Question of the day.

If you could gain perfect fluency in any language instantly, but only one language, which would you choose?

My answer:

Oh my, this one’s so hard! I’d like to be perfectly fluent in ALL my languages, as quickly as only possible. But… one language… I think I’m going to go with the most difficult one out of the ones I want to learn, which I guess would be Sami, especially considering the small amount of speakers and even smaller of resources. If I could be fluent in any of the Sami languages (preferably Luleå Sami but any will do) that would be very helpful.

You? 🙂

Question of the day (23rd September).

Does anyone in your family speak a language that you don’t?

My answer:

As I wrote earlier, my Dad speaks Kashubian, as does my gran and a lot of other people on my Dad’s side of the family. Some people in my Mum’s family who have lived here for a while have also learned enough of it to speak fairly well, apparently my grandma’s brother speaks Kashubian so well that no one can tell that he’s not a Kashub and some people who have married into my Mum’s family are Kashubs and can speak more or less Kashubian. My gran also speaks some German as she has some German heritage and was going to a German-speaking school but she remembers very little of it now. My Mum knows some Russian from school. When she was going to school, Russian was an obligatory language at schools here rather than English so everyone learned it, but while my Dad for example doesn’t remember almost anything, my Mum still has some vocabulary and often says she’d like to learn more of it, she can also read the Russian alphabet well and understands much more that she can say herself, my mum also has Russian roots since both my maternal grandparents do, she has a kind of sentiment for Russian language, culture and literature. Because of this, it’s not surprising that my maternal grandparents can also speak some Russian, I guess my grandma’s is actually quite decent and since she was born in what used to be Russia back then she also still has a very distinguishable eastern accent as do all of her siblings. Also both my maternal grandparents have been forever fascinated with France and studied French and seem to be good at it as well, and my grandad knows Latin very well. Some other of my family members also know some bits of Latin if they had it at uni like my Godmother but my grandad actually makes use of it. Sofi can speak bits of Spanish but can’t really communicate. She has started learning German this year at school as well and so far it’s surprising that while she’s not doing well with English, she’s doing very well with German even though it’s objectively a more difficult language from a Polish perspective. My one uncle works a lot in Norway and can speak some Norwegian, pretty well as far as I can tell, and my other uncle works in Germany and knows a little German but not too much. My grandma’s relatives can speak Belarussian as she also has Belarussian heritage. It’s funny with my cousin, who has learnt Italian since early school age and has always loved the language. She later discovered that she has a calling for religious life and has joined the Salesian sisters a few years ago, and this year they sent her to Italy for novitiate. So it’s definitely proven very useful.

How about your family? 🙂

Question of the day (22nd September).

Did you ever study a foreign language by yourself?

My answer:

Sure, I think that’s the best way of learning a language if only you can manage to do it this way because no one knows what works for you quite as well as you do, and no one knows as well as you do what things you enjoy so only you can make your language learning thoroughly enjoyable. I’ve been learning English by myself since I left the blind boarding school when I started hanging around the Anglophone Interwebs and realised what I was already beginning to think years earlier, that school, any school really (at least I haven’t encountered a school over here that would be really good with languages unless it specialises in it but even then it’s no guarantee) isn’t going to teach me a language, and if I want to communicate in English and understand people I’d have to do it by myself. What school had done so far was it only managed to discourage me in some way, but thankfully more from English as a subject, which I found infinitely boring, rather than English as a language, but it was very close to it as well. I was pretty good at English at school most of the time and that was part of why I disliked the subject, that a lot of the time I had little to no constructive stuff to do in class.

Sometimes I feel like a kind of jerk when I say that I’ve taught myself English, first because I was going to school for so many years so surely it must have had some impact, and also I don’t really feel and never did like I put a whole lot of effort into my English learning, like most people do when they teach themselves anything. And yes, I did get the beginnings from school, as I wrote in the last post, I’m absolutely sure it all wouldn’t go as smoothly as it did if I had to start from scratch completely on my own. And I am extremely grateful for the bits and pieces that school did give me. But with what I got from school, while I had very good grades at English and could have a very basic conversation with someone with a lot of good will on both sides, I wasn’t really able to communicate effectively nor comprehend English very well either when reading or listening. I also don’t think it’s something fully due to my own merrit that I’ve managed to learn English to the extend that I did and as smoothly and easily as I did. I don’t believe in a “linguistic talent” because if it was the matter of talent we would have much more mute people or people with all sorts of language/speech disorders than we do, we also wouldn’t have had as much migration because people wouldn’t be able to learn another country’s language. But there are certainly some traits that people may or may not have that may make it easier to absorb languages, like a talent for catching the phonetics which I seem to have. And I think that has simplified the whole thing for me a whole lot, I also like learning languages and if someone does not, it’s typically going to take more time.

But even if I do have some particular language skills, I still feel like my English learning was kind of miraculous and insanely speedy given how little conscious effort I put into it. I immersed myself a lot into English, listening to different accents and just a lot of stuff in English and wanted to learn to distinguish different accents better than I could, and possibly also imitate them. I read a lot in English on the web so that it quickly became my habit that if I was googling something I did it automatically in English rather than Polish and still do. – I changed the interfaces of the devices/apps I used to English. I wrote my journal at least partly in English. Later I started penpalling which was at first very strenuous indeed for me to understand people and write in a comprehensive way, writing to a pen pal would take me ages but after that my brain would be buzzing in English for the next 24 hours so it was clear that it was doing me a lot of good, and over time, not very much time at all, it became less of a chore and much more of a pleasure and I think it’s penpalling and blogging that has been helping me the most. Then when I was already able to communicate quite well I also started this blog which had been my dream for years. Later yet, I started to read some books in English when I got access to them, and nowadays, I think the amounts of books I read in Polish and English are quite equal, and it has also been a very smooth transition, although it still requires more concentration from me to read books in English, but not the point where it would be uncomfortable or something.

While in my final year of college/high school I had briefly English classes with a private tutor, I thought it could be more helpful to show me what exactly my level is and what I have still to do, or at least help me to prepare for my finals. It did only one good thing for me. My teacher was super chatty and we talked a lot, so my conversational skills have improved. That was good as generally my daily, serious use of English evolves around writing, reading and listening (by “serious” I mean excluding talking to myself and conversating with Misha). I was already good with accents and such but nevertheless not particularly confident in speaking, and talking to him helped me to feel more at ease with it, at least in terms of language skills, as of course there’s also the whole socialising and peopling stress involved which is a totally different thing and can also affect things no matter in which language. Thanks to this, he certainly helped me to prepare for my oral English final exam as well. But other than that, it didn’t really take me anywhere further than I was and my general English level didn’t change because of it. So yeah, I think with English, I learned the most by myself. It’s been about six years since I left the boarding school and thus since I seriously started to learn English on my own, and I’ve learnt more in these 5 years than I did during English classes.

I am also currently learning Swedish by myself, although I started out with a tutor and, unlike school and the English tutor, he did a whole lot for me and I’m sure that if I didn’t meet someone like him, I wouldn’t be able to learn Swedish nor any language on my own now. He worked with me for two years first since I was 10, then we had a long break when I had to go back to the blind school as the integration school didn’t work out and that meant there was no way for us to meet up really. I avoided even the slightest contact with or any mention of Swedish as fire while at the boarding school because I felt like if I couldn’t learn it anymore it was pointless to think of it and it only made me feel extremely depressed, frustrated and angry. I forgot most of what I learned at least on a conscious level. But then I got the faza on Cornelis Vreeswijk when I was 17 and I couldn’t hold it in any longer. The more my faza developed, the more I felt almost literally how all the stuff I forgot was flooding my brain again, and I kept accidentally learning new, sophisticated words from his lyrics and poems, then I even managed to translate totally spontaneously a few of his poems with the little Swedish I had and these translations were really quite damn good as for my generally very poor Swedish skills by then. As it happened, the year I got that faza also turned out to be my last year at the boarding school, and in the autumn of that year I reconnected with my Swedish teacher. During our first lesson, he asked me to just say a few sentences in Swedish, whatever I was able to say, and neither of us was expecting much but I was actually able to express myself fairly coherently. He was very surprised and at first thought that I was learning by myself at school somehow or managed to find another tutor there after all, but then I told him that I was only kind of learning since about May but not really in a very serious way, and he said my brain must have somehow skipped over the most basic stages in no time because I actually knew more than what we’d covered in the past when I was in the integration school. That was weird, but that’s fazas for you, make your brain do strangely intense things without feeling like you’re doing much at all. 😀 I loved it and I kept skipping like that for a while yet.

But, skipping or no skipping, I certainly wouldn’t be able to be where I am with my Swedish and with other languages where I am now if he wouldn’t take up the challenge and try to teach me even though he had no idea about teaching blind people and even though back then when we were starting I didn’t even have an idea about any technologies or stuff so it all was really complicated. Most language teachers I’ve encountered are much more of scaredy cats. I just wouldn’t have the confidence that I am actually able to do it.

Now I’m no longer having lessons with him since a few years and I can learn Swedish on my own. With the help of emails from my Swedish pen pals, the Swedish Internet, some Swedish books, mostly children’s, that I can get, and loads and loads and loads of listening. That trip to Stockholm I once went for has also tremendously helped me, as well as my friendship with Jacek from Helsinki and meeting different people through him. I get very little practice in form of writing or speaking these days and somehow can’t figure out how best to change it, at least in terms of writing where it is more doable, in a way that would feel good and not like a chore, which makes me feel that my Swedish is kind of clunky and that it could be better, and I somehow feel like it has regressed a little bit since when my English has started improving so rapidly but I am definitely able to communicate with people and understand everything I read or hear unless it’s extremely sophisticated or someone speaks very fast with an accent that I don’t really get, like Scanian for example. 😀

And now I’m also learning Welsh by myself as there’s no other option, as for many of my other languages. I’d actually like it if there was someone in my area who could teach me so I wouldn’t have to think about resources and stuff but it could be just as effective as all of my English classes in the past so perhaps it’s better that I’m dealing with it oon my own. The biggest problem is that there aren’t overly many resources but since I’ve found a website for Welsh learners with a lot of courses and stuff it’s become much easier and structured for me and I don’t have to constantly be on the look out for new things in case I run out of the resources I have now or they stop being helpful. It’s also fairly accessible. Listening is definitely my main way of learning Welsh as it’s kind of a priority in my courses, I’m terribly slow at reading and my vocab could be better but at least with the latter I’m sure I’ll get there in time. I’d also really really like to be better at listening as my brain is kind of sluggish when processing auditory input in Welsh haha. So far, despite I’ve had a Welsh faza, I haven’t had such a speedy jumping like with ENglish and Swedish, with Welsh it would be even better because it’s more difficult, and I’ve actually found learning it much more strenuous than the other two languages, but no less exciting.

And with all of my other languages, I think I’ll also be learning them by myself.

How about you? 🙂

Question of the day (21st September).

Did you have foreign language classes in your school?

My answer:

I had English classes from the beginning of primary until the end of my formal education, and German kind of on and off since fourth grade in primary until the end of secondary. But I don’t feel like the classes gave me much beyond teaching me the very beginnings of English which could perhaps be hard if I didn’t have them at school.

How was it with you? If you did have language classes, do you feel like you actually benefitted from them in any way? Or maybe quite the opposite? 🙂

Question of the day (20 September).

What other languages do you speak, if any?

My answer:

This is another thing that I’m sure a lot of you know about me as I write about it a lot and my languages are an important part of my life. But if you don’t, or doon’t remember, so far, other than my native language and obviously English, I can also speak Swedish, I’d say on an upper intermediate or advanced level or thereabouts, and Welsh, which I think would classify as lower intermediate. I also used to learn German at school but my actual knowledge of this language these days is very poor and most of it that I know is by similarity of the words with other languages that I know.

How about you? 🙂

Question of the day (19th September).

Hey people! 🙂

Let’s talk languages for a while. Simple question for now:

What’s your native language?

My answer:

As most of you on here surely know, my native language is Polish. My Dad is Kashub and can also speak Kashubian but I only know little bits and pieces of it and can’t understand anything substantial if someone speaks really fluently and fast, also I don’t really identify myself strongly with Kashubian. But I do love Polish to bits and I’m so glad that it’s my native language. It’s cool, beautiful, and a great language to start out with if you want to learn difficult languages. 😀

You? 🙂

My top 5 core values.

I haven’t written in quite a while, so I thought I’d do some longer piece today using one of the journaling workbooks. This time, I chose a prompt from The Year of You by Hannah Braime, which goes as follows:

What are your top five core values? Core values are the qualities and experiences that are most important to us to embody and have present in our lives. These might include things like trust, love, connection, freedom, growth, etc. (…)

I’ve written such a list of values already in my diary a while ago, but here I’ll try to expand on the topic of each of them at least a bit so that this post is more substantial. In my diary I also mentioned some of my negative core values, but here I decided not to do so for a few reasons, but mostly because typically when we think core values we think about the positive and helpful ones.

   Belief in God and Christian values

This is extremely important to me. As I wrote in the post about the roles I play, I may not always feel like I’m doing a great job with this, but nevertheless, I’m trying to do my best and do and think what and how I believe a Christiann should do and think. Obviously I don’t only mean things like praying or going to church, but also things like being helpful to other people, not judging them, making big and small decisions in my life so that they’re intact with my conscience and Christian rules, like not voting for a party who promotes killing unborn children or not celebrating Halloween. It’s also an important quality for me in other people which I deeply respect, but at the same time I have no problem associating with people who believe in God differently or believe in a different God, or don’t believe in any God whatsoever. Some Christian people have a weird problem with that but I think that, while common values of this importance in friendship make things way easier, having some different values and beliefs can make things more interesting, as long as both sides are willing to respect each other and not argue about that. Which sometimes means it’s just safer not to discuss the topics in which your opinions differ, or otherwise you just most definitely will argue, while at other times exchanging your different beliefs can be enriching and fascinating. In short, this is the most important value, or perhaps I should say set of values I am always trying to follow in my life, with varying success, also probably the most difficult to follow, but normally if something I’m making a decision about is contrary to these values, I am not going to do this.

   Intelligence, versatility and open-mindedness.

I’m putting them together because while they’re three different things, I think as values they have a whole lot in common. Intelligence is a quality I really appreciate having, as it’s proven so helpful for me in countless situations. I guess it’s my biggest strength and one of my most effective protective mechanisms, and seems like one of the things that people value me for. My brains are a crucial part of my identity, therefore my brain health is important to me and I’m utterly scared of all sorts of neurodegenerative diseases. I also very highly value intelligence in other people and love having such people around me. It’s a very important quality in a friend for me. As for open-mindedness, I value thinking outside of the box, outside of my own perspective, or just in some unobvious way. It isn’t always easy, as it’s in our nature to think from our own point of view, and it can feel very abstractive to do it the other way around, but it’s an intriguing brain challenge and can be a powerful experience. Similarly, I appreciate people who are capable of doing so. The more so that, as a blind, mentally ill and just all round very quirky person with strange experiences and ideas, it seems like my perspective is not always easily understandable for other people, so it’s great when someone does take an effort to try and understand things from my point of view. Or even not from my point of view, but generally when I see someone who can easily think very flexibly, I have a lot of admiration for such a person. I think the most open-minded person in this way that I know was my Swedish teacher and I often think that if not his open-mindedness, his courage in taking up different, weird challenges with me and his flexibility of thinking my Swedish learning may have been much more difficult, or I may have even become completely discouraged from learning languages altogether, and this is not at all an overstatement, in case you’re new here and don’t know my a bit tumultuous language learning history and are wondering. 😀 By versatility I mean taking an interest in lots of different things, as well as having knowledge about them, or being capable of doing lots of different things. This is a very impressive quality for me and I always say that it’s one of the most important qualities for me in a faza object, haha, or at least they always do end up being quite versatile people. I do have a whole lot of different interests, and I believe I know a fair bit also about things that don’t directly interest me quite as much, but I am somehow not sure I am quite as versatile as I would like to be. Still, I am probably more versatile than most people I know in person.

   Traditions.

Yeah, I often say when someone asks me about my views, usually in the context of politics, that I am an open-minded traditionalist. I like combining innovation with tradition. In any field, be it music, religion, food, politics, baby naming, language, fashion or interior design, etc. Always with a bit more of tradition than innovation, but enough innovation that it doesn’t feel plain, boring, or, God forbid, totally backward, but tasteful, fresh, niche and unexpected. I’m thinking about tradition and traditionalism here as a very broad thing. My religious beliefs are very traditional, apparently these days they might even classify as orthodox for some Christians, though I personally don’t consider myself orthodox, however I admire truly orthodox (not to be confused with fanatic, as these are yet another kettle of fish) Christian people. I love folk music, which speaks for itself, folk is obviously traditional, though just as I said earlier I do like tradition with innovation so things like neofolk, electrofolk, folk pop, folk metal etc. are close to my heart and brain just as well. I am passionate about keeping endangered and minority/indigenous languages alive, and same applies to all sorts of cultural traditions. I love learning about folklore of different areas and people’s customs, and always feel sad whenever I hear about such things extincting, though a lot of such traditional treasures – especially languages – are so unbelievably resilient and can thrive in the most unfavourable circumstances. – By the way I think we humans can really take an inspiratioon from languages, when we’re going through rough things in life. 🙂 People typically think of trees, especially oaks, as symbols of resilience, but I think of languages. Oh yeah and on a more personal level I absolutely dread changes and have a hard time adapting to them, which I think also goes in line with the whole traditional thing, though probably has a bit different etiology. 😀 However it’s not like I’m totally against change, if I can see its positive aspects, just that it’s a totally dreadful process and adjusting to it usually takes me ages and a lot of rumination in the meantime.

   Helpfulness.

I even like the way the word helpful looks in English. I have fun synaesthetic associations! 😀 Would describe them to you but it’s too complicated and would take up too much space and this post is not about this. That’s why I wrote “helpfulness” rather than “helping people” which would probably look a bit more natural. I really like that feeling, when you know you have helped someone. Well I guess it’s a natural thing for all of us who are empathetic beings to have that feeling and to like it. This thing alone can drive us to want to be more helpful. I don’t know, however, if I help people as much as I could. I often feel effectively inhibited from doing it by different factors. I am rubbish at helping people in person because of all the difficulties I have with communicating with people like social anxiety. I have a hard time initiating the simplest conversations with most people, so while I am a good observer and very often easily notice that someone may need some kind of help, I don’t know how to offer it to them, or how to ask them what they need, or don’t know what to do about it altogether, or maybe even know but it feels too scary and overwhelming a process so I only watch the situation from a distance hoping that there will be someone else who can help them and feeling awful for not helping them myself. If I do try to make the effort and help them, I feel awful for helping them not the right way, or not adequately, or making things worse rather than better. Also I usually feel like I’m not even the right person to help people because of my own various limitations and that I just won’t be able to give them the help they need. Thankfully there are some areas where I do feel a bit more confident when helping people, like listening to people (unless they clearly expect me to say something, as then I usually feel like there’s nothing I can say that could be particularly helpful), or supporting people online, or helping people financially, or sharing something with them, or sharing some of my skills with them, with the latter I’m thinking things like translating something for my Mum, for example. These are usually very small areas and I feel like most people help others much more, but I comfort myself in that at least a lot of the people whom I have helped have said I was helpful to them so perhaps my help is more a quality over quantity kinda thing. I’ve always lived by that rule, as quantity is something largely abstractive to me, so if it seriously works like this with my help, it’s probably not as bad as I usually imagine. 😀

   Family.

I actually wondered whether I should really include this value or perhaps leave it out and write about something possibly more interesting, because this whole family thing is complex and I’m not sure it’s indeed this high among my values, but I decided to write about it nevertheless, because even though I struggle with sense of belonging and don’t really feel a strong connection to my extended family, my closest family are pretty much the only people in real life that I’m close to and they are important to me, also I do respect all of my family, and am loyal to them, never mind that I don’t really feel anything more towards most of them. Also family as a more general term – as in roots, origin, heritage etc. – is an important thing for me. Loyalty towards family is, as I said, an important thing to me and I think family members sort of owe it to each other. I try to keep good relationships with them as muchh as it’s possible, though I don’t give a shit about it if they don’t try as well. My most immediate family – by which I mean my parents and siblings and grandparents – are people for whom I am capable of making a lot of sacrifices, for example attending family gatherings even when I don’t feel at all like doing this mentally and have to deal with the consequences of this afterwards, which include a substantial increase in Maggie’s (my inner critic) activity, feeling mentally and physically drained and a general brain overload. I know they won’t really care about my actual presence there in itself, but if I won’t be there they’ll have a problem either with me that I am so unfeeling and neglectful, or with my Mum, which I don’t understand, it appears that some of my family think that somehow my Mum is to blame if I don’t appear on their birthday party. I want to spare her that, because she has so much stronger ties with her family, so unless I really really can’t, or it’s someone I can’t be bothered about, like some people from my Dad’s side of my family whom I have a hard time genuinely respecting, I just deal with it and go. It’s awful, it’s pointless and I don’t think they realise how much mental energy it sometimes can cost me while it’s happening as well as before and afterwards (though perhaps it’s not okay that I actually expect people to care, and most likely makes me sound terribly whiney,) but I do this because I feel obliged towards them as my family. I also deeply value the connection I have with my Mum, she is so very important to me, as well as Sofi. Sofi is very valuable.

So there you have it, these are the top five of my values.

What are yours? Have you thought about this before and made a more comprehensive list?

 

Question of the day.

Hi people! 🙂

What makes a song a good song to you?

My answer:

Sometimes it’s hard to say why I like a song. But some factors that play a role are: what instruments are in it, my favourite instrument is harp, almost all harps, but especially Celtic harp, but I also like all sorts of guitars (nearly all plucked string instruments really), flutes and piano from the more commonly used ones and a lot of others, also I don’t mind synth music or not typically. Sometimes electrical guitar can badly trigger my sensory anxiety if played a certain way but generally I love a good guitar riff, and not only just riff. The vocals, I don’t really know if there are some clear patterns to what kinds of vocals I usually like and what I usually don’t, I only know I usually dislike coloratura sopranos or voices with a similar hue – I spontaneously made up a word to describe them as a teen because I didn’t know if there was any actual way to describe them and I called them thick, as in a thick fluid, perhaps because that’s how they feel to my synaesthetic brain –
and some types of tenors, no matter in what genre, but there are always some exceptions to the rule, for example Maire Brennan from Clannad (has been featured on my blog) has a very thick singing voice but I rather do like her, though I prefer her singing in the lower registers because then she’s less thick. I tend to like light and clear lyrical sopranos as well as slightly husky and deep altos, and strong baritons, and I can like tenors too if they have enough depth and strength and expressiveness but not too much of the latter, as I always appreciate expressiveness in music, but too much exaltation is awfully annoying and a really bad thing for music in my very personal opinion. If there’s harp in a song/piece of music, it’s very bad if there’s also some rhythmical beat at the same time, ugh, it’s a profanity and the results are rarely any good, it sounds kinda cliche. I like lyrics that I can relate to, or that are intriguing, or funny, or very quirky, even so quirky and odd that no one can really understand what they’re about. There’s something refreshing in odd, even nonsense lyrics when all you hear all the time in “normal” music is: “Oooooh yeeeeeeeah yeah yeah I luuuuv yaaaa baaaaby” or the like. No, I don’t mind lyrics about love whatsoever, but it’s depressing that, according to what I once read somewhere, well over 50% of lyrics (don’t remember now how much exactly) is about love (though I hope they were only talking about English-language pop music). It also doesn’t make me feel as much of a connection when a song is about love as I’ve never experienced romantic love nor the sexual stuff that people often mistake for love, my fazas are a little similar but not the same. Elaborate, folklore-themed are always welcome. I love creative lyrics and those that are raw and honest or at least appear to be so. But usually lyrics are not the primary thing in a song for me, and if I like the music, I am often happy for the lyrics to be anything, unless I find them somehow really awful or completely not in line with what I think then it might be more of a minus and make me like the song less. Also I of course listen to a lot of music in foreign languages, so I’m not one of those people who have to understand a song to enjoy it. Sure, lyrics help me or at least hugely motivate me to learn and it can be so rewarding to see my progress in a language by being able to understand more of the lyrics of a song over time, but I’m happy not to understand a word. I’ve been a fan of a Polish radio programme called Strefa Rokendrola Wolna od Angola (English-free Rock’n’roll Zone” on Polish Radio Programme 3 where you can listen to all sorts of rock music (not necessarily just rock’n’roll) in all sorts of languages, including minority or just rarely heard of languages, any language you want except English and except Polish, unless sung by non-natives or Poles singing in a different language. And I usually don’t understand very much of the songs but still like listening to them. I also enjoy the childish and primitive language play with lyrics – where you either try to understand, or your brain understands on its own, some bits of the lyrics in another language as if they were singing in your language or any of the languages you know. – English speakers who speak only English might be confused right now, so I’ll say it’s like when you listen to a song, you try to pick up on as many words that sound similar to words in your own language. Both I and a lot of people I know often have such an illusion even without trying, when listening to music in a language we don’t know well or not at all, that some of the words or even whole phrases are in a language that is familiar. Brain doesn’t like things that aren’t familiar so I guess it’s logical in its own way. For example, Zofijka is convinced that in the song Sofia by Alvaro Soler he says “poo” in Polish, and then “Bibiel” a couple times. I often hear absolutely crazy things, although my capacity of understanding strange things in English music has been lessening as I become better at it which is sad. My favourite artist in this regard is Julie Fowlis who sings in Scottish Gaelic, in whose songs I’ve managed to hear Polish phrases like: “Make pancakes for me, make coffee for me, make pancakes for me and buy me a great-great-grandma”, “The poo has fallen out”, “Shame, Billy”, “You knave”, “James is marrying”, “Oh, I’m not deaf, son” etc. etc. etc. these are just a few bits I remember at the moment, there were a lot of totally absurd and bizarre ones.

And yeah, language. Language makes a song good. Sometimes the only thing that makes me like a song when I think of it is because it’s in one of “my” languages.

And the general feel and vibe, you could say energy. Or in any case, a bad feel and a bad overall harmony can make me really dislike a song and have a bad sensory reaction to it. My brain just doesn’t agree with some sounds and combinations and sequences of sounds.

That’s all that comes to my mind, though it’s possible there are some other factors too.

You? 🙂

Question of the day (2nd June).

Hey people! 🙂

Do you prefer pie or cake? What kind?

My answer:

I’ve asked that question on my blog some two years ago and answered it so in case you haven’t seen that post, I’ll copy my response.

It really really depends on what cake or pie it is. Plus, for me this difference isn’t really that important, because in Polish we usually call both the same name, which is ciasto. Of course, you can call a pie placek, but it’s rather rarely heard nowadays, placek is actually in some regions more like a pancake, so just no one cares what is a cake, and what is a pie. 😀 How about you? And what are your favourites? 🙂

Question of the day.

Hi! 🙂

What’s one pet peeve you wish you could get rid of, because it hammers your enjoyment of life?

My answer:

I have a lot of pet peeves, though I’m not sure there are any that affect my enjoyment of life overall on a consistent basis. But one thing that I put way more attention to than I would like is the way people speak. I mean, I love language, so in a way it’s completely normal, but it can really be annoying to me when someone uses a word not knowing its actual meaning, or their grammar is bad or something and they’re not doing it on purpose but clearly out of not knowing that they’re making a mistake. I often wonder how can people not know such basic things, and when someone’s language skills are particularly poor (like my gran for example) then it’s hard for me to communicate with such people, because I’ll either have to hold back bad fits of giggles at how ridiculously they speak, or will be meticulously registering every word they say wrong and feel annoyed at their linguistic ignorance, and I then might not be able to focus enough to actually follow what they’re saying as a whole. And I am not a language purist overall, I don’t think so anyway, when I speak or write in Polish I use lots of colloquialisms together with very sophisticated words, archaisms, sometimes don’t care about grammar rules because I feel like something sounds better another way than it’s usually said or better fits what I’m saying, and after all I don’t always know everything about it either, even though I do know a lot and have some sort of a language intuition I guess so people often ask me about some language things, how to say or spell something and I usually get it right even if I haven’t used the word ever before, but just as I said, not always, no one’s infallible. So it’s a bit like my own pet peeve irritates me, lol. 😀 Sometimes it gets even worse because I’ve found myself correcting people pretty much automatically, and while I don’t think anyone of those people felt hurt or pissed off or anything, or some luckily didn’t hear me doing that or seemed like they didn’t understand what I was actually alluding to, haha, I think it’s generally quite a rude thing to do, even though that’s not my intention. But my Dad for example does like when I correct his language mistakes, and it’s him who makes them most often of all the people I talk to regularly, the rest of my immediate family is quite language-conscious and my Mum is a bit like me, so maybe that’s also why I have that habit of correcting people. It’s strange because normally my Dad hates being told that he’s made any mistakes or that anything is his fault and has real trouble admitting it or apologising, yet as I said he does like me to correct his language mistakes. Then again, usually he does the same ones over and over so it does little in practice, and always says “not in the least/not at all” instead of “at least” (the former is “bynajmniej” in Polish, and the latter is “przynajmniej”, LOTS of people confuse that). Of course that applies mainly to Polish, because I’m not good enough myself with other languages to spot such things, though sometimes when I do know that someone said something wrong for sure in English it also makes me flinch, like pronouncing niche as nitch, ew how gross! But I myself used to pronounce niche even worse some years ago, that was really funny. I used to think that if there’s cliché and it’s pronounced like CLEE-shay, then niche should be NEE-shay, or actually, because I was more familiar with the word cliché in Swedish, where it is pronounced with the stress on the second syllable, my English pronunciation of the word was also more like nee-SHay! 😀 Isn’t that so absolutely fanciful and snobbish and over the top? I was really surprised to learn that it’s NEESH, and quite happy, because then it sounds almost just like Mish, just like the Polish word for niche (nisza) sounds almost like Misha. It’s certainly better than nee-SHAY, in any case.

