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 LuleΓ₯ Sami but any will do) that would be very helpful.

You? πŸ™‚

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. πŸ˜€ 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. πŸ˜€

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? πŸ™‚

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? πŸ™‚

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? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Do you ever talk to yourself, or sing?

My answer:

Oh yeah, I talk to myself a lot and in different languages. It’s genetic, as my Mum’s the same, so we say we have such rich inner lives they’re spilling out, but my Mum has it worse, because she often thinks so loud that she doesn’t even know she’s thinking aloud and doesn’t realise that she’s just said what she was thinking, which leads to weird situations, but she doesn’t even care. But then when someone happens to be around while she’s spilling out her mind unbeknownst to herself, she is either very surprised and thinks that the other person must be a telepath, or accuses them of eavesdropping. It also seems like she has the same problem when she goes running, she has earbuds on when running and always thinks about loads of things and often finds that people look at her in a strange way, so she thinks she must think aloud while running too. It’s quite strange that someone would be so unaware of it but it’s funny at least from the observer’s perspective. I try to have more control over what’s spilling out of me and in what circumstances, and I don’t even have to try too hard as I’m way too blocked to do that so spontaneously, unless I just don’t know that someone is around, or happen to be extremely deep in thoughts, and then sometimes weird situations happen to me too, in such cases, but that’s really rare. I also talk to Misha and so if anyone ever happens to overhear something they also often assume I’m talking to myself. But, to avoid weird situations, since I can’t always know for 100% if someone is lurking around, and to practice my languages, I prefer to speak in other languages than Polish when talking to myself. And so my default language for talking to myself these days is ENglish, but I also talk quite a lot in Swedish and swear in Finnish. I also routinely have discussions with people on the other end when for example listening to something, like a YouTube video, a radio programme, whatever, even when reading things sometimes on the Internet but with speech synthesis, not in Braille, the more engrossing it is for me the more likely I am to do that, and voice my opinions, regardless of that the people on the other side are not going to hear them. With this I don’t even restrict myself so very much to when other people in my surroundings can’t hear it. πŸ˜€ Sofi picked it up from me and she also has discussions like that with her favourite YouTubers, for example, of which she has many.

I also sing to myself sometimes but it’s mostly in specific situations. I often sing for Misha when we are in my room. I seriously don’t know, perhaps it’s just me being megalomanic or something (although I don’t think I sing that extremely brilliantly, I just have musical hearing and can sing in tune and that’s it), but to me it looks like he likes when I do that and he relaxes himself and is listening very intently, so even if it’s just an impression, I typically do that when he’s going to sleep or when we’re having a cuddle time, he needs that sometimes, usually after a long time of being on his own, he’ll come and want to be petted and cuddled, and then I sing him to sleep, or when I have a feeling he’s sad or something’s wrong. I seriously think Misha’s not indifferent to music, and not only because he gets scared by very loud music. I also sing when I’m in desperate need for some background noise because of the sensory anxiety and there’s no other way of getting it. It only works so-so, but so-so is always more than nothing. And sometimes I just sing when I feel like it and when I’m alone but that’s pretty rare, I used to do it more.

You? πŸ™‚

What roles do I play?

This post is going to be long, the more that before I get to the actual topic of it, I’d like to fill you in a little on what’s been happening in my life so that you have an idea if you’ve been wondering what was going on, but feel free to skip a few paragraphs to the actual topic. πŸ™‚

As you know, I’ve been getting used to my new iPhone the last couple of weeks, which is one of the reason I hadn’t blogged much at all lately. I’m getting better with it, though still, there are things I have to figure out, and I’m still pretty slow at using it, and I suppose it may just be the case that, despite it seems to be the opposite for most people, I will not be able to use the iPhone as fast and efficiently as my computer. But I do know how to do the basics, and even some things that aren’t basic by now.

Also, we had a bit of a heatwave and that really affected my energy and generally my wellbeing, and last week was migraine-filled and also difficult emotionally as I was really low, which was followed by our short family trip during the weekend. The trip wasn’t that very fun at all, as it wasn’t a particularly interesting place and there wasn’t much at all to do, also it was terribly hot for all of us and the conditions in our hotel were rather poor, but we mostly just went to keep Dad company as he was having some work related training and exams there, and because Zofijka loves staying at hotels, so we thought it could be fun for her. I’m really happy to be back home and now appreciate it even more than I did before that I can sleep in my own bed and do things I want when I want and just be in my safe space. We also went to the seaside on Sunday and that was so much more fun, I just love the sea. Except that I got badly sunburnt and now it hurts like shit but oh well, luckily it’s going to pass at some point. So that was, in a nutshell, why I was less active in the blogosphere in the last few weeks.

Another thing I started doing recently is I’ve got more ebooks to read in English. I’ve always wanted to read Kindle ebooks which I theoretically can do as there’s a pretty accessible Kindle for PC app, or was I really determined I could get myself a Kindle device with text to speech functionalities, but I’m very picky about the ways I read, and I want to be able to read my books on my PlexTalk, as well as Braille-Sense. Which I can only do with Kindle ebooks if I remove the DRM. I know, I know, it’s illegal, but I believe that if I buy a book, I have every right to read it however is convenient for me, and the mere fact that I’ve removed the DRM doesn’t immediately have to mean that I’m going to give it away to all the people I know IRL and online, or to anyone at all, for that matter, does it? There is a pretty uncomplicated little app that converts ebooks from and to lots of different formats and can remove DRM protection so that you can copy your book on to your preferred device and have it in a format that your device is able to recognise. But despite this app is very easy, for some reason I’ve been struggling to remove the DRM with it from Kindle ebooks specifically, it just doesn’t seem to recognise them properly or something or can’t locate them, even when I select the Kindle folder and a specific file manually, there’s just something wrong and I can’t figure it out on my own. I contacted the developer but so far haven’t heard from him, it seems like he’s been inactive online for a while so I may have to just wait. Meanwhile, because the app is able to work with other types of files on my computer with no issues, I decided to give Kobo books a go. And Kobo works really well for me, I don’t have to convert their books, as my devices read epub, so I only have to remove the DRM. I also may give iBooks a try soon, now that I have an iPhone.

Anyways, since I’ve started using Kobo, I’ve got myself quite a few ebooks, all of which I’m still going to read, and amongΒ  them are two books with journaling prompts that I learned about from Astrid of

A Multitude of Musings

who uses them. One is The Goddess Journaling Workbook” by Beatrix Minerva Linden, which sounded really good to me as a folklore junkie, and the other is “The Year of You” by Hannah Braime. I really like the idea of books for journaling and I think I may be getting more of them. I’ve already used a few prompts from both in my diary, but also thought that I’d like to do some of them on my blog, and this is going to be the case today.

I thought I’d use the very first prompt in Hannah Braime book, which I already did in my diary in a bit of a more extended and personal form, but I think I could just as well write about this one on my blog. The prompt goes as follows:

What are the different roles you play in your life (e.g. mother, partner, sister, etc.) List as many as you can think of.

So here goes, in mostly random order. To make it more interesting than just a mere list, I will write a bit about each of these roles. I am not including roles as in masks, like who I may pretend to be for all sorts of purposes that isn’t actually me, and also I’m not including very small roles that don’t really matter for my life as a whole and that I simply don’t have much to say about.

  • Β Β  I am a human being. This sounds very obvious and we rarely think much about the fact that we are humans but I think it is a very important role that we should remember that we have and that one of our responsibilities as human beings is to act in a humane way and be proud of all the things that make us human, that distinguish us from any other beings in the world. It’s especially important in times like these when you see so many different situations where people as individuals and as a whole are being dehumanised in so many different ways, some very overt and some very subtle, that have become casual to us over the years and that we rarely think about as dehumanising, or that we may even perceive as good and beneficial because of how our collective thinking has twisted over the years. I personally think I often underestimate how important this role is. And I guess I don’t often take it seriously, for example in the situations where I feel a lot of self-loathing I definitely tend not to think about it at all.
  • Β Β  I am a daughter. – It is also one of the main roles, in my case. I am really grateful to have my parents and that my parents are the way they are. From what I have observed, it seems common for children to want their parents to be more like someone else’s parents, or to idealise other kids’ parents and think that theirs aren’t quite as good. But I remember when I was younger and thought about it sometimes, whether I would like to have different parents, and with which of my school friends I’d be happiest to swap, and, especially when it comes to a mum, I couldn’t think of one from those that I knew that I would like more as my mum. This doesn’t mean that my parents are perfect, as neither am I so I couldn’t expect them to be, or that there certainly are no other people on Earth who would make better parents for me, but that I think I’m really lucky to have the parents I have. Perhaps it’s my AVPD speaking, or something else irrational like that, but I often have a strong impression that I’m not quite as good in this role as I could be, and as I should be. I know that I often disappoint them, but it’s not even this that makes me think that I’m not as good a daughter as I could be, because children usually tend to disappoint parents in some way, I guess, just because they hardly ever are exactly the same as the parents expected them to be. I’m always more concerned about that I am mainly a burden for them, especially for my Mum, more than my siblings. I feel like there’s little balance in our relationship, and I guess that’s how most of my relationships actually work. What I mean by that is that I often have, or in any case, feel like I have, relationships with people where I either give too much and the other person keeps overstepping my boundaries, so that I don’t really have much satisfaction out of it long-term, or take too much than I give and feel like I am not able to recompensate as much as I should and would like. And it’s the same here. I know that my parents, especially my Mum, like to chat with me, my Mum often says that she would go crazy here if not me because I am the only person in this house with whom she can have a more intelligent discussion or share some of her thoughts that no one else in this house would be able to understand, and I am also a good listener and both of my parents like to come to me for advice, which I find pretty hilarious since obviously I am much younger than them and don’t have quite as much life experience, my Dad seems to appreciate my sense of humour because we’re on the same wavelength and no one else here gets some bits of our sense of humour, but overall it feels very little compared with what they do for me.
      • Β Β  I am a sister. – As you likely know if you’re a regular reader of my blog, I have a brother and a sister. I get along worse with Olek than I do with Zofijka. I’m happy to be his sister and I like him overall, but our relationship isn’t and has never been very strong. These days it looks so that we barely talk to each other unless there’s a clear need for it, we hardly just do small talk. Not because there’s any resentment, conflict or anything, although we used to argue a lot as kids and at least I openly disliked him and was really nasty to him at times, though I mostly don’t remember that, but it just feels awkward these days. With Zofijka, we have a very strong relationship, despite she is much younger than me than Olek is. We often argue with Sofi and get on each other nerves, sometimes it can be very harsh, explosive and difficult because we are very, very, very different from each other and often have trouble understanding each other and our personalities can just clash in a big way, but we can also have lots of fun together and I think in a way I could say that Zofijka is my best friend, we’re sort of like yin and yang and despite there’s a ten years old difference between us we interact with each other very much like peers. I very clearly remember when Mum was pregnant with her, and I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep at nights because I was thinking about “Helenka” (we referred to her as Helena throughout the pregnancy and only after she was born was she named Zofia) and I just couldn’t wait for her to be born and was so badly frustrated that I had to wait for so long, I would think all the time what it would be like and what we would do together. And after all I didn’t have to wait that long as Zofijka was born prematurely. That was so much different than with Olek, whose birth is my very first memory and I wrote about it in detail here which was definitely not so pleasant for me. While I’m not sure I am a good sister for Olek, I think I am a pretty good sister for Zofijka, I try to be helpful for her when I can and she often comes to me when she wants to talk about things that she isn’t comfortable talking about with Mum, even though our Mum is the kind of parent with whom you can talk about most things, but about some things Sofi seems to prefer to talk to me. I want her to have a happy childhood and so I do what is possible for me to do to contribute to it, we spend a lot of time together and I teach her a lot of things and I’ve created the Jim guy for her about whom she still likes to hear, and about whom I wroteΒ here.
      • I am Polish. I love being Polish! I feel an affinity with all “my” countries (that is all that speak my favourite languages) and their nations, I love their languages, but I can’t imagine being something else other than Polish myself. πŸ˜€ I am very proud of my country and language and I love the Polish language to pieces. Speaking of being Polish, we just had presidential election a few days ago, so I was able to fulfill one of the duties associated with that role, and I was very happy that that our current president, for whom I voted, has got the majority of votes this time round as well, but We’ll still have to have another round, as one of his opponents also got quite a lot of votes and at the same time no one had at least 50%, and to be the president in Poland you have to have at least 50% of votes. So we’ll see yet how it goes, but I’m very hopeful.
