Christine Hovey has never left the states, but she has had her share of the world. If anything, she has overcome this hindrance, making the very best of her situation and exposing herself to other cultures in a unique way.
Christine Hovey, a junior transfer student and vocal performance major, can speak two languages fluently, understand five languages, read and write in three languages and is currently learning five more languages.
She can speak, read and write Japanese, as well as partially speak and fully understand Spanish and Korean. German and Italian are also among the languages she can read and comprehend. She also reads runes, which are letters of an ancient Germanic alphabet. In addition, Hovey is currently learning conversational Mandarin Chinese.
Hovey’s love for languages began developing in junior high school.
“I was surrounded by languages,” Hovey said. “All these people around me were speaking in Spanish or in Japanese and I was so curious to know what they were saying. When I got to high school and I had the opportunity to learn the languages, I did.”
Hovey finished two language courses in high school. After her first year in Spanish, she decided to pursue solely Japanese in high school. She still learned Spanish, but she taught herself.
Hovey especially loves and is inspired by Asian languages, because “other languages are so typical. Everyone learns them. I was fascinated by the sound of Asian languages, especially Korean, and that’s why I like learning them.”
Learning Japanese was a rocky road for Hovey. Through her four years in high school, she had four different Japanese language teachers. The first three were Americans who spoke Japanese, but in her last year of high school, a Japanese teacher was hired. Hovey’s knowledge of Japanese grew greatly during that year.
After hearing her mother’s Korean friend speak on the phone in her native tongue, Hovey began watching Korean television. She immediately fell in love with the “beautiful language.” Her favorite website for shows is www.mysoju.com, which features TV shows in Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese and Mandarin Chinese. These shows opened her eyes to a variety of language sources. Through various television shows, Hovey now teaches herself Korean, Mandarin Chinese and continues to practice Japanese.
Hovey continues to broaden her knowledge of other languages through her time at California Baptist University, where she is currently enrolled in Latin. “I really enjoy Latin, I really do,” Hovey said. She is excited to learn the dead language so that she is able to better understand every other Western language.
Because of her major, Hovey sings many classic works in German, Italian and French. Her familiarity with learning languages and partial Latin background has aided her in understanding what she is singing, allowing the ability to understand the basics of the languages themselves.
Hovey also loves learning about the cultures associated with the languages she loves, and tries to understand what makes them so different from that in America. She feels that one can “get so much more out of the language” when one understands the culture that drives it.
Some of her goals include traveling the world, living a year in each country for the purpose of studying the various languages and cultures.
“Hopefully one day I’ll get a job and save enough to buy a one-way ticket to Norway and backpack my way down through Europe. Then, I’ll come home, work again, and buy another ticket to Africa and do the same,” Hovey said.
She also has the desire to serve on the mission field. “I think it’d be really cool, and eventually I’d like to do an ISP mission while I’m here. I think it’d be fun to go to Romania and work in the orphanages and go with the School of Music to Japan.”
Though Hovey wants to learn any language she can, she specifically hopes to learn Norse, German, Russian, Gaelic, Welsh, the languages of the Aborigines and Zulu, the African tribe that speaks through clicking and popping.