But yeah, it wouldn’t be bad if I didn’t have this pet peeve as strong as I do.

You? 🙂

Reasons why I’m learning English.

Nearly a month after starting up this blog, I wrote a post about all the

Reasons why I’m learning Welsh

and a year ago, I wrote a similar post concerning my

Swedish.

With each of them I felt like they got quite a bit of interest, so I’m going to continue it this year as well, and write about English. Let’s see how many reasons I can come up with

1.

Isn’t it obvious? English is obligatory in schools in most countries, I guess. Or at least in all countries in Europe. So, you could say I didn’t have much choice. 😀 Before I went to school though, I was already subjected to English thanks to my Godmother, whose English was on a pretty good level for a person growing up in the 80’s (communist period – learning Russian as a second language at school) and not needing English for professional purposes. I guess it’s more common for people about her age or older to learn English now even if you don’t need it for work, but I guess back then in early 2000’s there wasn’t as much pressure yet. I believe she started learning English around college and took private lessons and while she wasn’t and is not fluent, as I said, the degree to which she knew English could feel a bit unexpected, plus she’s very communicative by nature so such people don’t need a whole lot of vocabulary to be understood. Anyways, she taught me a lot of things before I went to school, and one of them was some very basic English vocabulary and a bit of fondness for English, which probably helped me more than I normally realise to remain positive about the language itself even when I started to see that English as a school subject is MEH, and pushed me to learn it anyway. So by the time I reached school, I remember I was actually euphoric when I heard on my first actual day of school that our next lesson is going to be English. I associated it with home and with fun things and I liked it as I said, so I was super happy that I would be able to learn it at school. Sadly, I didn’t have particularly much luck with good English teachers throughout my education. I’m not saying they weren’t competent or anything like that, probably some were more, and some were less, some were very nice, some were very unpleasant, some rather bland, but the great majority of them just didn’t do anything to me more than help me prepare for the necessary tests and exams. Of course I had to learn basics at school and I did, but after that, although I was learning English throughout my whole education, I feel like school didn’t give me much in that respect and I taught myself the most. Neither did school motivate me to learn English, in fact, my first English teacher wasn’t particularly likeable person and I don’t think she cared much if we liked her subject or not. I became disillusioned quite quickly and realised that, while English may be a cool language, the subject is just deadly boring. And my view on that became even stronger when I started to seriously learn on my own and became actively interested in learning English and not just ticking off exercises in the textbook. I don’t think it is solely that I just happened to have bad teachers. I think it’s the case with most people here, and that simply the way language learning and teaching is perceived in our country and the level of English education in our schools is terrible. Basically, unless someone has some extra English classes, or wants to learn on their own or something like that, most people go out of education being barely able to communicate. And since Polish language is way more complex than English, the problem cannot be with people”s brains. People get out of schools with the mentality that they are supposed to speak perfectly, with no grammar mistakes or otherwise someone will kill them, and if they can’t do that, they won’t speak at all, even if they do have enough vocabulary to speak decently. And English lessons are not interesting, or at least they are rarely as interesting and fun as language learning could be. My Sofi writes down tons of words and rules she doesn’t understand, and when someone in her class is thinking independently enough to ask the teacher for some explanation and say that they don’t understand something, the only thing she’ll say will typically be: “*sighs theatrically* Oh my, what do you still can’t understand? It’s easy. You have to practice more at home. How many more times am I going to have to explain it?”. Well, the majority of Sofi’s class go to extracurricular English at a language school. Those who do not, have very bad grades. And I assure you that Sofi’s school is not an exception. But OMG I could rant about education system and terrible attitudes of people towards language learning for ages. 😀 Anyway, I did get the basics of English at school and I’m grateful for that, but that’s all that any school or individual teacher did for my foreign language education. There also was that teacher who was having conversations with me for a year in preparation for my final exams, and admittedly he helped me to feel a bit more confident in speaking, and most certainly contributed to the fact that I got 100% from oral English,but not much else, although I hoped he would be able to teach me some new things. He was most keen on talking about himself though. 😀

2.

Because English is everywhere. That’s why I kind of feel for English natives. On one hand it’s so cool when you can go almost anywhere in the world, read almost anything you want and not have to make the effort of translating, understanding or learning another language. But on the other hand, people miss out on so much when they don’t learn a new language, and when everyone speaks your language, what motivation can you have to do that? So it’s a bit unfair on the English-speaking folks and only for their sake I wish we had some artificial or dead language to use internationally, rather than deprive a certain group of people – a large group of people – from the benefits of learning a language and developing their brains even more. Anyways, the rest of us does have to learn English if we want to have a somewhat broader perspective on the world. Internet is huge and you can read a lot in it, do a lot with it and learn a lot, but Polish-language part of the Internet seems so mini mini compared to English. I wouldn’t be able to do so many things that I do if I didn’t speak decent English. I wouldn’t be able to restore my synths, to give you a recent example, haha. My Mum tells me that about once a week “You’re so lucky that you speak English” or “I’d like to know half of your English”, so I am constantly reminded that I should be grateful for that, and that I was given enough determination to learn it myself, and, more than determination, just plain luck, because I don’t really feel like I made some huge effort with my English, from some point on it just came to me on its own, I guess via a lot of exposure. But perhaps not everyone can be that lucky, or not everyone can make use of it or realises it. Some people like my Mum constantly complain that they can’t speak English but when you actually confront them about it “So why won’t you try to learn it?” they will have tons of arguments, including that they are too old, too stupid, too busy, too lazy, don’t have a talent (there’s no such thing as talent for learning languages unless you want to have a native accent, you just have to find the right method for yourself and that can be tricky) to name a few.

3.

Because I plain like it. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I didn’t like English though. Would I still be so keen on learning it? My experiences with other languages show that not necessarily, because my effects at it seem to be strongly correlated with my feelings for it. I can’t quite imagine learning and being good at Esperanto for example, even if it was the international language. Of course I would learn it at school if need be, and would continue it if I really needed it, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be anything more than average. I was learning German at school (and I like German more than Esperanto, because I don’t like Esperanto at all) and, unless I put a lot of conscious effort into learning it, I was just having rather mediocre results, and forgot most of it very quickly after finishing my German education, even though I did have an ambitious plan to continue learning it on my own, but that just went out the window before it started properly.

But I do like English, and I do like the culture surrounding it, the diversity of its accents, which we don’t have in Polish, and – what I’ve mentioned in both Swedish and Welsh posts, I feel a kind of bond with the nations speaking my favourite languages. English is also the most boring of my languages because it’s so mainstream-y and it’s everywhere and it spoils the experience massively, but still, it’s so cool and so rich!

4.

Because it can serve as a bridge to the whole Celtic world for me. Of course English is used in Britain and all its Celtic regions, and as a Celtophile it’s very important to me. It helps me to develop my Celtic passions and discover more about all the Celtic stuff, the folklore, the languages, the people…

5.

Because it enables me to meet interesting people whom I wouldn’t be able to meet otherwise. As well as like-minded people. Actually, the most development of my English skills is largely due to all of my pen pals. With some of them I’d onnly written for a while, more or less short, but with some I have developed great connections and friendships and I am so thankful for that.

6.

