The languages I tried to learn and the languages I’ll never learn

Part 2. Childhood

There were no textbooks for self-instruction, nor any dictionaries of foreign languages in our home. I was a reader of two libraries, the school one and the children’s local one. They did not have teach-yourself books, and I was not sure I could handle textbooks for adult learners. There were few things to learn a little about languages in fiction books, where foreign quotations were translated in notes. I wrote out phrases from the books together with the translations in a copy-book and tried to learn something about grammar and words of a foreign language from them. Notre Dame de Paris (in the Russian translation) by Hugo was a whole treasure of Latin and Spanish quotations. The name of the chapter Besos para golpes is retained in my mind ever since.

My life changed when I turned fifteen. I could become a reader of the Foreign Languages Library. First of all, I started to learn Latin with the help of a textbook for beginners and ducked into this language head first. About at the same time I began to study Spanish. Various events in life prevented me from taking up other tongues.

One of my many drawbacks is reluctance to go through a whole textbook to the end. After mastering the basics of the language, I try to read an original text with a dictionary. As a result, my knowledge of languages is scanty and abounds in gaps.

PS In  addition to the above I should mention the influence of the book A few words about words by Leo Uspensky. Earlier I had been under impression of Perelman’s popular scientific books Fun with Maths, Fun with Mechanics, Fun with Physics etc. However, Uspensky beat Perelman with one hand. 



September 2017



RSS Atom

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 25th, 2017 12:41 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios