10,000 Hits! You’ve Earned: A New YouTube Series!

Back when I started this blog in 2014, I was living in Heidelberg surrounded by foreigners that spoke far better German than I did. What’s more, a lot of locals had very good knowledge of English (although there were also those that had absolutely no English conversational skills whatsoever) as well as a smattering of other languages including Western European tongues and knowledge of languages of all countries that border Germany.

come back when you can put up a fight

And this is I several years later.

At first, I thought it would be a disaster. But I thought that maybe, just maybe, I would have something to offer, and that it would be better to just … TRY … and that maybe I would go down in flames, but it would be better if I were to just write something about my experiences learning languages and see what would happen.

  1. After a one-year hiatus that was due to my Lyme Disease and general “not feeling like it”, I decided to bring this blog back as part of a New Year’s Resolution. That was one of the best decisions of my life, bar none.

I’m keeping “World with Little Worlds” around, but I also have to realize that if I want to share more of my stories, then I’ll need something more.

After all, I’m one of very few polyglots that really focuses on endangered and rarer languages, even though most of my strongest languages (with the exception of Yiddish and English Creoles) don’t fit that bill. Suffice it to say that, unlike many other online polyglots, my strongest languages do not include the most powerful ones on the globe (German and Spanish I’m very good at, but I’m better at Swedish and Yiddish because, plainly put, I like them more and I like putting more time into them. I also have a sentimental connection towards Swedish, Hungarian and Yiddish in particular, given that these were languages heard within my family before I was born).

Here’s something you might not fully comprehend unless you’ve ventured down this path before:

Putting Videos of Yourself Online Speaking Languages Requires Extraordinary Bravery.

There will be people calling you fake.

No matter how good you are or what you do, people will accuse you of using machine translation, consulting with native speakers, reading from the screen or, if all else fails, insult you for your choice of languages or dislike your video because you didn’t learn a language from their country or, in some cases, their continent.

And here’s another shocking fact:

Most of the people saying bad things about your video are actually NOT people who speak only one language!

Odd but true. The majority of polyglot-skepticism I’ve encounter have overwhelmingly been from people who speak two to three languages very well and are, in some cases, bilingual from birth. More often than not a lot of these people comes from places that have had history (or a present) of linguistic persecution of minorities (I will not name these countries, you know what they are).

Suffice it to say that, despite the hatred I have been getting (as well as the praise and thank-you-notes), I have decided that I’m going to continue with more videos.

And to that end, I’ve decided to undertake a number of YouTube projects in honor of 10,000 hits.

Let me tell you about some of them:

 

Language Learning Documentation 

 

Right now there’s an ongoing series on my page in which I’m learning Palauan. But here’s the thing: I’m literally documenting all the time that I’m spending with the language, so that you can see how the process of becoming A1 (or possibly even higher) in a language is actually carried out!

I pronounce a lot of the words in interesting ways. I laugh at myself. I realize that mistakes are a part of this journey. Nevertheless, I persist.

Palauan is a lovely language and the website I’m using (tekinged.com) says that Palauans are very fun to talk to.

For those unaware, Palau is a Pacific Island nation, located somewhere between the Philippines and the Island of Papua, located perpendicular to them both and not too far from Indonesia either.

I highly recommend you carry through with this experience, it will not only motivate you but also show you exactly what goes into this process.

 

 

A handful of other languages have been lined up as “you’re next” in this series, not also to mention other plans for languages that I’ve studied but that I’m not fluent in yet.

What’s more, given that I live in New York City, something like Moses McCormick’s “Level Up” series is in order.

(For those unaware, this means that you walk around stores and streets and other public places and you engage with people in their native language, note reactions and learn how to improve!)

But another post on that will definitely come in its own time. Right now I’m very worried about overstepping the boundaries with using published materials and it costing me a copyright strike AND my place in the YouTube Partner Program.

And that’s without even getting into the idea of possibly filming people without their consent. But hey, I should at least try it for the sake of linguistic diversity, now, shouldn’t I? And anyone who doesn’t want to be filmed can easily be cut out, right?

More on that next time!

Because right now I have to teach!

Thanks for 10,000 views, folks! Just wait till ya see what happens when this reaches 100,000!

Oh, and…here’s your map!

10008 views

 

Could I get everywhere else?

My New Facebook Quotes Section

On May 27th, 2017, my personal Facebook account turns ten years old.

Thinking of a way I could change the account to reflect my growth / changes since then, I decided to compile a number of quotes, one from each language featured in my video.

Thanks to issues with fonts I transliterated the Hebrew, Yiddish and Burmese. While I did the same for Russian and Ukrainian I also provided the original.

EDIT: I transliterated the Tajik portion as well.

Here you are!

Mervel zo ret, dimeziñ n’eo ket.
(Death is necessary, marriage isn’t)
– Breton Proverb

My a’th kar milweyth moy es ow brithel.

I love you a thousand times more than my mackerel

– Found on Cornish language learning forums for Valentine’s Day.

Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy
(Not my circus, not my monkeys)
– Polish idiom, meaning “I didn’t create this problem”

Ég skal sýna þér í tvo heimana.
(I will show you the two worlds)

– (Icelandic idiom meaning, “I will beat you up, very badly”)

Paasilerpara inuit kalaallit pissaaneqaqisut.
(This I recognize: the Greenlandic people possess a mighty strength.)

