Learning a Foreign Language

“Eat the dictionary and grammar books.” This was my battle cry in my university days as I major in Korean language. To understand the essence of the Hangul, I had to consume all the words in my dictionary and language books.

At first it was full of fun, but as I climbed up from freshman to senior year, things got complicated and stressful. We moved from simple self-introduction to academic paper writing, which made me use every single neuron in my brain and almost made me jump off the 4th floor of the school’s main building.

Okay, I was just exaggerating. But I never thought learning, aiming to master or gain language proficiency, would be that hard. I have realized that in order to learn a language, you have to be patient because you must memorize vocabulary words and master grammar rules. “You have to memorize by heart,” said our professor, which I thought was quite absurd because who does such thing? Does one memorize by heart or by brain? My reasoning fought against my professor’s logic, until I understood its meaning.

Though learning a language requires immense memorization, doing so by mind alone will most likely make the memory fade sooner or later. However, memorizing by heart involves all senses that completely erasing it would be rare even in cases of senility or amnesia strikes. When I memorize by heart, I add new words to an already long list in my head and take its meaning and intention by heart.

A few years after graduation, I joined Lexcode. It is an equally challenging journey with our localization company where my language ability is put to use every day. Since I started working as a Korean Coordinator and liaison between our Makati and Seoul branches, I was able to benefit from my four-year Korean studies and three-month internship in Korea. Translation and interpretation agencies like Lexcode provide many opportunities to bilinguals to maximize their linguistic and professional potentials.

Knowing how to speak and write in Filipino, Kapampangan, English, and Korean, gave me the chance to help more of my colleagues and clients. Understanding simple texts, translating legal files, and interpreting for hospital patients become possible for me because of every word I digested and lived by.

My battle cry now is to continue learning languages to learn the cultures of the world. So much beauty in a country is hidden in how people communicate, and I live to discover the treasures that various languages have to offer.