“My name is…”

There’s a beginning to everything…

At this point, I don’t remember anymore how many times I’ve learned to say my name in a new language. I currently speak five (and a half, if you count French) languages but I’ve studied more than double those languages, so I must’ve learnt to say it at least about ten times.

After the sixth or seventh language, I began to meditate on the act itself of starting to learn a language. This is a stage of language learning that to this day still gives me an unbelievable rush of thrills to the head. What will I learn? Who will I meet? Will this language change my life, how I see the world, how I interact with others? Will I travel to a country where it’s spoken? What will I see there? It may be all these unknown factors that have me tingling with excitement every time I decide to learn a new language.

And yet, it all starts with a simple phrase: “My name is…”

Almost in every language, this is the first true phrase you learn, with at least a proper pronoun and a noun. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you even get your first verb thrown in the mix!

…and everything has to begin from something.

It was only after I’d been learning Japanese for a good four or five years that I realized something very fundamental in my character had changed. I’d become more patient, a better listener, and a good deal more curious about cultures besides my own. Learning languages improved my tolerance and made me a more open and outgoing person.

I think that’s is why I tell this almost every soul that exchanges words with me: “You should learn a language”.

Yes, you should absolutely learn a language, because regardless of what language it is, it’ll open your world. It’ll earn you new friends and a completely new appreciation for the planet you were born in, but if you’re doing it right, it’ll also teach you patience, kindness, understanding, and self-control.

I started this blog two years ago next week, an accomplishment I decided to celebrate by giving it a more comfortable house for everyone to visit and make themselves at home. Many things have changed around the site, but my ideal of wanting to use this blog to help everyone to learn whatever language they wish to learn hasn’t changed. If anything, it has shaped every decision I’ve made for this blog. I hope you like it.

Next week I’ll go back to my Mandarin Chinese mission and the blog’s regular programming. Thank you for your patience!