Saturday, January 16, 2016

Susan B. Anthony and Klingon

We'd just loaded into the van after ukulele practice when the girls started bickering in the backseat.

They both really wanted to read because they both wanted to watch an episode of television before bed and Andrew told them that they could...if they finished the books they were working on. Actually, I think only Miriam had to finish. She was nearly finished Harry Potter 3 (it has a proper title but at our house we call them by number).

Rachel's working on some epically long book. It's over 1000 pages. I don't remember what it's called. She checked it out of the library through her Kindle, so she was set to read on the ride home (and wasn't under an obligation to finish, merely make progress). Miriam, however, had forgotten to bring a flashlight and it was upset that she wouldn't be able to read on the way home.

"You can share the light of my Kindle," Rachel offered. "I can hold it out here and you can have enough light to see your page."

"It's not enough light!" Miriam fussed. "I need more!"

"Well, it's all the light I've got," Rachel snapped back.

"But I need more!" Miriam cried again.

"Why? It's light enough to see the words!"

"I can't read in dim light because then my eyes will grow weak just like Susan B. Anthony's did!" Miriam wailed. "They were ruined for the rest of her life, Rachel!"


I couldn't help but stifle a laugh as I adjusted my glasses and started the car. It's not reading in dim light that's going to get your eyes, my sweet. It's genetics. So brace yourself.

Miriam's quite obsessed with biographies. She owns three—Mother Theresa, Malala Yousafzai, Susan B. Anthony—and they have all been read multiple times and are among her most prized possessions (she's read others, I'm sure, we just don't own others). She finds them riveting.

I totally get where she's coming from. I also like a good biography, a nice historical fiction, a coming-of-age novel. Something based in real life...That's not to say that's all I ever read. I'm just saying that I understand enjoying such things.

There's so much to appreciate in this world, so much that's terrible and amazing and wonderful and loathsome, that sometimes I don't understand why we need to make anything up at all.

Given the choice between a Star Wars marathon sitting down to watch the John Adams miniseries, it's John Adams. Every time. No contest.

It's not that I hate Star Wars, because I don't (see what I just said there, children? I don't hate Star Wars; Star Wars is fine), it's just that if I'm going to discuss something or argue about the finer details of a plot line or memorize the "backstory" of a character, I'd rather have it be historical than fictional. But that's just me, and I completely understand people who enjoy other things.

Today I tried playing around on Duolingo again. I wasn't a fan the last time I tried it because I could only go so far in a lesson before it required the use of a microphone so that I could pronounce words to the computer to see if I was pronouncing them correctly (or maybe I dreamed that part?). My computer doesn't have a microphone so I just...never went back...until today. It would have been a real shame if I dreamed up that bit about the microphone because I had a lot of fun today reviewing Spanish and Russian.

I was scrolling through the list of languages to see what else I could study while I was nursing Zoë after dinner.

"There's no Arabic, but there's Turkish," I said.

"Klingon!" Andrew said.

"Klingon?!" Rachel said, her interest piqued (she's recently started watching Star Trek (which, for the record, I enjoy more than Star Wars)). "Mom, will you send me that link? I'd like to try that website, too."

"Sure," I said. "It would be good for you to practice some Spanish or something."

"I want to learn Klingon!" she said.

"Or, you know..." I said.

"Something more...practical," Andrew finished.

Klingon...meh. They also have a course on Esperanto (also meh). Those languages are interesting from an academic (and/or fangirl) standpoint, I guess (both were discussed—at length—in more than one of my linguistics classes at BYU (and obviously Rachel's all over the idea of learning Klingon)) , but I'd much rather spend my time learning any other language (programming languages included)—one that might actually help me communicate with someone in the world.

Still, I suppose any sort of practice learning languages isn't wasted practice, so if she wants to study Klingon, I guess she can study Klingon (I'll just cross my fingers that it'll help her with French homework down the road). 

2 comments:

  1. One of the people I work with told me about a language program called "Mango". Some libraries carry it and it is supposed to be as good or better than Rosetta. I haven't been able to get it on my computer yet so the only thing I can think of it being better than Rosetta is that it's free from the library. It has about 60 different languages.

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  2. One of the people I work with told me about a language program called "Mango". Some libraries carry it and it is supposed to be as good or better than Rosetta. I haven't been able to get it on my computer yet so the only thing I can think of it being better than Rosetta is that it's free from the library. It has about 60 different languages.

    ReplyDelete