Saturday, August 06, 2005

Language Class?

Seminole Community College sent me their course bulletin, and I checked out the language selections. While English and Spanish are the only degree offerings, they do have a continuing education program and have two intro courses in each of Japanese, Spanish... and Chinese. They also have Arabic, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Russian. For a local community college, that is quite a selection!

I think I'm past the intro courses in Japanese, not that review wouldn't help, but I'm sure I wouldn't learn anything new.

I originally picked Japanese to learn partly because I had some friends to take it with. It was fun to take the class with Bev and Matt, former coworkers, and Patty. Later in Washington, I found another class and friend Stephane to take it with. We had no pretensions on becoming fluent, it was just something to do. Japanese offered a chance to learn kanji without dealing with Mandarin's difficulties: no alphabet/syllabary, difficult pronunciation (up to four "tones" to distinguish), very different grammar, etc.

Spanish would be useful here in Florida. I took two years in high school, but back then, I wasn't very interested in languages at all. I did as little work as possible - it was my goof-off class. I pretty much got out of exactly what I put into the class. Which is to say, nothing. Class progressed slightly beyond learning "the girl is fat" or "the pencil is yellow".

Back to Chinese - that might be an interesting alternative now. The description says "particularly useful for people engaged in personal travel". Well, that could be me next year!

A trip I'd like to take is offered through REI Adventures, the Treasures of China trip, a cycling/hiking trip through Xi'an and Beijing. Another one that looks really good is Prague to Budapest.

Anyway, about the Treasures of China trip, I certainly wouldn't learn enough Chinese to be able to get around by myself, but after the traveling I've done, I know every little bit can help. Last time I was in Germany I couldn't remember how to say airport - I asked for the flugplatz and the lady smiled and directed me to the flughafen.

And, there is always the newly announced Ironman China. I'm planning on St. Anthony's tri in 2006 so Ironman China will have to wait until 2007. ;)

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