Here is a brief overview of the various languages I have studied and that I can speak. I’ve tried to organize them in order of speaking ability. You can read about the various resources I use for each of these languages here.
The Languages I Speak
English – I don’t have much to say about English. It is one of the languages I speak at home and one of the languages I feel the most comfortable speaking. It is also the language of this blog because it has become pretty universal. I do plan, however, on occasionally posting in French.
French – French is another language I speak at home (I live in a bilingual household). I really enjoy speaking French, but sometimes we end up speaking Franglais or Frenglish (which ever you prefer) just because some words are easier in French and others in English. For example, when we talk about music, we speak in English, but when we talk about most other things we speak in French. We also tend to speak French more in public than English. The constant mixing of languages also results in some pretty hilarious words for the Eurodictionary. My French language resources.
Mandarin – Mandarin is one of the languages I have most recently taken up (June 2014). I initially wasn’t sure about whether or not it was the right language for me, but I completely fell in love with it shortly after I started studying. I am currently using Pimsleur Mandarin and Assimil, and I am also using various resources to work on reading and writing. I also take lessons through iTalki. My goal is to sit the HSK4 exam in December 2015. My Mandarin language resources.
Croatian – My dad’s father was from Croatia and so I began learning the language due to familial ties and because I love knowing the languages of my family. My family has extremely diverse ethnic origins and so there are quite a few languages I speak/am learning for this reason (namely German and French). One of my father’s favorite stories is about how he discovered his dad’s bilingualism. At about ten years of age, my dad went with his family to visit relatives on the other side of the country. He told me that up until this point, he had no idea his father spoke another language. Needless to say he was completely shocked when they arrived for dinner and everyone spoke a different language – including his dad. He says he felt so bad for his mom who didn’t speak Croatian (and who was the only adult at the table that didn’t speak the language). Unfortunately, my father never learned to speak the language (he wants to take Russian with me at some point). He wished his father provided him the opportunity when he was younger, but doesn’t have interest in learning it now. Sadly, I never had the opportunity to meet my grandfather. He passed away when I was three years old. My Croatian language resources.
Italian – I decided to learn Italian because I feel as though it is one of the core European languages. That- and I also needed to learn it for school. I love French and because it shares its Latin origins with Italian, the latter seemed like the next logical step to take linguistically. It is both difficult and easy because of its similarities to French, so my progress is sometimes fast and at other times, slow. The hardest thing for me is definitely pronunciation. I began studying Italian while I was doing my Master’s degree in Northern Ireland, so it is a relatively new language for me. My Italian language resources.
Russian – This is one of the newest additions to the list and I’m really looking forward to digging into this language. My father might start up with me at some point, but in the meantime, I’m getting some work in on my own. My Russian language resources.
Spanish – One of my first languages was Spanish but around the age of four or five, we stopped speaking it at home. I still understand quite a bit and I can read Spanish without any problem, but I don’t know how to say much beyond basic greetings. I’ve nearly forgotten everything which is why I decided to start over with the language. Plus, it’s incredibly useful to know living in Southern California. My Spanish language resources.
German – I began learning German when I was fifteen years old. It was the language I initially wanted to learn as my third language, but I wasn’t able to do so until several years later due to the fact the course was cancelled the year I started to take foreign languages. My grandmother on my father’s side was German (although she grew up in France), so she spoke both languages and I always wanted to learn the language so that I could linguistically share that heritage with her. A few years ago, I might have said that German was one of my stronger languages, but I’ve really let it fall out of practice. My comprehension is much higher than my ability to speak, but both need a lot of work right now. My German language resources.
The Languages I No Longer Study
Romanian – Whenever there is an opportunity to learn a new language, I always try to take it. I previously worked with a Romanian expatriate and she patiently taught me Romanian. Each time I passed her desk, she would teach me a new word or two in Romanian, frequently “testing” my ability to remember the words that she had taught me. We arrived at the point where we moved into basic conversation, but when she left our company, I stopped studying the language. I can now only remember how to say basic expressions such as “good morning,” “how are you,” and “what is my word?” When I was studying Romanian, I would, on average, learn anywhere from one to twenty new words in Romanian per day, five days a week.
Arabic – When I was fifteen years old, I took an Arabic class at the local community college. Because it was several years ago, I’ve forgotten most of what I’ve learned except for a few basic formalities. I still have my textbooks and learning material, so I plan on studying it again once I am more comfortable with my five core languages.
Japanese – This is the next language that I would like to learn. I’ve played around with some sets on Memrise and know a few basic greetings. My Japanese language resources.
Updates and Progress:
2017 – Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec