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What was your favorite subject in elementary or primary school? Does it have anything to do with your life now?

French. I loved French class, because I got it. It was the only subject in school that really rang my chimes, and so while most of my classmates tolerated Minnie Hopstein and her "Bonjour, la classe," I looked forward to French class because it was the one place I could excel.

Ironically, in seventh grade I had a class in Linguistics, which I failed miserably - I chalk it up to a teacher who was boring and uninspired, material that was beyond the grasp of the average 7th-grader, and a lack of mental discipline and maturity on my part - because I ended up spending a career as a linguist.

I should have had the good sense to listen to the lessons of the experience in grade school. My first year in college, I tried Chemistry with an eye towards becoming a physician. Big mistake - while I loved the hard sciences, they require math. Lots of math. Which for me is not a Good Thing. I flunked out that year, but count the year as a win because I discovered my spiritual walk.

Next year, at another school, I tried business - accounting and economics. Again, not a Good Thing. More math. What was I thinking? At least I had the good sense to take French the next year, and at that point the light went on. When I switched my major to French, I graduated Magna Cum, ended up spending a career as a lingust, learned five languages more or less fluently and another dozen or so well enough to get thrown in jail.

In Have Space Suit, Will Travel, Heinlein has Kip Russell say, "Algebra and plane geometry were all the math our school offered; I went ahead on my own with advanced algebra and solid geometry and trigonometry and might have stopped so far as College Boards were concerned--but math is worse than peanuts. Analytical geometry seems pure Greek until you see what they're driving at--then, if you know algebra, it bursts on you and you race through the rest of the book. Glorious!"

While I don't Grok math, I do understand the sentiment - for me, languages are worse than peanuts - and the more I learn, the more I understand about how languages work. I can't quench the desire to learn a new one. Currently on the plate: Hebrew. After a career spent working hands-on with the Scriptures, I thought it was time I learned how to read the Old Testament in the original, even if only with a trot at the ready.

Merci, Minnie.


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Comments

deckardcanine
Apr. 5th, 2009 02:57 am (UTC)
I believe that math was, heh, my favorite subject in elementary school. This may have had to do with me bordering on autism then: I was good at math because it was consistent. Well, I loved it less at higher levels, so I didn't take any math courses in college (tho I did get some AP calculus credit). My subsequent jobs haven't required much math, but every so often in copy editing, I'll notice some figures that don't add up.

Actually, there was one subject I may have liked better still and certainly use to this day: spelling.
r_caton
Apr. 5th, 2009 09:52 am (UTC)
I liked maths... possibly for a similar reason...
Spellings OK but as you know.... the US and the home of the English language are two peoples seperated by a common language....

Within each country's bailiwick, however, spelling, like maths, is gloriously consistent if illogical.
A fragment from a British Mickey Mouse comic...
regarding the word P-L-O-U-G-H...
"I said "Ploff" which then started a row....
... The spelling's like "cough" you'll allow...
but if it's said just as you say sir, then
why don't we spell it like "Cow"?"
Darn my fragmented memory....

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