If you ever read one of my very first posts I talked about how frustrated I was with being monolingual. It seemed like the only language I could speak well was English and I’m sorry but that’s just boring.
So I decided to up my game and learn new languages. In my third year of Uni I did Japanese beginners, I also started learning Korean in my second year of Uni and I started learning Spanish again with this app called Duolingo and then there’s my native tongue Kinyarwanda.
First let me talk about the Spanish.
I started that in secondary school but as you know when you learn these languages in school it’s like you didn’t learn it at all. Like you can’t speak with anyone who speaks Spanish fluently apart from saying hello, how are you etc etc… the very basics.
But this app OMD it has actually helped me and I have learned a lot. I feel like I can understand Spanish more, especially when I read it. The app kind of works in levels and the more you pass the harder it gets.
Now I’ve finished all the levels and I am better but I need to practise and practise and practise before I can hope to be fluent. But it’s not just that, I’m starting to realise that I need someone to speak it with. Talking to myself is all well and good but I’m learning that I learn more when I use the words to communicate with someone.
But until I find a buddy I guess I shall be talking to myself in Spanish and watching telenovelas (I got hooked when I was in Rwanda).
Onto Japanese … well weirdly I catch on fast with this one. But I don’t understand it when people speak, unless they speak slowly. It’s the same with Spanish, they speak SOOO fast I’m like wait!! And I still haven’t got katakana down and don’t get me started on Kanji. I think this one requires practise as well. Seeing as I’m done with Uni I’m going to have to learn the rest by myself.
(I got this great package with Living Language, it’s really good and I highly recommend it, and supplement that with Marugoto and you’re golden).
With Korean I got the alphabet down straight away. It was easy for me and it’s honestly easier to read Korean in it’s own alphabet than in the Roman one as people like to do.. it doesn’t translate well. But the grammar is a killer! I started learning it because I was watching so many Korean variety shows (they’re hilarious) and of course I discovered kpop music. It reminds me of my language, Kinyarwanda, in it’s diction and the way it flows. So I would find myself picking up words and understanding the basics and I was like nah I need to learn this properly.
And that’s what I’ve been doing, mostly from books (living language again). At first I learned from this Pastor in Cardiff who did free lessons. He gave me the basics and ground work to jump off from. I’m glad he did, my pronunciation is much better because of him. And he’s probably the reason we got the alphabet so quickly. I feel like if I had had more lessons with him maybe the grammar wouldn’t be so hard…
But it is
And I’m still struggling with that. And yet when people speak it I can understand more than say if someone speaks Spanish or Japanese.
Isn’t that funny how languages work? How we learn them?
Then there’s my native language Kinyarwanda, I love it. It’s like a part of me that I want to get back. I can still understand it but because I don’t speak it here in England my vocabulary has suffered. So I want to refresh it but again I need a buddy to speak it with me. I learn that way but I don’t think my grandma can fly out here just to speak to me in kinyarwanda so…. yeah …. I need a buddy.
(I know what you’re thinking just talk on the phone but it’s expensive and you don’t get to talk long 😦 )
You’re probably wondering why I’m learning so many languages. I honestly enjoy it. It’s fun and I can’t describe the feeling of happiness when you understand something someone says in a language you never knew before. It’s like you’re connected all of a sudden and you’re like “Hey, I understood you! It’s not just sounds anymore!”
I was watching One Piece and I got so happy when I understood something. Like when they said こんばんわ！（Konban wa) I was like “Yes! I know what they said!” It’s a simple phrase meaning good evening (although they were being so sassy and sarcastic when they said it which was an extra bonus as I felt I was in on the trolling) it meant a lot to me that I was starting to understand more.
So I shall continue onward, until I can survive in Spain or Latin America, Japan and Korea XD (and Rwanda but I already know I can survive there)
Ps: does anyone know if keyboard stickers in hanguel exist? It takes me ages to find the character I want.