I am a librarian for a host of kids who are ELLs--English Language Learners. I am currently an SLL--Spanish Language Learner, and a JLL--Japanese Language Learner. The first is out of necessity; I live in Texas, and a majority of my ELL students are Spanish speakers. The second is out of love; my bilingual daughter married a Japanese man.
This is not my first attempt at learning other languages. Italian culture class was part of the rotation in my DoDDS elementary school in Naples, and I was in an immersion program at an Italian school in third grade. I took French in high school (because I was born in Paris, so why not?). In college, I attempted extracurricular classes in Spanish. Post-grad, I studied sign language for a couple of semesters in anticipation of nonverbal students in my special education classroom, and more recently, took advantage of "rapid Spanish" online courses offered through my school district.
As an Army BRAT, I was exposed to Thai, Italian, German, and French as we moved and traveled around the world.
You would think some of it would have "stuck", but other than a pretty good pronunciation of the European languages (that helped immensely in choir), a few choice sentences (I can ask for the bathroom, train station, and dinner in German) and two or three random hand signs...let's just say my foreign language retention is weak, at best. Even when I have retained a bit, just for awhile, my ears haven't been able to keep up with the rapid speech of native speakers.
The difference this time is a true need, a sense of duty to respect the languages, the cultures of these important people in my life. So maybe, just maybe, my daily Duolingo lessons will help me attain some level of expression and receptive understanding in Spanish and Japanese. I'm just thankful they are almost completely different; I don't think I need to worry about confusing español with