Question of the day.

Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s the first item on it?

My answer:

I don’t have a bucket list as such, but if I was to make one, among other things I’d surely put all my languages I have yet to learn on there, and they would be on the first places. But now which one would be the very first? That’s my ongoing dilemma. As those of you who are my regular readers might know, I’m reaching the end of my Welsh course –
oh, actually I’m further than that, I’ve finished the last level of the course I was doing and now I’m finishing the last level of an additional course I’m doing, and after that I’m going to do some advanced stuff. –
But what then? 😀 The problem is not that I don’t have any options, but that I have way too many options and just don’t know what to pick first. A strong candidate for my next language is Scots, because I think it would be much easier than Welsh, I can’t say that Welsh is like terribly difficult but a lot of things are certainly different than in Germanic or Slavic languages which are the only ones that I’d known before starting Welsh, so it was a bit challenging, and I feel like I would like to try something easier now for a balance, as Scots is a Germanic language and so similar to English. Then there is Cornish, which is fairly similar to Welsh, also a Celtic language and from a Brittonic branch, so learning it straight after Welsh could be a good idea I feel, the more that the Cornish course is available in the same place where I’m doing my Welsh course so I wouldn’t have to worry about the resources, accessibility, finding a method, bla bla all those things I really don’t like about learning a language. Another language I’m considering is Dutch. I’ve heard a few Dutch people saying that their language is so very difficult, but somehow I don’t believe it. One of my crushes Cornelis Vreeswijk is Dutch although most of his music and poems is in Swedish, but when I listen to his music in Dutch I can figure out quite a lot of words basing on my English, Swedish and little bits and pieces of German that I still remember. Usually it’s not enough to figure out the context, but it really doesn’t seem that very hard, especially that they don’t seem to have such crazy grammar as there is in German. Also another plus of taking on Dutch is that there is also a course available in the same place where I’m doing my Welsh, and then after I’d have some idea about Dutch, I could move on to Frisian. Also it would be helpful IF I’d decide on trying to translate Vreeswijk’s Dutch poems and lyrics to Polish. And last but not least, from the options I’m considering at the moment, there is Finnish. I’m a little bit afraid of Finnish because I’ve tried it before, and the start was a bit rough, I didn’t know how I should approach it, I didn’t have any organised way of learning Finnish, and was just scared of all those cases and other weird phenomena. But it doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be doable, and as much as I am afraid, I also feel tempted to try Finnish, just aren’t sure if it’s the right time. All the other languages that I love (Faroese, Sami, Frisian, Scottish Gaelic, Irish and Manx) will have to wait, I’m definitely not ready for them just yet, although since a few months I think more and more and more about Sami, and would really like to be able to learn it very soon. But I think it would be wise to try other, more common language from the same family – Finnish – before such an ultra-rare and complicated thing as Sami, with little resources to learn from, lots of weird characters and phonetics that are still a bit of a mystery to me and I need to get used to them more. I don’t even know which Sami language I would learn because there are actually more than one Sami language. I had a once in a lifetime chance a few years ago thanks to my friend Jacek, that I could hear and learn a tiny little bit of Luleå Sami and I loved it, however this seems to be an extremely rare language and unlikely for me to learn on my own with just the resources I could find online, while the most common Sami language is North Sami, which Iäll probably have to limit to. Whichever Sami language Iäll be able to choose though, it would be a good idea to improve my Swedish before that and have some decent Finnish skills.

So, I really donät know as for now which one will be next. Iäll probably either have to draw lots or ask someone to make the decision for me, as Zofijka does, hahahaha. Unless I’ll come to some concrete conclusion very soon. 😀

OK, so how about your bucket list? 🙂

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Question of the day.

Name one way in which you were proud of yourself this week and one way in which you were disappointed in yourself?

My answer:

The thing I’m proud of is that I’d just finished another level of my Welsh course, yay! I’m doing two courses at the same time, I have only five challenges to do ofone of them so far, and of this one of which I’d just finished a level I have only one level left yet. Then I’ll be able to focus on some more advanced stuff. I’m really proud of myself today because of it.

