It’s been a while since my last update. I’ve been in Taiwan now for a month and a half. It’s been a crazy time settling in, getting jobs, finding apartments, culture shock and all those other crazy things when moving abroad.
I can feel my Chinese slightly being activated. All those years of dormant words I’ve accumulated are now finally getting the action it deserves. It’s been great, but I still feel rusty and incompetent. Nevermind, it’s part of the being a language learner, but I’m going to try and improve my Chinese as much as possible here.
For instance, I started a Chinese character challenge. You can read about it more here. Basically, what it means is, is that I want to use this opportunity where there are so many Chinese characters around me, to learn as much as possible.
Also, I’ve launched a new website called HanziCraft. It’s a next level Chinese character dictionary. I’ve been coding that in my spare time for the past year. Have a look!
It has been abysmal. I’ve spent almost no time on French. But I think I know why. I know how far I’ve come with Chinese and how much time it took me to get here. It all seems so daunting to me, that I almost want to give up.
But sometimes, I realize how great it would to be able speak French. Then I get motivated again… but it’s lost really quickly when I see all the amount of work I need to do.
My ambitious solution?
I remember starting to read the Loom of Languages last year. It’s a book from the 1940’s talking about language learning, but with a very candid straight to the point tone. It’s probably one the first books that claimed to ignore all the grammar points first and just dive in at the deep end.
But here’s what I found interesting: the book aims to help you learn a lot of languages, by comparing the pursuit of learning them to the same way a bioligist would learn animal species and how they differ. The interesting things about language, yes, sometimes happen in the language itself (like Chinese having the most awesome script ever!), but those things only become clear a lot later on.
To start, learning all the differences between languages in a language tree, is like an adventure trying to solve the mystery.
So here’s what I’m going to do: learn more languages in the same family tree at the same time as a means to try find the differences and history behind these changes.
Thus, my framing is going to be different. It might make my learning slower, but it will definitely be a lot more interesting!
The Romance Tree
I’m going to start with a Romance tree: French, Spanish & Portuguese. The reason why I choose these are:
French: because it’s my heritage and I really like the language. It’s also a lingua franca for North Africa and other parts of Africa.
Spanish: a language I actually started before French, but failed to continue in. I really like the sound of Spanish and there is a massive culture to indulge in.
Portuguese: its close relation to Spanish will be very interesting to learn about. Furthermore, it’s also a big language in some parts of Africa. I also hope to one day travel to South America.
For now, I’ll start tackling the Romance tree. If things go well, I’ll consider starting a Germanic tree, learning Dutch, Swedish and German at the same time.
So! Wish me luck!