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An open letter to Angry Girl

  Tags: Correspondence
 Language Learning Forum : Cultural Experiences in Foreign Languages Post Reply
leosmith
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5397 days ago

2365 posts - 3803 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Tagalog

 
 Message 1 of 4
20 April 2013 at 8:17pm | IP Logged 
There is someone I’d like to thank, and curse, for the way she treated me, and for influencing me to become an amateur polyglot (that’s right Clugston, you non-geolocked bastard, I said polyglot). I’d studied Japanese for about 18 months, and decided my first visit to Japan was long overdue. That’s how I found myself in a homestay in Fukuoka, and that’s how I met my housemate and classmates who invited me to a club. The club was famous for catering to both Japanese and westerners, so I thought it would be a good place to meet local girls and practice conversation.

The club turned out to be not so interesting, quite a few western servicemen with their Japanese girlfriends, but not many other locals. So after a couple hours, I was leaving with my housemate, a Chinese guy from Hong Kong who had lived a great deal of time in California. We walked into the hallway, and came face to face with two very attractive, well dressed blond women in their 20’s, looking eager to get into the club, but not budging. So I asked them if they had been in the club yet. One of the two looked confused, and the other one looked angry at that question. Sure that I must have read that wrong, I told them there was dancing and food inside, and they ought to go in. That’s when the angry one spoke up.

Angry girl:     If you’re in Japan, why can’t you speak Japanese? (in heavily accented English)
Me:         blank stare, thinking of something clever to say in Japanese
Angry girl, to my friend:     Are you from around here? (in very strongly accented Japanese)
My friend:     What? Sorry, I don’t speak much Japanese… I’m Chinese.
Angry girl:     How are you? (in very strongly accented Mandarin)
My Friend:      I’m fine (in Mandarin). But I don’t speak much Mandarin. I speak Cantonese. (in English)
Angry girl:      That’s nice. Where are you from? (in Mandarin)
My friend:      Hong Kong (in Mandarin). But I’ve lived much of my life in America (in English).
Polite girl:     She speaks 7 languages; Russian, Mandarin, Japanese, etc (in heavily accented English)…
The elevator arrived then, and two Japanese businessmen in their 40’s got out, collected the girls, and went into the club.
My friend:     It sucks not being able to speak Japanese here.
Me:         How was that girl’s Mandarin?
My friend:     So-so. But she had a really funny accent.

That was a terribly frustrating experience for me. I’d worked for a year and a half at Japanese, my 5th language at the time, and had some ok skills. I was the best speaker in my class, for one. But that Russian girl had crushed me in just a few minutes of conversation. I didn’t even defend myself. And she was so confident, and spoke 7 languages. The polite girl was really impressed by that, and even my friend seemed a little in awe. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this episode had a big influence on me deciding to become a polyglot. I have to admit that it was more the desire for revenge that drove me than the impressive display of language skills. But what revenge? I knew I’d never run into her again. I guess I decided somewhere along the line that I’d rather be Angry Girl than me in the above conversation.

So I’ve been transforming into Angry Girl for 7 years now. I believe I’ve surpassed her in most ways, at least the level she was at back then. Her fearlessness and ability to change language quickly may still be superior to mine. I’d like to find out.

I figure this is the best place on the internet to find her. If you are angry girl, please come forth so we can have a language battle, on Skype. Or at least a good debate here in this thread. Even if you aren’t Angry Girl, just pretend to be. C’mon – I need my revenge.


Edited by leosmith on 20 April 2013 at 8:17pm

20 persons have voted this message useful



casamata
Senior Member
Joined 3109 days ago

237 posts - 377 votes 
Studies: Portuguese

 
 Message 2 of 4
20 April 2013 at 8:48pm | IP Logged 
leosmith wrote:
There is someone I’d like to thank, and curse, for the way she treated me, and for influencing me to become an amateur polyglot (that’s right Clugston, you non-geolocked bastard, I said polyglot). I’d studied Japanese for about 18 months, and decided my first visit to Japan was long overdue. That’s how I found myself in a homestay in Fukuoka, and that’s how I met my housemate and classmates who invited me to a club. The club was famous for catering to both Japanese and westerners, so I thought it would be a good place to meet local girls and practice conversation.

The club turned out to be not so interesting, quite a few western servicemen with their Japanese girlfriends, but not many other locals. So after a couple hours, I was leaving with my housemate, a Chinese guy from Hong Kong who had lived a great deal of time in California. We walked into the hallway, and came face to face with two very attractive, well dressed blond women in their 20’s, looking eager to get into the club, but not budging. So I asked them if they had been in the club yet. One of the two looked confused, and the other one looked angry at that question. Sure that I must have read that wrong, I told them there was dancing and food inside, and they ought to go in. That’s when the angry one spoke up.

