When I was younger, I always admired German people. Their culture and language. That’s because, like many other Asians, I was attracted to Germany during World War II. Nazi Germany was known to have the most good-looking and stunning military uniforms. Some say the best technology too. My dad loved to buy many historical books and my brothers too bought a lot of military books. Despite the books were in English, I started to want to know more of German language.
As a Malaysian, the very basic languages I learned at school were Malay and English. Being a Muslim of Javanese descent, I am kinda obliged to know the Javanese and Arabic languages. Basically I used 2 languages at home, mainly Malay and Javanese. English is a compulsory language to be passed at school apart from Malay. While Arabic was only learned mostly for prayers and reading Al-Qur’an, I took the language properly during secondary school. For 3 years I was learning Arabic language for communication from Form 1 until Form 3. It wasn’t compulsory as I took it for optional, additional subject for my PMR. Pretty much was good since I got an A for it as well as Malay and English papers.
Learning other languages was fun. I only started to like Japanese language about 15 years ago. Well, anime, manga and games mostly. Both German and Japanese people kinda affected me much because of those history and military books my dad and brothers bought. It’s true that these people were the bad guys during WWII but during those times, they never really bothered my family much unlike certain Communists. Plus, my dad really encouraged me to learn other languages.
I loved Japan very much yet I didn’t take the Japanese language during my diploma years for Foreign Language subject. Basically because of two reasons that I came up with at that time; first, I already have basic knowledge of German language through dictionary and phrases books, and second, German language uses roman letters with only additional umlaut alphabets, which made it easy for me to learn it. And I got an A for it. Quite an achievement, aye?
Now, it’s already 2015 A.D. Despite I got As for both Arabic and German languges, they’re pretty much useless since I didn’t practice them much. Mainly using the Arabic language because of reading the holy book yet I am totally clueless on how to communicate with the language. For the German language, my vocab is very low that I have to refer to dictionary every time I read them and, thanks to Google, I used the translator a lot.
But that’s because I didn’t read or watch movies in these two languages much. Unlike Japanese where I watched a lot of anime and reading manga. I did learn abit the language but never taking serious interest with it. Funnily enough, my first experience having communicating in Japanese was with an Arab salesman in Jordan during my visit to Holy Land of Jerusalem. So, for this year, I am pretty serious to put more interest in learning the language. Pretty much for fun but I believe it can be useful in the future.
Perhaps I should have taking more interest with Arabic and German too by practising them.