– Nanook (Greenlandic Band)

Tout ce qui n’est pas clair n’est pas français.
(Everything that isn’t clear isn’t French)
– Antoine de Rivarol

“Is fearr Gaeilge bhriste, ná Béarla cliste.”
(Broken Irish is better than clever English)
– Irish saying

“Cenedl heb iaith, cenedl heb galon”
A nation without a language, a nation without a soul
– Welsh proverb

Наша мета – знайти щось нове. (Nasha meta – znaiti shchos’ Nove)
Our goal is to find something new

– the Ukrainian Duolingo Course

Я скажу по секрету, между нами,
Самое главное – money, money.
За них сегодня можно все купить
Их нужно тратить, а не копить.

I am telling you a secret between us,
The most important thing is money, money
It can buy anything today,
It is necessary to spend it, not to save it.

– Leningrad, “Money”

Stilla kvøldarmyrkrið lokkar ljósini fram á skipum ið liggja við kai.

(A quiet evening darkness casts light forward from ships resting by the harbor.)

– Terji Rasmussen, Faroese Singer

“Cazi. Doida ja réidne goruda buhtisin. Dan éazi. Doida ja raidne.”

(Water, cleanses and purifies the body. This water. Cleanses and purifies.”)

– Sofia Jannok, Sami singer, “Bali Cahci” (waters of Bali),

Ven Shlomo homelekh volt dikh gezen, volt er gevolt hobn nor eyn froy.
If King Solomon would have seen you, he would have only wanted one wife

– (Michael Wex, in his Yiddish language phrasebook “Just Say Nu”)

Disfala Waes Tisa hemi tok olsem, “Laef blong yumi, hemi no fitim tingting blong yumi! !Ya, evrisamting hemi barava no fitim wanem yumi tingim!”

(Solomon Islands Pijin translation of Ecclesiastes 1:2)

Yu no talem se, wan sel nomo.
(Don’t ever say, ”just one shell”)

-the Ni-Vanuatu Kava Song

„MI NO WOK MANI –
BAI MI KEN GIVIM U PLANTI SAMTING
NAU U LAIK GO AWAY
LUS TINGTING LONG MI
MANGI LONG PELES
OI SORY LEWA
POROMIS YA OLSEM WANEM”
(“I don’t have a stable job, but I can give you lots more, now if you want to go away and forget about me, the local boy, I’m sorry, love, I can promise you this…”)

-Daniel Bilip, the “Nambawan hitmaker bilong Papua New Guinea”

Donde hay gana, hay maña.
(When there is something to win, there is a means to get it.)

– Spanish proverb
“Jos et mun tyylii tajuu, se meinaa että sulla ei oo tyylitajuu”
(If you don’t get my style, it means that you got no sense of style.)

– Cheek, Finnish rapper

“Jag vill ha en egen måne, jag kan åka till
Där jag kan glömma att du lämnat mig
Jag kan sitta på min måne och göra vad jag vill
Där stannar jag tills allting ordnat sig. ”

(I want to have my own moon that I can travel to,
There I can forget that you left me.
I can sit on my moon and do what I want
I’m staying there until everything gets better.)

– Ted Gärdestad, Swedish singer

“Leser aldri bøker, og se på TV er jeg lei
jeg liker Zappa, men Zappa liker sikkert ikke meg”

(I never read books, sick of watching TV,
I like Zappa, but Zappa sure doesn’t like me.)

Lars Kilevold, Norwegian singer, “Livet er for kjipt” (Life Sucks)

Du skal ikke tro, du er noget. Du skal ikke tro, at du er lige så meget som os. Du skal ikke tro, at du er klogere end os…

(You are not to believe, that you are something, you are not to believe that you are as worth as must as we are, you are not to believe that you are cleverer than us…)

– Law of Jante, Danish literary touchstone

Nu, az ma yihiyeh?
Well, so what? (Common Israeli idiom)

„Ich kann zu meiner Reisen
Nicht wählen mit der Zeit,
Muß selbst den Weg mir weisen
In dieser Dunkelheit.“

“I cannot choose the time
For beginning my journey.
I must show myself the way
In this darkness”

Wilhelm Mühler
April doet wat ie wil
(April Does whatever it wants)
Dutch Proverb

Em tempo de guerra, qualquer buraco é trincheira.
(In wartime, every hole is a trench.)

– Portuguese proverb

“Mu südames oled kirjutatud luule,
mida nüüd vaid loen.
Kuid ma tean: need sõnad heidan tuulde
ja vaikselt peitu poen,
vaikselt peitu poen.”

“In my heart you have written poetry,
That I am now reading
But I know: these words I cast into the wind
And I go into hiding
And I go into hiding.”

Ott Lepland, Estonian singer, “Sa Ju Tead”,

“Aki mer, az nyer”
(He who dares, wins.)
– Hungarian Proverb

Биёед, канӣ санҷем!
Let us try it.

(By-yo-ed, kanii sanjem!)

– Tajik sentence from the Tatoeba sentence database.

mooj\wa bemA dOO kheji\ shä’ mä.
(Even though it is raining, we will travel onwards.)

