Problems when speaking another language

I’ve confessed before that, despite growing up with multilingual parents, I speak only English.  I actually do blame my parents for my limitations.  (Usually, I think we need to take responsibility for our own failings, but this one is 66% Mom and Dad.)

When I was little, my parents insisted that we speak only English, because they wanted to keep German as their “grown-up secrets” language.  Then, when I hit junior high school and had to take a foreign language, they insisted I take German (I wanted to take French) so that they could “help” me.  Unfortunately, their help consisted of two things:  (1) “I can’t help you with that because, even though I speak it, I don’t know all these grammatical terms” and (2) “Oh, you dummy!  How can you get that wrong?”

The result was that I hated learning languages and was agonizingly self-conscious.  Add to that my innate laziness, and you’ve got someone who speaks only English.  Ironically enough, I have a good ear and can pronounce most European languages very well.

In any event, this video, which has people speaking English with the common mistakes learners make in a foreign tongue is silly and funny: