Wednesday, 13 May 2015 14:39

Learning a new language challenging, but worthwhile

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“Hola! Como esta su madre?” As you may have guessed from the opening sentences, I’ve begun Spanish lessons.

 

This isn’t the first time I’ve attempted to learn espagnol. While I did take Spanish 10 in high school, it wasn’t a subject that I had much interest in at the time. My heart wasn’t in it and I didn’t retain much. In fact, all I learned is that ‘no’ is spelled the same as in English and that una hoja de papel means a sheet of paper. That’s it, that’s all. I’m not even joking.
I have two goals. The first is to travel to Spanish-speaking countries. The second is to eventually become fluent. Oh, and I also want to be able to order in Spanish at Taco Bell. OK, now I’m joking. Maybe.
There are many benefits to knowing the language of the countries you’re travelling to. The locals respect you more when they see you’re making an effort to learn their language. You’re also more likely to meet people from that country and learn more about how they live rather than just being able to speak with other travellers or backpackers. From a purely practical point of view, speaking the language makes getting the things you want or need much easier.
Why do I want to travel to South America? Because of National Geographic. From a young age, I can remember pouring over the glossy photographs of exotic locations imaging I was where the picture was taken. Some of the photos left a lasting impression. I don’t recall when I first saw pictures of the Nazca Lines but they undeniably cast their spell on me.
There was a time when the Nazca Lines were a source of great mystery. No one knew why ancient inhabitants had drawn huge figures of people, animals and geometric designs on the desert floor and hillsides of southern Peru.
There are many different animals depicted at Nazca, but some of the more famous images are of hummingbirds, monkeys and spiders. They’re big. The largest measure more than 650 feet across.
The question most associated with the Nazca Lines is “why?” There have been some very outlandish attempts to explain why the Ancients went to such trouble to create huge figures in a barren desert. Some researchers have contended this large-scale project was made to show alien spaceships where to land.
The more credible theories reveal the Nazca Lines have more to do with that crucial element of life in a desert — water. It has been suggested the figures and lines are meant to invoke the gods to create rain. Others say the lines show where underground rivers, aquifers or springs can be found. It’s also possible the figures are meant to show which clans or groups of people controlled the water rights in the vicinity. All three of these suggestions could share elements of truth.
Whatever the truth may be, I look forward to visiting the Peruvian desert and seeing the Nazca Lines for myself. Adios. 
(Dominique Liboiron is a speaker, author, teacher, journalist and photographer. To raise awareness about heart disease and to honour the life of one of its victims, Liboiron canoed from Saskatchewan to New Orleans. He is the first person to undertake that journey. He enjoys outdoor sports such as camping, hunting, fly fishing and canoeing. For more information about his speaking engagements, phone 306-661-8975 or visit www.canoetoneworleans.com.)

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Dominique Liboiron

Dominique Liboiron is a speaker, author, teacher, journalist and photographer. To raise awareness about heart disease and to honour the life of one of its victims, Liboiron canoed from Saskatchewan to New Orleans. He is the first person to undertake that journey. He enjoys outdoor sports such as camping, hunting, fly fishing and canoeing.