– Myanmar Word for Word.

Italiano – La verita ha una buona faccia ma cattivi abiti
(The truth has a good face but bad clothes.)
– Italian Proverb

polyglot moi

Absolutely no connection to the last quote there. Nuh-uh.

Video of Me Speaking 31 Languages (and Humorous Commentary): March 2017

It happened. I made my promise in October 2015 that my first polyglot video would come out before my birthday (which is November). Then I got Lyme Disease. Holding it off, I thought it was a good time for me to finally fulfill it.

Anyhow, I don’t know how many videos there are of people speaking Greenlandic, Tajik and Cornish within four minutes, but here’s one of them:

Some of my thoughts on each bit:

 

English: Since my “big exile” in which I hopped countries for three years, people who knew me beforehand said that my accent had changed. I tried to make it as neutral (read: American) as possible. I don’t sound like a Hollywood character (I think) but I think it is fair to say that my true-American accent is off the table for the near future. Ah well. It was giving me trouble anyway (literally the second post I made on this blog!)

Hebrew: Ah, yes, feeling like I’m presenting about myself in the Ulpan again (Fun fact: in Welsh, it is spelled “Wlpan”). I remember the Ulpanim…in which I was allowed to draw cartoon characters of my own making on the board whenever I wanted…or maybe memory wasn’t serving me well…wasn’t there a Finnish girl in that class?

Spanish: Certainly don’t sound Puerto Rican, that’s for sure. Having to listen to Juan Magan’s “Ella no Sigue Modas” on repeat for an hour (and undergo this procedure against my will about once every week for a semester!) certainly didn’t hurt my ability to develop a peninsular Spanish accent, though!

Yiddish: *Sigh* well this explains why people ask me if I learned Yiddish at home. It’s one of the most common questions I get, actually. I was not born in Boro Park, Antwerp or Williamsburg. I am not an ex-Hasid.

Swedish: “Rest assured, you’re never going to sound Swedish”. Yeah, thanks Rough Guide to Sweden, just the sort of encouragement we all need. I need to have a word with you! Also, that mischievous inclination was trying to tell me that I should just say “sju sjuksköterskor skötte sju sjösjuka sjömän på skeppet Shanghai” and be done with the Swedish section.

Norwegian: My favorite national language of Europe, worried that maybe I didn’t give it enough time. Also, my voice is deep.

German: I hope I get this grammar right…I REALLY hope I get this grammar right…I hope this is good enough to impress my friends…

Danish: Remember the days that I was struggling so much with that language that I almost considered giving up several times? Yeah, me neither. Was so worried I would screw this up. Then it occurred to me exactly how much time I’ve spent watching anime dubbed into Danish.

Finnish: With the exception of Cornish, the slowest language I’ve learned. I hope my accent doesn’t sound too Hungarian…and also! Notes for polyglot video-makers! If you know Finnish, add something with –taan /  -tään and -maan / -mään for instant cred! Works wonders! (These concepts are too hard to describe in a sentence). Also, how come it is that any Finnish singer/rapper, including Cheek, more clearly pronounces his /her words than almost any English-language singer I’ve ever heard in any public place anywhere?

French: I AM TOTES GONNA SCREW THIS UP. But hey, I think…my accent is good…fun fact…I learned this language as a kid…when it down, just use your Breton accent…

Irish: I…hope…that…people deem my pronunciation…acceptable…and that…I don’t set off accidentally …any…debates…

Cornish: HAHAHAHAHAHA I TOTALLY SOUND LIKE THAT ANNOUNCER FROM “RanG” HAHAHAHAH HA HA HA HA HA…in terms of my intonations…in my actual voice, less so…

Bislama: I wonder if anybody will figure out from this video exactly how much I’ve studied those Bislama-dubbed Jesus films to get that accent down…

Italian: Lived with two Italians, one in Poland and one in Germany, this is for you!

Icelandic: I’m a big fan of Emmsjé Gauti, maybe one day I’ll do this rap-cover polyglot video, in which I rap in all of the various languages. I’m gonna have a hard time finding Tok Pisin rap lyrics, though…

Dutch: I literally binged-watched Super Mario Maker playthroughs in Dutch the night before filming, because this was the accent I thought needed the most training. Did I get the grammar right…I hope I…did…oh, why did I choose to forget you for a year?

Polish: WOOOOOW MY ACCENT IS GOOOODDD. Pity it’s my “worst best language”. And the hardest language I’ve ever had to sing Karaoke in…time’ll fix that!

Tok Pisin: It will be interesting to see exactly how someone from Papua New Guinea would react to me speaking Melanesian Creole Languages.

Greenlandic: Is it just me, or does my voice very heavily resemble that of Marc Fussing Rosbach? (He’s a brilliant composer and you should really listen to his stuff!) Given that my first-ever single (still unpublished) was in Greenlandic, my accent can’t be THAT bad…

Russian: In my first take (which I did the day before) I sounded so much like a villain…I wonder if my Russian teachers from high school and college would be proud of me. Probably not, given that I gave up on Russian from 2013 until a few months ago.

