Question of the day.

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

My answer:

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

You? 🙂

Question of the day (23rd September).

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

My answer:

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

How about your family? 🙂

Question of the day (22nd September).

Did you ever study a foreign language by yourself?

My answer:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How about you? 🙂

Question of the day (21st September).

Did you have foreign language classes in your school?

My answer:

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

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

Question of the day (20 September).

What other languages do you speak, if any?

My answer:

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

How about you? 🙂

Question of the day (19th September).

Hey people! 🙂

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

What’s your native language?

My answer:

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

You? 🙂

Question of the day.

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

My answer:

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

So how about you? 🙂

Question of the day.

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? 🙂

Question of the day.

Any goals/plans/things you’re excited about for the rest of March? My answer:
Nothing spectacular. Maybe I’ll be able to pass at least most of my school term exams until Easter, although that’s highly doubtful. As always I hope to develop all my languages, I try to not miss any opportunity to it, although I think I should work more on my Swedish, it’s been my most neglected child lately in all that storm of blogging and writing in English and learning Welsh. And that’s it, I suppose. You?

New gem stones in my collection.

I’m really starting to wonder about taking photos of all the stones in my collection and putting them here. It would take a lot of time and obviously I would need someone else to involve in it and take the pictures, but I think it could be a good idea. What do you think?

My Mum wanted to make me a surprise and bought me some more stones which are really beautiful. They are standing on my window and everyone says they look brilliant in the sun. It’s very snowy here recently, but also the sun is shining a lot so they have great conditions to present themselves. I am really happy I got so many new stones recently. I plan to go to the Festival Of Minerals which will be sometime in August in Silesia. I’d love someone acquainted to take a look at my collection and tell me whether all of these stones are really natural and I’d love to take a look at some minerals I’ve never seen before.

As for other things, yesterday I had an intensive Welsh day, well I’ve heard of people having much more intensive days, but it was the most intensive Welsh day I’ve ever had, because I did 5 challenges during one day. My brain felt drained, but, in contrast to the brain drainage I always get when I have Maths, that one felt really good and I felt glad and proud of myself, not depressed and tired as I usually am after my Maths lessons, simply because my achievements were much much bigger. I decided to praise myself for that and when we were going for a walk with my Mum, we also went to the grocery shop as she needed some vegs and I bought myself a chocolate with nuts which is really yummy. We had a really long walk which I definitely needed after all that brain fitness and which felt very refreshing, and my leg didn’t go as crazy as it did recently, I think it’s healing and going better, slowly, but surely. I can’t wait when I’ll be able to go horse riding finally, gosh I didn’t ride for TWO MONTHS! My horse will forget me! 😀 No, seriously I don’t think he will, I had a few years break time years ago and he seemed like he remembered me. 😀

Today I went to my GP in the morning, as he finally came back from vacation. I decided I will listen to my therapist’s suggestion and will ask him to prescribe me Afobam again. Also I asked him for some more Hydroxizinum as I was running out of it and then picked my prescription along with that from the dermatologist I got on Thursday.

I did some more Welsh today too.

I just had a very yummy dinner, pasta with Napoli sauce. Dad and Olek are both at work, so we don’t necessarily have to have some meat. They must always have meat for dinner, but not me and my Mum, so always when they’re not at home, we have something we like and Zofijka usually likes it too, or she eats at school.

Today I also helped Zofijka with her English homework a bit, but it only led to both of us being frustrated. Zofijka is very hard to teach, it is difficult for her to focus and she hardly ever listens what you tell her and doesn’t really get English and I am not really good at explaining language stuff to people and the last thing I’m good at is teaching anyone anything, but since as for now she doesn’t have any English lessons besides school as she used to have, I try to help her as it’s at least something.

Reasons why I’m learning Welsh. *long post*

I decided to make a whole list of reasons why I’m learning Welsh.

I wrote them in my diary at first, but then posted it also on my Polish blog, which I had until December. They aren’t in any speciffic order, I just wrote them down as they were coming to my brain.

So I decided to put this list here as well, and maybe continue it in future with writing lists of reasons why I’m learning all the other languages I’m learning or why I want to learn those I plan to learn in future. The list might be longer than the one I published on my Polish blog, because some time has passed and I found some new reasons. Unfortunately I didn’t write them down anywhere so it depends on whether I’ll be able to recall them all. I might add something to some of them to make them more clear for you.

1. I extremely like it.

and it belongs to the group of my favourite languages, in case of which I have a constant feeling like I just should not even learn them, but have contact with them and moreover to speak them.

2. Because I want to read the Mabinogion in Welsh in future.

As well as other books about the Celtic culture and Welsh folklore, there are so many great Welsh fairytales and I want to read them not only in English, but in Welsh too.

3. I like Welsh music.

Especially Welsh language music, as you surely know well, if you have seen my song of the day series.

4. My current musical crush is Welsh, and he makes Welsh language music.

I started to learn Welsh before I got to know Gwilym Bowen Rhys and his music, but still it is a very important reason for me, even if not direct, and it makes me somehow even more motivated. And it is a direct reason why I chose a North Welsh dialect over South Welsh. Because Gwil is from North Wales. And because people say northern Welsh is more difficult.

5. In a bigger or smaller degree, I have some sense of bond with all the nations which languages are my favourite.

Of course when it comes to Poland and the Polish language, it was rather inversely, because of the fact I’m Polish and via my bond with Poland as my motherland and the Poles, I’ve naturally started to like Polish very much.

Anyway my bond with Celtic nations is quite speciffic and strong, I guess even stronger than with Sweden or Finland or others, which I consider also as a reason in some way, because I’d like to know more Welsh-speaking people and see, if seriously I haave any reasons to feel so much attached to the Celtic countries and if really me and them have as much in common as I feel. As for now, I have one Welsh-speaking pen pal, with whom I’m getting along really well and we seem to have loads of things in common, and I know more or less some people from the online community in which I am learning Welsh. They are learners like me, but most of them are Welsh. With some of them I talked a bit more than with others and I like them.

6. I think that the Welsh themselves – ptui! a large amount of Welsh people – still don’t appreciate their language as they should.

Although in the last few decades situation of this language has significantly improved, it’s still listed amongst endangered languages and it’s mostly in North Wales where it is in everyday use. So… someone has to show them somehow, what a unique language they have. 😀 Although ENglish is also an undenianbly beautiful language, nowadays almost everyone can speak it, so they should be proud that they have their own, in my opinion.

7. To make people ask why and feel amazed. 😀

And to make a good conversation starter of it. Very useful if you have social anxiety like I do and when you are introvert and hate smalltalking about the weather, school etc. Like I do too.

8. To develop my brain and not become intellectually senile  and not to go even more crazy at my old age.

I certainly have kind of obsession about developing my brain, I am terribly afraid of neurodegenerative diseases and all that reduces brain efficiency. And multilingualism definitely lessens the risk of reduced brain efficiency in future. For the same purpose, I eat food which improve my brain and as i have Mum who is a lifestyle expert, it isn’t difficult. For example I don’t add lemon to the tea, only ascorbic acid, or sodium ascorbate, Mum always has a lot of it, and it tastes just the same as if you had it with lemon, while when you add lemon to warm tea, you’ll get aluminum citrate and will storage in your brain, so… umm, no, thanks. 😀 But seriously, I’m really sensitive for brain well-being matters, probably more, than the standards anticipate, if there are any. 😀

9. To be able to write something so that noone undesirable should get what it is on about.

I mean such things like my diary for instance, or other notes like that. Right now, my personal diary is a mix of Polish, English and Swedish, sometimes I put some Welsh if things I’m writing about aren’t overly complicated, but I suppose that once I get Welsh well enough to be able to express my thoughts clearly, I will use mainly Welsh. I’ve already told you I am slightly paranoid about my privacy, so, I think that’s a great idea.

Or if I feel like swearing a bit. I think it sounds better in Welsh than in Polish or in Swedish, or even in English. I am not one of those people, who have a habit of swearing on every occasion, but sometimes… can’t resist. And then most often I do it either in Welsh or in Finnish, as it’s also great.

Last year in June there was a situation when some guests came to us for a night. It was my cousins’ First Communion. Mum wanted them to eat the supper first. While I was in my room, but wanted to go downstairs, challenge myself and socialise even jjust for a while. So we went downstairs with Misha, to see what’s up. But they had all they suitcases spaced out around the corridor and one was so perfectly placed in the middle of my way to the living room, so that I hit it with my tibia with a lot of rumble and before I could form any logical thought, I pretty automatically swore in Welsh, (not sure if I should quote it 😀 )

My Mum got a bit scared and screamed “What happened?!” while my Dad only asked me from the kitchen: “Which language are you swearing in?”, loud enough to be heard by the guests, so I said that in Welsh, and so I provided a topic to discuss again and people asked why Welsh. But usually I don’t make such big performances as it was then, it’s way too embarrassing. I just swore almost involuntarily as I hit my tribia really strongly and it hurt badly. 😀

10. To talk to Misha in another language and check if he reacts.

Misha is a very clever creature and knows many things, sometimes such things that I wouldn’t ever think he may know anything about. The idea about talking to Misha not only in Polish came from my Swedish teacher, who talks to his cats in Swedish and he says they understand. I was rather skeptical and thought it’s just his autosuggestion, but decided to try, as I already noticed that Misha responds when you call him Mishka, Misheczka, Mishątko and with other nicknames like that, for example when he sits somewhere high and you just say Misheczka, even talking to someone about him in a rather normal tone of voice, he’ll turn to you. Of course it works only when he isn’t absorbed by something else, more interesting, people also don’t always do what you expect them to do at the moment. So I tried and it turned out that Misha comes to me when I’ll call him “Misha chodź” (in Polish), or “Misha, chodź tu” (come here) or “Misha, come here” or “Misha, kom här” (come here in Swedish). Other than that, we rarely call Misha “kici kici” (which is Polish for here kitty kitty or something like that) or if we do, it simply doesn’t work. My Mum has read somewhere, that everyone automatically would call the cat kici kici so he’ll come to anyone, hence Mum came up with an idea that we can whistle to call him, but then Zofijka and me started to call him Mish Mish Mish. 😀 So since both Misha come and Misha kom work and Misha seems to get what’s going on when I just talk to him in another language, so that when we for example go to sleep and he goes behind me upstairs, I decided when I felt a bit more comfortable with my Welsh, that I will try with Welsh too. “Misha, tyrd yma, melys” (Misha, come here, sweetie). And Misha – although very slowly and offishly (he isn’t very responsive overall and, as my Dad calls it, tends to “freeze” easily, so it took him some time) – but came to me and got immediately that I want something from him. So I talk to him in Welsh too, even though I can’t say much and am far from fluent. And I rather talk to him in any other language when we’re alone. I really like to talk to him in different languages.

11. Because I want to see how it is like to learn a non germanic language.

Until now, I’ve only learnt English and Swedish, and a bit of German at school, so I didn’t have any idea about how it is to learn a Celtic language. Needless to say, it feels brilliant!

12. To understand Wenglish better.

If you don’t know what  Wenglish is, it’s simply a mix of Welsh and English, the Welsh English dialect. I love it and Welsh English accent too – as all the British accents and dialects.

13. To understand what they chat about in Radio Cymru and S4C (Welsh tv channel).

I listen to them a lot, so it would be reasonable to understand it, wouldn’t it?

   14. To have a laugh at Tolkien’s fans and talk to them in Sindarin. 😀

While creating the Sindarin language, Tolkien apparently was inspired with Welsh and actually if you can read Welsh (know its phonetics), you can as well read in Sindarin. at least that’s what I was told.

15. To scare my gramma.

My gramma is a bit obsessed with theology. She isn’t a bigot, like many elderly ladies, she was just always interested in theology, she even studied it. She insists that Welsh surely is a Pagan language, because the Celts were pagans and those Welsh people who speak Welsh are too, that all the Gaelic languages are pagan languages and that they are nazis, because Celtic cross is a symbol of nazism. She always asks me different things about Celtic spirituality, the early, pagan one and the Christian spirituality, when all those monks started to arrive to these lands and she still can’t believe that Christian people seriously pray in Welsh, Irish and Scottish, that they had their own, speciffic, Christian spirituality. Indeed, with some elements of their old traditions, but we Slavic people also have traditions that are post pagan, but they are a part of our spirituality.

16. Because I want to watch Rownd A Rownd series in which my crush had apparently played.

And I want to know what it is about obviously.

17. Because I want to be able to do something niche.

Niche things are often interesting just because they are niche, and I want to be able to do something interesting.

18. Because I love to hear people switching languages easily.

I love to hear people talking in English, then switching to Welsh, then back to English and I want to at least be able to do so.

19. To scare strangers.

No, not all strangers. This is another idea brought to me by my excellent Swedish teacher. He liked to tell me stories and once he told me that he had a situation when a drunk guy came to him and started to talk bullshit to him and also asked him for some money. And my teacher, who also speaks Latin, started to talk to him in Latin. 😀 Poor guy looked confused and scared and looked at him like he was insane, and walked away. Isn’t that a great way of dealing with intruders? 😀

20. Because I want to challenge my social anxiety.

My social anxiety is very strange. It comes and goes in different situations and sometimes I can’t predict when it will come. Sometimes I might chat freely with my extended or close family and be unable to talk to strangers, sometimes I find myself feeling very comfortable around someone I’ve never seen before and have trouble talking to even such close people like my brother. It’s very flexible and it’s hard for me to notice any patterns of it. One thing it amazes me with is that I am often a bit less anxious when I speak to people in another language. I’ve never had those kind blockades while talking in another language, which many people do have and I suppose my love for my languages is bigger than my social anxiety. So, when I get a chance of talking with someone in English or Swedish, most often my language obsession wins, and although I may be anxious, I jump on it. And it gets better while I’m speaking. My most hardcore experience is staying in Stockholm for a week with my family. My family speaks no English, and no Swedish too. So I was like their translator. I was literally scared. I wanted desperately to go to Stockholm, I planned it for so very long, but finally when I knew it will happen for sure, although I still wanted to go there, at the same time I wanted to escape and not think about it anymore. But I got there and although talking on behalf of three people was extremely challenging and just knackering, it was also very rewarding. So, I want to have another language to help me with my social anxiety. As for now, I’ve never talked to anyone in Welsh, only have written emails or other kinds of messages, and I get anxious when I think about it, but I also want it to happen. So yeah, languages seem to be the only thing which can lessen my anxiety in social situations for a while. And I have a quiet hope that maybe someday I will be able to go to Wales and test my skills. The thing is not with organisation, as I think it wouldn’t be hard in my case, but I need to feel emotionally ready, which may take a lot of time.

21. Because it helps me with depression and all the other kinds of anxiety I experience.

Social anxiety isn’t the only kind of anxiety I struggle with, I very often experience pretty general anxiety and have a bunch of speciffic phobias. When anxiety hits me, it’s rather hard to focus on anything else besides the object of your anxiety, so you won’t absorb any new languages. But you need to distract. Even if all your thoughts are full of anxiety, you can switch to another language in thinking. English doesn’t work, because I already think a lot in English during the day along with Polish and it doesn’t need as much effort as with Swedish or Welsh. And then, when I start to think in that other language, in my case, my thoughts  slow down – because I usually have to have more time to form them – and I can gradually distract from feeling anxiety, without desperately trying to find some activities or other topic to think about or something to focus on. I often write down my thoughts then as well. I just let my thoughts go, but in another language, and then they just change their paths and I realise I’m actually thinking about something different that isn’t anxiety provoking. This strategy doesn’t work always, it depends on how severe the anxiety is and how much I can focus right now, but it works usually, to a varying degree. It happens that I can distract from the anxiety completely and it just passes away.

Same is with depression. Or low mood in general. Right now, I am rarely so depressed that I feel really anhedonic, that nothing can make me happy just at all. I’m very glad about it. All my language achievements really boost my mood and I try to celebrate even the smallest ones (although my linguistic skills are the only one area I’m a perfectionist in and it’s always not enough for me). If I feel very depresed, I can listen to music in my favourite languages, write something in one of them and it often lifts me up a bit. I always feel like my favourite languages correspond with different feelings. So when I feel a certain way, I prefer to write in a language that represents this feeling for me, although of course I now only know 4 of those languages so my possibilities are limited. But as for the Welsh language, I feel like the feelings of anger, longing (in any sense of this word), frustration, enthusiasm and joy, like the kind of joy when you see something beautiful, correspond with this language in my mind. But anger and enthusiasm seem to correspond the most. Besides, I always set myself some goals as for what I want to reach in a certain amount of time. So that gives me some routine that I should stick to, something I can go to in life at least short term, so the life doesn’t seem so extremely pointless when I feel very low. When I feel like severely depressed and do  have some anhedonia or feel like I just can’t drag out of bed or do just anything, I try to motivate myself to do at least a bit of practice with my language, but if I can’t do it, I don’t punish myself for that. Sometimes the only thing I feel like doing is sleep and I think everyone has the right for feeling this way and it’s OK, even if not nice and even if people may not get it why you’re so non functional at all.

22. Because I want to learn to pronounce…

Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch

and in order to pronounce it properly, I need to know at least basics about this language’s phonetics. In fact, I actually achieved it and I can read it as it should be, but my main goal as for that is to learn to pronounce it by heart. Why? JUST for fun. On a Polish site called Nonsensopedia they wrote that you’ll faster get diarrhea than pronounce it. I just wanted to test.

23. Because so many people think it’s difficult.

It is. But Polish is too. And English, in some ways is too. It all depends on your autosuggestion.

 

WOOOOOOW!!!

23 reasons! Quite a lot, huh? Exactly. So now I’m even more sure that it’s a job worth doing.

Are you learning any language? Why do you do it?

Let me know if you want me to do it as a series and write reasons for my other languages too.

 

Song of the day – Maja Koman – Babcia Mówi (Grandma Says).

Hi! 🙂

I wanted to share another Enya’s song with you today, but then realised that oh wow it’s International Mother Language Day, so, well… mother language, yay! It’s definitely a time to show you something in Polish, this blog exists almost for a month and still nothing in Polish here.

The truth is… I don’t listen to Polish music very much. It’s not I don’t listen to it at all, ’cause I do at times,  and it’s not I’m not patriotic or don’t like my mother tongue, in fact I love it and (pretty obviously I think) it’s one of my around 12 favourite languages, I think me and my whole family are very patriotic. But I just listen to so much music in other languages, in Swedish, in all the endangered languages I love, in English obviously, so that most music I listen to in Polish are just random things I hear in radio in the kitchen or somewhere else, and when Ilisten to something in Polish just because I really want to and enjoy it, I mostly like it for the lyrics, it’s most often something alternative, or reggae, some folk at times. So I felt like it would be hard for me to make you like it if you won’t be able to understand the lyrics. So I wondered for quite a while what to pick.

But finally I picked something. It is a humourous, ironical, but also very true song and although lyrics are most important in it, I think you’ll like it.

Maja Koman is a young artist from Greater Poland, she writes songs for herself and plays ukulele, is a bit of an eccentric and her lyrics are usually ironic, honest, funny, a bit sarcastic. She also writes songs in English and French, but most of them are in Polish.

This particular song – “Babcia Mówi” – is basically about how men and women, very generally, changed since our grandparents were young. This song should be definitely taken with a grain of salt and it’s surely not a generalisation, but it says that men become less masculine, more like females, while women aren’t as feminine as they used to be either. 😀 By the way, I feel like it’s a perfect example of that hiraeth thing I wrote about a few posts ago. 😀 And although if I’d take it literally, there are some things I can’t agree with, generally, as a person with quite traditional views, I think it’s pretty true. I really like this song and it still makes me smile when I listen to it even though I know it since  a few years already.

It’s a pity there aren’t any English lyrics to it anywhere, I tried to translate it on my own, but realised I’d probably only make a bit of a hash of it, because there are lots of colloquialisms, metaphors and words that are more or less emotionally charged and I’m not sure of their adequate English equivalents, so it wouldn’t be as funny and natural. But still I hope you’ll enjoy this song.

Song of the day – Caryl Parry Jones – Babis Bach Mis Awst (Little Babies In August).

Hey! 🙂

Today I have a nice and funny song for you which is just about babies. Its title may mean little babies in August but I guess that also little August babies. It is the first song in Welsh language that I’ve ever heard. Well at least consciously, I don’t know, maybe I’ve heard something before but just don’t realise, I highly doubt it though. I wanted to find out some Welsh music as I was starting to learn Welsh as my new language and this was just a first thing that I found on Spotify on some playlist. And I liked it for three things – because of its cheerfulness, because it is fairly easy so even though I was just a complete beginner I was very happy and proud of myself because I could understand something, although I still don’t get exactly every word in this song, as I’m still quite a beginner, and the third reason was, I showed it to Zofijka, I often share some music with her if I think she might like it, and she made a discovery, that you can hear something… ahem, a bit undecent, in Polish, at the beginning of the refrain. 😀 Because it’s slightly odd what we hear there, I think I won’t share it publicly, anyway when we listen to this song together, we still always have a good laugh of it, even though in fact it is so innocent and childish. It’s weird though that Zofijka, being a child, heard it out much quicker than me. 😛 Oh, and you have quite a bunch of Welsh baby names in it, so that’s another advantage if you are a name geek, although of course I’ve heard them much earlier already, so it wasn’t anything new to me.

I’ve even wondered if I could make an English translation of the lyrics, because as far as I know there aren’t any online and the lyrics are fairly easy as I’ve said, but it was quite a spontaneous thought I had today so I don’t have it done yet, but maybe I’ll take a risk and add the lyrics in my own translation later on.

As for the performer of this song, Caryl Parry Jones, she lives in Glamorgan Vale and besides being a singer-songwriter, is also an actress and has her own show on BBC Radio Cymru, which is a Welsh-language station. She comes from an artistic family and her own children all work in arts as well. In seventies she was known as a vocalist in the band called Bando.

Here’s the song:

Quiet Saturday.

Today I am also having a very nice day. It’s 7 PM now here as I am starting to write this post. My mood is still rather uplifted which I am happy about. And I slept really well again, although quite long, I definitely didn’t plan to sleep for so long and didn’t want it to be honest. I fell asleep around midnight and woke up at 10 AM. I spent a lot of time today with Zofijka. Also I learned some Welsh. Guys I can’t believe it I am at challenge 5 of level 2 already. It goes so fast. I am still far from efficient or fluent in this language, but still… it is an Achievement, even if it’s always rather easy for me to learn languages. Welsh is pretty different from any other language I’ve spoken before. One day I want to speak all the Celtic languages fluently. Hope it’s not too big dream to achieve.

Also, staying with Celtic stuff, I’ve been discovering a lot of Cornish music lately. Recently I realised that despite my love to Celtic music and culture and Cornish language, I don’t know that much Cornish music. So decided to change it. And today I discovered quite a bunch of great songs and artists.

Today my grandparents from Mum’s side visited us and stayed for lunch. We are a bit concerned about grandad, he’s having very severe spine pain, so severe that it also affects his arm and hand. It’s so hard that he was supposed to put on morphine but he’s allergic so has to take horrid amounts of pain killers. And it all affected his health in general. You see, he was quite a strong man, tall and well-built, very fit. And now, in maybe three or four months he become much skinnier, I mean almost scrawny (don’t know if that’s the correct word for it for sure, but hope you know what I wanted to say and seems faint and barely eats. And now he told us he has spine surgery planned for 13th February. As he says it won’t be really complicated, even though what he suffers from is discopathy so quite complex stuff I suppose. We really hope all goes well. My Mum is very worried.

OK, so that’s all from me for today. Hopefully tomorrow we can write something with Misha, at least his intro or something like this. Wanted to do it today, but now I don’t think I’ll be able to.