I’ve been a blogger for almost five years. But nothing came so easy. My native laguage is Arabic. My father and mother (who are both retired engineer and journalist respectively) taught me French, my second language..
…and watching RoboCop, I learnt to speak and write in English. my third language.
That was nineteen years ago. On early June 1998.
As we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the release of the movie, I thought it was time to take the road down the memory lane. Not about the movie itself, but on my own experience on learning a third language and how RoboCop help me to improve my English as a speaker and writer.
I began studying English all way back in 1998. And back then, my English was completely broken. I bought my first English dictionary but I was lost, trying to find my way to express my opinion, my thoughts. I connected with a friend from the States during the early days of the internet, and how embarrassed I felt when I found that could not convey my ideas since he spoke English fluently. Since instant messengers were things of the future back then, and Facebook did not even exist (gosh, I miss those days), I spent three or four days to reply to my friend’s mail, after going through writing drafts before settling on the final version of the mail. I’d feel ashamed if I send him a message filled with spelling mistakes, and incoherent sentences. But practice made perfect.
However, things changed a little bit when I rented the VHS of the movie RoboCop. Back then my dad owned a sleek DAEWOO Video Home System (DVD and VOD were things from the future) Since I have been a huge fan of the movie and character itself, I spent week end with my brother recycling it until the tape itself got ripped within the VHS’s well. My brother and I managed to learn several lines in English from the movie, like “dead or alive, you are coming with me”. or “buddy I think you’re a slime”. By the time summer of 1998 worn down, I memories most of the quotes from the characters. And things got even better when I kept reading the outro credits of the movie while the late Basil Poledouris’ theme kicked in the background.
In the nutshell, I can give a full credit to RoboCop to help me learn English. Even after that experience, my English improved slightly but needless to say that I started reading comic books and novels by the time I went to the university. But the time, I graduated in 2007, my English and my accent went fairly smoothly and blogging about everything and nothing improved my writing skills.
Ironically, the first movie screenplay in English I read was indeed RoboCop. And that was in well, early June 2003.
Life is an irony after all.