Because it helps me with blogging, and generally expressing myself. I used to blog in Polish for years but it wasn’t quite as fun as it is now. I feel like I can be more candid about a lot of things on my English blog and that it was one of my better ideas in my whole life to start an English blog. It works both ways – my English learning makes my blogging better, and my blogging stimulates my English learning in an incredibly effective way. – As for expressing myself, since my English skills have improved so dramatically over the last few years due to a lot of exposure, penpalling and blogging, I also write my diary mostly in English. I’ve written frequently about that I find each language useful for different kind of writing, and that it also corresponds with different kinds of emotions for me. I will write about the specific emotions of English in a while, but first, I want to say more generally that I find it much easier nowadays to express myself emotionally in English. Where feelings are concerned, but also more specifically, any kind of mental health difficulties, especially more complex stuff, somehow it’s much easier to put it in English. I’ve come to the point where sometimes it’s easier for me to find words describing some things in English, rather than in Polish, and what I want to say sounds more clunky in Polish. 😀 The emotions that in my synaesthetic view correspond particularly strongly with English are especially love, pain, sarcasm, playfulness, sadness, emptiness, anxiety, comfort, passion, euphoria and loneliness.

7.

Because it has enabled me to build a more stable support network and become both more aware of my mental health struggles, as well as deal better with them. Again blogosphere and penpalling have helped me immensely with that. Previously, I couldn’t really say I felt free to talk to anyone about what I was experiencing. Partly because I didn’t really understand it myself but also because I simply either didn’t feel like I could trust them, or I knew they wouldn’t understand. Now, thanks to my English, I have found a lot of people who have similar experiences to me or even if they don’t, they are still very supportive and I want to support them as well, and I feel like I’ve made more meaningful connections with people even though they are just online. All this keeps me motivated to develop my English further, and actually makes it develop on its own because obviously the more you use a language, the more it develops.

8.

Because there’s lots of great music in English and I want to know what it’s about.

9.

Because then I can be helpful to my immediate family who are all practical monoglots and sometimes need to translate something from English. Especially my Dad who is a tanker driver, and it’s hard to be a tanker driver and often supply foreign ships with fuel and speak no English. I often don’t have the vocabulary that he needs anyway, but some vocabulary is better than none. At least I can help him how to describe the word he needs to use and then because they are oriented in the field, they understand quickly what he wants to say, unless their English is poor too. 😀

10.

Because there are so many cool accents. I’ve already said that, but it deserves a separate mention. I LOVE that feature of English that it’s so rich in dialects and accents! You can tell where someone’s from just by their accent, and here we can’t really do that, or at least not to such an extend as you! Polish language is much more universal. There are several major dialects that are commonly recognisable, but they aren’t many and not many people choose to speak them on a daily basis, and our dialects are mostly different because of specific words that we use in different regions, rather than accents as in pronunciation differences. That doesn’t mean there are none, but an average person who is not a language geek and has no interest in such things will not hear those subtle differences or at least certainly won’t be able to tell someone’s location by them, unless someone’s accent is really super strong and very commonly associated with a specific area which mainly concerns eastern accents that are influenced by languages like Russian or Belarussian or Ukrainian or perhaps Lithuanian. My grandma has roots in all of the above mentioned countries and despite living in the north for years people can usually hear her long and soft vowels and identify correctly and always ask if she’s from the east or something. But that’s a rare case. I consider myself a language geek and the only things I can recognise are those Eastern accents, some subtle things that are specific to Silesia or Lublin area, and some stuff specific to the highlands and that’s it pretty much. This is due to the fact that after WWII people were massively migrating from countryside to towns and moving around different regions, so the accent has unified a lot. I think it’s such a pity. That’s why for some people the whole concept of an accent is a bit out there and they don’t really know what it is in terms of English. For example my Dad asked me not long ago what that whole accent thing is in English, is it about word stress (because that’s what we call akcent in Polish), or that people have some speech deffects or what, hahaha. And for a long time I didn’t get that either. Like how can you hear that someone is from Sheffield or New York or Glasgow or wherever unless they tell you? 😀 I didn’t hear those differences for a long time either. Only at some point one of my earliest English online friends started to teach me about accents and then one day something clicked in my brain and I started to gradually hear them and now I think for a non native I’m pretty good at distinguishing at least the British ones and of course between which one is British, which Australian and which American, though I have a very hard time distinguishing American accents from each other or I can barely recognise English US from Canadian or New Zealand from Australian. With understanding it really depends on how out there someone’s accent is and how quickly they are speaking. I also like to think that my own accent is very good for a non native, and that’s what people have been telling me, both natives and non natives, though I’m sure I do have to have still at least a bit of Polish accent, not that I can hear it myself (I can’t, but you can’t be a good judge of your own accent I suppose), but because I don’t know many people who have just gotten rid of their accent, and also it is not something I am aiming to in itself, because I guess it would feel weird if people couldn’t tell at all that I’m Polish, as if I was a bit less Polish or something and I don’t want that, and I like to imitate different English accents though, while I can speak some kind of US English (or so I believe) I am much better and more comfortable at British and I have more clue about how to imitate different British accents than American ones, especially the of more or less general southern-ish/Rp and more or less general northern-ish. The only British accents that I know that I cannot imitate convincingly are Geordie and Scottish. But being able to fake different accents has come to me much later on and after a lot of immersion and listening, before than my accent was just kind of Ponglish. Now the only Ponglish I can make is the very extreme one, I believe I can’t speak sort of in-between any longer like I used to – with not overly strong but definitely audible Polish accent – it’s either hardcore Ponglish or normal English (with a possible little bit of Polish as I said), and the extreme Ponglish one I use either for making fun of some kind or with Poles who can’t understand my normal, English English otherwise like Sofi. 😀 Playing with accents is so fun.

11.

Because English is so rich in colourful phrases, idioms, sayings and words. I believe that must come from the very wide variety of influences on this language. Polish is a very rich language in this too, but English seems much more than any of the languages I’ve learnt and sometimes it overwhelms me how many brilliant and fascinating words I don’t know how to use yet. Every language has its words that are untranslatable, but English has just so many! Or maybe it’s just my impression? It’s so flexible and you can do so much with it. Swedish is also flexible and you can make a lot with it, but I guess not to such an extent. I really lack some of the English expressions in Polish these days, especially when talking to someone who speaks only Polish. 😀

12.

Because it lets me read more books, and because reading in English is fun. And because I want to read even more in English. I already read most of stuff on the Internet in English, but with books so far the majority of what I read is still Polish, even thoughh there are more and more English ones thrown into the mix.

13.

Because it lets me learn more about my music crushes/fazas. Even if they aren’t English natives. Usually, especially at the beginning of a faza, it’s easiest for me to find info on my crush in English.

14.

Because, apart from helping me to develop my already existing interests, it helps me to build new ones.

15.

Because I can learn other languages through it. Like I do with Welsh right now. It has its upsides and downsides, but if not my English skills, I wouldn’t be able to access Welsh resources that I can.

16.

Because it shares a lot of similarities with other languages. Swedish for example – when I first started it, I was told it’s just a blend of English and German. – It’s very simply put but it’s true to a large degree, and my English and Swedish definitely help each other. Also while English is a Germanic language and Welsh is Celtic, they influence each other so that helps to some extent as well. And I’m going to learn some more Germanic and Celtic languages in the future, so I am sure English is going to be helpful with those too. Both because I am most likely going to learn them through the medium of English, as well as because they share more or less similarities.

17.

To develop my brain. I’ve written on my brain paranoia and wanting to avoid cognitive issues especially in the Welsh post. It’s hugely important to me.

18.

