Remember when you were given reasons to study a foreign language?
The teacher gave a list to justify learning a language.
In retrospect, I smile when I recall being told and later telling
my own German language students of the importance.
My path was facile since I had a good ear for music.
I had easily memorized pieces of music for recitals.
With ease, I acquired Latin, French, German, Old Norse,
Middle High German and a few words of other languages.
Recently a plumber in our house heard the word
languages, and mentioned his wife was from Germany.
Naturally, I switched to speaking in German. I resorted
to using French and German once when I was lost in the
Czech Republic. The people I asked for directions
spoke no English so I resorted to abundant body
language along with a mixture of French and German.
And, yes, I did get the directions. To this day,
I enjoy viewing foreign language programs and
movies on television. Subtitles are in English but
it is gratifying to hear the language. Sometimes,
though, not everything is translated. Usually colorful words.
One of the strangest places was in our church choir
and just prior to the beginning of a funeral. One lady
walked up to inquire if I was the German teacher? All
eyes were upon me then! Yes, I was. She wanted me
to meet a relative from Germany at the conclusion
of the funeral. So just remember when you may have
need to use your foreign language. When you
least expect! Enjoy the conversation in that language!