Languages: Polish, French
Graduation Year: 2013
What motivated you to study these languages?
Polish is my family’s language and French is beautiful and practical.
How have these languages enriched your life?
Polish has enriched my life mostly in that meeting other Polish-speaking people is an instant opportunity to make new friends. Since Polish has so many humorous expressions and Polish people have a great sense of humor, more friends means more occasions to laugh. Of course, there exists beautiful literature and poetry that can be most fully appreciated in its original form. Lastly, Polish is a gateway to unlocking many languages of Eastern Europe. Languages such as Russian and Ukrainian share many similarities in vocabulary and grammar structure, so a solid knowledge of Polish will facilitate the learning of more Eastern European languages.
French has benefited me in many ways as well. Because French and English share many words and roots (etymology), my vocabulary has been immensely enriched. Additionally, knowing French has allowed me to practice chemistry in a French university. Even now, I still use my French in working as a tutor. Overall, it is a very practical language to learn.
What do you remember about your UW language classes? How were they different from other classes you took?
Madison provides very in-depth language education. Each lesson, whether in literature analysis, grammar, or vocabulary is heavily supplemented with culture and practical applications.
How have you maintained or improved your languages since graduation?
I speak with my family and friends in Polish all the time. Of course, I use it to read the news, watch movies, and basically the same way I use English. French I mostly use at work and in talking to friends- there are a plethora of interesting French movies, so I apply the language there as well.
What is your favorite word or phrase in a language you know?
mors (“walrus” in Polish)