So I can talk to Misha in English or to myself. If you want to read about my experiments with Misha and foreign languages, I recommend you reading the above mentioned posts. Of all the foreign languages, my English is the best, and so I can communicate with Misha the most easily, if I want to talk to him in a language other than Polish. I also think he responds to it the best except for Polish of course, but that could be due to many reasons, including my autosuggestion.

19.

Every language makes your perspective broader, and kind of adds you a new personality. This is just interesting to observe, but is also great in some self-development, or just self-discovery. It’s interesting to see your thinking pathways in Polish vs in English vs in Swedish, for example. It’s interesting to see in which moments and in what kind of situations my thinking switches from Polish to English or back to Polish or to Swedish, or when it’s a mix of all that plus Welsh. I definitely tend to think about more emotional stuff in English, the same as with writing. Recently I’ve even started automatically praying in English. 😀 The first time when that happened, I only realised that I’m praying in English a few minutes after I’ve started, and that was so hilarious. But obviously God is very multilingual so I let my soul and brain pray in whichever language it’s convenient as long as that doesn’t get in the way of prayer itself because for example I think more of how I should put things rather than focus on praying itself and on God. My dreams have been a linguistic mix for years now.

20.

Because it’s fun to have more than one language to swear in. Even though Welsh or Finnish is better for that than English, English is quite bland and cliche I don’t know why, and most people here know the basic words like fuck or shit so it doesn’t feel the same.

 

21.

Because it can help me with anxiety, as well as with depression, see the posts above for details.

22.

To be able to understand at least some slangs to whatever extent possible, as well as dialects and other such interesting language creations.

23.

To have access to English-language media, like radiostations, and actually understand what they are saying, and not just immerse myself in the language as I’d been doing for years.

24.

To challenge my social anxiety. See the posts above for details.

25.

Because it’s easy. So why not?

26.

Because people wouldn’t treat me seriously if I only were learning some endangered, minority languages. I wrote more on that in the Swedish post. But also, even if I spoke Swedish, I guess that still wouldn’t look as serious if I didn’t speak any English. 😀

27.

Because, just like with Swedish, I hope it will be also useful in a more practical way, occupational for example. Who knows.

Yay! I thought there will be less reasons for English because it’s so obvious but there are even more!

If you are a native speaker of English, what do you like it for, or why do you not like it? If you are an English learner, what are your reasons for learning it? 🙂

 

All about Emanuel

I used to think this name was strange and a bit too softy for a guy, but things have changed and I really like it these days. I like the Biblical connection and also it has something mysterious to it. The feminine forms Emanuela and Emmanuelle are even more beautiful. Emanuela and Manuela are also used in Poland (though in the case of Emanuela I have no idea if it’s actually used anywhere else other than in religious orders, Manuela is for sure though). Both are very rare and so is Em(m)anuel, though I recently met a Polish mummy online whose son is called Emanuel. I think the downside of this name for me is that it doesn’t really have cool nicknames, especially in Polish, though Russian Emik is quite cute. But I think Emmanuelle has a huge nickname potential and I love it about it.
How do you guys feel about this name, or the whole family of names related to Emmanuel? 🙂

Onomastics Outside the Box

U.S. actor Edward G. Robinson, né Emanuel Goldenberg, 1893–1973

Emanuel is the Romanian, Scandinavian, German, Portuguese, English, Czech, Slovak, and Croatian form of the Hebrew Imanuel (God is with us). In the Book of Isaiah, this is foretold as the name of the Messiah. Somewhat surprisingly, the name didn’t become popular in the Anglophone world till the 16th century (with the spellings Emmanuel and Immanuel). In continental Europe, it’s always been far more popular.

The variation Emánuel is Hungarian; Emanuël is Dutch; Emanúel is Icelandic; and Émanuél is Kashubian. I’ve really grown to love this name, not least because it was the birth name of one of my favourite male actors of the sound era!

Other forms include:

1. Emmanuel is French and English. The variation Emmanúel is Icelandic, and Emmanuël is Dutch.

2. Immanuel is German and English. The variation Immanúel is Icelandic, and Immanuël is Dutch.

3…

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Quintuple syllables

Mmmm! 😋 So many delicious names, don’t you think, guys? 🙂 So, which ones on this list do you like? 🙂
I love many of these, and like most of them actually especially the feminine ones, I find most of the masculine slightly clunky.
I love -bella names super girly and cute, so I find Adorabella adorable.
I prefer just Aurelia to Aureliana but Aureliana is cool too.
Candelaria is sweet and I love the Catholicky feel of it.
Eleonora is by far my most favourite variant of Eleanor, and Emanuela is gorgeous.
I am Emilia Anna and sometimes I sign myself Emilianna for fun, although in Polish phonetics that’s four syllables. I much prefer it with two n’s.
I have soft spot for Evangeline and Evangelina too, it’s even more frilly! 😀
Not crazy for Leokadia but I like that it becomes to feel vintage here while loses the dated & geriatric feel so should be fresh and ready for a comeback in a while in my view, just as all the Pelagias, Apolonias and other such. That could be an interesting change. I have two Leokadias in my family tree that I’m aware of. However in Polish phonetics that would actually be 4 syllables, not 5, as we pronounce it le-aw-KAH-dyah, the i is just kinda softening and doesn’t make its own syllable.
Michelangela and Michelangelo are so lovely, Michelangelo always makes me think of my Mum, and sometimes I call Misha Michelarcangelo because Russian blue cats come from Arkhangelsk and are sometimes called Archangelic.
Oliviana could be a nice twist on the overused Olivia.
Vitaliana and Viridiana both sound so fresh and make me think of spring.
Which ones do you like?

Onomastics Outside the Box

From the short and sweet to the long and flowery, here are some names with five syllables. Unsurprisingly, a great many of them are Italian.

Female:

Adorabella
Alexandria, Alexandrina
Anastasia, Anastasiya, Anastazia
Annunziata, Annunciata
Artemisia
Aureliana

Bartolomea
Bonaventura (means “good fortune” in Italian)
Candelaria
Capitolina, Kapitolina
Cassiopeia
Desideria
Diamantina
Dionisia

Eleftheria
Eleonora
Elisabeta, Elisabetta, Elizabeta
Emanuela
Emerentia
Emiliana
Evangelina

Giuliana
Immaculada
Innocentia, Innokentiya
Iphigenia, Efigenia
Ghisolabella
Leokadia, Leocadia (one of my fave Polish names)
Marionetta
Michelangela

Octaviana, Oktaviana
Oliviana
Olympiada, Olimpiada
Paraskovia, Paraskoviya
Rosamaria
Sebastiana
Solomonida
Theodosia

Valeriana
Vespasiana
Victoriana
Vitaliana
Viridiana
Yekaterina, Ekaterina
Yelikonida, Elikonida
Yelizaveta

Male:

Annunziato
Aureliano
Bartolomeo
Bonifacio
Desiderio
Emiliano
Giuliano
Martiniano
Maximilian
Michelangelo

Niktopolion (rare Russian form of Latin Nicopolitanus [citizen of Nicopolis]; born by poet Niktopolion Svyatskiy, 1854–1917)
Pantaleone (means “all lion” in Greek)
Sebastiano
Teodosio
Valeriano
Vespasiano
Vitaliano

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Katarina Barruk – “Evelina”.

Hey people! 🙂

Today I have a song in Sami for you! Sami music is beautiful, and, although Sami languages are all endangered, they are cultivated anyway and music is being created in them as well as other kinds of art.

