My first major language breakthrough

Two nights ago I made a huge breakthrough in Dutch. When someone hears a language that they don’t speak, they’ll often think that the person speaking is doing so too quickly. More often than not, the listener’s ears are simply not attuned to discerning the sounds in that particular language. For me, this is no longer the case with Dutch, as my listening comprehension is catching up to my reading: I can now understand the individual words someone is speaking in Dutch instead of just hearing a jumble of sounds. This is a huge step in the right direction, and it came nearly all at once. I was studying my Lonely Planet Dutch phrasebook outside of my calculus class two days ago and found that, when I had come home and started listening to Dutch music, I could pick out individual words. I may not be able to spell them or even know what they mean, but I can’t complain!

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Gaining confidence in life through language

I’ve been learning a lot about my own emotions recently alongside my Dutch studies. I’m starting to put down on job applications and the like that I know enough Dutch to be able to handle merchandise-related issues and general customer service. Of course, this is unlikely to ever be needed, because most Dutch people speak English, especially if they live in the United States!

I like being more empathetic. As I progress in language and speaking to my friends about their problems, I’ve noticed that there’s barely anything I’m afraid of anymore when it comes to job duties. When I got my first job at Honey Baked Ham, I was insecure and unsure of my abilities. Now it seems so silly to me now to have been such a worrywart when all I had to do was ask if I had a question. Often times I did ask, but then would have a mental countdown in my head of how long I had to wait until I allowed myself to ask another. It was really a silly way of doing things, but it was better than never asking anything at all and screwing up people’s orders left and right!

Thus, my language endeavors have taught me confidence, and this confidence of course now extends to many other areas of my life! 🙂