My Finnish Language Journey: Things I Wish I Knew Beforehand

Happy 100th Birthday, Finland!

finnish ain't hard

Yesterday and today buildings throughout the world were illuminated with blue lights in honor of the birthday of a country that has developed a stellar reputation well outside its borders in recent decades.

My journey with Finnish has been an interesting one, because it’s one that I learned how to speak well while leaving me in complete mystery in exactly HOW I pulled it off.

I’ve used all of the following:

  • Reading dialogues out loud
  • Reading grammar notes out loud from textbooks
  • Watching Disney film snippets and Pokémon in Finnish (dubbed versions)
  • Clozemaster
  • Transparent Language
  • Writing exercises
  • Later on (once I acquired B2 level) teaching the language to other people.
  • Language Exchange Groups (I’ve had fewer opportunities to use Finnish with real people in comparison to Swedish, Danish and Norwegian [especially the first two])
  • Songs (including passively, with lyrics and actively with karaoke)
  • Radio
  • Let’s Play Videos with Finnish commentary
  • Writing to people who speak the language.
  • Video games

 

Too often I get asked the question “what do you use to learn so many languages?”

The question should not be “what do you use to learn” them but “what DON’T you use to learn them?” I became successful with Finnish (despite the fact that I still feel as though I have a long way to go with it) because I threw EVERYTHING at it.

And that’s what a successful attempt to learn a language LOOKS LIKE! You don’t’ just expect to use “Duolingo” and get fluent (it’s in all likelihood not going to happen). You need to use AS MANY tools as possible to make a language a part of your life. The most successful of my language missions have had that, while those that were / are lacking are those in which I still have yet to use EVERY available means of using the language.

Looking back on the journey, here’s what I wish I told myself in 2012 when the Finnish Language and I seemed like we had a future together (which we DID!)

 

  • Throw Out Limiting Beliefs Immediately

 

Too many people are stuck with ideas that they’ll never be good, or that they won’t even be manageable. Others are stuck with ideas that they’ll just get answered in English all of the time. Yet others enter the world of Finnish and other target languages with a negative mindset, thinking that it is something they intend to lose as soon as they enter it.

I entered at first saying “I’ll see what I can get. I can always learn something and I can always learn more later”. But all the while I never DREAMED that I would be capable of mastering the grammar of the language, both colloquially as well as formally, the way that I did. And I should have thought even more than “I’ll manage”, I should have thought “I’m going to be GREAT!!!”

And this leads into another point…

 

  • Finnish (or any other grammatically rich language) is a giant feast. Savor each ingredient separately and don’t expect to gulf down EVERYTHING at once.

 

Many of the cases are straight-up prepositions (as is the case with the other Finno-Ugric Languages), but some other elements are more idiomatic. One that trips up my students regularly is the –ksi ending, which indicates that you are talking about a noun, and more specifically “given that it is that noun” or “into that noun” (e.g. transformation).

 

englanniksi sanoja – English(ksi) words(partitive)

 

English words, or, more accurately “given-that-they-are-English” “words-some-of-them”.

Okay now you have ONE concept, now see if you can manage personal endings for nouns (Kaveri [friend] + ni [my] -> “Kaverini” – “friend(s) of mine”) or the fantastic conjugating “no” (en -> I … not, not I. et – you (sing.) … not, not you, ei -> he/she/it …. Not, not he/she/it, etc.) usage of nuanced suffixes, verb conjugation, AND variant forms of verb conjugation and other grammatical features in colloquial speech! (These might not be in your textbook!)

Oh, and manage all of these concepts at once spoken by a native speaker at quick speed. Sure, the fact that Finnish words are always accented on the first syllable is going to help you, to some degree, as is the fact that some Finns speak very slowly in comparison to Romance Language speakers, but the grammatical buffet of Finnish is going to OVERWHELM YOU.

Unless, you take it in, bit by bit, and count every single one of the small victories.

This is true with other languages, but this is even MORE true with languages in which you might struggle with forming a simple sentence for weeks!

 

 

  • Use Flashcards and Other Similar Apps WITH Immersion for Progress

 

Memrise helped me reach my goals with Finnish but I couldn’t have done it with only them. I also had to use YouTube Finnish in order to bring words that I “vaguely” memorized in the app into a genuine context where they made sense.

Often when I was watching any amount of fun things in Finnish I would remember a word that I had seen in Memrise matching the context EXACTLY.

Unless a language is VERY closely related to one you know, or one that you’ve had experience being exposed to but have gaps in it (as is the case with Polish for me, for example), the flash cards by yourself are not going to be ideal.

But pair with other methods, everything builds off each other.

 

  • Being disappointed with your language progress means that you’re either studying too much or using the language without studying too much.

For all of my languages regardless of level, I noticed that there are some languages that I’ve STUDIED too  much to the exclusion of using them for fun (Irish) and others that I’ve USED too much without studying too much of them anymore (Greenlandic). To correct this imbalance, apply one or the other, depending on what you HAVEN’T been doing.

