I have taken up Japanese lessons. They take place in a tiny classroom, just the three of us students and one very sweet teacher. Everything, except the odd word, is in Japanese, which is how I like language lessons to be conducted. Straight away you’re using the language as a tool, which makes it meaningful and therefore memorable.
When I was at Oxford I learned a lot of Japanese vocabulary and basic sentence structures from friends, so going into these classes I felt quite confident, although I didn’t know how to read or write at all. Now, after a couple of lessons, I’m starting to get the hang of reading hiragana. It is lovely going to Japanese class. Because it’s a skill that I began to acquire in Oxford, it feels like a link with my old life there – but not in a wistful, nostalgic way, rather in an energizing, onwards-and-upwards kind of way.
I’m gradually building up my bank of languages. I have French, hesitant German, and beginner-level Arabic; now Japanese. My degree at Oxford was in linguistics, so languages are one of my main passions. I particularly love analyzing the way sounds work in languages (phonetics and phonology). As I move into teaching, I hope to apply my linguistic knowledge to help second-language learners.
On the topic of learning languages, I have recently begun an online course in computer programming. I’ve always felt it was a gap in my knowledge, and I’m excited to be slowly rectifying that. For my first project, I made a little game in which animated clouds, carrying the words from the first line of Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud”, whizz about the screen, and need to be clicked in the correct order. Simple, yes, but it was satisfying to see the game run smoothly and at a perfect pace. I look forward to getting better and better, more fluent in these new languages.