      • I am a Christian, and a Catholic. This is a hugely important role for me and to me personally it has a lot of overlap with the human being bit. This has been something that I’ve had a different view on throughout my life and I didn’t always identify as Christian, I was born to a devout family and raised Catholic but there was a period in my life where I considered myself agnostic/atheist, and later also something like Wiccan or along these lines, but I’ve sort of “reconverted” to Christianity after some deep thinking and I’m really happy I did it. It isn’t easy to be a good Christian, especially when you have a mental illness and stuff, some days are harder than others, but I think it’s still really worth the effort. What I struggle with the most in regards to my faith is that I often don’t feel the connection to God as much as I would like, I often feel lost, or don’t feel much towards Him, or not as much as I think I should when I listen to other people. I’d really like to be the “hot” kind of Christian, and I really envy people who are, but I think I’m still really lukewarm and more intellectual than emotional/spiritual in my faith, and I’d like to be able to love God more and have a more genuine relationship with Him. I even envy people like my Mum, who are able to dissolve into spontaneous and genuine tears when contemplating Way of the Cross, or feel deeply moved on a spiritual level by a homily or a hymn, cry during confession or feel a deep spiritual need to receive Communion when they haven’t been able to for weeks, and awful sadness when they cannot, like Zofijka does. I guess it’s already something that I want it, but I don’t know how to make it. I try to be the best Christian I can be without being able to feel such extreme things and think that perhaps I am just meant to live like this and need to accept it, and that there’s some meaning to it, I don’t know. Another huge obstacle I’m facing every day is that I have real real trouble focusing on prayer, my brain doesn’t seem to be cut out for thinking about just one thing at a time. πŸ˜€ I realise though that these things are probably also partly a consequence of how things used to look in the past for me.
      • Β Β  I am a cat mummy. I love my Misha to pieces, am immensely grateful and happy to have him and so glad that I can take care of him as much as I can, feed him, sleep with him, cuddle with him and receive so much love and beauty in return. This is a relatively new role in my life but I love it, it is a pure pleasure to take care of Misha. I only think it’s a pity that I can’t do all the things that a cat mummy should do, whether it comes to his hygiene or our relationship. Contact with Misha is mostly visual, so that makes the situation more difficult for both of us. For me, because I don’t have the ability to read many of the cues he’s sending, so I often feel confused about what he wants or needs or how he’s feeling, and for him, because that means I have to touch him more than I would otherwise, and that he would like, because he isn’t the most touchy-feely and is often fearful of touch and closeness.
      • I am a friend. At this point in my life, I have no friends in real life (unless we count Misha and people like Zofijka and my Mum in, then I have three), and I’m pretty happy about this fact because I don’t really feel the need to have them in real life just for the sake of having friends. I wouldn’t mind having friends in real life, if there were people in my surroundings that I would feel we have a lot in common with each other and if they’d also want to be my friends, but I’m not desperate and happy to be friends with just anyone just because it looks better to have friends. I do have a few people online though that I consider friends. Some in the blogosphere, and some who are my more long-term pen pals. This can be challenging at times too because I still have some struggles with social interactions or expressing myself even online, so I find it difficult to have really close relationships with people, but it is easier and I really appreciate having friends who think similarly, have similar interests and like me. I know I can’t always be as supportive for them as I’d like, but I do like to be, and I want to be helpful, or at least kind. And, when it comes to writing with my pen pals, especially those with whom I’m closer and have known them for a while, I treat it very seriously and even when I have little time or don’t feel that well or when sometimes I don’t feel very much like writing, I try to write back as soon, as much and as interestingly as I can. Which means that sometimes I can spend a large portion of my day, or even more than that, typing away to people. Not because I have so very many penfriends but because if you’re committed to it, it can consume a lot of time, unless you’re instant messaging or something. ALso sometimes there indeed are a lot of people to write back to, because I still try to make new penfriends, or people initiate contact with me, and there are times when I get like waves of emails, and after a while it gets much quieter because a few people fell off for all sorts of reasons or just have a temporarily a more busy time. Usually when you want to have penfriends you do snail mail or email and typically both of you want to get long mails and possibly regularly, get to know the other person and their life and anything that may be interesting about them and their life, and also know that they are genuinely interested in you. So, if you want to get long mails, you have to write them, too. Some people get easily discouraged from pen palling after a bit of initial enthusiasm when they realise that they won’t get long, beautiful letters every week automatically just because they wrote to someone once, and that they need to put some effort into it as well. So I would say it’s not really for very busy people, because they won’t be able to keep up, unless they’re very organised and motivated. It pays off definitely, if you can find people with whom you actually click and who are equally committed, which may take some trials and errors, some disappointments on both sides and some time, a lot of time in some cases. I am grateful for all of my friends, especially that not so long ago I didn’t have friends like these at all, and now life feels much better.
      • I am a granddaughter. I rarely think of this role of mine. I love my grandparents because they are my grandparents (though I dislike my (paternal) gran and it’s hard to love someone when you dislike them and when you know that they dislike you even more), but, except for my (maternal) grandad, I find it difficult to connect or even just interact with my grandparents. I often think that I am a very bad granddaughter, because I know they generally really like it when their grandchildren visit them and consider it a primary sign of respect or something like that, while I don’t visit them nearly as willingly, nor as often as I and other people think I should, as I find all the socialising exhausting, and, don’t really have a personal bond with them, again except for my grandad with whom we have some sort of an understanding without words and he’s always stood by my side even when no one else did and I will be eternally grateful for that to him. Emily Starr [of New Moon] wrote in her diary in context of her cousin Jimmy that it’s good to have one such person in your life who only sees the good things about you and none of your flaws, more of such people would spoil you. For me such person is my grandad. Therefore I feel even more guilty these days that I don’t live close to him anymore that I don’t visit him more often, and I’m not sure he understands actually why. But what I can do is to try to be nice and kind to my grandparents and show it as much as I can while we are together. I guess though that the lack of relationships with my grandmas (my paternal grandpa died when I was rather little), isn’t entirely my fault. They have a hard time connecting to me just as well, the way I see it, I guess mostly because I’ve been away from home for most of my childhood.
      • Β Β  I am a goddaughter. This is another role I hardly think about on a conscious level. But the way I was brought up, since I am a Christian, I was often told by my parents that it’s important to pray for your godparents and support them this way just like they are obliged to support you in your spiritual development. I think it makes sense, so while I don’t have close relationships with my godparents either, and actually don’t really like them, I pray for them every day, especially that they both have very difficult life situations. My godmother is someone with whom I find it really difficult to talk and she usually ends up triggering all my shit so I hardly feel normal after talking to her. We used to get along a bit better when I was younger, and I can enjoy talking to her still because we have a lot in common, but you have to know how to interact with her and which topics are better to be avoided. I am not the only one person in our family who finds her extremely difficult, though. She is generally the type of person who will always give you unsolicited advice and ask lots of questions you definitely don’t want her to ask, and she always knows best what’s best for you but you simply happen not to have discovered it yet, she can be also very hurtful. I suppose attending her birthdays, name days and such also belongs to my duties associated with this role, but as I usually can’t bring myself to do that, I just call my godparents on their special days. This is one of the few instances where I actually prefer to call people rather than see them. πŸ˜€
      • Β Β  I am a blogger. I have been a blogger for years, almost a half of my life, haha! I’ve always really liked it and I’m proud that I’m doing it. I’m especially proud now, that I have an English blog, this was a really big decision for me and a big dream of mine and it has helped me very much both with my mental health and my language development.
      • I am a language learner. I am not sure if something you do mostly as a hobby can also be your role, but I guess so in a way. What I perceive as a role about it is particularly the bit with endangered languages. My role is learning them so that they are still in use and can survive, or at the very least, even if I don’t get to use them that much in practice, I am still able to speak them. For now, the only minority language I speak is Welsh, and I’m nowhere near fluent yet, but I am learning and I’m going to learn more languages – endangered and not endangered. –