Welsh: I’ve been doing this since January 2017 and is my accent really THAT good? “Norwyeg” is also harder to say than it looks. Not sure I got it right, even…

Tajik: My pose is so classy, and I sounded like a villain in this one but it was too cool to leave out. Can’t wait to actually get good at Tajik.

Faroese: Yeah, I didn’t study this language for nearly half a year. Not even gonna self-criticize myself for this one. But hey, listening to the music for accent training…makes me wanna go back! And also the most beautiful love song I’ve ever heard is in Faroese…guess that means I gotta relearn it before proposing…no idea when that’s gonna happen, though…

Myanmar / Burmese: I’M GONNA GET LAUGHED AT. And I accept it.

Breton: The first take literally sounded like gibberish so I listened to Denez Prigent’s complete album collection while walking outside. I think it fixed it…

Portuguese: I hope I made these two versions…different enough…

English Reprise: I made this video based on exactly what I would have wanted to encounter from a hyperpolyglot back when I was beginning. I hope this video is someone’s answered prayer.

Ukrainian: I BET DUOLINGO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT ACCENT.

Estonian: Gonna relearn you, but right now, you get two words.

Hungarian: Ended with Hungarian as a tribute to my only living grandparent, Joyce Gimbel, for whom I will learn Hungarian for very soon indeed!

On Language Learning During Illness

2016-10-31-19-21-52

(For those of you who recognize the character, I will avoid from making sickening puns of any sort)

Been a while, hasn’t it been?

I woke up one day in November 2015 having any variety of optimism sucked out of me completely, unable to focus on any task and feeling both energetic and tired in all of the wrong ways.

There was absolutely no positive feeling anywhere in me.

Worse yet, I had a game design conference to attend later that month. Thankfully for the first few days of November, I thought it would be a temporary thing that would pass, but after it lasted a week it became clear that it wasn’t letting up.

These feelings resulted in me walking away from every single one of my projects. Up until November I was updating this blog every week, and even looking forward to making one of those “polyglot videos” (for those unaware: filming oneself speaking a lot of languages one after another).

And thanks to the feelings incurred, I did the previously unthinkable and I shut down my Facebook account from November 2015 until June 2016. I genuinely wanted to retreat from a lot of my previous commitments and passions, and I had no idea why. I felt an extraordinary energy definciency and sometimes I fear that I still do have it.

Suffice it to say that thanks to one of my students, I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease in time and it was treated in time. It is easily one of the most difficult diseases to detect, and it is likely that I caught it in a Connecticut forest while visiting my parents during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

Thinking back to my time of treatment (and struggling to identify the disease) as well as various other illnesses I’ve had during my polyglot career, I didn’t see anything written on this topic.

Granted I have had the good fortune to not have undergone anything worse than Lyme Disease during my life, but I think that I should write some words of encouragement about learning a language during sickness. It could be something lasting, it could be something that may cause you to “not feel well”, for one day, but the truth be told is that..

You can still be in the process of moving your dreams forward, even under the most dire circumstances!

And language acquisition and retention is no exception to this!

If you find yourself not feeling well and stumble upon this blog post, I wish you a speedy recovery!

 

Some things to keep in mind:

 

Tone down judging yourself harshly

 

I come from a family of overachievers and me being the first-born sibling means that I am a lot more likely to be harsh on myself than those who are not.

Especially with the pressure of testing culture in the United States, which sadly leaves lasting scars on many people, it is very possible to feel invalidated from discouragement for too many reasons to count.

You may not be able to remember words as well, you may even find yourself forgetting basic phrases, your energy may be low and your native language(s) may also be in no great condition either!

As a general rule your passive abilities will be stronger than your active ones (although there are some languages with which can be definite exceptions to this). But even then, those may feel downsized as a result of your not-feeling-very well.

Keep in mind that if you are in one of these slump-days on your language learning journey, do not use moments like these to measure and / or track your progress! Granted, there may be some languages that you have such sharp control over that you can manage then excellent even when not feeling well!

What you should be using to track your progress, then, is how well you can manage with the skills of reading / writing / speaking and listening when you are feeling better.

But that day may be far off, sadly. In which case, you still do have hope! I remember that I was honing Irish and Finnish before Lyme Disease came in, and I didn’t even feel like doing anything.

Not visiting the respective wikipedias, not picking up a book, not even using videos or cartoon shows!

But regardless of how badly you feel, keep in mind that you can always do something.

It does not matter if it is just a handful of words, even a single sentence, or even a few minutes of exposure. The journey is always about moving forward. And those language learners who manage the best are those that move forward with their journeys.

Moving forward is not always the same is sprinting, and on bad days, you have to understand that. 

Some of you knew that I spent my preteen years in a very religious Jewish school. And one thing that they emphasized in theory (although in practice not as much) was the fact that every deed of religious observance, or good deed in general, no matter how small, was to be treasured.

On good days as well as bad days, you need to learn how to think like that with regard to your goals.

Moving slowly is okay. When you are not feeling well, whether with a fever or not enough sleep or even something far worse, it may even be expected of you. And so don’t push yourself too harshly and don’t treat yourself too harshly either.

Just because you are a polyglot or a polyglot-in-training, doesn’t mean you have to be superhuman. In fact, no one should ever expect that of you!

