In a matter of weeks the Gregorian Year that marked the birth of this blog will give way to another year that is hopefully very different in only the best of ways.
Looking back, this was the year where my long-desired transformation to genuine polyglot was complete (during May until July, mostly). The Polyglot Bars in New York City have cemented my confidence in some languages and pointing out noteworthy weaknesses in some of my others.
Monday marks the final day of classes at my school (despite the fact that I have one more class on Thursday). One of my final papers will actually require me to read a German book written in Gothic script, which will be an adventure that may deserve a post in its own right.
As far as my languages go, I will remember 2014 as:
- The year that I struggled with “That Awful German Language” up until my last few weeks in Heidelberg. And even then, I reached my truest confidence when having left the German-speaking zone altogether (possibly because I wasn’t too afraid of being judged as a foreigner in New York City…)
- The year that I cemented my skills with the Danish Language as a result of excessive immersion and realizing that native speakers were not judgmental of me as I would have imagined them to be.
- The year that I achieved acute reading skills in both Danish and Norwegian, although I slipped with Swedish near the end of the year and it is in danger of slipping further.
- The year that I hardened my command of Finnic Languages (Finnish mostly, but Estonian and Northern Sami deserve a mention).
- The year of Greenlandic, a language that changed the way I see everything.
- The year in which my skills with Slavic Languages practically died off altogether.
- The year in which I noticed my proficiencies with Romance Languages slide into mediocrity.
- The first year in which I genuinely felt proud of the conversations I was having and the results I was achieving with these languages.
- The year in which my fear of being judged has begun to vanish, although it is still there.
- The year that I had to reckon with the fact that I really do like understudied languages more. A lot more. So much so that I can’t bring myself to study “popular languages” with the same energy.
There is a little bit of time left in 2014. Here are my language goals, which I hope to achieve with gusto as soon as the school year leaves and I am left to my own devices:
- It seems that I am forgetting Estonian at a noteworthy pace (just allotting time to other things), and as a result I should embrace a new language with great fervor. I’ve already chosen which one and the next post will be on it.
- I am now capable of reading most things on Kringvarp Føroya (the Faroe Islands’ Broadcasting service), and, unlike KNR (the Greenlandic Equivalent), it isn’t translated into Danish. I do have problems with understanding spoken Faroese though, although fluency is within reach! If I focus enough, I feel as though I can have it…but I’ll definitely need to review the grammar and listen to a lot of songs and stories for children!
- Attend the Polyglot Bar NYC on this coming Tuesday and think about my progress (or lack thereof) about Spanish and Portuguese realistically. Is just throwing TV at the problem the answer?
Here are my priorities for these next few weeks, in descending order of importance:
- Maintaining my strongest languages with media immersion, especially the weakest in that category.
- Duolingo and Memrise routines
- Mystery Language Introduction
- Faroese Fluency
- Icelandic vocabulary building
- Greenlandic ladder climbing.
- Northern Sami ladder climbing and continuing translation work with the language on Crowdin.
Thinking as to where I was a year ago with these pursuits and where I am now, there are more than enough reasons to proceed with boldness, confidence and hope.
(On a side note, today is also Finland’s Independence Day, so have a look at one of my first posts on this blog about the Finnish Language, should you so desire to honor the day, in however small a respect).