For much of my Finnish studies, I managed that balance PERFECTLY, more than with any other language I’ve studied. And I’m glad I did.

  • Small words mean a lot in making you sound like a fluent speaker.

 

Thanks to me having watched a lot of Pokémon in the Finnish dub (more than I care to admit) as well as a lot of gaming channels in Finnish, I’ve really learned how to use simple one-word expressions that make me sound believable when I put them in my speech (some of these qualify as “filler words” but not always).

 

Think about it: how often have you heard non-native English speakers say “very good” as opposed to “cool beans!” or “that’s great to hear!” (the latter of which are very American indeed, I think).

 

I got a lot of simple expressions like these thanks to me using Finnish in these “controlled environments”. They didn’t make me fluent, but they made me confident and believable with great regularity.

 

  • No language is too hard.

 

I don’t necessarily say “no language is too unlearnable” because I’ve tried to find some languages to learn in which I can almost seldom find ANY materials for them.

But even though a language like Greenlandic (and Burmese, later on) got me to almost doubt this, you need to keep in mind that, especially with more politically powerful languages, your L2 is learnable, even to near-native fluency. You just need to find methods that work, and utilize EVERYTHING you have in order to make it work.

The apps themselves are great, but they won’t make you fluent alone. Same for the books, videos and TV shows. Bring them altogether, and you’ll become someone who impressed almost EVERY native speaker you’ll meet.

 

That day can be yours! Go ahead and take it!

 

Let’s conclude with this, now, shall we?

 

How To Be a Good Presenter

Between Thanksgiving and my Birthday I had few opportunities to write new pieces, but today I‘m going to reveal some more fantastic secrets!

Today (weighed down by a throat illness and unable to make videos because of that) I‘m going to open up my full inventory on how to be a good presenter (which also ties into how to become a good teacher).

Summarized in one sentence, my teaching and presentation techniques can be summarized as follows: „think about what all of the boring teachers in my life have done, and do the opposite!“. A corollary: to become an encouraging and positive teacher, do the opposite of what the discouraging and negative teachers do.

(My friend Ulf, who is a priest in the Church of Sweden, was taking courses at Yad Vashem with me in Jerusalem [namely, ones about Holocaust history]. He said that „some teachers opened doors for me, and others closed doors for me instead]. I expanded this idea to pretty much everything in your life: advice, articles, friendships, or anything similar that OPEN doors are right, those that CLOSE doors are wrong. You can usually tell within reading one paragraph of an article, if not the headline, and the same applies to presentations).

Okay, you wanted insider tips so here you are:

 

  • Be very animated

 

I‘ve looked at the most subscribed channels on YouTube in multiple languages, and they all have many aspects in common. One of these is the fact that there is almost NEVER a moment that is emotionally „blah“ or otherwise stale.

If you are giving a class, it is YOUR job to keep other people engaged, and you can make ANY topic engaging.

Speak with a theatrical voice, use gestures if possible and DON‘T assume that putting information on the screen or just reading off facts is going to be interesting to most people.

BUT if you bring life into those facts with the tone of your voice, your body language and a general spirit of enthusiasm, you could make the most dreary topics in existence something to be remembered.

Be a lot less formal. Be a lot less like a typical college professor and more like a YouTube superstar. (I‘m sorry to say it, but there‘s a reason that the latter tend to be more well-known. I‘ve copied the techniques and learned from them. And even if you don‘t feel very animated right now, it is a ROLE you can grow into, no matter who you are!)

And here‘s another pointer…

 

  • Keep the Audience Engaged

 

„How many of you have heard of…“

 

„I‘m curious if there are people in the audience who know of…“

 

„Here‘s [name of memory technique / video game / learning app]. How many of you here have used it before?“

 

One thing that my Jewish background has taught me is the fact that performance heightens memory. Use your senses, your movement and your voice and beyond…the more aspects you use, the more you‘ll be able to (1) engage yourself in an activity and (2) truly create lasting memories of the experience.

 

If you ask a number of questions to the audience, especially at the beginning, you get them involved on a deep level, rather than too many presenters who often „talk at“ their audience rather than engage them.

 

And in line with that, there‘s another point of importance. Namely…

 

  • Know that Everyone is a Genius about Something

 

This is ESSENTIAL to being a good teacher. But also in Q&A sessions, I‘ve too often encountered to many people who have been shut down. In one particularly horrendous incident at Hebrew University, I was told to my face, „I would really have to say that you‘re wrong and I agree with him [indicating someone else]“. Jared: „Can you articulate that further?“ Teacher: „That‘s just how I feel“. (You can imagine how this made me feel inside).

 

In My Q&A session during the Polyglot Conference, I heard questions about LOLCat and Upside Down English (this had to do with the fact that I had listed the complete list of languages that Minecraft was translated into). I didn‘t know a lot about it, and so I asked the people who asked the questions to provide more. I remember telling one presenter that he should „submit a proposal for next year‘s conference“ on LOLCat.

 

In line with that: be willing to admit you don‘t know, and encourage your students to explore topics on their own and „let me know what you find“.

 

  • Assume Your Audience Knows ABSOLUTELY NOTHING About the Topic [But Don‘t Talk Down to Them]

I speak several languages very, very well. I was an absolute beginner in all of them once. I made silly mistakes with all of them frequently (including with my native tongue of American English, one such example was when I was 13 and I called „Freud“ of psychoanalytic fame „Frood“).

Sometimes when I‘m „not feeling up to it“, I CONTINUE to make silly mistakes with them (including my native language!)

Friday evening before the Conference opened with the 30-Language DJ set, I set aside forty minutes to give a „run-through“ presentation of my talk on Video Games and Langauge Learning. The target audience was, of course, my parents in Connecticut, super-excited for me as good parents should be. My father hasn‘t played a video game since the early 1990‘s, and let‘s not even discuss my mom‘s ability (or lack thereof) to play „Kirby‘s Return to Dreamland“ („If you‘re player 2, no matter how many times you die, you always come back!“).

Basic things that a video gamer would know (the Steam Store, Minecraft, etc.) and basic things that a polyglot would know (what an Indo-European Language is) would be things that I would need to explain very concisely in a sentence each. My prarents are monoglots who know nothing about memory palaces, video game design, fan translations, or anything else relevant to the topic. But by building on their knowledge base in a polite way bit-by-bit, they said that it was „excellently done“ (and many people attended my talk despite never having played a video game almost ever and walked away feeling EXTREMELY glad that they came!)

 

  • If there are visual elements, include pictures of yourself in them as well as a good dosage of „Easter Eggs“

 

Also feel free to briefly mentioned that the PowerPoint presentation has „a lot of surprises“ and tell the audience to „see how many they can get“.

My Video Game presentation had screenshots from game localizations in many languages (including Hebrew, Polish, Swedish, German, Esperanto, Japanese and Cornish [!!!]). They also included screenshots of games that may be „vaguely familiar“ to most people, even if they‘ve never played a game in their life (Super Mario Maker, of course!)

Your presentation can become a mystery trove that can keep people engaged, wondering if the next slide will be something that will cause the room to burst into laughter.

 

  • Use Extremely Positive Language Referring to the Audience

 

„Super-smart people like you guys out there…“

„Wonderful students like you…“

„People committed to their goals, just like you are…“

Very, VERY few teachers or presenters do this, and it is an EASY fix that gets people super-engaged because they associate your talking with positive feelings. Don‘t overdo it, though, because only once or twice did someone tell me that I was an expert in „buttering up“ other people.

Am I? No, I just think that there is a lot of criticism in the world and I think that there needs to be positivity to balance out the omnipresence of limiting beliefs. If I don‘t do it, who will? (Well…now there‘s you…I suppose…)

 

  • Draw Analogies Very Often

 

Analogies, metaphors and usage of the phrase „that would be like…“ bring out the inner explorer in the student. You want that explorer as present as possible.

 

  • Use Jokes and INDIRECT Pop Culture References Often (especially with US Audiences)

 

This will take work, no doubt. But once you‘ve got the previous seven points down, this shouldn‘t be very much effort at all. Also, watch the sort of presenters and personalities you would like to speak like, because, whether you like it or not, you are what you listen to.

 

 

CONCLUSION:

 

The only imperative is „don‘t be boring“ Oh, and another one, namely „don‘t be predictable“.

 

Those don‘t tend to help by themselves, but the above points certainly will help. And even if you don‘t see yourself as the variety of person(ality) that can encompassed with ease all of the points above, you can TRAIN yourself to be the presenter that never bores everyone and is super-informative as well, much like I did!

 

Happy Teaching!

I am brilliant lol

30-Day Lao Speaking Challenge: 10 Days Left + Day Before My Birthday Reflection

 

My birthday is tomorrow! It will be a fantastic day to reflect on what I have accomplished in my life thus far. One thing of note is the fact that with each passing year I seem to accomplish what was unthinkable the previous year. I hope that this coming year of my life continues to amaze me beyond all belief.

I’m not going to remark on my progress or how I’ve changed in 2017. That will have to wait until December. But I thought I’d give a run-down of where I’ve been going since the conference:

 

  • For November: Lao

 LAO

Thanks to a friend of mine I discovered the 30-Day Speaking Challenge on Facebook. Realizing that I probably wasn’t going to progress a lot with a tonal language unless I did something seriously, I decided to take it on for November, choosing Lao (which has been a GREAT experience for me so far).

