Back when I started this blog in 2014, I was living in Heidelberg surrounded by foreigners that spoke far better German than I did. What’s more, a lot of locals had very good knowledge of English (although there were also those that had absolutely no English conversational skills whatsoever) as well as a smattering of other languages including Western European tongues and knowledge of languages of all countries that border Germany.
And this is I several years later.
At first, I thought it would be a disaster. But I thought that maybe, just maybe, I would have something to offer, and that it would be better to just … TRY … and that maybe I would go down in flames, but it would be better if I were to just write something about my experiences learning languages and see what would happen.
- After a one-year hiatus that was due to my Lyme Disease and general “not feeling like it”, I decided to bring this blog back as part of a New Year’s Resolution. That was one of the best decisions of my life, bar none.
I’m keeping “World with Little Worlds” around, but I also have to realize that if I want to share more of my stories, then I’ll need something more.
After all, I’m one of very few polyglots that really focuses on endangered and rarer languages, even though most of my strongest languages (with the exception of Yiddish and English Creoles) don’t fit that bill. Suffice it to say that, unlike many other online polyglots, my strongest languages do not include the most powerful ones on the globe (German and Spanish I’m very good at, but I’m better at Swedish and Yiddish because, plainly put, I like them more and I like putting more time into them. I also have a sentimental connection towards Swedish, Hungarian and Yiddish in particular, given that these were languages heard within my family before I was born).
Here’s something you might not fully comprehend unless you’ve ventured down this path before:
Putting Videos of Yourself Online Speaking Languages Requires Extraordinary Bravery.
There will be people calling you fake.
No matter how good you are or what you do, people will accuse you of using machine translation, consulting with native speakers, reading from the screen or, if all else fails, insult you for your choice of languages or dislike your video because you didn’t learn a language from their country or, in some cases, their continent.
And here’s another shocking fact:
Most of the people saying bad things about your video are actually NOT people who speak only one language!
Odd but true. The majority of polyglot-skepticism I’ve encounter have overwhelmingly been from people who speak two to three languages very well and are, in some cases, bilingual from birth. More often than not a lot of these people comes from places that have had history (or a present) of linguistic persecution of minorities (I will not name these countries, you know what they are).
Suffice it to say that, despite the hatred I have been getting (as well as the praise and thank-you-notes), I have decided that I’m going to continue with more videos.
And to that end, I’ve decided to undertake a number of YouTube projects in honor of 10,000 hits.
Let me tell you about some of them:
Language Learning Documentation
Right now there’s an ongoing series on my page in which I’m learning Palauan. But here’s the thing: I’m literally documenting all the time that I’m spending with the language, so that you can see how the process of becoming A1 (or possibly even higher) in a language is actually carried out!
I pronounce a lot of the words in interesting ways. I laugh at myself. I realize that mistakes are a part of this journey. Nevertheless, I persist.
Palauan is a lovely language and the website I’m using (tekinged.com) says that Palauans are very fun to talk to.
For those unaware, Palau is a Pacific Island nation, located somewhere between the Philippines and the Island of Papua, located perpendicular to them both and not too far from Indonesia either.
I highly recommend you carry through with this experience, it will not only motivate you but also show you exactly what goes into this process.
A handful of other languages have been lined up as “you’re next” in this series, not also to mention other plans for languages that I’ve studied but that I’m not fluent in yet.
What’s more, given that I live in New York City, something like Moses McCormick’s “Level Up” series is in order.
(For those unaware, this means that you walk around stores and streets and other public places and you engage with people in their native language, note reactions and learn how to improve!)
But another post on that will definitely come in its own time. Right now I’m very worried about overstepping the boundaries with using published materials and it costing me a copyright strike AND my place in the YouTube Partner Program.
And that’s without even getting into the idea of possibly filming people without their consent. But hey, I should at least try it for the sake of linguistic diversity, now, shouldn’t I? And anyone who doesn’t want to be filmed can easily be cut out, right?
More on that next time!
Because right now I have to teach!
Thanks for 10,000 views, folks! Just wait till ya see what happens when this reaches 100,000!
Oh, and…here’s your map!
Could I get everywhere else?