Sorry about the lack of interesting updates, folks. I’ve been diligently trying to get my term paper done, so most of my waking hours have been devoted to thoughts of computer-assisted language learning (fascinating, I know). One funny thing is that I’ve learned more about language teaching while writing this paper than I did in the 10 weeks of classes I had on the subject last term. That’s somewhat ironic - and yet also fitting, I suppose, as the topic of my paper is self-instructed learning…
There have been a couple of things I wanted to blog about, most of them language-related. I was going to get irate at some of the comments left at the end of this BBC article about Britons not being able to speak foreign languages (or being "language barbarians", as the article puts it) - comments such as, "Why should we regard this as a problem if we are all finding it easy to manage?" or "Let’s stop giving ourselves a hard time about not speaking Flemish and be real about our history, heritage, and the supremacy of our language" (emphasis most emphatically mine). But the thought of tangling with "English supremacists" is just too taxing right now, so instead I’m going to divert my energies to something more constructive - like learning Welsh (a language with speakers who would have more than a few choice words to say about the "supremacy" of the English language).
On a less irate note, I like the idea of searching for the most beautiful word in the German language. Ohrwurm isn’t exactly beautiful, but it is a great word, and I had a couple of other favorites that I could have added to their list. Gemütlich is a classic, of course - it’s that untranslatable combination of comfy, cozy, warm, friendly, relaxed well-being that I live for. Fernweh is a wonderful word, too. If Heimweh means "homesickness", then I guess Fernweh literally means "farsickness". I’ve often seen it translated with yet another excellent German word: Wanderlust. It’s that feeling I get when I read travel guides, or when I think of the great vacations that I’ve had or the great vacations that I’d love to take. It’s that feeling of sand in my shoes, that itching to be out of the house and off having adventures in some far-flung corner of the world (preferably a corner with gemütliche restaurants and B&Bs).
I’m suffering from a good deal of Fernweh right now, in fact, but relief is in sight: in just about a week and a half, after I’ve finished the term paper and wrapped up the translation work and left the daily grind behind me, I will be sitting on a verandah in Key West, with the tropical breezes wafting over me and a cool mojito at my side. Assuming Mother Nature plays along, that is. (Can I put a mojito in my hurricane kit…?)