 

Three negatives about my experience with Lao so far, three positives;

 

  • Not a lot of good resources to look up words reliably
  • Not getting feedback on my tones (but this is honestly “what I signed up for”, and also really makes me understand how much EASIER it is to learn a politically powerful language, even one like Mandarin Chinese [you’ll hear more about that in a bit!]). Actually, not getting feedback from anything.
  • Not a lot of music I like in Lao. (Still looking!)

 

+ I’m significantly bolstered in my motivation to focus on one language at a time. This is in addition to the YouTube Series, which serve as “warm-ups” to the Internet challenges such as this one which will cast me on the way to genuine fluency

+ My “flow” has greatly improved. Some languages I know (Krio) and knew (Portuguese) quite well, but didn’t really have a flow for them in a way that made me feel genuine. When I speak a language like Yiddish or Danish, I don’t sound like a learner in the slightest, and that’s because the rhythms of me speaking the language sound flowing and natural. It’s possible to be fluent in a language and now have that flow (as COUNTLESS English L2 speakers throughout the world have demonstrated with me throughout my life).

+ I’m learning words on a daily basis without fail because I’m engaging my multiple senses in taking in knowledge of the language.

  • December Challenges: Greenlandic

 Mother of the Sea and Me

I’m not fluent in Greenlandic, despite the victories I had with the language when I was in Nuuk last month.

 

I’m honestly burned out in studying the language and so I think one thing that would help would be if I were to do this 30-Day Challenge in Greenlandic.

 

Obviously I’m expecting ZERO feedback from other participants, but this I a self-imposed challenge. And who knows? I may find myself surprise.

 

  • December Challenges: Burmese

20170525_165915

There’s another 30-Day challenge I’ll be doing in December, the EuroLinguiste One, and I’ll be doing it with Burmese. The culmination of the project will be me filming a 2-5 minute video speaking Burmese (I could even use a script if necessary).

Given that I really need to find myself reading the language at a quick pace if I want to make any genuine progress with it, I think this challenge would be helpful (part of it involves doing Facebook posts in the language as well as setting your device to that language. I have multiple Burmese-speaking Facebook friends so they can help me and/or laugh at me as they so choose. But they’ve been extremely supportive, so thank you.)

 

  • Looking Forward: 30-Day Challenges Every Month for 2018 and beyond. Mostly with Languages I’ve studied previously I need to climb “Mount Fluency” with .

 

After the polyglot conference it seems that I’ll have to focus a lot more on maintenance and a lot less on acquisition of New Languages. That said, I may take on one or two new ones in 2018, and it seems that Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese going to be on my short-term plans for reasons I quite can’t explain yet (no, travel plans are not involved).

Already with Duolingo Mandarin I’ve been noticing a significant amount of words that resemble Burmese (given that they are both Sino-Tibetan Languages). Mandarin Speakers can’t understand spoken Burmese, but there are words in common with similar meanings and so it’s good to have that advantage.

 

  • New YouTube Series for My Birthday Tomorrow!

Can’t reveal anything about it yet!

The only thing I do know, however, is that I will continue to acquire more and more experiences as I go through life!

Onwards!

jared gimbel virginia

Happy Birthday, Rasmus Lyberth!

No other musician over the course of my life has brought me to the verge of tears as often as Rasmus Lyberth, a Greenlandic-speaking legend whose songs touch on the many emotions of the mortal coil and also venture into spiritual realms in ways a lot of contemporary music has forgotten to do.

In this piano mashup that I arranged myself, I used pieces from the following songs (the English translations I use were taken from the Danish “translations” provided in the track listing–and they don’t always match what the Greenlandic titles mean):

1. Siimuup Nipaa (Simon’s Voice)

2. Sooruna Oqarnak (Wedding)

3. Asallunga Oqaravit (Annette’s Song)

4. Innuneq Asaguk (Love Life)

5. Kuussuup Sinaani (The River)

6. Hey Hey

Fun fact: I actually have musical perfect pitch and so I arranged all of these without any sheet music!

Happy birthday, Rasmus!

How to Learn Your First non-Native, non-English Language

 

I would like to dedicate this post to the mighty and memorable Miguel Nicholas Ariza, who celebrated his birthday yesterday at the famed Mungo Lingo Language Exchange events.

I hope that this article will inspire people to return to language learning again and again, as well as to the events that you help host!

 

be like miguel

This is Miguel. He is open-minded, friendly, curious and a great human being. Be Like Miguel.

 

In much of the world, people have 1 ½ native languages, English being the 1/2 , and the local language being the 1. (Sometimes there are areas with two local languages, possibly even more, such as areas of Spain or India that have regional languages)

The dynamics of learning English are very different from learning other languages. While Iceland may excel at teaching a lot of its students English, there were (and sadly continue to be) snags when it comes to the country’s Danish education system, which may be on its way out.

