18 February 2011

A Language To Dream In

Have you ever been plagued by a recurring dream or nightmare?
For decades after leaving high school I was regularly visited by a dream in which I was being teased by my peers because I had failed my final French exam and was destined to spend another year at school.  My plans for study, travel....life, all put on hold because I had failed one subject. The irony being that in real life, not only had I passed this subject but enjoyed a deep love of the language.
There were many nights when I would wake up in a cold sweat or be woken by my partner because I had been yelling in my sleep. This was weird!

Little did I know, but this was all to change when I attended my 20th school reunion.
Having just arrived, I was standing at the front desk chatting to some friends when two of our senior teachers walked up the stairs.  My heart began to thump as I recognized my French teacher, Mrs O.
I welcomed her and thanked her for the years of French immersion that she had guided me through, all the while noticing her perplexion as she obviously tried to remember who I was - I hadn't stuck my nametag on yet. 
In the end I had to tell her, which was a bit of a kick in the pants as she'd taught me for five years and although I was a solid student I mustn't have made the impression on her that she obviously had on me.  
This was reinforced when she turned to a guy standing beside me and exclaimed "Paul! I remember you!".  To which he reverted to a gangly teen and mumbled his hellos.
When she'd moved on to another group, I cornered him and said "Paul, I don't remember you taking French in senior."  To which he replied "I didn't. I had Mrs O. for one term at the start of high school, but I must have been so bad that she still remembers me."

And there it was, my safe passage to restful slumber.
My French teacher remembered the 'naughties', not the bunker-down-hard-worker-boring types like me.
The bad dream has never returned and I'm left with a love of all things French, especially the language.

Something that I love to do every now and then is to use the 'Found In Translation' tool on my sidebar to  change a posting into French, then read it aloud.
I love the mellifluous nature of this language and although I am VERY rusty, I hope one day to be able to spend a long stretch of time in France enjoying all of its cultural splendours.
I've also been known to do the same for Spanish and Italian just to hear my writing in another tongue.

Where I live on the Sunshine Coast , we are  bit culturally isolated. Unless we're blessed to have been born into a family where there is more than one tongue spoken, live in a multicultural neighbourhood or are required to learn another language at school,  we don't regularly hear nor speak other languages and are, more often than not, unilingual.
Australians do have a great love of traveling however, and it is often in venturing off to distant shores that we are given a taste of the joy that is involved in communicating with someone in a language other than English. Whenever I travel overseas, learning the language is one of the added joys of my preparation.  My most treasured trip happened when I turned thirty. I was fortunate to spend six weeks in Argentina and by the end of that magical trip I even found myself dreaming in Spanish.

All of this got me to thinking about who reads my posts and in which languages.
Popping in to look at  my 'stats', to my delight I found that there were people from all around the globe stopping by. For some of you who are visiting today from beyond my shores, I have a little message for you below. To my English-only 'Gifters' have a squiz and see if you can work out the country of origin for the following:

A.  Et pour vous doux »Gifter« merci pour votre visite et écrit beaucoup de belles notes. 

B.  I wam słodki "Gifter" dziękuję za zatrzymanie się i pisania wiele uroczych notatki. 

C.  És a te édes "Gifter" köszönöm, hogy benéztél és az írás sok szép jegyzetek. 

D.  그리고 당신은 친절 'Gifter'에 의해 중지하고 사랑스러운 메모를 많이 쓰기 주셔서 감사합니다. 

E.  Und um Ihnen süß "Gifter" Danke fürs Vorbeischauen und Schreiben viele schöne Noten. 

F.  En aan julle soet "Gifter 'dankie vir die inloer en skryf baie van die pragtige notas. 

G.  とすることは甘い'Gifter'がで停止し、素敵なノートのたくさん書いてくれてありがとう。

H.  E a voi dolce 'Gifter' Grazie per l'arresto da e scrivere un sacco di belle note. 

I.  Y a ti dulce gifter "gracias por venir y escribir un montón de notas encantadoras.

So, how did you fare?
Were you able to translate the sentence because your native language was in the list, or because you have a second language that you can draw upon?
If not, I said "And to you sweet 'Gifter' thank you for stopping by and writing lots of lovely notes."
In no particular order, these are the non-english speaking countries from which I receive my most visitors:
A.  France  B.  Poland  C.  Hungary  D.  Korea  E.  Germany  F.  South Africa  G.  Japan  H.  Italy  I.  Spain.
Thank you one and all for visiting and leaving lovely notes, it is a joy both unexpected and lovely.
Pop in again next Friday, when I will be revealing a new project that has been whizzing around in my imagination.

