By ◆ Juppie on Sunday, March 28, 2010 @ 9:51 AM

A while back, my science teacher started us on an Astronomy Observation Lab. We were to go outside ten times to look at the moon and draw it. We were given a month to do a project. Spring break overlapped with the time given to do the lab.

My teacher said that if you were going on vacation during the spring break, you could just reorient your map while you were there so you could still do your homework. She said that one student had gone to Chicago and came back saying "I couldn't see the moon." But my teacher says that she's been to Chicago, and the moon is still there. "The moon is a big dude," said my teacher.

I wonder what makes people decide the genders of things. The Earth is called Mother Earth, and nature is called Mother Nature. But people say The Man in the Moon. Whose decision is it to determine the genders of things? I mean, all objects have a gender in French, and I'm curious about that too. There is kind of a way to say "it" in French, but mostly you would refer to "he" or "she". But in English we just refer to things as "it" so frequently. I suppose this is a trait that sets English apart?

One of my classmates mentioned something interesting to me. She says that when she reads Chinese, she just thinks of the Chinese words in her head, but when she reads French, she translates it to English in her mind. My mom says that when you practice a lot, you end up understanding automatically and don't need to translate to English. (When my mom was first learning English, she says she would translate it to Chinese in her head first, but now she can just think of the English words) But I, despite being so unskilled in Chinese, do this too. When I see the Chinese word for the number one (one of the only characters I can read! Yeah!) I think of the Chinese word for it, not "one". So is Chinese just different? Are languages spelled with symbols like this in comparison to languages with the same alphabet in English? That means the languages with English letters make me feel smarter, because I can translate it to English automatically in my head. XD

I was told a rather unsettling thing by someone. On my school trip to Yosemite National Park, we stopped at a town called Los Banos. I was told that it actually means something like "The Bathrooms". Imagine if you were saying that you ate in Los Banos and someone who understood Spanish walked by...

In history class, I and some other students had a presentation about Mormons, irrigation, and Mexican food. One of my group's members said the names of various foods in Spanish. The teacher later said that she pronounced them quite well and asked if she spoke Spanish. The girl said, "No." A classmate said, "But don't you take Spanish? So wouldn't you be able to speak it?" And the teacher said, "Taking Spanish class and being able to speak it are different matters."

I think that is true. People may be learning a language in school, but can they really speak it? I have noticed that sometimes students have trouble actually putting words together even if they know what the words mean, and that speaking the language out loud seems harder than writing it. I heard that you could really learn the language faster if you actually lived in the country of the language you wanted to learn. (My French teacher says we could learn a lot more in just a few months in France than what she could teach in a year because we would be "forced" to adapt to the country and learn French) I'd like to move to another country, experience something different, but I don't know when it will happen. (My mom has suggested having me move to France for a while and live with my aunt's family, but I feel it would be rather stressful with her rambunctious children)

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