"If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart." - Nelson Mandela
Since childhood, I have been enamoured by the mystical letters and sounds that languages enchant me. I remember at primary school going to the local library and getting out books on Mandarin and Punjabi and trying to speak a few phrases, tickled by their exotic charm.
Clearly, a seed had been planted and over the years I have tried to dip my toes in many languages to break the mystery and enter the world of other people, to close the distance that a language barrier often represents.
I am not fluent in any other language than English but I prefer to define language acquisition as being understood when speaking and understanding when hearing as a better marker to one's grasp of the target language. Looked on this way, you relieve yourself of the golden calf of 'fluency', which really is difficult to arrive at as a second langauge.
Follow me as I chart my progress in some of my target languages below. Write to me with your critique, help or any encouragement; all greatly received!
I use the iTalki language platform extensively to get language practice and meet people from all over the world and help them with English and to get help learning my languages.
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Love anything Persian so no surprise I am attempting to get to grips with this fascinating and ancient language.
I have tinkered around the edges of Farsi for a while but feel I should make a commitment to be serious about learning and get some online help. Join me!
I started learning Arabic back in the '90s but good resources were much to obtain back then, without the internet.
Starting in 2019, I got back on the Arabic trail, but went for dialect, colloquial Arabic, thinking this would make conversation more easy across my countries of interest.
Started learning Hebrew many years ago out of interest in the Scriptures and loved it. Not the easiest second language to pick up but rewards over and over.
I am not actively studying the language at present but keep up to date with speaking via YouTube clips, songs and following the news from Israel in Hebrew.
This has to be one of the most beautiful languages in the world, in my ears! Evolved from the Latin of the Roman empire but a mix of various dialects over the centuries, modern Italian is as expressive as it is energetic.
What you see is what you get with Italian and if you are a native EQnglish speaker, you will find Italian easy to start.
I had to study at least one northern European language and decided to settle for a Scandinavian tongue that would be broadly understood in that area.
Norwegian is a delightful, rolling language and for the English speake, should not present too many problems with starting and becoming proficient with a year.
Not the easiest to get to grips with but will more than reward you for the effort. Admittedly, it has been a while since I studied any and that was only lightly.
However, I am determined at some future point to invest more time into Russian as the culture, music and literature must be appreciated through its native expression.
I have been fascinated by all the Gaelic family of languages for many years. Recently, I decided to choose one, Scots Gaelic, and get my head around it.
Certainly proving to be challenging but like all language acquisition, discipline and determination will yield fruit at some point.