Angry girl:     If you’re in Japan, why can’t you speak Japanese? (in heavily accented English)
Me:         blank stare, thinking of something clever to say in Japanese
Angry girl, to my friend:     Are you from around here? (in very strongly accented Japanese)
My friend:     What? Sorry, I don’t speak much Japanese… I’m Chinese.
Angry girl:     How are you? (in very strongly accented Mandarin)
My Friend:      I’m fine (in Mandarin). But I don’t speak much Mandarin. I speak Cantonese. (in English)
Angry girl:      That’s nice. Where are you from? (in Mandarin)
My friend:      Hong Kong (in Mandarin). But I’ve lived much of my life in America (in English).
Polite girl:     She speaks 7 languages; Russian, Mandarin, Japanese, etc (in heavily accented English)…
The elevator arrived then, and two Japanese businessmen in their 40’s got out, collected the girls, and went into the club.
My friend:     It sucks not being able to speak Japanese here.
Me:         How was that girl’s Mandarin?
My friend:     So-so. But she had a really funny accent.

That was a terribly frustrating experience for me. I’d worked for a year and a half at Japanese, my 5th language at the time, and had some ok skills. I was the best speaker in my class, for one. But that Russian girl had crushed me in just a few minutes of conversation. I didn’t even defend myself. And she was so confident, and spoke 7 languages. The polite girl was really impressed by that, and even my friend seemed a little in awe. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this episode had a big influence on me deciding to become a polyglot. I have to admit that it was more the desire for revenge that drove me than the impressive display of language skills. But what revenge? I knew I’d never run into her again. I guess I decided somewhere along the line that I’d rather be Angry Girl than me in the above conversation.

So I’ve been transforming into Angry Girl for 7 years now. I believe I’ve surpassed her in most ways, at least the level she was at back then. Her fearlessness and ability to change language quickly may still be superior to mine. I’d like to find out.

I figure this is the best place on the internet to find her. If you are angry girl, please come forth so we can have a language battle, on Skype. Or at least a good debate here in this thread. Even if you aren’t Angry Girl, just pretend to be. C’mon – I need my revenge.


You do know that the "speaking 7 languages" really means:

I speak one language natively.
I spent a year abroad and speak language two pretty well.
Took one class of language three.
Learned a few greetings and survival terms in languages four to language six.
I know how to say "hi" in language seven.

A lot of people lie about their achievements, unfortunately. But regardless, that was kind of weird that she said that to you.
4 persons have voted this message useful



iguanamon
Pentaglot
Senior Member
Virgin Islands
Speaks: Ladino
Joined 4109 days ago

2224 posts - 6708 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, Creole (French)

 
 Message 3 of 4
20 April 2013 at 10:06pm | IP Logged 
leosmith wrote:
Me: How was that girl’s Mandarin?
My friend: So-so. But she had a really funny accent.


Takeaway 1- sometimes good enough, is good enough. Despite her heavily accented speaking, in three languages, Angry Girl communicated with you and your friend and inspired you. Sometimes good enough, is good enough.

leosmith wrote:
And she was so confident, and spoke 7 languages.


Takeaway 2- Being confident is as important as vocabulary, conjugations and syntax in languages. Confidence is what gets you to speak despite a lack of perfection. The more you speak (badly at first) the better you get. Confidence hides a lot of faults.

leosmith wrote:
The polite girl was really impressed by that, and even my friend seemed a little in awe. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this episode had a big influence on me deciding to become a polyglot. I have to admit that it was more the desire for revenge that drove me than the impressive display of language skills.


Takeaway 3- Motivation is huge. Revenge, learn a language because you're interested in the women who speak it, anime, because you love the culture- whatever. Having strong motivation is a very necessary component to language learning.

When I first went to Spain 20 years ago, I felt humiliated because I couldn't easily understand Madrileños' accent and rapid speech for almost a week, despite the fact that I spoke good Spanish. I was used to Mexican and Puerto Rican Spanish. That drove me to get familiar with as many accents and varieties of Spanish as I was likely to run into. I didn't ever want to be in that position again!

leosmith wrote:
I knew I’d never run into her again. I guess I decided somewhere along the line that I’d rather be Angry Girl than me in the above conversation.


Takeaway 4- Don't get mad, get even- do something about it. You did. Now you speak 7 languages. You didn't sit around waiting, procrastinating and asking people what you should do, you did something about it. You made it happen.

Thanks, for a great, inspiring background story, leosmith. You have your revenge!













Edited by iguanamon on 20 April 2013 at 11:39pm

12 persons have voted this message useful



mahasiswa
Pentaglot
Groupie
Canada
Joined 3279 days ago

91 posts - 142 votes 
Speaks: English*, French, Spanish, German, Malay
Studies: Arabic (Egyptian), Persian, Russian, Turkish, Mandarin, Hindi

 
 Message 4 of 4
20 April 2013 at 11:11pm | IP Logged 
iguanamon wrote:
Takeaway 4- Don't get mad, get even- do something about it. You did. Now
you speak 7 languages. You didn't sit around waiting, procrastinating and asking people what you
should do, you did something about it. You made it happen.

Thanks, for a great, inspiring background story, leosmith. You have your revenge!


I totally agree. Be proud of your achievement!

What a great story, it made me laugh quite a bit, half out of enjoyment of her misplaced explosive
attitude
and your innocent, defusing reaction, half out of the enjoyment that such an event spurred you to
become
polyglot!

And I wouldn't mind having a Skype battle with you every now and then, although I may speak more than
I argue, it would be a great pleasure to switch between Mandarin, Russian, French and Spanish. I also
want to learn Swahili, so maybe you can help me!

Edited by mahasiswa on 20 April 2013 at 11:12pm



1 person has voted this message useful



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