Filed under: Comics,Ethiopia,Italy,Japan,Language,Lists,Personal,Romania,Taiwan
As I am working towards my goals of reading a French and a Chinese book this year, I read a few articles on how to
study languages. (I hoped some reader would share their study tips in my last post but I guess this blog has so few readers no one answered. So I had to look for study ideas elsewhere.)
One article pointed out the difference between having a vague idea of studying some language and having more measurable goals as to what one wants to do with that language. I gave this a lot of thought.
Turns out I have definite ideas of what I want to do with the languages I am studying or want to study. Maybe I did need to write them out. Thus, for my future reference, here are the reasons for learning my target languages:
Romanian: to read one Romanian book every year, for ease in travelling and for less laborious reading. Basically, Romanian is a jokey and warm language that boosts my self-esteem; I just want to have more of it in my life.
Chinese: to read at least one Chinese book every year, for ease when travelling in Taiwan. I also want to read more comic books from Taiwan and Hong Kong. As well, I want to write more beautifully in Chinese, maybe hiring a tutor to help me with Chinese calligraphy. I want to write a lot of letters in Chinese to my friends in Taiwan.
Japanese: to read the occasional Japanese book or article on cultural topics that interest me (mostly onsens, food, games, arts, crafts and literature). To be able to understand my favourite Japanese tv shows and movies without subtitles. To be able to research new onsens for subsequent trips.
French: to read one French book every year and to read a few nineteenth and twentieth century novels or other books in the original. I also found French very useful when travelling in Tunisia, so I want to be able to use it in other Francophone African countries like Senegal and Rwanda. I want to read more French and Belgian comics. Of course there’s also the extensive travelling in France I want to do and possibly living there.
Spanish: so much great Spanish literature to read in the world! Plus, Spanish is just a fun language to speak. One of my goals is to spend the Mexican Days of the Dead in Oaxaca with a family there. Then there is a personal research project I want to do in South America.
Italian: for reading more Italian comic books, some literature and mostly for ease of travelling and of travel research. I also want to rent apartments there for month-long trips. It would be nice to have long conversations about Italy with my future neighbours.
German: because I want to live and work in Austria. I also want to read some German literature in the original language and I want to play boardgames in the original languages.
Russian: for speaking and some reading. I suspect there’s a whole world of cool, wacky children’s literature I need to read in Russian. I want to watch Cheburashka without making up my own dialogue (my Cheburashka DVD set only has Japanese subtitles).
Swedish: I want to read all of Tove Jansson’s books in the original language, as well as any biographies. Also, I want to travel to Sweden. Hopefully I’ll find more reasons to study Swedish once I start learning about the culture.
Inuktitut: mostly I want to learn to write in their cool alphabet. I don’t know any Inuit people, but it would be cool to try some out when I visit Iqaluit. Plus, I believe that one should speak the language of the country one is in. Canada has a lot of aboriginal languages yet all the annoying white people here snarl “Speak English!” to poor immigrants trying their best to speak English, when really English is not the original local language. Ideally, Halq’eméylem would be better for my needs but I like the Inuktitut alphabet so much.
Taiwanese: for speaking when I visit Taiwan. I also want to learn at least one Chinese dialect to see if it’s really a dialect or if it is a separate language. Plus, Taiwanese sounds so bad-ass.
Cantonese: to order dim sum in Richmond for starters. Also, to watch Hong Kong movies in the original, to chat more when I visit Hong Kong or when I meet grandmothers at friends’ houses here in Vancouver. Chinese grandparent types have lived through an amazing and dramatic century – they must have incredible stories.
Hungarian: like with Swedish, I hope that I’ll find more reasons to study when I start studying Hungarian. Mostly, I want to be able to have conversations when I travel to Romania and Hungary (Hungarians are such nice people), and especially to be able to do research on Romanian history.
Kinyarwanda: for travel when I go to Rwanda. I want to ask questions and be a good enough listener so I can understand the stories about life in Rwanda and the genocide. I bet too that there are some great etiquette lessons the Rwandans have, which, once I learn what they are, I’ll write about.
Amharic: also for travel. Plus, I want to learn the Ge’ez alphabet. Again, I want to be able to listen better to conversations and to meet the people who don’t just speak English. We’re also lucky in this part of Canada because we have a lot of Ethiopians. It would be nice to understand Ethiopian songs too. I can’t sing but I have a secret fantasy of going into an Ethiopian karaoke bar and wowing everyone. If there are karaoke bars for Ethiopians.
Arabic: mostly I want to conduct some history research in Syria. Maybe once I know a little Arabic, I would find some good literature to read in the original language.
Finnish: for ease of travelling and it is the language of the country where Tove Jansson was born and where she lived. Now that I have started studying it, it turns out Finnish is incredibly beautiful and melodic. No wonder they and their Baltic neighbours are such good singers. I want to trill like those Finns. There are also more and more Finnish comic books I am discovering that I want to read. Another reason I want to study it is because, like Hungarian and Estonian, it is not in the Indo-European language group.
Norwegian: I want to travel there. I also had a Norwegian penpal who sent me a book on his country and in the book it said that by law every library in the country must own a copy of every Norwegian book. With a government that supportive of Norwegian writers, they must have a few good ones. I want to read these authors in the original.
Dutch: I love travelling to the Netherlands and I loved Flanders. I want to chitchat more in Dutch/Flemish with the people there. I also want to research a WWI topic.
Estonian: because it’s another beautiful, trilling language. Mostly my goal is to learn from cover to cover the one Estonian textbook I started. I have no hope of speaking Estonian when I am not travelling there. But I can read and master this one book.