And disappointed, well, luckily no big disappointments this week so far, but I’m a bit frustrated with myself still that I can’t seem to finish any Vreeswijk translation, I’m trying to finish something since his birthday, because as I mentioned in some earlier posts I tend to be able to write some of the translation and then get stuck with something and don’t know how to get out of it, how to finish, sometimes is just a very small detail that I don’t know how to handle in the translation, and I have lots and lots of poems and songs that I started to translate but don’t know how to finish. Or sometimes I just start to write and then realise it doesn’t really look the best, but I have no idea how I could improve it, so as a result I’m just deleting what I’ve done so far but not doing anything instead. And, unfortunately, since his birthday, I haven’t been able to complete any translation, despite I really wanted to and looked forward to it, that’s rather discouraging.

How about you? 🙂

Question of the day.

In how many languages can you say thanks?

My answer:

Well I may be good at languages, but definitely not at counting and find it pretty unimportant and timewasting, so I think I’ll just tell you in which, and you can count if you wish. 😀

I guess more than I can actually speak.

First my favourite languages, I know how to say thanks in all of them even though I can only speak Polish, English, Swedish and Welsh.

Polish – dzięki, or dziękuję if you want to say thank you and be more formal.

English – thanks.

Swedish – tack.

Welsh – diolch.

Finnish – kiitos, or actually kiiti or kiitoksia, kiitos is more formal than thanks.

Dutch – dank je.

Irish – Go raibh maith agat.

Scots – thank ye, though I’m not sure if it’s actually used in this form as I have never heard anyone saying this in Scots.

Scottish Gaelic – Tapadh leat.

Manx – Gura mie ayd, apparently.

Cornish – Meur ras.

Frisian – tankje.

North Sami – giitu.

Faroese, – takk fyri, takk is also Norwegian and Icelandic, though Norwegian and Icelandic aren’t among my very very favourite ones, though I like them.

And then there are other languages that I most probably won’t ever learn, but know how to say thanks in them.

Danish – tak, well very similar to Swedish so easy to figure out.

Chinese – 谢谢, I had to find the spelling online as I don’t have neither Chinese keyboard nor the slightest idea about Chinese alphabet, but I’ve learned it at school and know how it should sound, haha.

Czech – Dík, know it from my Dad, and heard a lot when we were in Czech.

Russian – Спасибо, from my Mum.

Slovak – Vďaka, again heard it from my Dad.

German – danke, I was learning German at school.

Lithuanian – Ačiū, my Grandad taught me.

Swahili – Asante – I learned some Swahili when I was at school and my aunt’s acquaintance often visited me there, she was teaching me English, but she was also a missionary in Africa and she could speak a bit Swahili.

French – merci, well I guess everyone knows it.

Italian – grazie.

Spanish – gracias, also quite widely known and even if I wouldn’t know it earlier, Zofijka watches a lot of Argentinian series nowadays so it’s easy to figure out.

Wow that’s quite a lot actually, wouldn’t think it’s so many languages haha, it’s funny how some things just get sucked in by our brains. How about you? 🙂

(Syn)Aesthete, or a brief explanation of some top secrets of my freaky brain.

While I’m blind, so visual value of things around me isn’t always of great importance to me, I still consider myself an aesthete.

A language aesthete. It particularly applies to my mother language, but also in all the other languages I know it is important to me to write and speak possibly aesthetically – which doesn’t always mean very seriously, politely or flamboyantly, but above all just so that it is nice to read or listen and doesn’t make other innocent individuals cringe too much. I also like when other people speak or write aesthetically, and when someone messes up with spelling a lot or uses words like they don’t know what they mean, it often drives me crazy, or close to it.

I am a total language geek and besides being an aesthete as long as I can remember, I am also a synaesthete.

