Friday, March 04, 2005

book of questions #200

You too can play along with Gary at matching tracksuits.

In conversations, do you tend to listen or talk more?

I would have had a very different answer if you'd asked me six months ago. Now that I'm trying to get a strangle hold on a new language, I definately listen more. I have to, because I only understand every other word. At best. I'd never realised that conversation could be so exhausting.

Now, with 20/20 hindsight, I can see that perhaps I wasn't a very good listener. The mind wanders, it takes little breaks, but it can still follow a conversation. You miss a detail here or there, but you get the meat.

Now my mind wanders for a different reason. I recognize a word, and my mind latches on to it. What does this word translate to in English? How does it fit into this conversation? Next thing I know, the conversation has changed, and I'm left behind. In a conversation involving more than two people, I am constantly two subjects behind the rest of the group.

I don't talk so much now. People who know me intimately must be astounded by this information. I was the one who always got notes sent home from school, because my mouth never stopped running. Now I can't. Partly because I'm not sure the conversation hasn't changed. Mostly because I don't know what to say. Or, I know what to say, but don't know how. I say "comment on dit?" (how does one say?) a lot. It's always right on the tip of my tongue and I can't get it out.

This is starting to change, as I become more and more comfortable in this new language. The trick is, will I still be able to keep my mouth shut and listen, or will I go back to my old ways of letting my mind wander and say any old drivel that falls out of my mouth?

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