Question of the day.

Will you tell us a joke?

My answer:

Sure. I’m not the kind of person who would tell loads of jokes from the top of my brain but Zofijka is, and here is one she told me today:

Two guys are waiting for a bus at the station. A foreigner comes and asks a question in English. No response. He tries German… No response. French… No response. Spanish… The same. One guy says to the other: “See? Maybe we should start learning languages”. “Why? He knows four, and doesn’t have anything out of it”.

Your turn. πŸ™‚

Advertisements

Question of the day.

What are you most proud of yourself for?

My answer:

Honestly I’m not proud of myself particularly often, it’s a bit of a weird feeling to me, but I’m trying to be more often, even if I’m just forcing myself to feel it because I think I normally should. If I do more or less genuinely, it’s usually because of my linguistic achievements. Like the one I’ve posted earlier today, in one of my song of the day posts, when I was able to understand a larger portion of spoken Norwegian for the first time. I’m proud of myself for learning English mostly on my own, of course I’ve had it at schools for years but I’ve only really learnt it when I started teaching myself, schools are rubbish at languages, and I’m proud of how quickly and how far I’ve gone with it, though I have a feeling like it’s not exactly something that I’ve achieved thanks to myself – my level of fluency, that is, and the pace of my English learning. – I mean of course as a Christian my way of thinking always is that we should be thankful to God for our talents and that without Him we wouldn’t be able to do anything, and of course I wouldn’t achieve quite as much if not all my pen pals and other online friends and such, because it’s the contact with the living language that matters, but I feel like I’ve got more than just an ear for languages. When I look back at my English journey, it feels like a miracle, because of how quickly and unefortlessly it happened that suddenly I was able to think in English with no problem, in some instances that comes to me even easier than in Polish, or without realising it instantly that I’m thinking in English, and suddenly I’ve got quite an English accent that a lot of Polish folks say is British. You’ll hear so many stories of people – whether linguistically gifted or not so much, but still trying to learn a language – putting so much hard work into their learning, or at least having some fancy methods that work for them or that don’t work. Neither was true in my case. It was similar with Swedish as well, though only to some point, I still don’t consider myself fluent in Swedish though my Swedish is good and definitely comunicative. I wonder why Welsh is such a slippery slope then. I’m not used to that hahaha but I mostly like it, I’ve got something to occupy my brain with. Oh gosh! I nearly forgot! I have a news for you people! Does anyone remember my “Reasons Why I’m Learning Welsh” post? One of my reasons was that I wanted to learn to say Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch properly and by heart, just for fun and for quirkiness’ sake (Llanfair Pg is a small town in north Wales). For a long time I was only able to read it fluently, which was still a huge thing for people who knew it, but not for me, because after all I knew Welsh phonetics and then it’s easy to read pretty much anything in Welsh. But, just today, I came across Llanfair PG somewhere and tried to say it just from my head without looking at it and… I just got it right. I did it once again and I got it right, and then I looked it up online to make sure I really got it right, and I did! now I can say it. There is such a Polish website called Nonsensopedia, aka encyclopaedia of humour, and they say something like even if you poop your pants here and now, you won’t say it. I’m not sure what has pooping to do with that but I assure you I didn’t poop while saying that. πŸ˜€ Isn’t that a reason to be proud of? I’m not a Welsh native and I said Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch about 5 times today and didn’t poop. Yay me! πŸ˜€ And stupid Nonsensopedia, maybe the person who wrote that article just had diarrhea, and thus really lacked sense of humour! I just wonder why it took me that long, but I guess if I really did work hard on it I could nail it much earlier. I like it though how spontaneously it came. So typical of my brain. πŸ˜€ Now I guess I need a new Welsh goal in place of that.

How about you? πŸ™‚

Song of the day (29th September) – Mari Boine – “Alla HearrΓ‘ guhkkin Osllos” (Hey, Mr. Almighty Down There In Oslo).

Here’s another Mari Boine’s song. I originally wanted to share it with you on one of the future Sami National Days (February 6), but I might as well do it now ’cause why not. This is a very interesting song for someone like me who is passionate about endangered languages and rights of the speakers of such languages, media in endangered languages and all that. I have no English translation for you, and I can only clearly understand one word in the Sami lyrics – “giella” which means language. – But, hey, not all is lost! There is a part in Norwegian in the lyrics, and actually, that Norwegian bits and pieces are of very deep historical and personal value for me, because that was the very first thing I was able to understand in Norwegian. I don’t speak Norwegian, mind you, but of course Swedish and Norwegian are close enough to be very much mutually intelligible. I used to be frustrated because I could never understand more than a word, or a small string of words in Norwegian, and that if I was lucky, I didn’t even understand svorsk too well (svenska – Swedish – +norsk – Norwegian – =svorsk). I still often don’t understand Norwegian too well but am often able to at least figure out the context. And that Mari Boine’s song was the first ever spoken – or sung, but I don’t think that matters – word, much more than a word actually, that I understood. Not all of it but I definitely got the gist of it plus some more than a gist, I’m not sure about one line. Bibiel is so smart, yayyy for Bibiel!!! πŸ˜€ And thus, Bibiel can tell you what the song is about.

“Hey, Mr. Almighty, down there in Oslo. Do you have time to listen to us? We watch Tv evening after evening, but don’t hear anything in our own language. Hey, MR. Almighty, down there in Oslo. Do you have time to listen to us? We listen to us? We listen to the radio day efter day, but hear hardly a word in our own language. Could you give us a little bit more? Language has such a great power [or your language has such a great power, I’m not sure] (…)”. And then I only understand that they are afraid of something, I am half-guessing that that their language will disappear. If there are some Norwegian peeps out there (or even better Sami!) I’d appreciate any corrections. I’m assuming that the Sami lyrics are mostly the same.

The song was released on Mari Boine’s 1986 album, originally, and, while I don’t know what was the situations with the Sami media back then, and I have no idea if they have their own TV right now, I do know that nowadays, there is a public radiostation called NRK Samiradio in Norway. I’m not well acquainted with it and I don’t know if it is sufficient for the Norwegian Sami community’s needs, but I’d think the situation has improved since the 80’s. There is also SR SΓ‘pmi to which I listen a lot, and some Finnish Sami radiostation as well. I also have no idea who the Mr. Almighty exactly is, as I don’t have a broader background context about the song.

Oh, and I forgot to mention one more interesting thing about Mari in my previous Mari Boine post. She is a paternal relative of Kevin Boine, whose song “Komm Till Finnmark” I featured on National Sami Day this year. Apart from the joiking, and even despite Mari’s huge musical versatility, the difference between their styles is vast and almost startling hahaha!

 

Question of the day (19th May).

Is there any random language you find interesting and would like to learn, that would have no relevant benefit to you personally, in terms of your career, heritage, where you live, etc.

My answer:

Well… do I really need to answer this question? I have a feeling that in my case, it’s pretty irrelevant. πŸ˜€ But, OK, in case you don’t remember, or don’t know, about all the languages that I find just flamin’ hot interesting and would like to learn, that, according to most people’s view, don’t have any relevant benefit to me, other than just satisfying my crazy brain, here’s the complete listonce again, excluding those I already know/am learning, of course, no specific order:

Cornish, Scottish Gaelic (and Doric too perhaps), Scots, (Ulster Scots as well and it would be cool to know all the Shetlandic/Orkney etc. dialects), Dutch, Frisian, Manx, Irish, Finnish, Sami (North Sami seems the easiest to do as it’s the most widely spoken and accessible, although I’m dreaming about LuleΓ₯ Sami) and Faroese.

Some time ago, when our Zofijka was in some sort of a counting-everything developmental phase, she asked me how many languages I like – like overall, with those I can already speak. – I never know/remember how many, because in contrast to her, I never care about such things, assuming that quality is more important than quantity, and my brain just doesn’t deal with numbers. So I told her all of them and she counted them, and then she was like “Wow you’re really nutty!”. πŸ˜€ So that’s the only kind of tangible benefit you’re gonna get from learning weird languages, people will start to think you’re a nutter, so I’d advise you to think it through before you pick your random language… Kidding of course. Nuts are good for your brain, just as language learning, so in the end it’ll be you who will win. πŸ˜‰

So what would be your choice? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Hi people! πŸ™‚

I have a sort of linguistic question for you today.

If you have trouble understanding a person with a very thick accent, do you feel bad about it, and you apologise if you have to ask them to repeat things?

