italy is a land of joy, honestly, the land of delicious food, of wonderful people, of wonderful weather of beauty and so italian for me, every single word was connected with the's sensory experiences of just happiness. Ah, and so for me, it wasn't like, you know, I don't have this word. Gelato and gelato was not the italian word for ice cream in it wasn't even you know, the what the italians look like you know what? On what on google images was the italian word for ice cream for me gelato was going from city to city to city looking for the best gelato it was this amazing coconut gelato in legend quit everywhere that it's like it's just coconuts in your mouth and it's this the frog away the strawberry gelato in rome next to the parthenon where you look at the parthenon you go left and there's his place and they just dump strawberries in your mouth with every likely just have a little bite in huge have a mouthful of strawberry this is gelato for me it is this network of memories that I have built and all those memories were great and so on italian ii gesture in italian I'm a different person in italian and I have to gesture in italian because it's that's the way you do it it's not just like it's not like I'm acting like I'm being italian or something you have to because it's it's the it's who you are it's who you've become there is this sense in there's this theory called disappear worf I posses we're talking about this in the break where uh there's this theory that has been proven wrong that language has changed the way you think and it's been proven wrong for bilingual tze it's been proven wrong for the sense that if you grow up with a language it will not change who you are meaning that russians or russian and if that russian was born in america he would be american but he wouldn't somehow because he was he spoke russian he wouldn't think differently and if someone speaks two languages, they still they're still the same person it's not like the language actually changes who you are. There was this sense that, well, the the innuit tribes up in alaska, they have, you know, forty words for snow, so therefore they must be more connected with nature. It turns out to not be the case, they just have some words that's, the case for your first language, but for your second language you get to create memories that are only a subset of your life italian me has on lee lived in italy, italian me has only eaten gelato that was actually gelato and was not in some box labeled gelato italian me has had pasta that is ridiculously good, and so italian me is a different person than english me russian means a different person than english me every one of these people are different people, and they're different people in the sense that not just in a sense of the game, not in the sense of I'm playing this russian on tv, you know, I'm playing oh, I'm just I'm just pretending to be french, they show you different aspects of yourself, you get to meet different aspects of yourself, you get to meet subsets of your personality, you get to actually be this person who is comfortable speaking about things that you're not necessarily even comfortable about speaking in your native language, you have to be this person who is willing to enjoy life like an italian, because that is who you are in that language, and that is who you actually are in real life is just a part of you. You get to meet different parts of you within a foreign language, and for me that ends up being the most important part of learning languages because like, yes, you get to talk to people. Yes, you've got to be smarter. Yes, you get to do all these things you get to earn more, you get to make a language website and bring people there. But honestly, the the idea of being able to meet yourself in a new way is indescribable is the best reason to do anything, at least for me, in terms of coming up with reasons that have to do with yourself that aren't connected with what if someone else wants out of me but are just for why am I doing this for myself? The idea of meeting myself again is something that you can on lee do here you can on lee do through foreign language and is invaluable I've never seen anything else in terms of bringing joy and something new to your own life.