I approached the grey-haired man behind the hotel counter.
“Bonjour…l’ascenseur…” It surprised me that my words came out in French. Even though I struggled to make a sentence, I was still pleased that my French hadn’t vanished completely after lying dormant for nearly a decade.
He switched into English to give me directions to the hotel elevator. This time I was relieved to hear English instead of annoyed. I just wanted to get back to my hotel room.
“Grazie!” I waved to him and headed off towards the elevator. Grazie? “I mean merci!” I shouted over my shoulder.
I smiled, satisfied that my Italian was becoming automatic.
This was actually my dream last night! I guess that is what happens when I study Italian, but watch a YouTube video in French before bed. 😀 I wouldn’t mind if this dream came true, because it was a pretty swanky hotel. 😉
I remember nearly a decade ago when I was teaching in France, and took a trip to Italy for the weekend. Even though I had studied a little Italian before, when I tried to speak Italian, only French words would come out. Since I’ve been focusing only on Italian lately, I’ve noticed I’ve had less and less interference from French. In fact, I’d say my Italian will be better than my French ever was very soon!
I admire people who learn and maintain multiple languages at the same time, but right now, I only want to focus on Italian. Once Italian starts to feel as comfortable as English, I will definitely revisit my French and possibly even add another language just for fun. I’m thinking German will be next! That way I’ll be able to recapture all of the languages of my German, Italian & Irish heritage.
Language learners, I have some questions for you!
Do you prefer to focus on one language at a time, or multiple languages at once?
Do you ever dream in a foreign language?
How long did it take you to think in a foreign language?