To compare the experience of learning Danish (in the case of Iceland) or Swedish (in the case of Finland) or Irish (in the case of the English-speaking areas of Ireland) to learning English just isn’t fair.

Imagine if, out of 20 products (such as computer programs or company names or refrigerator brands), 19 had names in (insert name of language that isn’t English here) Imagine if (that language) had among the best known movie and entertainment industries in world history and had a significant amount of  import words in every language in the developed world and, to boot, was more learned than any other language on the planet by people who have been told their entire life that not knowing it is to be left behind, and that sometimes a nation’s economic worth and potential in the eyes of the world is dependent on how well (or not) they speak that language.

That’s reality for non-native English speakers, almost anywhere, regardless of what continent they’re on.

No wonder people get answered in English when starting to learn languages. The native speaker may feel an inherent shame on not having won the “native language lottery” the way I did. Even if they come from a place like Iceland, where English proficiency is a standard.

(For whatever it’s worth, I think English will lose its cool factor when it starts to more seriously threaten other languages and cultures, and English proficiency is already starting to lose its impressive factor, even in places like Iceland, and will continue to do so. Contrariwise, learning non-English languages of all stripes will continue to be seen as an even more impressive feat if English continues to be on the ascent. These are my opinions).

 

I am beginning to learn my dream language. It is (XXXX), and, right now, I only speak English (or English + My Native Language). I feel that I’m struggling a lot. What can I do?

 

The first thing I would recommend is take your first field trip to omniglot.com, look at the language you are learning from the A-Z database (I can almost guarantee that it will be there, no matter how exotic), read about it, get used to the sounds of it, click the links offered at the bottom of the language profile page to either read more about the culture or get language learning resources (many of them free online pages)

If there is a “phrases” section, copy out everything in it into a notebook or put it into a program of your choice. You will use these countless times throughout your life if you are to succeed! Exciting, huh?

From there, you have a number of options, are your primary goals are as follows:

  • Learn all of those phrases.
  • After that, say, “I have, I need, I want” followed by “do you have? Do you need? Do you want?”
  • Activate the following “checkpoints” (I’m not thinking about Duolingo right now, I promise!). Think of these as your “collectibles” (so this is what was going through Luis’s head, right?). Just learn how they work in a basic sense: articles (if any), adjectives (how to say “I am X, you are X, he / she / it is X, etc.), verbs (in order of importance: present, past, future, imperfect, any conditional tenses), conjunctions (start with and, but and or, they get you pretty far), prepositions (size will vary tremendously depending on language), case system (If there is one. How many? How often are they used? Which are regularly used? In some languages, like anything Finno-Ugric, case system and prepositions overlap.), noun genders (if any, there are entire language families lack them)
  • Give a stump speech about yourself and prompt others to do the same. (I am a X, I come from Y, I was born in A but now I life in B, my current goals are CDFG because of H. I am learning dream language because of reasons IJK.)
  • Learn associated vocabulary with your job and the things around you.
  • Common mistakes made by learners (unless you are learning something very rare indeed. Even something like Welsh will have an article about it about this topic)

 

From then on, learning the vocabulary in that language will be like assembling puzzle pieces, except for the puzzle NEVER ENDS!

 

Congratulations, you just got in for life! You’re always going to be learning new things about the language, maybe even if you try to forget it…even if it is your NATIVE language! Ha ha ha ha!

20140928_074028

Here’s lookin’ at you, kid!

 

Okay, Jared, that is great and all, but how do I go about memorizing it?

 

Imagine you have a giant pizza or other fantastic meal you like right in front of you. You wouldn’t try to shove a whole piece in your mouth…(I would hope…)

 

Some ways you can assist the memorization project:

 

  • Memory devices. This is easier for languages closer to English, obviously, but even with something like Greenlandic I made it possible (Even something like “sumingaaneerpit?” [“where are you from?” In Greenlandic] I memorized in this fashion.) Memrise.com has it as an in-built function that you can store your memory devices in. I imagined that the word resembled “some gunner pit”, and while it didn’t even make sense, it got the job done. (If you have a notebook, feel free to put your “mems”, as Memrise refers to them as, next to the words)

 

  • Repetition. The same Burmese learning audio every day for a week sure doesn’t hurt…

 

  • Funny incidents. True story. One day I got “Colloquial Hungarian” shipped to me, and that day there was a Jewish event (Lab / Shul in New York City, for those curious). I met a Hungarian native speaker that evening and I told her that the book arrived today. I asked her how to say “pleased to meet you”, and I hear “örülök hogy megismertelek”. After nearly destroying my tongue after four attempts (and a lot of laughter), I explained that I got the book earlier that day. When I heard it again a few days later, having it associated with that incident made it stick better.

 

  • Mental Images from TV or Audio “Images” from your Dialogue Tapes. When I was learning Dutch from watching a lot of the Pokémon Anime in it, I remembered a lot of key phrases by virtue of remembering certain poses of characters or certain plot points that I would remember. If you do something less visually oriented (like a dialogue tape), you can note anything unusual about a certain phrase or intonation and you may remember it better.