What are the roles you play in your life? πŸ™‚

 

Question of the day.

Hey people! πŸ™‚

What do you have this week that you didn’t have last week?

My answer:

The most striking difference between my last week and this week is that this week i have a broken SAPI5, instead of a functioning SAPI5. Well, it has broken last Saturday so technically last week, but only at the end of it and as I said, it’s the most striking difference between what I didn’t have/had last week and what I have this week. Plus I want to fill you in on what’s been recently going on in my life and need to rant a bit.

Do you know what SAPI5 is? Probably not, and that’s too bad, unless you have Mac OS or Linux, then you’re justified. But it’s too bad if you have Windows XP or later, because most likely, regardless of whether you use it or not, you do have something called SAPI5 on your computer. But even many technicians and IT people donn’t know what SAPI5, or SAPI in general, is, and that’s part of why it’s so frustrating when it breaks. I am not an expert in that either but I’ll try to explain it to you the way I understand it. SAPI is an interface developed by Microsoft that allows most modern speech synthesisers to speak in the system and all the apps on PC that use speech synthesis. Most people have SAPI5 on their computers as far as I know because most computers have at least one voice developed by Microsoft installed by default, and some people use apps that convert text to speech so that they can read books with speech synthesis, even though they aren’t blind or anything, so I guess SAPI doesn’t even really count as assistive technology though I may be wrong. How has it broken for me?

You may know that I’ve been fighting for a while now to regain some of my speech synthesisers that I really need and that I couldn’t, for this or that reason, get working on my new computer easily. I couldn’t activate my Swedish speech synthesiser, for example, because the company that used to produce it no longer exists, and it seems like now my activation key for that voice, and most of their voices, but strangely not all of them, doesn’t work. I do need some Swedish speech synthesis really badly though, so I decided to get some Swedish voices from another company, which in a way I thought could even be better, because that company is part Swedish and they have even some voices speaking with specific dialects, which can be useful for a learner. I’ve already been using speech synthesis in some other languages produced by that company, but to be able to use their Scandinavian voices, you have to upgrade to Nordic license, which is quite expensive but I felt like that was the best option for me so I went ahead with it. Finally, I got those Swedish voices, but then had some problem activating the licence so had to ask their support people to help remotely. They fixed my licence so that it worked right, but then when I was reinstalling their app containing all their voices that I own to get the access to the Swedish ones as well, I must have made some mistake along the way or something else went wrong, I’m not sure, anyway it wouldn’t start up properly after the reinstallation. I reinstalled it yet again and this time it did start up properly but there was some other error along the way, so again the support guy fixed that for me.

I was using my Swedish synths for just about a day, and was quite happy with them and really glad that finally that one thing is dealt with for good and I don’t have to read Swedish stuff with a Polish, or even worse, an English synth anymore. Then the next day – which was last Saturday – my antivirus went paranoid and detected some malware on my computer, which I think was very likely some false alarm because I’ve noticed a pattern to its paranoid behaviour earlier and it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with any real threats. Anyway, it wanted to make a full scan, so I let it do its thing. After that, my computer rebooted and my screenreader spoke to me with a completely different synth than the one I had been using. Well, that happens sometimes, so I was only slightly surprised. I wanted to change it back to the one I was using prior to the scan, but, to my now huge surprise and dread, I only got a message “Couldn’t load SAPI5 synthesiser”. All those Swedish voices, and all the other voices from that company from whom I got the Swedish voices very recently, and a few other synths that I use on a regular basis use SAPI5, so now I don’t have access to them. Now I only have a couple Polish voices that aren’t on SAPI5.