Biggest of hugs!


  1. HOPELESS at languages I'm afraid. I have always been grateful to have been born into an English speaking country for that reason. I could never have learned English otherwise.

    On the reoccurring dream front, I was plagued with a particularly nasty one throughout puberty and into teenagerhood. I think it was a measure of hormones and an overactive imagination but I still remember the horror of it all and the dread of going to sleep some nights. Not pleasant at all.x

  2. The only one I recognised was the German, having studied it at school. The rest I was terrible at. I find it so amazing and lovely that people are able to visit blogs from all over the world. I of course would encourage many more to drop by for some serendipity at your creative space.

    About dreams...seriously don't get me started!
    Naomi x

  3. I also took 5 years of French. Sadly, I haven't used the language in years and I actually probably know more Spanish at this point due to teaching in an urban American city - Even though I never took a day of actual Spanish coursework. Both are beautiful languages.

  4. Oh, how I love this post. I have a love for languages too, but I never have time to practice. I took four years of Spanish in high school and traveled to both Mexico and Costa Rica, and yet I remember almost nothing {the fact that I live in Southern California makes this even sadder...}. Same with French: I took three years of French and studied in Paris for a summer and can barely speak or comprehend any of it. Someday, I'll find the time to learn.

    And how I love to travel...unfortunately, funds are quite sparse at the moment and so my big traveling dreams are on hold. But again, someday...


  5. Baie dankie liewe Felicity (thank you very much dear Felicity) for your post on my blog yesterday and for following me - not only are you my first follower but I'm sure it was because of your comment that I dreamed about Australian wild parrots last night. Rainbow lorikeets and galahs and rosellas all over the place!

  6. I enjoyed reading about your language post...I often volunteer and last year I assistet in a local school with teaching French.I must admit that was an eye opening :)
    I guess I never realised the gift I received, being born in a multicultural family.In Europe where I was able to realise the joy of holidays in different countries /cultures/ languages.

    I am trying to pass the gift to my children but I must admit it has been a little challenge being so far from where it is needed ;)

    Merci et bon weekend :)

  7. Ciao Felicity.
    I love this post. I have to admit that I'm not really good in speaking other languages. I studied English and French at school, but I don't feel sure when I speak or write in those languages.
    When I read your post or other blogs in English or French, I try to understand without the help of the translator, but sometimes is really hard.
    Maybe I would have to travel a little bit more so I could made exercise. My English grammar is horrible and I could say the same for my French grammar.
    But I love to see the foreigners flags on the visitors counter of my blog. It's exciting.
    Have a nice weekend with a safe protection against the sun.
    Un abbraccio.


  8. Aren't you a clever linguist! I speak German and a bit of Spanish (studied at uni) and French (studied at school). I love learning languages and just wish I had more time :)

  9. MOTH's the French speaker at our place Felicity. Although you'd never guess it looking at him going off to work in his scungiest torn shorts, grotty old t-shirt & Blunnies. He says he excelled in French 'cos as a 16 y.o. he had a mad crush on his French teacher. She quite liked him too, but that's a WHOLE other story!
    Millie x

  10. Ah, Sweetie, yet another reason to ask whether we were twins separated at birth! I posted about my love of languages at http://www.lifeonplanetbaby.com/2010/10/what-makes-my-heart-sing-words-and.html. We should plan a trip to Paris together! J x

  11. oh I failed Hungarian and Afrikaans (I thought this was Dutch! close enough??)


Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.
Each new comment is a gift - unexpected and lovely.
Although I'd love to reply to each and every one, this isn't always possible, but know that I read and appreciate them all.

Felicity x