 

 

And here are some general pointers:

 

  • Do NOT be hard on yourself! This includes: (1) do not compare yourself to other learners who have had more time than you (2) do not compare yourself to native speakers of your target language and their English skills and (3) do not expect to know all vocabulary. No one ever knows all vocabulary in any language (true story!). 10,000 words will net you something very close to a native speaker, 2,000 words will get you through almost all conversations with significant ease (others would even argue that 600-1,000 would suffice)

 

  • Start off by simplifying your language. You may be tempted to think of everything in terms of flowery English idioms, instead, at this stage you should train yourself to simplify your speech and once you’re assembling that puzzle you’ll acquire useful phrases and idioms along the way for which English has no equivalent for.

 

  • If you have to lapse into English, do so confidently. A perfect example includes how people from places like India and the Netherlands may use English phrases in casual speech to make a point.

 

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions of native speakers. Almost all of them want to help you, actually, even though they may not explicitly express it.

 

  • Don’t get discouraged from native speakers. Some of them may have no intention of becoming polyglots and may be threatened. Anyhow, if you encounter any amount of discouragement from a native speaker at any time, it is thoroughly their This is different from constructive criticism! Constructive criticism: “this word is too formal, be aware of that”. Destructive criticism: “your accent is awful”.

 

  • There will be hard times ahead. There will be a lot of people that may belittle your efforts or unknowingly make you feel bad. Just keep on going forward. The more forward you’ll go, the more you’re hear native speakers ask you in amazement. “How on earth do you speak such good (XXXX)?”

 

And then you’ll think of the times that you were struggling, that you thought of giving up, or even times that people were not very nice to you on behalf of your choices. But congratulations! You won!

IMG_2807

You, someday, with twice as much happy and the fact that you’re probably not an orange if you’re reading this. 

Celebrating the First Birthday of “A World with Little Worlds” with Music, Translations and Fun!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

One year ago today, I decided to celebrate the anniversary of my college graduation by creating a new blog, celebrating my language journeys. One year later, after plenty of embarrassing moments, self-doubt, as well as mirth and fulfillment and euphoria, here I am, certain that I have made progress in some regard, although I have gotten better in many languages and forgotten many others.

To celebrate, I hereby present the BEST of the music that my language journeys have exposed me to this year. This was a very hard choice, and if I could have my way I could post entire albums here but that would probably result in a cease-and-desist letter.

I could very well provide these in an album form if this was another time, but it seems that in the world of streaming and many other media without physical components that it may not be necessary. Hence, this post!

Below is all of the music that I have selected. Some of it is from languages that I know well. Others from languages that I forgot completely.

(Note: it was originally my intention to translate all of the lyrics, but due to time constraints I’m not going to go around to doing it today. If you want the translations, let me know and I’ll provide them at a later date.)

(Other note: in the event that any of these videos is blocked in your country, let me know!)

https://www.facebook.com/zorgzikhnit/videos/vb.675695412/10155178442800413/?type=3&theater

A song from R.A.G., Cornish Radio, and one of the first songs I ever heard in the language “Hen yw an pris” (The Price is Old)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6igIvhXJCF4

From Finland, a song in the Finnish Language that has consistently topped the charts, a classic love song, titled “Paper Airplane” (not often you encounter such a title for such a genre):

“Paperilenokki”

Mä en lähelles pääse,

on jengii sun ympäril taas ku piikkilankaa

Oon rakentanu sun jalustan

niin korkeeks,

et vaan ilmateitse sut saavuttaa

Mä vaan, haluun kertoo sen

et sua ajattelen

ja sen kirjoitan siipiin,

paperilennokin

Mä haluun et tiedät sen,

oot ainutlaatuinen

Laitan viestin siipiin lennokin

En sun numeroo löydä, mut tarviin sen äkkii, et sut kii saan

Mun mielessä oot saavuttanu statuksen missä oot vähemmän totta ku tarua

Mä vaan, haluun kertoo sen et sua ajattelen ja sen kirjoitan siipiin, paperilennokin Mä haluun et tiedät sen, oot ainutlaatuinen

Laitan viestin siipiin lennokin

Pientä turbulenssia (turbulenssia) ja vähän lentopelkoa (lentopelkoa)

Mut mullon viesti valmiina (o-oo, o-oo)

Paperilennokkiin

Mä haluun et tiedät sen, oot ainutlaatuinen

Laitan viestin siipiin lennokin

Pientä turbulenssia (turbulenssia, o-oo, o-oo-oo) ja vähän lentopelkoa (lentopelkoa) Pientä turbulenssia (turbulenssia, jei-jei-jee)

Mut mullon viesti valmiina (o-oo, o-oo)

Paperilennokkiin

Mä vaan, haluun kertoo sen et sua ajattelen ja sen kirjoitan siipiin, paperilennokin Mä haluun et tiedät sen, oot ainutlaatuinen

Laitan viestin siipiin lennokin

Pientä turbulenssia (turbulenssia) ja vähän lentopelkoa (lentopelkoa)

Mut mullon viesti valmiina (o-oo, o-oo)

Paperilennokkiin

Mä haluun et tiedät sen, oot ainutlaatuinen

Laitan viestin siipiin lennokin.