Happy days will be ahead of you, and realize that, while your language learning attempts during illness may seem underwhelming to you, they are actually greatly heroic acts that you will look back on with pride!

 

(P.S. about the video, I’m starting a YouTube channel soon [well, it is live already, actually!] and I’ll be honing my video-making skills along the way and delivering you a polyglot video when the moment feels right! Sorry to keep you waiting even more!)

Celebrating the First Birthday of “A World with Little Worlds” with Music, Translations and Fun!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

One year ago today, I decided to celebrate the anniversary of my college graduation by creating a new blog, celebrating my language journeys. One year later, after plenty of embarrassing moments, self-doubt, as well as mirth and fulfillment and euphoria, here I am, certain that I have made progress in some regard, although I have gotten better in many languages and forgotten many others.

To celebrate, I hereby present the BEST of the music that my language journeys have exposed me to this year. This was a very hard choice, and if I could have my way I could post entire albums here but that would probably result in a cease-and-desist letter.

I could very well provide these in an album form if this was another time, but it seems that in the world of streaming and many other media without physical components that it may not be necessary. Hence, this post!

Below is all of the music that I have selected. Some of it is from languages that I know well. Others from languages that I forgot completely.

(Note: it was originally my intention to translate all of the lyrics, but due to time constraints I’m not going to go around to doing it today. If you want the translations, let me know and I’ll provide them at a later date.)

(Other note: in the event that any of these videos is blocked in your country, let me know!)

https://www.facebook.com/zorgzikhnit/videos/vb.675695412/10155178442800413/?type=3&theater

A song from R.A.G., Cornish Radio, and one of the first songs I ever heard in the language “Hen yw an pris” (The Price is Old)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6igIvhXJCF4

From Finland, a song in the Finnish Language that has consistently topped the charts, a classic love song, titled “Paper Airplane” (not often you encounter such a title for such a genre):

“Paperilenokki”

Mä en lähelles pääse,

on jengii sun ympäril taas ku piikkilankaa

Oon rakentanu sun jalustan

niin korkeeks,

et vaan ilmateitse sut saavuttaa

Mä vaan, haluun kertoo sen

et sua ajattelen

ja sen kirjoitan siipiin,

paperilennokin

Mä haluun et tiedät sen,

oot ainutlaatuinen

Laitan viestin siipiin lennokin

En sun numeroo löydä, mut tarviin sen äkkii, et sut kii saan

Mun mielessä oot saavuttanu statuksen missä oot vähemmän totta ku tarua

Mä vaan, haluun kertoo sen et sua ajattelen ja sen kirjoitan siipiin, paperilennokin Mä haluun et tiedät sen, oot ainutlaatuinen

Laitan viestin siipiin lennokin

Pientä turbulenssia (turbulenssia) ja vähän lentopelkoa (lentopelkoa)

Mut mullon viesti valmiina (o-oo, o-oo)

Paperilennokkiin

Mä haluun et tiedät sen, oot ainutlaatuinen

Laitan viestin siipiin lennokin

Pientä turbulenssia (turbulenssia, o-oo, o-oo-oo) ja vähän lentopelkoa (lentopelkoa) Pientä turbulenssia (turbulenssia, jei-jei-jee)

Mut mullon viesti valmiina (o-oo, o-oo)

Paperilennokkiin

Mä vaan, haluun kertoo sen et sua ajattelen ja sen kirjoitan siipiin, paperilennokin Mä haluun et tiedät sen, oot ainutlaatuinen

Laitan viestin siipiin lennokin

Pientä turbulenssia (turbulenssia) ja vähän lentopelkoa (lentopelkoa)

Mut mullon viesti valmiina (o-oo, o-oo)

Paperilennokkiin

Mä haluun et tiedät sen, oot ainutlaatuinen

Laitan viestin siipiin lennokin.

Two songs in Tok Pisin:

And this classic, featured on the blog previously:

From Samiland, a song that has become an internet sensation and, interesting, has been translated into Tongan. I guarantee that you HAVE heard this song before:

Iđitguovssus girdilit
Hávski lei go iđistit
Vilges dolggiid geigestit
Várrogasat salastit

Njukča, njuvččažan
Buokčal, ligge varan
Njukča, njuvččažan
Ovdal iđitroađi

Iđitguovssus girdilit
Hávski lei go iđistit
Jaskatvuođain savkalit
Nuorravuođain njávkalit

Njukča, njuvččažan
Buokčal, ligge varan
Njukča, njuvččažan
Ovdal iđitroađi

Riegádahte áibbašeami
Oktovuođa váillaheami
A classic folk song in Northern Sami, courtesy of Sofia Jannok, a legendary Sami singer from Sweden:

Sámi eatnan duoddariid, dáid sámi mánáid ruovttu
galbma geađge guorba guovlu
sámi mánáid ruoktu

Beaivi Áhči gollerisku, almmi allodagas
coahkká váibmu Eanan eatni, eallin eatnun šoavvá

Mánu silbbat šelggonasat, jietnja
meara márra, guovssahasat
násteboagán, lottit ráidarasas
vuoi dáid Davvi duovdagiid
dán viiddis almmi ravdda
garra dálkkit juoiggadallet, máná vuohttunluđiid

vuoi dáid fávrrus eatnamiid
vuoi jávrriid čuovgi čalmmiid
liegga litna eatni salla, gievvudeaddji gietkka

Biegga buktá Biegga doalvu
duottar dat lea duottar
duoddar duohken duoddar askkis
sámi mánáid dorvu

Sámi eatnan duoddariid
dáid sámi mánáid ruovttu
šearrát gearrá šealggáhallá, sámi mánáid ruoktu

From Estonia. Interesting fact: Ott Lepland is, very roughly, my age:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOC2A0EJcGk

Sa ju tead, ma soovin sulle öelda:
oled südames.
Sa ju tead, et tahan nüüd vaid mõelda
meie hetkedest.