I’ve come across this particular singer very recently in Sveriges Radio Sápmi, where they played this song of hers. I really liked it immediately so that it’s now one of my Sami favourites. When I then wanted to learn something about Katarina Barruk, I believe it was from the comments under the videos with her songs on Youtube that led me to thinking that she must be Norwegian, because many of them were in Norwegian. However, today I learned that she is an Ume Sami speaker (there isn’t just one Sami language but multiple ones) and Ume Sami is apparently spoken only in Sweden these days, so she must be Swedish. Also, what’s very intriguing that I learned today is that apparently Ume Sami has only about TEN speakers! It’s very sad and depressing, but isn’t that so amazing that they make music even in such rare languages?! I find it really wonderful and exciting.

All about Lydia

Here’s another great post from Onomastics Outside the Box. 🙂
I honestly didn’t realise this name existed in so many languages! I like Lydia, perhaps not love but it is definitely a pretty name, with Biblical roots and feminine sounding, so there’s no reason for me not to like it. It has some elegance and sophistication to it. I also like our Polish Lidia, I guess I like the sound of it more, but the nickname Lidka which most Lidias go by ruins it completely to me and makes it sound shallow and kind of auntie-like, if you get what I mean.
Do you have a favourite form? I find the sami Livli very interesting.

Onomastics Outside the Box

Dissident Russian writer Lidiya Korneyevna Chukovskaya, 1907–1996

The English, German, and Greek name Lydia means, simply, “from Lydia” in Greek. Lydia was a region on Asia Minor’s west coast, reputedly named after legendary King Lydos (of unknown etymology). Today, Lydia is in western Turkey.

The name briefly appears in the Bible, on a woman whom St. Paul converts to Christianity. It didn’t become common in the Anglophone world till the Protestant Reformation.

Lydia was #77 when the U.S. began keeping name records in 1880, and stayed in the lower Top 100 till 1899. Over the ensuing decades, it gradually dipped in popularity, but never sank lower than #329 in 1973. From lows came highs, and in 1979 it rose to #296 from #324. In each succeeding year, Lydia was steadily more popular, till it re-entered the Top 100 in 2011. In 2018, it was #89.

Other forms of Lydia include:

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Question of the day.

Hi people! 🙂

Say you can immediately speak ten languages. Which ones do you choose?

My answer:

OK, so I’m not counting in the languages I already speak/am learning, which are Polish, English, Swedish and Welsh. The 10 languages I’d like to be able to speak immediately would be: Finnish, Sami (North, or Luleå), Faroese, Dutch, Frisian, Scots, Irish, Scottish (Gaelic), Manx and Cornish. Oh how cool, I’ve actually managed to squeeze in all my languages! That being said, I’d love if that would also mean my English, Swedish and, particularly, Welsh, would become more fluent.

What are your choices? 🙂

Question of the day.

What is one language you wish you could know, but don’t?

My answer:

I haven’t started learning many of my favourite languages yet, that I plan to learn in the future. I have some very basic idea about them, like know some basic words and phrases and whatever I’ve been able to catch of them along the way so far, and also I think I have a pretty good idea about how the phonetics of each of them work, and how they relate to spelling, but I am by no means able to communicate in most of them, so I would like to learn them. But since that’s quite obvious if you’ve been following my blog for a while, I can also say that I think it would be cool, in case I will ever learn all my most favourite ones, to try some others, that I also like, not quite as much but still, and find them interesting. Like, perhaps other Slavic languages or the Uralic ones, or the other Scandinavian languages apart from Swedish and Faroese that are on my favourites’ list. If I could go that far, I think the only limitation for me would be that I’d have to stick to the languages with Latin alphabet, because I learn to a large degree by reading and writing, and even if not, I do like to know how something is spelt to be able to imagine it in my brain with some sort of structure, and I can’t do that when I only know the pronunciation, also then when I don’t know how it’s spelt I’m more likely to pronounce it wrong, but I somehow don’t feel comfortable with the idea of learning one or more foreign alphabets especially that from what I’ve heard the support for them in Braille displays can vary a lot, and from what I know my Braille-Sense is not able to display other alphabets whatsoever so it would be a bit of an abstraction. Also, I am an accent freak and I like learning, or at least learning about, different accents and dialects of my favourite languages. Until not very long ago I used to think that I’ve come to the point with my English where I know really quite a fair bit about all sorts of accents and dialects, especially British, at least as for a non native who’se never been to any English-speaking country. I suppose I can’t imitate all of them super convincingly, and I haven’t got very much feedback, but I think I have an idea about how to do most of them and am able to distinguish them and usually understand people unless they’re talking really slangy or fast or whatever. I love all of them, just as I do all my languages. But recently I’ve come across a Geordie Youtuber who made a video about her local accent, and I was virtually gobsmacked! Firstly, I realised that, despite of course I knew such an accent as Geordie exists and, very basically, what it sounds like, I somehow missed it in my accent education! 😀 All the glottalisations are a bit crazy! And secondly, I also realised that it was really pretty hard to imitate, harder than even Scottish! And it’s strange in a fun way! I’ve done a little bit of research online and people generally seem to think it’s difficult, which made me think that I’d like to learn it. It’s fun, just like all the British accents are to me, but the added extra challenge makes it even more intriguing to me. And if I could learn to understand and speak it at least to the extent I think I can do Glaswegian Scottish, I think I would feel even better about my English since it seems to be so hard, haha. I’m not saying I will do it, and I’m almost sure I will not do it right now while I’m doing my Welsh, which requires a lot of creativity and motivation and imagination from me with the amounts of resources available, I’d rather tackle it when doing some lighter language and until then I might change my mind or just forget about it, but I hope I won’t! It’ll be a quirky, fun thing to do I think, even if not particularly useful in life, but which of my languages are going to be practically useful for me? 😀

So how about you? 🙂

Question of the day.

What’s your favourite language?

My answer:

For me, it’s a damn hard question! I just have too many favourite languages and I really, seriously can’t tell you which is my most favourite! It’d be like asking a parent which child they love the most. I love each of my languages in different ways, although they’re much more like my life partners than children haha. Each of them has something different that I love in it. It’s also a little bit like that when I’m hearing or speaking or having to do in any way with one of them it feels like I love it the most. 😀

How about you? 🙂

All about Elizabeth

It always amazes me how many forms this name has, and even more so how many very diverse nicknames and variants it has in English! And that’s one of the reasons why I really like it a lot. I like most of the forms of this name. Which are/is your favourite(s)? 🙂

Onomastics Outside the Box

Though I’ve had prior posts about my favourite forms of the name Elizabeth, and its many nicknames, I’ve never had a post devoted to the name in its entirety. This post will also only focus on derivatives of the standard form Elizabeth, not related names Isabel and Lillian (unless those are a language’s only forms of Elizabeth). Despite their origins, they’ve for all intents and purposes developed into their own independent names.

Queen Elizabeth I of England in the 1560s, artist unknown

The English name Elizabeth comes from the Hebrew Elisheva, “my God is an oath.” Its historic popularity stems in large part from the fact that this was the name of John the Baptist’s mother. Traditionally, it was much more common in Eastern Europe (in its variety of forms) until another famous bearer (pictured above) appeared in the 16th century and made the name popular in Western…

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Question of the day.

So how about we talk about languages for a while now?

Do you have a favourite language family (Germanic, Romantic, Semitic etc.)?

My answer:

Yeah sure! My favourite language family is Celtic! Celtic languages are so magical and full of something indescribeable for me that I am addicted to. I am also quite fond of Germanic languages, many of them, especially the Scandinavian ones, as well as Finnic, and Slavic are cool as well. But Celtic are my favourites, they make my brain feel ecstatic.

What’s yours? 🙂