Two songs in Tok Pisin:

And this classic, featured on the blog previously:

From Samiland, a song that has become an internet sensation and, interesting, has been translated into Tongan. I guarantee that you HAVE heard this song before:

Iđitguovssus girdilit
Hávski lei go iđistit
Vilges dolggiid geigestit
Várrogasat salastit

Njukča, njuvččažan
Buokčal, ligge varan
Njukča, njuvččažan
Ovdal iđitroađi

Iđitguovssus girdilit
Hávski lei go iđistit
Jaskatvuođain savkalit
Nuorravuođain njávkalit

Njukča, njuvččažan
Buokčal, ligge varan
Njukča, njuvččažan
Ovdal iđitroađi

Riegádahte áibbašeami
Oktovuođa váillaheami
A classic folk song in Northern Sami, courtesy of Sofia Jannok, a legendary Sami singer from Sweden:

Sámi eatnan duoddariid, dáid sámi mánáid ruovttu
galbma geađge guorba guovlu
sámi mánáid ruoktu

Beaivi Áhči gollerisku, almmi allodagas
coahkká váibmu Eanan eatni, eallin eatnun šoavvá

Mánu silbbat šelggonasat, jietnja
meara márra, guovssahasat
násteboagán, lottit ráidarasas
vuoi dáid Davvi duovdagiid
dán viiddis almmi ravdda
garra dálkkit juoiggadallet, máná vuohttunluđiid

vuoi dáid fávrrus eatnamiid
vuoi jávrriid čuovgi čalmmiid
liegga litna eatni salla, gievvudeaddji gietkka

Biegga buktá Biegga doalvu
duottar dat lea duottar
duoddar duohken duoddar askkis
sámi mánáid dorvu

Sámi eatnan duoddariid
dáid sámi mánáid ruovttu
šearrát gearrá šealggáhallá, sámi mánáid ruoktu

From Estonia. Interesting fact: Ott Lepland is, very roughly, my age:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOC2A0EJcGk

Sa ju tead, ma soovin sulle öelda:
oled südames.
Sa ju tead, et tahan nüüd vaid mõelda
meie hetkedest.

Sinu hääl minu sees
kõlab nüüd vaid mõtetes.
Sinu käsi minu käes –
sellest und nüüd vaid näen.

Mu südamest viid osakese kaasa,
kui sa ükskord läed.
Kuid ma tean, seda tagasi mul saada
aitab nüüd vaid aeg.

Seisan siin vaikselt ma,
sellel teel käin üksinda.
Viivuks tagasi vaatab silm,
kuid seal ei ole sind.

Vaid võimaluse eest
võiks hoida sellel teel,
et unustaksid sa oma maailma.
Siin seisan nüüd vaid veel
su elu silmades ja loodan siiski ma sind leian…

Mu südames oled kirjutatud luule,
mida nüüd vaid loen.
Kuid ma tean: need sõnad heidan tuulde
ja vaikselt peitu poen,
vaikselt peitu poen.

From the Faroe Islands, a pop song from the 1990’s and a Christmas song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlKH1wWdJpY&list=PL7xreoFR3bi1X2qe0wXmQP8gVNp1x2Gso

Kenslur mínar brenna við sakninum í tær gekk ljósið út

Eitt kaldligt tám er tað einasta ið rennur mær í hug at eg ein fuglur var, sum hevði mist sín song

Eg hómi minnir frá tín farna men rødd tí ljóðar enn í mær

Og tú vart sólstrála mín eitt brosi snýð tá eg var stúrandi

Og tú kanst fjala út yvir men hon er altíð har

So leingi sum tú livir men tú lærir tíðin lekir sár

Eins og trø seint á heysti so ber um vári festa aftur bløð

Minnið um teg mól í mær sum malargrót skræddi fyri sær

So við og við sum tíðin rann mól gróti runt og rundaði so av tók eitt annað skap

Men tíðin tekur tørni alt søkir sína slóð

So satt sum trøð missa tey bløð sum skrýddi tey so standa tey í kuldanum so ber

Og tú kanst fjala út yvir men hon er altíð har

So leingi sum tú livir men tú lærir tíðin hylur sár

Eins og trø seint á heysti so ber um vári festa aftur bløð

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kjJcbgPjik

  1. Kvirra um fjøll og fløtur,
    og náttin døpur, myrk og svørt.
    Lýsir av fjallatindi
    stjørnan so blonk og bjørt.
    Rekur burt nátt og niða
    vill dýr um teigar tiga,
    stjørnan so spakuliga
    seg otar fram í náttini.

