If you read the conclusion to my thirty days of foreign language media, you’ll know I handled the challenge pretty well. I spoke too soon.
I wrote that post the first day back in the realm of my native English, and now I see I should probably have waited a few more days before signalling the “all clear.”
Do you remember when I posted this in the challenge’s introduction post?
What I secretly wish will happen is I’ll be so confused by the bombardment of unfamiliar words that I’ll forget what language I speak natively and mutter a bunch of gobbledygook when addressed by others.
Well it happened. Two very specific language incidents happened.
It all started with the binging of English media. Over the course of two days, I found myself unable to sleep because my brain was so full of the crap I absorbed. There was so much to do! So much to watch! I could finally take in all the words!
My first day back, of course I played some Starcraft. When I finally managed to put my body to sleep at 5:30 in the morning, I had a dream brought to you by my lack of proper schooling in how to command an army and stress encouraged by a movie in Arabic (mentioned in the conclusion).
My base was being attacked by a Terran ship and my hydralisks weren’t moving quickly enough to defend me. “Why aren’t they going where I tell them to?” I asked the computer game.
The game answered in the voice of Kerrigan: “They only take commands in Arabic.”
“But I don’t know any Arabic,” I sobbed.
“Well you better learn some phrases or you’ll never beat the level!”
In reality, my hydralisks will never, ever do what I ask. I have accepted this.
Two days later, while helping a little girl with some books at work, the words coming out of my mouth suddenly didn’t make sense. It’s common enough for me to stumble linguistically when speaking to people I don’t know. (Anxiety’s a bitch.) Before this challenge, I would remedy it by switching to a different accent and everything would be fine. (Usually British or Australian. Why? I have no idea.) It didn’t work this time. I paused, remembered what I needed to say, and tried again. The gobbledygook prophecy had come true! I filled in the words with Ums and Ahs while getting my bearings. Eventually, I was able to finish the conversation with simpler sentences and many more place-fillers.
This was probably caused by lack of sleep. (I lost an estimated four to six hours in those two days.) The poor child must have been so confused. I sounded like the reporter who got some extra fifteen minutes of fame when she attempted to speak with an odd sort of migraine.
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I’m doing well now, much like the reporter. I’m still waiting for this phenomena to happen when I have an actual migraine and not self-inflicted language confusion.
There’s still so much to catch up on, and I’ve become overwhelmed by it. Last night, I retreated into my German novel when I couldn’t decide what else to read. It will be my comfort as I re-enter this strange land of mono-lingualism. (Not really. I still need to learn some more languages for fun.)