Sinu hääl minu sees
kõlab nüüd vaid mõtetes.
Sinu käsi minu käes –
sellest und nüüd vaid näen.

Mu südamest viid osakese kaasa,
kui sa ükskord läed.
Kuid ma tean, seda tagasi mul saada
aitab nüüd vaid aeg.

Seisan siin vaikselt ma,
sellel teel käin üksinda.
Viivuks tagasi vaatab silm,
kuid seal ei ole sind.

Vaid võimaluse eest
võiks hoida sellel teel,
et unustaksid sa oma maailma.
Siin seisan nüüd vaid veel
su elu silmades ja loodan siiski ma sind leian…

Mu südames oled kirjutatud luule,
mida nüüd vaid loen.
Kuid ma tean: need sõnad heidan tuulde
ja vaikselt peitu poen,
vaikselt peitu poen.

From the Faroe Islands, a pop song from the 1990’s and a Christmas song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlKH1wWdJpY&list=PL7xreoFR3bi1X2qe0wXmQP8gVNp1x2Gso

Kenslur mínar brenna við sakninum í tær gekk ljósið út

Eitt kaldligt tám er tað einasta ið rennur mær í hug at eg ein fuglur var, sum hevði mist sín song

Eg hómi minnir frá tín farna men rødd tí ljóðar enn í mær

Og tú vart sólstrála mín eitt brosi snýð tá eg var stúrandi

Og tú kanst fjala út yvir men hon er altíð har

So leingi sum tú livir men tú lærir tíðin lekir sár

Eins og trø seint á heysti so ber um vári festa aftur bløð

Minnið um teg mól í mær sum malargrót skræddi fyri sær

So við og við sum tíðin rann mól gróti runt og rundaði so av tók eitt annað skap

Men tíðin tekur tørni alt søkir sína slóð

So satt sum trøð missa tey bløð sum skrýddi tey so standa tey í kuldanum so ber

Og tú kanst fjala út yvir men hon er altíð har

So leingi sum tú livir men tú lærir tíðin hylur sár

Eins og trø seint á heysti so ber um vári festa aftur bløð

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kjJcbgPjik

  1. Kvirra um fjøll og fløtur,
    og náttin døpur, myrk og svørt.
    Lýsir av fjallatindi
    stjørnan so blonk og bjørt.
    Rekur burt nátt og niða
    vill dýr um teigar tiga,
    stjørnan so spakuliga
    seg otar fram í náttini.

Niðurlag: Føddur er konga Kongur
til eina falna verð.
Hoyr hvussu einglasongur
boðini sælu ber.
Ja, hoyr teir syngja um frið á foldum,
tí Frelsarin nú føddur er.

  1. Rekur í nátt og niðu
    so mong ein friðleys sál í dag
    ljósið tó bjart úr erva
    skínur við sama lag,
    boðar á lívsins vegi
    sálunum frið og gleði.
    Leita á hesum degi
    til Hann sum kom at frelsa teg.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4dT8FJ2GE0

Heyr, himna smiður,

hvers skáldið biður,

komi mjúk til mín

miskunnin þín.

Því heit eg á þig,

þú hefur skaptan mig,

ég er þrællinn þinn,

þú ert Drottinn minn.

Guð, heit eg á þig,

að græðir mig,

minnst, mildingur, mín,

mest þurfum þín.

Ryð þú, röðla gramur,

ríklyndur og framur,

hölds hverri sorg

úr hjartaborg.

Gæt, mildingur, mín,

mest þurfum þín

helzt hverja stund

á hölda grund.

Set, meyjar mögur,

máls efni fögur,

öll er hjálp af þér,

í hjarta mér.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpscxhgZYeE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQNbgwKk_UQ

Ósýnilega gyðja ég vil kynnast þér af líkama og sál

Myndi þora að veðja að þú munt dýrka mig og ég mun kveikja hjartabál

Hann langar í sanséraðan sportbíl og hann verður dús þráir heimska ljósku, sportbíl og risastórt hús

Hann langar í sanséraðan sportbíl og hann verður dús þráir heimska ljósku, sportbíl og risastórt hús

Ísmeygilega gyðja hvað er að gerast hér vá þú fellir tár

Ég skal föndra við þig alla og ég mun eiga þig en þú munt ei eiga mig Hann langar í sanséraðan sportbíl og hann verður dús þráir heimska ljósku, sportbíl og risastórt hús

Hann langar í sanséraðan sportbíl og hann verður dús þráir heimska ljósku, sportbíl og risastórt hús

Hann langar í sanséraðan sportbíl og hann verður dús þráir heimska ljósku, sportbíl og risastórt hús

Hann langar í sanséraðan sportbíl og hann verður dús þráir heimska ljósku, sportbíl og risastórt hús…

And, from Greenland. Asuki’s “Halilu’lilah” is probably my favorite song to date.