Niðurlag: Føddur er konga Kongur
til eina falna verð.
Hoyr hvussu einglasongur
boðini sælu ber.
Ja, hoyr teir syngja um frið á foldum,
tí Frelsarin nú føddur er.

  1. Rekur í nátt og niðu
    so mong ein friðleys sál í dag
    ljósið tó bjart úr erva
    skínur við sama lag,
    boðar á lívsins vegi
    sálunum frið og gleði.
    Leita á hesum degi
    til Hann sum kom at frelsa teg.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4dT8FJ2GE0

Heyr, himna smiður,

hvers skáldið biður,

komi mjúk til mín

miskunnin þín.

Því heit eg á þig,

þú hefur skaptan mig,

ég er þrællinn þinn,

þú ert Drottinn minn.

Guð, heit eg á þig,

að græðir mig,

minnst, mildingur, mín,

mest þurfum þín.

Ryð þú, röðla gramur,

ríklyndur og framur,

hölds hverri sorg

úr hjartaborg.

Gæt, mildingur, mín,

mest þurfum þín

helzt hverja stund

á hölda grund.

Set, meyjar mögur,

máls efni fögur,

öll er hjálp af þér,

í hjarta mér.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpscxhgZYeE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQNbgwKk_UQ

Ósýnilega gyðja ég vil kynnast þér af líkama og sál

Myndi þora að veðja að þú munt dýrka mig og ég mun kveikja hjartabál

Hann langar í sanséraðan sportbíl og hann verður dús þráir heimska ljósku, sportbíl og risastórt hús

Hann langar í sanséraðan sportbíl og hann verður dús þráir heimska ljósku, sportbíl og risastórt hús

Ísmeygilega gyðja hvað er að gerast hér vá þú fellir tár

Ég skal föndra við þig alla og ég mun eiga þig en þú munt ei eiga mig Hann langar í sanséraðan sportbíl og hann verður dús þráir heimska ljósku, sportbíl og risastórt hús

Hann langar í sanséraðan sportbíl og hann verður dús þráir heimska ljósku, sportbíl og risastórt hús

Hann langar í sanséraðan sportbíl og hann verður dús þráir heimska ljósku, sportbíl og risastórt hús

Hann langar í sanséraðan sportbíl og hann verður dús þráir heimska ljósku, sportbíl og risastórt hús…

And, from Greenland. Asuki’s “Halilu’lilah” is probably my favorite song to date.

HALILULILAH

AQQUSERNUP SINAATIGUT KISIMI INGERLAVOQ

EQQARSAATEQARUNARTOQ MALUGAARA

NALUNANNGIVILLUNI NUANNERSUNIK

EQQARSAATEQARTOQ QANORMITA HALILU’LILAH

APERISSANERPARA AJOQUSISSANERPARA

IMMAQAMI ILASSILAALAARLUGU

SUSSALUUNNIIT ILASSINAGU TUSARUNNANNGIIVIPPAANGA

HALILU’LILAH QANOQ ILIUSSAVUNGA.

SANIOQQUTILERLUGU ISUMAGA AJORTIMMAT

ILASSILAARUSULLUGU MISIGAANGA

SUUKIMI AKINANI QUNGUJUINNARALUARUNI

MISIGISSUSEQ TAKUTILLUGU HALILU’LILAH

SANGUVUNGA TUNGAANNAANUT TASSAMI TIKIPPARA

ILASSIGAKKULU INUSSIARNISAARPUNGA

QIVIARPOQ ANNUSERPOQ QUNGUJUSSAQANNGIVIPPOQ

ALASSAARIVOQ IMATULLU AKIVOQ.

Chorus:

HEY UUMANGA NIPAGILAARIT – IMALUUNNIT ALALAARIT

PAATSIVEERUTILIIVIPPARA

HEY UUMANGA OQALUNNAK – KIISA AAMMA PUIGORTIPPAT

HALILU’LILAH HALILU’LI’LULILAH

https://www.facebook.com/zorgzikhnit/videos/10155767937835413/?pnref=story

“Nannup angalaarfia

tusaajuk qupparpalunnera

aqqutigisaa ingerlavigisaa nungullarpoq

nanook nanook tammartajaarpoq

Takujuk nanook Pissaaneqartoq

Kusanaqisut allanngujaqisut sikorsuit

Qimaatitsisarlutik qaaqqusisarlutik amigaataasaramik

Takujuk nanook Pissaaneqartoq

Takujuk nanook Pissaaneqartoq

Paasilerpara inuit kalaallit

Pissaaneqaqisut”

Happy Birthday, “World with Little Worlds!”. May it continue to inspire me and all of you to follow the paths you desire most…