I’ve often wondered what makes English so attractive to such a large number of people. Only very rarely do I hear someone say that they don’t like this language. Are you born with a love for languages, can you fall in love with them, is it a gradual process or is it only a matter of acquired taste?
As far as I’m concerned, I’m pretty sure it was a kind of ‘love at first sight’ thing. And I owe it all to the American film industry, and to the old musicals in particular! Growing up in a Spanish family in a French-speaking environment, I hardly ever heard a word of English (at least during my early childhood). But I would listen with fascination to anyone speaking French with an English accent, which I liked imitating too.
The songs of musicals shown on TV really opened the first door to this language for me (most films were translated into French, only the songs were not, luckily). The urge to hear myself utter these wonderful new sounds was so strong that I would perform my own very particular version of the pieces while doing chores, like washing up or dusting – we’ve always liked singing around the house. Later, when I eventually started learning the language at fourteen (needless to say, it was my best school subject), I was all the happier about it. I think it was about the only homework I actually enjoyed doing – what I liked best was reading any text I could get hold of out loud. So it was all about phonetics, really.
Those were the passionate beginnings of my relationship with English. What about you? I’d be very interested in hearing about your first approach to (learning) this or any other language, whether and why you like it, what motivated you to learn it etc.