I’m a language learner from Fort Stewart, GA and an aspiring polyglot , in spite of my tragic flaw of growing up shy with many instances of extreme social anxiety… I grew up moving around a lot, and it was hard to make friends because I wasn’t as socially adapted as the rest. For the past 3 years, I’ve been taking the initiative to find ways of beating this “shy/introvert” label that I believed would never disappear. One thing that helped me immensely was learning foreign languages in my downtime.
I’m pretty well-versed in Mandarin and Spanish, and I can speak a good bit of Tagalog, Thai, Russian, a few Chinese dialects, Taiwanese, and Portuguese. French is still relatively easy for me to understand, considering I haven’t practiced it in a year or two. There are a few other languages that I know only a couple of phrases in (ASL, Swahili, Xhosa, Italian, German, Dutch, Hindi, Punjabi).
There was hardly any fear of talking to people here, because I knew that I would almost certainly say a lot of things wrong, and that was ok. It’s all about seeing what you can remember and building on that, and every step forward is a step in the right direction.
As I got better at speaking them, heads started to really turn. It really started with Tagalog. I’d talk to the 4 or 5 Filipinos I could find in the culturally barren city of Sumter, and they were always happy to help me improve. After that, I moved onto Mandarin. My Chinese and Taiwanese friends would lose their marbles upon hearing me speak Mandarin even with my average pronunciation, amazed that this “Wai guo ren” (foreigner) could somehow speak Chinese! In this blog, I’ll be sharing my approaches to different languages, and welcoming further input from other language learners as well as anyone from outside of the foreign language spectrum with a bit of curiosity.
Jaye, the Shy Language Learner
P. S. The poster there was for a show I performed in last spring, singing in 4 different languages. I feel like my progress really showed there. (: