We are toying with the idea of doing Multilingual Living’s Language Challenge 101, a project to learn a new language as a family for 101 days. Or, you know, until I lose interest.
The most useful for our immediate future would be a concentrated dose of Czech for Baby K in preparation for moving and starting bilingual preschool, but that would be just for her, since us bigguns already speak Czech.
The Slovak suggested Hebrew or Welsh, but that sounded like a bit too much work. Then he suggested Hungarian, which was blatant cheating, since while I DO want to learn, he actually speaks it and would be just brushing up on grammar, while I know just a few words. I did pull out our Communist-era Teach Yourself Hungarian book (“We are workers. Are you workers?”) and went through a few lessons. I probably doubled my Hungarian vocabulary yesterday in an hour or two – meaning I retained five or ten words. I already knew a few things like “I don’t speak Hungarian”, “thank you” and “hello”. Really impressed the (Hungarian-speaking) extended family with those a couple of years ago, too!
I may look through the Hungarian book some more on my own, but as a family project it leaves something to be desired. I’d rather a language where we’re more on an even playing field! Or even where I have an advantage…which brings us to Spanish. We each know a bit but not too much, but I know more (somewhere in the depths of my brain). Score! And the Slovak doesn’t get to insult my pronunciation like with Hungarian.
So Spanish it is. Now to see how long we last, with work, moving, my mother-in-law coming to visit, and, perhaps most significantly, my own slacker nature. At least I can take the Spanish book with us in the car and refresh some basics while we drive!
I didn’t specifically teach K any Spanish or Hungarian vocabulary over the weekend, but I did try out a few sentences on her, which she attempted to repeat. She thought it was pretty funny, which is interesting because in the past she hasn’t reacted to us speaking other languages with any level of surprise. Now it seems that she recognizes and is amused by the fact that this is not our normal way of talking. I think that's probably progress.
But for now it's from the beginning: el español es muy fácil. We'll see about that!