Since my very early childhood, I’ve had some weird connections in my brain between sounds/words and touch, or taste, or something else sometimes. For many years I was convinced that this is just how our brains work, not just my own quirk, and that everyone perceives things the same way as me. That led to many weird, and often funny nowadays, misunderstandings, for example when I tried to describe things to people.

It was not until I was like 6 that I started to see others don’t necessarily think in shapes, textures and tastes and other things like this.

Many years after I got to this conclusion I realised it has to be some form of synaesthesia, although as far as I know this form isn’t very common, that your brain transfers sound stimuli into touch related associations. I know only one person who has it similar to me in some way, and he is also blind, so I guess it has to do with my blindness, and maybe also a little that I still am somewhere on the autism spectrum apparently.

If you don’t know or don’t understand how synaesthesia works, it’s like there is a correlation between two (or more) of your senses. Most people of those who have synaesthesia seem to have auditory-visual corelations, for example they hear a sound, and see it in colour, or see numbers in colours, or even people may have their own colours apparently, or words, or colours may have particular textures/temperatures for them, etc. etc.

For me it is so that if I hear or think about a word, at the same time I sort of feel what I associate with this word. It’s not like a delusion, I know I don’t feel it, I’d rather say it’s like when you hear a song in your head. You know it isn’t playing, but you still hear it in your head.

For me it’s not only words that I associate with shapes/objects/textures/tastes, but also many separate sounds, like sounds of particular instruments, people’s voices etc. And these aren’t always sound to touch or sound to taste associations. Sometimes it’s much more complex and not always on just sensual level. Sometimes, hearing a particular word or phrase makes me feel in a very particular way, or I may even sometimes associate words or phrases with whole scenes or lots of different, unrelated things, etc. Some words I associate with objects that I can’t recall ever seeing, so I guess they have to be made up by my brain or something. I associate many words with edible things, which is quite fun, or with things that have to do with nature. I often can associate many words that aren’t objectively similar to each other with the same thing.

it’s very complicated.

I think it’s also synaesthesia that helps me understand the colours in some way, anyway I don’t know what else it could be. I am blind since birth so have no practical idea about colours, but I’ve always had some imaginary idea about colours, and even many distinct shades. It’s often very hard for me to describe them, it’s hard to put it into adequate words, but when I was in integration school years ago, I learned that my understanding of colours isn’t that far from how they really are as I could think. My classmates were doing something with one of Picasso’s paintings during art class, and since I of course wasn’t able to do the same, the teacher asked me questions about all the colours, just out of curiosity, like very speciffic questions about colours – whether they’re calm or vivid, dark or bright, warm or cold, etc. And both her and me were incredibly surprised when I said all of them right. 😀 Of course I’d already got some basic understanding of colours, like that the sun is yellow or the sky is blue, but no one had taught me about how to actually define colours nor described them for me since it’s rather impossible.

I don’t know any other person who would be congenitally blind and have it like that, people usually don’t care about colours, or have to learn about them from others, like have to memorise what colours fit together when they choose their clothes, but I am lucky and I just somehow get it, despite that I see literally nothing (and no, it isn’t black! It’s just nothing). It’s just so so weird, but I like it. It often helps me with writing for example short stories, and describing people, one of my blind friends told me that “Wow! you write as if you were sighted!” hahaha whatever that means, I guess it was just it, that I can create people and nature that looks naturally and is colourful, some blind people tend to understandably forget about visual details or sometimes make them feel not matched or not very precise.

And yet another thing that my synaesthesia helps me with are languages. So many language learning experts and teachers say it’s good if you associate every word you learn with something. I don’t have to think about the associations. They just come to me on their own. That makes things easier to remember, I guess. And more fun, and interesting. And if you have it like this it’s just normal and obvious that you’re fascinated with words. Some of my associations may be scary or something, but most of them are very positive, creative and quirky. If I’m learning a language that is a bit out there for me (like Welsh was for quite a while, despite my love for it), forming associations may take some time, you need to listen to the language a lot and immerse in it, familiarise your brain with it, and then it comes naturally. Though there still are words – even in Polish – that I don’t have clear associations with, sometimes the shapes I see in relation to them are sort of blurred, or hard to describe, or like a few unrelated things strangely and not very harmoniously stucked together. It is not a perfect strategy for learning a language, because as I said there are many words that I associate with the same things, and I may confuse them. Normal people may confuse words that are similar in sound or meaning or something and it happens to me too, but usually I confuse words because I associate them with the same/similar things and then my statements can seem a bit enigmatic for an uninitiated  person, if the words aren’t objectively too similar. 😀 I’ve had lots of awkward situations in Swedish like that, and my poor teacher couldn’t figure out what I am talking about sometimes. 😀

 

I’m thinking about what example to give you to show you how my synaesthesia works. OK< let it be my Mum.

My Mum’s voice sounds like a piano to me. She has a rather dark voice, and when she speaks quieter/lower it reminds me of black, melted chocolate, the shade of her voice then is just similar, it just feels similar to black chocolate and I guess it is my dominant association with her as a whole. Also when I hear my Mum’s voice I feel as if I was touching the black keys of a piano. The word Mum – in all the languages I know so far, makes me think about a little plastic hat that my favourite and oly doll that I ever played with – named Eliza – had when I was a kid. 😀 That’s very weird. The word Mum as it is written in English, I associate with a little baby sleeping soundly with a dummy, and this characteristic smell of a sleeping baby. The same smell always surrounds Misha when he sleeps or is freshly awake. My Mum’s name is Anna, and the name Anna I associate with a horse – its hair, the sound of a horse galloping, the smell of horses, etc. As I mentioned in a few of my previous posts I also have other types of special associations with names, and looking this way Anna is a pure essence of femininity to me, but I won’t go into details about how I imagine a typical ANna – her appearance, personality etc. that would be way too long, I might write name characteristics some time in the future on my blog maybe. Other things I associate with my Mum are the colour black and the sound of the French language, but these aren’t only about synaesthesia, because my Mum loves black, and was learning French at school, though she doesn’t speak it now.

any other synaesthetes of any kind out there? How does your synaesthesia manifest? 🙂

Or maybe anyone would like to know what things I associate with something? Some people seem to find it quite entertaining for some reason. 😀 Feel free to ask if you’re curious about anything, be it any word/sound or any questions you have as for this thing in general, I know it’s pretty rare and I realise how weird it is, so I’m open to your questions if you have any. 😀

 

Swnami – Gwenwyn (Poison).

Hi guys. 🙂

This is one of the first Welsh language bands that I’ve ever heard, and one of my most favourites. They are an indie rock band from Dolgellau, and I think they’re really good. “Gwenwyn” is my most favourite song by them.

I actually like the word gwenwyn a lot. I don’t know if I’ve ever told you how I once fell in love with the word gwanwyn, which means spring in Welsh. I was like “Oh wow! That would make for such a beautiful, fresh and unique girl name. I don’t think it would be usable anywhere else than English-speaking countries, as it is pretty easy to pronounce for an English native, but still I really liked the idea, even as a character name. As you may know, there are lots of -wyn names in Welsh. The -wyn ending is traditionally reserved for boys as far as I know, and -wen is for girls, but since it’s gwanwy, not gwanwen, I thought it should stay in this form, and that it would be better for a girl despite a -wyn ending, because a name that means spring, in my opinion, is more usable on a girl than a boy.

So I even used Gwanwyn as a name of one of the characters in one of my Celtic mythology inspired short stories. And then I discovered this Swnami song, and again, was like “Wow, gwenwyn! Wouldn’t it make a brilliant baby name? Kinda modern and with a Celtic twist to it. It’s even way better than Gwanwyn!”. I really loved the word. Quite foolishly though I didn’t even look up its meaning lol. I wrote about it to one of my Welsh friends, how I think Gwenwyn sounds fabulous, and could make a briliant girl name, that it’s gonna be my most favourite Welsh word. and he was like: “Well but, do you know it means poison?”. It was ridiculous, but I was sorta disappointed that such a beautiful word has such a negative meaning. Now I think though, that the meaning ads even more spice to the word, however I wouldn’t name anyone Gwenwyn just because it sounds beautiful. 😀

The song is very cool as well, and I hope you enjoy it. 🙂 Here are the English Lyrics:

Step by step
One by one the pieces fall in place
The perfect picture to fill the void
Before the door opens to the crowd
Don’t make the mistake
Don’t believe for one second
The hollow words you have been fed
The hour is coming
You’ll be ready to fight
Don’t lose your hold on yourself
And don’t descend into the water too fast
You must let go
But the deceptive claws hold tight
While the poison still flows through the bond
Turn your back on the voices you drag behind you
Break the link that joins you
And walls demolish the wall
Don’t make the mistake
Don’t believe for one second
The hollow words you have been fed
The hour is coming
You’ll be ready to fight
Don’t lose your hold on yourself
And don’t descend into the water too fast
You must let go
But the deceptive claws hold tight
While the poison still flows through the bond
You’re trying to let go
But the deceptive claws hold tight
While the poison still flows through the bond
You must let go
But the deceptive claws hold tight
While the poison still flows through the bond
Just turn your back, scatter the cards, fall back

Question of the day.

What are you currently reading?

My answer:

Recently apart from reading all the other stuff I like to refresh some Lucy Maud Montgomery’s book from time to time. But now I read them in the original versions. Montgomery’s books have a lot of different translations in Polish, and I’ve read all of those which I was able to get in any accessible format, many for a few times, but now I am reading her books in English. This time I decided for a collection of her short stories called “Along The Shore”, which has two titles in Polish, of which one can be translated as Scent Of The Wind, and the other as Traces In The Sand, so it sounds completely different. I often like to read books in different translations, and then in their original version if I can, and compare different details from each of these versions, sometimes you can notice really interesting or bizarre differences. Like if you’ve ever read “The Blue Castle”, you know that its main character’s name is Valancy. But in some old Polish old translation, I guess 1920’s or something, the translator decided he will rename her and he called her Joanna. I’d read another, much newer translation before where she was just Valancy, it was a very good translation and I loved the name Valancy, so, you know, with my name geekiness it was for me like I was reading about a completely different person, she wasn’t Valancy anymore, he was someone different. And also another character named Barney was renamed to Edward. I can somehow understand renaming Valancy to Joanna – her middle name was Jane, and Jane is Joanna in Polish, while there isn’t any equivalent for Valancy, and I guess people in 1920’s didn’t have that much of an idea about how to read English names – but, OMG, why Edward? 😀 It’s neither similar in sound to Barney, nor in feel, nor fits the character, so I couldn’t figure it out at all, the more that the name Barney doesn’t seem to be that complicated to read. And that translation was f***ed up overall, with large parts of text completely cut out and lots of weird stylistic errors. There is also a popular translation of “Emily Of New Moon”, not that bad, but with some errors as well, and one that particularly made me laugh was how the translator decided to describe one of Emily’s cats – a grey-eyed cat with ebony black eyes. 😀 I guess she had to be very sleepy while writing. 😛 So that’s to give you a little idea what such a translation, or mistranslation might look like at times. 😀

But, coming back to reading books in originals, first and foremost if you really like an author and if only you can read their books as they were originally written, it is in my opinion a much closer contact with what they really wanted to show you in their literature. Even the most accurate translation can’t express it fully since every language is so different and, first and foremost, everyone of us has a different style of writing, and everyone interprets things differently, so if you read something in its original version, you have the possibility of interpreting it more on your own and you don’t have to base on the translator’s interpretation of what the author wanted to say, even if it’s just a pretty universal ad easy to read shortstory. And, obviously, if you read books in their original versions, in languages that aren’t your mother tongues, the benefits for your linguistical development and your brains overall are significant.

And what are you reading? 🙂