Foreign language experience Language is the most important aspect to me. It represents my identity, culture, and passion. english
and Hmong are the two languages that I use everyday. I love being bilingual because I get to educate people about my ethnic background. The experiences and languages I encountered helped me gain more knowledge about my beliefs and myself. Language is the essential key communicator among people. I love surrounding myself with diverse people in which I can push myself to learn more languages.
I was exposed to the Thai language at a young age. My parents lived in thailand
during the vietnam
War and they learned the language to survive. My inspiration to learn Thai derived from my mother who watched lakorns and music. My mom has taught me about the Thai culture and helped me with definitions on terms that I didn’t know. She loves the culture and language as much as I do too. I enhanced the Thai language by printing song lyrics in both Thai and english
to understand the meaning of words and the formation of the language. Although, I am not able to read and write in Thai characters, I can read the Thai Roman translation. For instance, I recognized the word ‘hua jai’ as the english
word for “heart”. I can speak Thai with little complication because the pronunciation is clear.
In addition, I studied aboard in thailand
for two and a half months where I had the opportunity to stay with a Thai family. Along with that, I took a Thai language class and with my interest in the language, I was able to enhance my vocabulary and pronunciation. The Thai language is similar to Hmong so understanding how to speak it was not a problem. For example, in english
, people would say, “I have a big head” but in Hmong and Thai, they would say, “I have a head big.” Usually the adjective is after the noun. I used the language when I’m out shopping, buying food, and with my host family. Most of the time, I understood what they were saying, but responding back to them in Thai was difficult. I wasn’t able to hold a fluent conversation with them, but I used simple sentences like, “I am cold,” “I am taking a shower” or “I am hungry”. I was still proud of myself. While I speak to them in Thai, they spoke to me in english
. We helped each other to improve the languages that we were passionate about.
Also, in middle school I was introduced to different languages: spanish
. I chose french
because of the teacher and her fun activities. The teacher provided each student a french
name, which immediately created a comfortable environment for me. She spoke only french
in her classroom. She created a lot of partner work, provided clear instructions, and had special techniques to remember the tenses. Her quizzes were easy to follow because she displayed pictures and simple sentences, which was good for a beginner class. She did a lot of repeating and body gestures to help me understood what she meant. In addition, there was a field trip to the zoo where I did a presentation on an animal in french
. This was an opportunity where I spoke, listened, and learned french
. My teacher’s engaging personality and love for the language made french
interesting and less intimidate for me. french
has been a part of me through my many years in school.
Languages have brought me many wonderful memories. I was able to meet inspirational people who have shown me that languages are fun and beneficial for me in the future. I would love to continue my journey to learn more foreign languages and travel around the world to use that language.