HALILULILAH

AQQUSERNUP SINAATIGUT KISIMI INGERLAVOQ

EQQARSAATEQARUNARTOQ MALUGAARA

NALUNANNGIVILLUNI NUANNERSUNIK

EQQARSAATEQARTOQ QANORMITA HALILU’LILAH

APERISSANERPARA AJOQUSISSANERPARA

IMMAQAMI ILASSILAALAARLUGU

SUSSALUUNNIIT ILASSINAGU TUSARUNNANNGIIVIPPAANGA

HALILU’LILAH QANOQ ILIUSSAVUNGA.

SANIOQQUTILERLUGU ISUMAGA AJORTIMMAT

ILASSILAARUSULLUGU MISIGAANGA

SUUKIMI AKINANI QUNGUJUINNARALUARUNI

MISIGISSUSEQ TAKUTILLUGU HALILU’LILAH

SANGUVUNGA TUNGAANNAANUT TASSAMI TIKIPPARA

ILASSIGAKKULU INUSSIARNISAARPUNGA

QIVIARPOQ ANNUSERPOQ QUNGUJUSSAQANNGIVIPPOQ

ALASSAARIVOQ IMATULLU AKIVOQ.

Chorus:

HEY UUMANGA NIPAGILAARIT – IMALUUNNIT ALALAARIT

PAATSIVEERUTILIIVIPPARA

HEY UUMANGA OQALUNNAK – KIISA AAMMA PUIGORTIPPAT

HALILU’LILAH HALILU’LI’LULILAH

https://www.facebook.com/zorgzikhnit/videos/10155767937835413/?pnref=story

“Nannup angalaarfia

tusaajuk qupparpalunnera

aqqutigisaa ingerlavigisaa nungullarpoq

nanook nanook tammartajaarpoq

Takujuk nanook Pissaaneqartoq

Kusanaqisut allanngujaqisut sikorsuit

Qimaatitsisarlutik qaaqqusisarlutik amigaataasaramik

Takujuk nanook Pissaaneqartoq

Takujuk nanook Pissaaneqartoq

Paasilerpara inuit kalaallit

Pissaaneqaqisut”

Happy Birthday, “World with Little Worlds!”. May it continue to inspire me and all of you to follow the paths you desire most…

1000 HITS!!! My Gift to You: 10 Vital Lessons from My Language Adventures (Part 2)

You can read the first part here: https://worldwithlittleworlds.wordpress.com/2014/10/28/1000-hits-my-gift-to-you-10-vital-lessons-from-my-language-adventures-part-1/

  1. Manipulating Facebook (should you have it) is essential

This is even truer for languages which are spoken by fewer people than most of the more commonly studied languages.

“Like” music groups and news sources in your target language. You could also very well notice that certain colloquialisms (e.g. “great job!” or “awesome!”) are commonly used by native-language commenters. Things like these are what’s missing from your textbook or phrasebook…

As is often the case, the announcements on the page will be in your target language and sometimes English (or something else). Use these translations and detect patterns accordingly.

  1. Ridicule is the Best Omen

Thankfully I have not often been targeted by genuine ridicule (although it has happened). I was once told by someone that I had no reason to be interested in Greenland, followed by a list of its social problems. (I remember this as the “Greenland is a Shithole” speech).

Interestingly the person who gave me this speech relented later on after a few weeks.

Behind what appears to be ridicule is actually amazement that is sometimes littered with more than a hint of jealousy.

More often than not, a lot of this ridicule was directed at my oddball hobbies or my odder languages. And to be fair, most of the time it was genuine curiosity rather than mockery. And I genuinely appreciate that curiosity and I treasure every moment of it!

If you are feeling that others are discouraging you from your path, this is a good sign. If you feel that others are intrigued by your path and fling lots of questions at you, this is also a good sign.

  1. Americans are just like everyone else when it comes to language acquisition

Come on, American peeps, you really thing that you’re the only people on earth that have ever “studied language X for Y years and forgot it all?”

Hardly.

I’ve seen it everywhere that I’ve been.

You think you’re the only ones that have accents that “can’t be changed” or a reputation for “being bad with languages?” Nice try. You are very much not alone with that reputation…and let’s be honest, a lot of it can be done away with it very easily.

And there are actually some places (Norway comes to mind) where Americans have an easier time picking up the local language than members of most other nationalities.

There is really one thing holding my American friends back in this regard: belief that they can’t. Belief that you can’t learn a language well as an adult. Belief that they’re not cut out for the task for whatever reason.

Tell you what: you’re no different from me. If you don’t want to undertake the task, I respect that. But if you want to undertake the path don’t let any “science” get in your way…

  1. You have only two goals: make yourself understood, or understand

My goal in asking where my professor is in XYZ Language is not to ensure that every aspect of my grammar is perfect (and most native English speakers don’t speak with perfect grammar, either!)

