At the end of January I promised that I would start committing myself more passionately to languages by thinking about what I really want and undertaking that. So here is that thought process and plans.
What I want to do is explore new languages. At this point I have reached a critical mass of maintenance that I find it difficult to commit time to a new language, and sometimes the maintenance doesn’t come easy. This means that I have to let some languages go, and I will miss them indeed but, when I want them again, I can easily pick them up…
Obviously forgetting my Native Languages (English and Biblical Hebrew) are not an option, and even if they were it would be a tremendously stupid investment.
Of my conversational languages, the ones that I deem the most useful for me and my work are German, Hebrew, Yiddish and Spanish. Truth be told, I consider myself to be quite weak in Spanish sometimes and I know the reason—because I’ve had some bad experiences with my attempts to speak it at points, more so than any other language I have attempted.
I’m surrounded by Spanish now, living in New York City, and I have to learn how to forgive myself a lot more easily…
So these four stay!
Another problem I’ve been having is that I think my “Scandimania” is sometimes going out of control. Despite that, I’m actually going to keep the core Scandinavian Trifecta (Swedish, Norwegian and Danish), although I think that I’ve become a bit disenchanted with Icelandic for the time being, although I haven’t with Faroese.
So I’ll be replacing Icelandic with something else…
Dutch and Northern Sami are next up. While I do like the taste of Dutch in my mouth and how useful (and fairly easy) it has been for me, at some point my wild spirit needs to be tamed and I’d like to be fluent in a more exotic language. So I think Dutch is on its way out, and as for Northern Sami, I’ll keep it around for now. I think it is worth maintaining because I find it genuinely enchanting and, actually, quite useful online.
(By now you’re wondering, “wow, this guy is completely nuts”…)
Going down through the list, I think that it never was fair that of the two languages I learned for my MA Thesis, I only kept Finnish going quite well and forgot Modern Greek almost altogether. Truth be told, I want to mix up my palate a bit and that involves pushing Finnish to the side.
And Greenlandic and Inuktitut stay for the time being.
And now for my not very good list: French, Italian, Russian, and Irish. Obviously I want to become better in Irish, and ideally get that up to fluency, so that stays. Russian I’m making small progress on and the other two…snails…(French? Snails? What did I just say?)
So my new list:
English, Ancient Hebrew
German, Hebrew, Yiddish, Spanish, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Faroese, Northern Sami
Not Really That Good but Getting there:
Irish, French, Italian, Russian, Inuktitut
Learning (and very basic):
Cornish, Some Mystery Languages
- Becoming Okay at Cornish
- Become good in Irish
- Get really into those mystery languages! Get passionate about them!
- Set aside days and time periods in which I speak only in the target language (e.g. while working)
My heart feels a bit pained for having to let some languages go, but on the other hand if I could get my previous energy back the way I had it in previous years, it will have been worth it.