I am definitely a linguiphile. English is my first language and I’ve studied Spanish, French, Portuguese, and German. My goal is to speak 10 languages with enough fluency to be able to hold intelligent conversations. We’ll see.
For now, I’ve got Spanish. When I studied Spanish in school, it was horrible. I sucked. By my parents sent me to Costa Rica when I was 16. Talk about being thrown into the pits of hell! I was terrified!
But I talked to people, made friends, and just observed the new world around me. And I learned. Surprisingly, when you have everyday interaction with native speakers, the language takes on a life of it’s own. It’s not just vocabulary lists, verb conjugations, and por/para choices. It’s communication! And to communicate is beautiful.
Seven years after the fact, I’m still fluent. I’m actually more fluent than I was then. And it’s so much fun. When you reach the level of fluency, you start to notice the little things. A Mexican accent versus a Puerto Rican accent. Argentine conjugations versus Spanish (from Spain) conjugations. Costa Rican slang versus Uruguayan slang. It’s a beautiful thing.
Fluency in Portuguese and French are next. Then probably Italian (it will be easy, after 3 other Romance Langauges). Then we’ll do German. I’ll see where I take it from there.
All I know is that languages are beautiful, once you take them out of the textbook.