Ok...no wild imagination please, I was refering to my efforts to learn Spanish, as the "Spanish Conquest". I love learning languages. And I love Spanish, now that I've 'tasted' it.
However, I must say that when I first landed in Chennai to study music, I thought I was not going to need much more ramping-up of language skills given my 4.5/6 GMAT language score in English... and my proficiency in spoken Tamil and Malayalam.
I thought that my existing language knowledge surpassed that of most people I knew, and that it was all I needed to manage the tongue-twisting compositions that would come my way. Now, well into my course, I find myself swarmed with language, symantics, phonetics, grammar, vocabulary and what have you, of a whole host of languages! Try this on for size - an elective in Sanskrit, compositions in Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi and Manipravalam, music theory in Tamil tradition and prosody, lectures delivered in English...and here's the cherry - Espana, the extra (compulsory) subject! Hence, my time has to be divided absolutely down to a "t", so that no language suffers neglect.
It's no wonder that I suddenly greeted my Spanish teacher in Sanskrit this morning and wrote "Introduction to Spanish" on the Sanskrit Exam answer sheet under "Subject:" this afternoon. Two minutes after I had written that, I realised what I'd done and made the correction. After I handed up my exam answer sheet with the corrections, a fellow Sanskrit enthusiast who heard my account of the last few hours said, "It's ok, it's common around here...students who take Sanskrit invariably also have a hand in anything between 4 and 9 other languages." Then, just as a matter of fact, he raised his hands and counted on his fingers, 11 other languages he was studying at unversity besides Sanskrit.
Definately a humbling moment.
Well, whatever it is, on the balance of things, I somehow feel elated with language more than I feel burdened. Perhaps it is that special something that language offers in terms of opening doors to a new culture. Language allows insight without having to sail the world to acquire it.
So will I take Spanish II next semester?