Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.
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September 11, 2007 |
Post to the Host:
Recently I spent two months in Shanghai studying Chinese and your show on the internet was a big help. Every Sunday afternoon. Thanks.
I remember the feeling of being stranded in a strange language and unfortunately it was so long ago that there was no Internet, no quick connection to the homeland. I had my experience in a school in Askov, Denmark, for six weeks where we spoke nothing but Danish, even we Americans it's an odd (but sort of exhilarating) feeling, walking down a road between cornfields and discussing American piolitics in Danish with a man from Texas. We lived in a dormitory, which was odd too I was 46 at the time and there were a lot of teenaged students whom I hadn't much in common with. I was there by my choice, they were there under pressure from a Danish parent. Most of them were French or Italian, but with Danish surnames, the product of a bicultural romance seventeen years before, and they were, as young people tend to be, rather stunningly self-absorbed. The loneliness was intense. I would have loved to hear English, but the only way to do it was by talking to myself, which I did recited some poems but which is of limited appeal. The way to learn a language is through total immersion. I'm sure that's true. But one does need to come up for air now and then.