Shelf. Life

A look at what's happening at Willard

A Monolingual’s Journey

I've always wanted to learn another language, the great dream of a many monolinguals.

I fantasize about acquiring a second language and expanding my world, perhaps traveling to exotic locales to meet new and interesting friends. But that's where it ends: the fantasy. The time and effort it actually takes to learn another language seem so daunting that I usually let the dream die the first two pages into a teach yourself manual.

Lately, I have adopted a new approach. Forget the all-or-nothing model of language acquisition, which is either you become completely fluent in a second language or don't even attempt the endeavor. Rather, embrace the fun of learning parts of a new language for its own sake. That is, wherever you're at in the study of another language is a wonderful and perfectly gratifying place to be!

I don't know Spanish. But I can increase my vocabulary of Spanish words. It helps my brain and may help at a restaurant or on a trip. I can't converse in Hindi. But I can learn something of the grammar or writing and truly appreciate that knowledge.

The library has a subscription to Rocket Languages that can get you started. Just go to the Online Resources section of and look for the Rocket Languages link. Sign up and you're on your way!

They have interactive audio lessons, language and culture lessons, and even writing lessons. In fact, I just learned how to write "Namaste" in the beautiful Devanagari script in Hindi. How cool is that?

And you know, I did broaden my world, if only a little bit. It's fun and totally enjoyable in and of itself.

Matt Willis is reading "The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777" (The Revolution Trilogy) by Rick Atkinson.

Available languages
American Sign Language
ESL for Spanish
ESL for Japanese

What we’re reading during June
Check out the birds of Battle Creek this summer


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Wednesday, 27 October 2021