Showing posts from 2011

Korea - Learning Korean

Anyanghaseyeo!   Hello!
In 2005, I was offered a position with the US Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DODDS)  to teach French and Spanish to the children of American military at Osan American High School (OAHS) in South Korea.  I had applied with DODDS several months before because I had missed military life.  When I got the offer, I eagerly accepted.  I moved to Korea with my two youngest daughters.  Rebekah for her senior year of high school and Hannah was a new 7th grader.  Rebekah had taken three years of Japanese and had wanted to go to Asia.  Hannah had mixed feelings but was up for the adventure. 
Korea turned out to be a fascinating, beautiful, busy and at times overwhelming place.  We loved the culture, people, food, and country.  Although I'm a linguist, starting a new totally foreign language after the age of 50 proved to be more challenging that I had hoped.  Korean was so different from any language I had studied.  I studied the language and would do well …

Germany - Learning German

Guten tag!  Good day!
After graduating from BYU with a B.A. in languages, I joined the US Air Force.  I went to Officer Training School in Texas, then Intellingence school in Colorado, then I was sent to Kindsbach, West Germany.  It was during the Cold War.   Germany was still a divided country and the prospect of reunification seemed unimaginable at the time.  My first job was working in an underground bunker monitoring soviet air activity over Czechoslovakia.  It was a NATO operation, so I worked with military from the US, West Germany and France.  I really enjoyed being in an international setting.
I loved Germany.  I was stationed there for three years.  The language seemed fairly easy to pick up and understand.  The grammar was more of a challenge, but I only took one class and picked up the rest on my own.  I now wish I would have studied it more.    I was pretty busy working long hours as a new young intelligence officer and as a new bride.  I had met and married in Denver be…

Mexico - Border Spanish

¡Buenos días! ¿Cómo está usted? Bien, gracias.
Hello. How are you?  Fine, thank you.

I was born in San Jose, California and grew up all over the state.  I heard Spanish my whole life and my mother would often say things in Spanish to us to help us learn.  I took Spanish in School and always enjoyed trying to use the language.  

When I was in seventh grade, we moved to El Centro, CA which is about 12 miles north of the Mexico Border.  I attended Middle School and High School there.   Border Spanish can often have a mixture of Spanish and English, often called Spanglish.  Two cultures and languages divided by a line still blend together creating an interesting mix.  For example, saying "lonche" instead of "almuerzo" for lunch.

When I was in High School, I volunteered at the Valley Orthopedic Clinic in Calexico, right on the border.  My uncle, Wayne Van De Graaff, who worked in immigration,  had started the clinic after he had seen such terrible health conditions on the o…

Tahiti - French Polynesia

Bonjour! Comment ça va? Bien!
Ia ora na!  Eaha te huru?  Maitai!
Hello! How are you you?  Good!

When I was 21, I served a health mission for my church in French Polynesia.  I first went to the Language Training Mission (LTM) in Provo, Utah.  I spent the first 6 weeks learning French and then another 6 weeks learning Tahitian.  Two totally different languages.  I had learned Spanish growing up so being called to serve in a place that spoke two different languages was a shock but an exciting challenge.  The LTM was a great immersion program that was so motivating making it one of the fastest ways to learn a language.  Especially when you know you will be in that country soon teaching in their language.

French Polynesia is located in the South Pacific.  The largest and main island is Tahiti.  French Polynesia is a French overseas community (Collectivé d'outre-mer) making it a semi-autonomous territory of France.  French is the official language but Tahitian is the native language.  Bo…

Learn a Language

Welcome to my language blog!  I love exploring the world and learning languages.  I've lived and traveled to many places around the globe.  Making real connections by communicating in the local language has always been important to me.   I've taught Foreign languages for several years in Public schools.  I have also spent 20 years with military life which allowed me to live, work, or travel to 17 countries.  Sharing my experiences with those who are learning a language has always been great fun for me.

Come join me as I share my adventures in languages.  I hope it will inspire you to broaden your horizons, explore your world, and experience the joy of languages!

Donna Lansberry

For more favorite website or app for learning a language, visit Duolingo: