As I wrote in My languages & multilingual journey, part 2, my language journey over this past year is quite varied, and requires me to split the story into two posts. Herein lies the second part to the story of how I came to study 20 languages simultaneously.
At the end of July I was still focusing on 8 languages – French, Spanish, Portuguese, Tamil, German, Japanese, Norwegian, and Tagalog. At the same time, I was becoming more active on UniLang (UL).
I met a gentleman on UL who has been learning languages since he was a child. He, like me, has a great passion for languages and linguistics. On his UL profile, where you can list all the languages you know and are learning, he has 25 languages listed! He also knows bits and pieces of (in my estimation) closer to 40 languages. Now this may seem like a lot, but when you combine a passion and talent for learning languages with studying languages since childhood, it makes sense that you would know a some words and phrases in a lot of languages.
So after chatting with this gentleman, my desire to study multiple languages started to blossom. I realized that I would prefer to juggle many languages at once. I also realized that my learning style of studying/practicing in short bursts lends itself to juggling multiple languages.
I then decided to create a list of all the languages that I wanted to learn. My initial list was 60+ languages! I knew that would be too many languages, so I split the list into languages that I would start with and languages that I wanted to eventually add. The list of languages that I would start with (or as I call it, “current languages”) changed slightly over the month of August, as I commenced on this new chapter in my language journey. Yet I kept the current languages list at 20 due to a desire to stretch myself.
I am still learning how to balance studying 20 languages at the same time. I find the challenge is not so much in remembering the various vocabulary and grammar specific to a language, nor mixing up languages. (Of course that sometimes happens but with practice the brain becomes accustomed to separating out each language.) The challenge is more in trying to spend roughly equal amounts of time on each language. This is especially the case when a language is new – such as with Korean, Polish, Hungarian, Turkish, Hindi, Swedish, Italian, Indonesian, and Mandarin.
I hope to create a multilingual video on YouTube, wherein I record myself expressing basic greetings in all the languages I am studying, or at least in the living languages. I also hope to continue sharing publically my language journey, as I believe this can help me stay motivated and help others who are on their own language journeys.
This blog is called “Language is Life” because I truly do believe that language, and by extension communication, is a big part of life. Language is the tool that enables us to communicate and interact with each other, at least, in a meaningful and substantial way. Each language is different and therefore, each language creates and influences a different worldview.