I fell in love with French, Latin, Spanish, and Italian in high school. From classes, clubs, to becoming an exchange student, I had a whirlwind romance with each one of the languages. It turns out that I'm not alone- there's a certain allure to these tongues in particular.
On their own, maybe less Eat, Pray, Love -esque adventures, these authors have also been seduced by these dreamy languages and their cultures.
You can find each of these books on Amazon by clicking on their titles:
by Jhumpa Lahiri
Great for learners of Italian, as it is a bilingual book, with the left side written in Italian and right in English, this memoir is a book you won't want to put down. I read it this summer in two days!
The author describes her personal voyage to Italy, both linguistically and geographically, in a beautiful way. Mid-career, she decides to leave the U.S. for Italy, and fully immerse herself in Italian. Throughout the book, Lahiri describes her struggles with the language as well as her personal life, which any reader could relate to. Heartfelt and deep, it leaves you wanting to join her in Rome.
When in French: Love in a Second Language
by Lauren Collins
When Collins falls for a French man abroad, she falls into a language paradox as well- how could she completely understand her new husband if she couldn't understand his language? Thus begins her quest to learn the language of 'amour.' This is a comical read, as it describes funny incidents in which her French wasn't up to 'par' and also explores the world of language acquisition.
Living with a Dead Language: My Romance with Latin
by Ann Patty
As a person who studied Latin for two years in high school, I hold it in a special 'fossa' (Ecce Romani, anyone?) in my heart. Nicknamed, 'Eat, Pray, Latin' by the The New Yorker, this memoir tells the story of a person who becomes so infatuated with Latin that she makes it her mission to become a fluent speaker of it. She is not alone- this language is but a linguistic zombie, and still has many speakers, who meet up to chat at conventions all over the world.
Throughout the book, Patty likens the study of Latin to that of meditation. She finds that it calms her, as it requires quite a bit of concentration and refinement. This book has definitely convinced me to start ruffling through the pages of my old Latin notes!
Spanish Lessons: Beginning a New Life in Spain
by Derek Lambert
When the author and his wife move to a small town in Spain, they have no idea what is in store for them. Besides trying to renovate their old home, they need to get acquainted to the locals and their customs. This book is a perfect read for someone who is interested in going "off the beaten path" and learning about the true flavor of Spain and its people. What better way to get the anti-tourist experience than learn from a true expatriote?
This Valentine's Day, fall in love with a Romance Language! Maybe start reading one of these books, or schedule your next 'Lex' language experience! Happy reading!