Other than that, when I tried to open the app with those Swedish voices and others from that company, it would never start up, it looked like it was constantly loading, and when I finally gave up and close it, it exploded with strange error messages.

It could be that I got something wrong with that reinstallation, but I feel like if that was the case, it would crash much earlier, not after the scan. Therefore I think it’s my antivirus that is to blame. It is apparently the only third-party antivirus these days that is (somewhat) accessible for screen-readers, so that’s why I’m using this one, but I’ve heard that actually the built-in Windows Defender is quite good these days, and apparently also accessible, so I’m seriously considering a change in that respect.

I had experienced a SAPI crash once before, many years ago, and that was absolutely dreadful!!! The technician that frequently helped me with things back then was clueless. I called him and just told him that my SAPI was broken, but he was utterly confused and like “Ummm, and what is SAPI?????”. I do know some things about assistive technology and generally about tech stuff because naturally you sort of have to know more when you’re blind if you want to survive and not be completely cut out from the world, I’d say an average blind person has to know a bit more about tech things than an average sighted person. But I’m far from being techy, and I don’t think I have to be, so if I had to explain really well what is SAPI like in theory, how it works and all, I don’t think I’d be able to do it well, all I know about it I have already told you, it’s only from a user’s perspective, and it’s entirely possible I got something wrong. Unfortunately I’ve had a couple technicians that have helped me with this or that, whom I had to educate on what is a screenreader, how does it work, what does it not do etc. etc. And it’s not like they are stupid jerks who don’t want to learn or don’t care or anything like that. They were really interested in all that and always asked me tons of questions. They just never got a chance to learn about it. I know a fair bit from user’s perspective, though not as much as a lot of people I know, and the inner workings of those things in theory aren’t something I’m particularly knowledgeable in.

In the end, with that previous SAPI failure, I had to send my computer to a company I know quite well who distribute specialised equipment for the visually impaired, the same people who helped me to choose a computer for me and then set it up, and they do similar things and they kindly fixed SAPI for me back then, but the whole thing dragged on for over half a year as far as I remember.

So this time round I was absolutely gutted when that happened and still am, and not really sure what to do, I would really not like to risk trying to fix it myself, I have no idea how to do that. Straight away after that happened, I wrote the support guy from that speech synth company from which I got the Swedish synths, that was what my Mum advised me to do, although I doubted they would be up to helping me this time since the problem didn’t have directly to do with their product, or not only with it. I thought he’d at least write that “No, sorry, we can’t help you with that”, but so far he hasn’t even written back to me. Maybe he doesn’t know what is SAPI either? πŸ™ƒ I will wait a couple more days for his response, but if he won’t get back to me, i’ll have to try our current technician who usually helps our family with tech issues and test his knowledge about SAPI, and he’ll be able to learn something new, hopefully without devastating my computer further. If that won’t work, I’ll have to ship it to that visually impaired company on the other end of the country and let’s pray that my fan won’t break yet again in the process. πŸ˜€ Or that they can do it remotely. Though if I’m honest, for some reason i have a gut feeling that it’s not a good idea to ask them to do that, despite it were them who did it the last time. Maybe it’s because of all that bad luck with my computer when they were setting it up for me. Anyway, in the end I may not have a choice. I’ve always had a more or less mild tech issues phobia, but lately those things are scaring the shit out of me and if that won’t stop, I don’t see how it could improve.

So yeah, I’ve become the owner of a broken SAPI5 this week, such a positive news of the day for my readers. πŸ˜€

How about you? Do you have some more positive news, or have you also become in possession of something you really don’t like having? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Finish this sentence – “I am currently one step away from…”.

My answer:

…Getting my new Swedish speech synthesisers. As you may remember from some of my previous posts, I’ve been struggling a lot with regaining some of my speech synthesisers after changing computers, and some seem impossible for me to have on this new one, for example my great Swedish speech synthesiser which is no longer produced and the activation key doesn’t work. Instead, I decided to buy Swedish voices from a different company, from whom I already do have a licence for a lot of synths, but to have Swedish one, you have to upgrade to Scandinavian licence. I did that, and I’ve already even received a file that is supposed to activate the thing, and it all seemed to be very easy, but all those boring techy things seem to hardly be as easy as they seem, haha. I got this file, and I was instructed to plug the USB key on which I’ve got my global (not upgraded) licence to begin with, with all the voices, additional programmes and stuff, and I had to find a file with the same extension as the one I got, change the extension in that old file, and then paste the new file in there as well. It would be cool if I could find a file with such an extension on that USB key at all though. I could not. It is a hidden file, but I have enabled the option for showing hidden files on my computer, but I cannot see it anyway. So maybe I could paste that new file anyway, but I don’t know the way those files are working, and I’m quite apprehensive of experimenting and possibly messing up with such relatively pricey stuff. So I asked the company through which I bought the upgrade what I should do and if they could help in any way. They said they would pass it to someone in their company who is knowledgeable in the topic and he will get back to me. I haven’t heard back from him, but I am hopeful that he will get back to me soon and that there aren’t any more steps in the unknown to make for me to obtain those synths.

Your turn. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ˜€ 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. πŸ˜€ 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. πŸ˜€

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. πŸ˜€ 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. πŸ˜€

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? πŸ˜€ 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. πŸ˜€ 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. πŸ˜€

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. πŸ˜€ 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. πŸ˜€

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? πŸ™‚

 

This year so far.

A couple of days ago, the writing prompt at Word of the Day Challenge was

year

and so I decided to write a bit on how this year has been so far for me.

The first thing I immediately think of when thinking of this year are the dreaded tech issues of all sorts, as well as changes. As you know, I had my computer changed, which was planned for months in advance, and was supposed to take place much earlier that I’d finally transition to it but in the end there were a lot of unexpected things happening. At first, the fan in the new computer got broken on the delivery to me, which was back in September of last year. That made it useless but the delivery company decided to cover the costs of a new one for me and then the new one was sent to me not long before Christmas. And just some time around Christmas as you may remember, this one stopped working too, as it turned out later on, also due to the fan being loose, but the ways in which it manifested were so weird and puzzling to everyone that it took a while to figure it out. I had it sent back to the company who helped me with choosing it and setting it up and they fixed it – luckily I didn’t need to buy a completely new computer this time – and then they sent it again back to me. And, surprise – after a few days, some time mid January – the fan was loose again. Obviously this time I didn’t send it anywhere but just my Mum took it to a nearby servicing place but we were scared doing even that ’cause what if such simple transportation will make something else go loose. The guy at the servicing place put it in place more firmly and since then, I’ve had no fan issues thank God and hopefully it will stay this way. As you can imagine, this has been very stressful to me, and made my transition process even more difficult, as it was a rather unwelcome but necessary thing to do for me to begin with, and presenting a lot of small but at the same time significant changes in itself. Not only was it a transition from a laptop to a desktop computer, but also I switched systems and had to stop using or replace a lot of apps I had been using. With all that glitching at the beginning, and such a huge delay, my brain was ruminating like crazy and the whole thing was much more scary than it probably would be in other circumstances. I’ve mostly gotten used to my new computer by now and I like that it’s more efficient than my laptop, and I’m usually quick at learning things, but I still have some getting used to and figuring out to do, especially that, at least for me, learning is one thing, and adapting a completely different one. And to this day, whenever I hear the slightest click or creek inside of it, I freak out that something is loose again, and my tolerance to tech issues is not very high these days haha. After the fan saga has finished though, I was still left without most of my speech synthesisers and had only a few of those I actually own. For some, I lost the licence because in that loose fans havoc there was a lot of major and deep system digging and repairs done on my computer because people didn’t know what was the problem and it looked like a system error. That all led to my licence being irretrievable. As I shared in the last Weekend Coffee Share, I’ve been contacting the company producing those speech synths, who were very unresponsive to begin with, but once they did respond to me things started to happen relatively quickly, and I am happy to announce that yesterday I finally had that remote session with the support guy, the one I was so strangely anxious about, and it turned out my anxiety was not adequate this time round, because it was not only super quick but also – yes – successful! So quick and successful that for a good while I couldn’t believe that it was all OK and was sure something will soon come up and be wrong again. πŸ˜€ But now I have my new licence working and my English, Scottish, Finnish, Sami, Faroese and Dutch speech synthesisers. As soon as we were done with that I also wrote their distributors who are closest to me from whom I’ve got my original licence and asked them if they could upgrade my licence to Scandinavian, because I need Swedish voices now (I had had a very good Swedish voice on my laptop but it’s no longer produced and seems like I am not able to activate it anymore so I need to look for something different). But I am so happy I’ve regained so many of my voices and that all my stalking them via email and phone, in English, Swedish and Swenglish which was probably much more stressful to me than to them paid off. πŸ˜€

Also, another piece of good news regarding synths is that, it seems like there is a slight glimmer of hope I may yet get back my Jacek synth – the Polish one that I love so much. – I just need to experiment a little bit with something I just discovered and who knows, that would be so cool! I’m still disconsolate that, just like with my Swedish voice, it’s very unlikely I’ll ever get the Welsh one back, and it was very helpful with my Welsh learning, even though I am learning north Welsh and it was south Welsh and that was getting in the way sometimes, but still, it was a lot of help especially with reading longer texts because my own reading in Welsh is still a bit sluggish. On the other hand though, it will probably just motivate me to read more myself even if it will take ages. πŸ˜€

Those first two months were also very gloomy and depressive to me. You know that I have dysthymia, so, while the way I feel can often be shitty, externally I am usually rather high-functioning as long as not too much overwhelming stuff is going on. My physical energy levels are usually also not that bad that it would be noticeable for outsiders that something is wrong in this particular regard or at least I think so, unless my blood pressure is particularly low or something which does tend to happen a fair bit of time if I don’t stimulate myself with something in the morning or if it’s hot etc. While I often have to force myself to do even small things especially if I feel worse than my dysthymic baseline, and force myself to feel things sometimes, to be more enthusiastic and all, I generally don’t tend to experience very bad anhedonia or at my better times (especially when a crush peak is involved) none at all, and as you probably know my fazas and passions (plus now also Misha since I have him) are the only things that keep me going and wanting to keep going, even if as I said there are times when I have to force myself to feel some enthusiasm to them, and sometimes the only thing I can force myself to do is only faking it for the sake of other people. Towards the end of last year, and at the beginning of this year, my anhedonia has gotten worse. I associate it with the fact that my current or last dominant faza/crush on Gwilym Bowen Rhys has been slowly fading (which absolutely doesn’t mean anything like that it’s going to fade completely or that I don’t like him anymore – fazas for me are a bit different than what most people understand by a crush and so far none of the major ones I’ve had has just gone away, they are still there but just in the background) and as I said my fazas are very important to my wellbeing, they inspire me, help me to develop, learn new things, discover new things, make my life more bright and add more dimensions to it, and the so called crush peaks – that is periods when faza is particularly strong are especially pleasant and make you feel a bit high, kind of more creative. – Generally I’d say fazas are like fuel for my brain, my creativity, but also what drives my passions. Usually, when one of my fazas starts to fade discreetly (at least that is how it had been before) soon, before it fades to any serious degree, I come across a new one. Well not this time. And so, as you also probably know, I’m trying to help my brain and frantically looking for some new faza myself. Normally I don’t have to look for them, they just come to me. Sometimes via other people, sometimes a string of events, or somehow else accidentally. I associate my recent anhedonic tendency and lower energy and feeling flat and having to fake things with that, but it’s possible that other things have been also involved, possibly something deeper that also doesn’t let me develop another faza, who knows. And I’m sure the recent stressful stuff hasn’t been without an impact either especially that my anxiety, specifically the more kind of situational one, always drives the depression very much. I’ve been at very different points with my dysthymia and I’d had a few major depressive episodes before I was even suspected to have dysthymia, but I’ve never been on any antidepressants as such. And I’ve always felt like, as long as it will be possible for me to cope at least somehow, I’d rather not be. I would really not like to become overweight due to them, for some reason this has always felt the yuckiest effect of them for me, even though theoretically I shouldn’t worry perhaps because I’ve been either bordering on or underweight for years now. But the recent state of things got me thinking whether perhaps getting some medication to boost my mood wouldn’t be wiser. I haven’t made up my mind on that, but since a week or so, I’ve noticed a bit of an improvement, despite I still don’t have a major faza. Perhaps it’s again due to the stressful stuff resolving a bit. It’s good to feel more pleasure out of life again, it’s a really yucky feeling when you have to fake things and force yourself to everything and just nothing makes you feel better. On one hand I want people not to see the way I really feel because it’s pathetic and doo all I can for them not to see but on the other when someone who knows about my struggles says it doesn’t show I feel like I’m just attention-seeking or manipulating people or just evil or what not, even though what I want is definitely not for people to pay attention to my depression as I said. I know it’s Monkey Maggie talking but I don’t have enough bananas to stuff her with to keep her quiet, as I don’t like them at all. That’s a dilemma… πŸ™ƒ My anxiety has still been pretty high though, or rather it’s like different of my anxieties are coming to play at different times.

I’m pretty happy with the way my relationship with Misha has been evolving this year. I have an impression like we’ve become closer in those two months. Recently I am trying to help him the way I feel could help with his fear, I’ve mentioned many times that he is so afraid of closeness and touch and movements and is generally very fearful and on one hand he does like to be cuddled, petted and spoilt and wants to show us his affection, but on the other he’s scared of it, the reasons of which I don’t fully understand other than that he’s afraid of touch, so then there are frequent situations like that when Misha comes to someone very closely and then suddenly turns back and runs away, or hhrrru?’s at someone to come over and stretches on the floor and as soon as this person comes closer he goes away as well, or he is afraid to come over to his food bowl when someone’s close to it, or hides under big objects when there are people around, or something. It’s not always like this but like I wrote recently sometimes he’s much more courageous than at other times. Anyway, I’ve been doing one thing with him every evening before bed – that is on days when he decides to sleep with me. – I don’t know if it’s right because I have very little idea what is on his mind and what his fears really are, and a huge obstacle for me is that in contact with Misha – and probably all other cats – it’s eye contact that can tell you the most about him, and in Misha’s case it’s even more important because he doesn’t always respond to touch very well and is not particularly vocal, so it’s just what I think could be helpful. – I simply sit on my bed with his mini sausage, and I ask him to come to me, and once he manages to go on my lap, then I give him the sausage. I have to ask him repeatedly and it can last even 15 minutes but even I can feel how his mind is working and analysing, whether to come or not, and when he comes to me he does it very slowly and cautiously so I can’t even move too much or otherwise it discourages him. But, sooner or later, he does it, and I can give him the sausage, so I think in fact he is a very brave Mish, don’t you think? My Mum is laughing that brave is the last word one could describe Misha with but brave is not the one who doesn’t feel fear, right? When he manages to do that, so far he has always slept soundly with me, without showing much distress and having to leave as he often did before, so perhaps it’s seriously working. But apart from that sausage challenge, even before that, I feel we’ve been getting along better and understanding each other better.

My language learning hasn’t been as dynamic so far this year. I’ve been doing a lot of Welsh repetitions but not much new material, mostly because of having to get used to all new stuff, also my new situation with learning that I do not have a Welsh synth any longer. Besides I didn’t have any good English synths until yesterday either and I am learning Welsh via English. While I can read things like blogs or emails or websites etc. in English with a Polish synth with no problem and I’m used to it and sometimes it’s even better, in language learning, it’s not such a good option, not for me anyway. Also the most plain reason was that simply my motivation hasn’t been great lately due to feeling blah and I was just being lazy. I am hoping to get more consistent with it now that I do have English synths.

Okay, I guess that would be all about my beginning of this year, I can’t think of any other major stuff going on that would be worth mentioning.

How has this year been for you? πŸ™‚

 

Question of the day.

Hi people! πŸ™‚

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 LuleΓ₯), 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? πŸ™‚

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! πŸ˜€ 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? πŸ˜€

So how about you? πŸ™‚

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. πŸ˜€

How about you? πŸ™‚

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™‚

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™‚

If we were having coffee… or maybe not coffee… #WeekendCoffeeShare

#WeekendCoffeeShare at Eclectic Ali’s.

Hi people! πŸ™‚ Welcome to a rather late “Weekend” Coffee (or whatever else you want) Share! I would like to be inclusive of all possible drink preferences, especially since I’ve had to stop drinking coffee myself. So grab your favourite drink, and/or a snack, or a full meal if you want, or I can get something for you, and let’s have a little chat. I have lots of teas, herbal teas and green teas, and Yerba Mate, and other such, since I’ve been doing a lot of drink testing since I had to stop drinking coffee to see what would work for me now, for my low blood pressure I mean, and I’ve been trying lots of green teas. We have coffees too, and even Cappuccino. Or I can pour you some Pepsi, or water. Mum’s made very yummy split pea soup, and spaghetti, the spaghetti is good although all of us didn’t like the pasta this time because it was one of those very healthy ones but not quite as good as it was apparently healthy. πŸ˜€ I have some very good German chocolate, and Mum’s gonna bake a cake, but I don’t think it’ll be ready until we finish our coffee share so I’m afraid you’ll miss on it. πŸ˜€ In any case, I’m sure we can have plenty of yummy food and drinks. I’m not going to have anything big this time ’cause I’m full after eating the split pea soup so I’m just going to have some water with ice.Make yourself cosy and comfortable and let’s start our coffee/not coffee chat.

If we were having “coffee”, I’d ask all of you how you’re doing…?

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that we hadn’t had coffee together in ages, I guess my last coffee share was around Christmas plus was very exclusive as it was passworded. So I’m glad we’re having one now.

If we were having coffee, of course I would update you on my coffee alternatives hunting progress. πŸ˜€ I guess I’m already getting used to not having coffee every morning very well, OK I’m not overly neurotic about that and I did have two or three cups of coffee in all the time since I stopped drinking it regularly, and it was while I was at other people’s, and I was more anxious after it again, but it was manageable. I tried some green tea earlier already, if it could give me the same positive effect as coffee – get me going in the morning and lift my blood pressure and energise me – but without the side effect – more anxiety and jitteriness – but it didn’t work too well, I just didn’t feel it worked at all for me, in any way, good or bad. Plus I’m not a very big fan of green tea. I also tried Yerba Mate more recently but while I can tolerate green tea and drink it if I have to, I didn’t like Yerba Mate at all. So a couple days ago my Mum got hold of some other green tea, I don’t really get what’s the difference between them, which also doesn’t taste quite as good as coffee, but (I hope I won’t jinx it πŸ˜€ ) it seems to be working. Which is really good, because it’s summer, and the heat doesn’t give me much more energy and I’m even more dizzy than normally. So it’s too short to say anything specific, but it seems to be working so far. Let’s be hopeful it’ll continue.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that recently we’d had some pretty hot temps. Now it’s much cooler and nicer, but it was roasting for the whole last week except for the weekend, and neither me nor my brain liked it. It was generally a hard week for me, because I was having a period, and was very depressed, and had a migraine and a lot of anxiety and crazy overthinking, like really crazy, I’m always overthinking but that was really intense and hard to control. I also had a failed attempt at intermittent fasting, that my Mum’s doing all the time since about a month, and which as I wrote in one of my recent posts I thought would be a good idea for me for a while as a bit of a detox plus spiritually. But I guess the timing was completely wrong, because as I was already feeing crappy, IF made me feel even worse, in that because I wasn’t eating for a good part of the day and starting to eat late in the morning I was having even less energy. I may though, and probably will, come back to it at some other time when it’ll be more doable for me.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that there is someone in my surroundings who’s making me feel pretty uneasy. I won’t go into very many details right now, I might do another post on that that will be protected, didn’t want to protect this one just because of mentioning her, but I am only 99% sure I can write about it publicly with details and I don’t want to risk, even if the risk is very very small. She, or them, but it’s mainly her I’m getting sick of, lives close to us, and I may be overinterpreting, and that’s the subtle message I get from my Mum that I am overinterpreting and overreacting being so wary of her, but I feel very much like I’ve got a new clingy type(s) to my lifelong collection of clingies, despite I was so happy I’m finally free from all of them and only closely associating with people I really like, and I don’t even seem to have much choice here so far. That feels distressing and trapping for me and I currently don’t really know what I should do about it and it’s confusing.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that tomorrow I’m going to a meeting. I don’t even know exactly what it will be about, but it’s Zofijka’s friend’s mum who organises it as far as I am aware, it’s going to be at her work, and she invited my Mum, because our Mum and Zofijka’s friend’s mum are kinda friends or acquaintances at least, but the thing is there will be a woman from Canada, and they’ll be speaking English there, and I gues she didn’t know my Mum doesn’t speak English. But my Mum is crazy about the fact that I speak English and when she meets anyone who claims that they can speak English well, she wants us to talk to each other in English, which of course always fails since the mere fact that we both can speak English doesn’t really make for much in common. πŸ˜€ If it was Swedish, or Welsh, then I would understand, but English? duh, most of the world speaks English. It’s a bit funny. So of course although Mum didn’t want and couldn’t really go there on her own, she immediately said that to me, because I can speak English. πŸ˜€ I didn’t like the idea of mingling with random people I didn’t know anything about just because they can speak English, plus when I go on meetings or such, I’m usually very inactive, I feel rather disoriented when many people talk all at once and I generally feel easily disoriented at social gatherings, and didn’t even know what this one was about. But then I started thinking more rationally and thought that actually, there can’t be very many people there, I doubted there would be many people in my town who’d feel confident with their English enough to talk in it just because, so A smaller meeting wouldn’t be a bad thing, so I told Mum I could try it and she texted her that she’ll be going with me because she doesn’t speak English but I do. And then it turned out that Zofijka’s friend’s mum is really very nice, and I don’t even know her yet, but I think we’ll like each other. And then she wrote to my Mum that the meeting’s only going to be for women (so that narrows down the potential group of people coming even more haha), and that the starter topic is probably going to be education, so both my Mum and me have tons of very diverse experience in that matter. πŸ˜€ It actually looks to me like it’s going to be a very very small meeting, and I’m now looking forward to it very much because actually I haven’t talked much in English to anyone else than Misha or myself in about a year, when I had my English tutor for final exams, he didn’t actually teach me anything new which I felt a bit frustrated at the time but boy was he chatty! Because we chatted in English, and I think he was even more happy about it than I was (that he has someone to chat in English to), I guess that actually in the end that helped me quite a bit with my oral English exam, as I felt even more confident with it and had a lot of experience. I’m curious what it’s going to be like, although a bit anxious too, but not in an overwhelming way, so I guess my anti-anxiety medication will deal with that and as I often say, my linguophilia is usually stronger than anxiety.

Talking of linguophilias, if we were having coffee, I’d tell you that just before I’ve started to write this post, I did some more Welsh again. It wasn’t as much as usual in my weekly Welsh marathons, but it was very interesting, and the results are fairly positive again, so I’m still hopeful there is some development, even if it often doesn’t seem so for me at all. So my inner Cymrophile is very happy. πŸ˜€

If we were having coffee, I would also tell you that next Sunday is my cousin’s Communion. I’m happy for her, but not at all for my own sake. I hate First Communions, they’re always so horribly long and boring and you don’t know what to do there, well, I don’t know for sure. The only upside to that is that at least it’s going to be in my grandparents’ house, not in some restaurant, which makes a tiny little bit of difference to me. This cousin is a daughter of my Godmother, with whom I haven’t been having the best relationship lately and seeing her almost always makes me feel like shit. I might be able to go only to the mass and skip the party if I’ll find someone understanding and able to give me a liftback home but am not too hopeful on that as it’s not very likely. My Mum is helping out with the food there, so if I was to leave with her I’d have to stay to the very end and longer. But I also wouldn’t like to not go there at all as that wouldn’t be cool.

OK, that’s all from me. Now, what would you tell me if we were having coffee? πŸ™‚

 

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™‚