exciting new ways to learn languages

I’ve been digging through some of my old internet accounts, and have found some writing from past-me. I think I might start editing/publishing a few pieces, mostly from college essays, just as vignettes of 16-year-old Kiran.

This is an excerpt from a longer essay about my learning style.

The beginning of eighth grade stands out with extreme clarity in my memory. On my first day at a new school in a new country, three completely new languages were thrust upon meā€”French and Hindi as subjects, and Tamil, as the main spoken language. I came home in tears. Over the course of the year, I learned Hindi fairly well – starting from struggling with the script to writing short essays, earning high 80’s on exams. Knowing how to speak Telugu, a Dravidian language, meant that I could (sometimes) make out what people said in Tamil, and, soon, I could converse fluently with my friends. The script, however, was completely unfamiliar, which made riding public buses slightly difficult. My technique had been to jump on the first bus that came by, ask where it was going, then jump off quickly if I had chosen incorrectly. I got far more bruises and scrapes than I liked from using that method on moving buses. After a while, I began to notice bilingual billboards, with an ad in Tamil and an English transliteration underneath. A month of long bus rides later, I could read and write in Tamil.