My answer:

First of all, in Polish we definitely don’t have such a variety of accents as you guys have in English. There are accents, dialects and stuff but the language is fairly universal and most peopleactually don’t even know the features of most of them unless they’re just into observing how different people speak. So, if someone speaks in Polish with an accent that I have some trouble understanding, and this person is Polish, I don’t really feel bad, I feel surprised and like “How come they talk like this their whole life?” or something. I listen to English every day, write in English and read English, but I’ve never been to an English-speaking country and I haven’t really had many conversations with English natives, so I don’t have much experience here. But yeah, I think I would feel bad. I’m normally not really a perfectionist, but I definitely am when it comes to languages, or some aspects of language learning, and I’d just feel bad about myself in a way I guess if I couldn’t figure out what someone’s saying to me. I also love accents, I love how rich English is with all the accents and dialects and everything, so I’d be frustrated if that were a significant barrier in communication for me and the person I’m talking with, even though I do know that there are still a fair bit of English accents that I don’t always understand even though I’m normally pretty good at figuring out accents or even mimicking them as for someone in whose language they almost don’t occur, Ithink. I’d also feel a bit bad for that person, I wouldn’t like them to feel that I am discriminating them in any way or something. And my social anxiety and generally anxiety in regard to communication would come up stronger probably. But I also love a language challenge so I would also appreciate a chance to learn something new and have a new experience as a result of such a communication barrier. When I was in Stockholm, I already knew earlier that people are pretty laid back in Sweden about accents and everyone talks with their own accent, it’s like there’s no actual standard version of Swedish unless you perhaps consider the Stockholm variant as such. But I was surprised how many different varieties of the same language I could hear. I also had a long conversation with a gem stones shop owner who was from Scania, I always have a bit of a trouble understanding people with a strong Scanian accent. It was difficult, and because of my anxiety a bit exhausting, but also very rewarding. The whole Stockholm trip was like that for me. And it was so interesting to hear all those different dialects, even though I think in English they are even richer and more diverse. SO how about you? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

What are you looking forward to?

My answer:

Hm… I guess I don’t have any very specific plans or anything that I would specifically look forward to very much. But because, again, I am writing this post almost straight after my little language learning session, and a little frustrated with myself, I’ll say that I’m really, really, really looking forward to the moment when I’ll be finally able to understand more in Welsh, and have better listening skills in this language. I always like learning my languages, but recently it’s been quite a struggle with Welsh and I can see that my understanding of what people are saying is not the best. I may pick up a lot of separate small words or phrases but somehow often can’t make sense of them together. And there have been so many things lately that I’d like to understand, and often I can’t even get the gist. You’d think that because I pick up the phonetics quickly, and have been absorbing new vocabulary speedily in the last couple of weeks, that wouldn’t be a problem, but it is. I suppose that it just simply needs time and even more practice, but I still wonder what if there is something that I’m doing wrong, or maybe I should do something more, or not do something. πŸ˜€ I must also admit that I am not used to that much trouble with a language. I mean both my English and Swedish have been evolving a bit like by some miracle. I was learning English at school, but didn’t like the subject, and although I was fairly good in comparison to most of other students, I was still rather mediocre and couldn’t really communicate, because school won’t teach you that, not a Polish school at least, unless you put a lot of your own effort into it and will do more than they do at school. Only when I started to teach myself more, it turned out that I actually don’t have to teach myself anything, because my English was practically developing on its own at an extreme speed and the only thing that was left to me was observing this strange process happening, until I suddenly found myself blogging in English and thinking in English often very automatically. πŸ˜€ With my Swedish it was like that I had a very long break in learning, so that I had to actually start all over again, but it went really quickly and as my teacher said, I sort of skipped the most difficult and laborious stage of learning Swedish, which was kind of mysterious for both of us, I was a beginner, and then suddenly started to express myself in a very sophisticated way, translate pretty complex articles and such. Both my English and Swedish, especially Swedish, are still in development and I have to put a conscious effort into it, but the most difficult things my brain did on its own, so that it feels as if I skipped some of the learning process, if it makes any sense. My language learning was kind of happening beside me. And with Welsh it’s much more real work. Not that it discourages me, not at all, but just frustrates a bit. Maybe something radical must happen and then my Welsh will speed up too, I don’t know. So I just can’t wait until I’ll finally be able to understand people efficiently without my brain getting all sore from it. πŸ˜€

And you? πŸ™‚

Question of the day (30th April).

Hi people. πŸ™‚

OK, so my question for you guys for yesterday is still about what you’re doing right now, and it is as follows.

What are you reading?

My answer:

Most recently, I’ve just read some of my Welsh learning stuff, and I’ve learnt 10 new words today, yaaay!

And what are YOU reading, be it a book, or whatever? πŸ™‚