Thursday, December 5, 2013

French rhythms

I had no plans to study French: until I discovered a great, free program which made it easy to do so. Learning another language is a fabulous way to increase my articulative possibilities, and the further marvel of learning a language which is used in different nations around the world is that I can talk to someone from Vanuatu or Cote d'Ivorie and learn a different perspective on the language, and what it can be used for. DuoLingo is the program I'm using, and it helps me remember that English is not some invisible or all-binding social adhesive, but just another in a long list of lucrative languages.
I do admirably well with English, but the more I learn about the world, the more interesting it becomes to learn from a different perspectives. One of the attractions of French is the possibility that I may one day be able to read Derrida in his mother tongue, or Sartre, or even Foucault.

I find my sudden encounters with French do not take away from my Swedish experience - they only enhance it. The languages have different roots so it's not too confusing to learn them at once.

France, unlike Australia or Britain, isn't best known for its egalitarianism, so I'm learning a new dynamic which is similar to that of Bulgarian.

Speaking of Bulgaria, I find that I am pardoning it for being quite a rude awakening this year. Like any developing country, it has a lot of far-reaching improvements to make to its systems before it can support its citizens adequately, but it also has a lot going for it. Unique charms that can't be located in any other culture or society. I will probably return.

I've decided that I was paranoid about the taxi drivers of Sofia - those two men probably weren't plotting to rape me. I was going through a very stressful time and interpreting their misogyny as possibly directly harmful to my physical integrity. Misogyny shouldn't be taken lightly, but I believe I overreacted, so I will ask my readers to pardon me.

One interesting thing about Bulgaria is that it has the highest achievements in narrowing the gender gap than all of the surrounding nations - that's Greece, Turkey, Serbia, Macedonia and Romania. It even has a higher level of gender equality than France, to bring things round full circle.

But then gender equality is not the only barometer of a successful society.

If all goes well I will try to learn a bit of Dutch or Norwegian later on. :)

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