Hare-Brained Cockamamie Scheme of the Week: Amy Ullman, Polyglot

2010
05.17

The motto of the Cambridge-based Lex Language Project is anyone can speak seven languages. The premise being that they are more easily acquired together rather than separately. I can see the proof all around me. My best friend is Korean, fluent in Italian and Spanish, conversational in French and Mandarin and is in the process of learning Greek; my couch-surfing buddy Marc could speak 5 languages by the time he had acquired as many years, and my cousin Daisy is planning on majoring in languages (French, Spanish and Italian) at Cambridge in the fall. Not to mention the countless polyglots that graced the Shays patio during my tenure there.

All of these people possess a mental flexibility and dexterity that I sorely lack. Although I find the process of linguistic acquisition fascinating in theory, languages have never been my strong suit. I am afflicted with horrendous performance anxiety in the classroom, breaking out in sweats and stutters whenever called upon to speak in anything other than English. Perhaps this novel approach is the answer to my prayers. I have wanted to join the Lex Language clubs for a number of years but always lacked the resources (temporal and monetary) in order to do so.

Last week I saw that they were in need of a marketing volunteer. In exchange for my time I may participate in their club. I am still waiting to hear back, but my fingers are crossed.

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