My goal is asking where my professor is? Make myself understood.

My goal in watching children’s television in the target language isn’t to understand every word that is said. It is to put meanings on enough words so that what is happening becomes clear.

Perfection will come later. And most native speakers tend to not have perfection either. So don’t get nervous. Just understand that you have only two goals: make yourself understood, and understand.

  1. Knowledge of Other Cultures and Languages Enhances EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR LIFE!

I almost titled this “Knowledge of Other Cultures and Language Just Makes You A Better Person. Deal With It”. Then I figured that I’d better not…

With each new language you get more songs, more idioms, more inside knowledge, more sides to your personality, more inside jokes…actually, it seems that you get more of everything!

Even if you only know the language on a very basic level, there is something that changes within you when you genuinely commit yourself.

You become stronger in every aspect. And at this point I remember my mother saying, “Are any of your polyglot friends boring or uninteresting or not too intelligent?”

I paused for a moment, thought back through all of my life, and then uttered…

“…no….”

polyglot moi

1000 HITS!!! My Gift to You: 10 Vital Lessons from My Language Adventures (Part 1)

Two days ago, the hits for this blog hit the quadruple digits!

This list needs no further introduction except for the heartiest “thank you all” that I can muster…

tusen tack

  1. Confidence and Peace of Mind are the Most Essential Ingredient

 

“Everyone speaks this language better than I do, everyone’s gonna hate me, everyone will just see me as the stupid American anyhow…”

 

This is how I had to endure my semester a year ago, in which every single course of mine was held in German (although sometimes the instructors let me answer questions in either English, Hebrew or Yiddish).

 

I was self-conscious about my accent in the language. I was self-conscious about my grammar. I thought that people would correct me excessively.

 

It was a mind-numbing experience, one that made me feel tremendously stupid! My self-esteem was in another dimension and you can imagine the relationship I had with my American upbringing at that point.
As it turned out, one fine day I met Isabella the Italian, who turned out to not have any of this self-consciousness in regards to her language journeys, even if it meant using words in English while speaking German or using Italian while speaking English. Even while doing this, she laughed, she kept her peace of mind, and wouldn’t let a single mistake or slip-up faze her.

 

I wasn’t going to let this difference in passports phase me. I took up the same variety of carefree learning spirit, and with this came the final transformation in my soul from polyglot-wannabe to genuine speaker of many languages.

 

No matter how many words you learn, no matter how many mistakes you make, without a certain peace within yourself, you cannot speak any second language well.

 

You don’t need perfect confidence or inner peace. You just need enough to ensure that you can communicate and that people won’t judge you negatively. Which brings me to my next point…

 

  1. Most…Make that…ALL…People want You to Speak Their Language

 

I will never forget the time when I was surrounded by a bunch of students in Heidelberg from various countries.

 

Hopping languages from Hebrew to German to Swedish to Spanish and English again, I had some people begging me (cutely, not desperately) to pick their native tongue as my next language.

 

Whatever you might have heard about “being answered in English” might tell you, the fact is that everyone craves whatever attention may be given to their native languages, however badly it may be spoken.

 

I’ve seen Greeks light up in jubilation with just a few words of the language. Not even the nationalities with the reputation for being the most emotionless of all are immune to this charm.

 

Admittedly there are some countries where the local language(s) are put down, but if anything you should take this as “playing hard to get”…not also to mention that every place that comes to mind where this is the case has people who put on vastly different personae outside of their home countries.

 

Even if you had to stutter (as I did when I first ordered a drink on a Finnair flight), even if you have to mix up a gender (as I did with Swedish for the first time) or use an incorrect idiom (too many times in German and in Hebrew to count), your effort will matter, and people will notice!

 

There is a special phrase in Finnish that I like to use when trying to sell an idea: usko pois! (literally: “believe away!”) That is to say: take it from me, and you can thank me later.

 

  1. With Multilingual Friends, Juggling Languages is Very Helpful

 

I certainly found this a lot easier to do in New York City than anywhere else, but gone are the days where I felt that having a foreigner speak English to me at all is an insult.

 

What I sometimes enjoy doing is juggling various languages between someone who speaks several in common with me, and it can be surprisingly easy to keep this precedent going!

 

Usually you don’t even need to ask to switch the language, just make the switch and then the conversation will follow accordingly.

 

  1. Translations Create an Entire New Dimension for a Text / TV Show / Etc.

 

I remember a popular sport that my flatmates and I had at the National Yiddish Book Center—to watch the same portion of a Disney Musical Film in a series of different languages one after another. This can be surprisingly addicting, although the quality of dubs is, in the case of most languages, all over the place.

 

With every language grounded in the source of its origin, the translations can diverge significantly.

 

Imagine something like ice cream sundae with different toppings or flavors. The language alters the flavor of the work accordingly. You can experience the same text or episode in a different way and actually notice other things that you haven’t seen before, perhaps highlighted by a well-delivered line or by an oddity that becomes more apparent in one translation than another.

 

And then there is news media and how that diverges in accordance with the language…

 

  1. Less Common Languages Have Their Place

 

“Obviously you don’t encounter speakers of Scandinavian Language in Heidelberg, because generally there aren’t many of them

 

I got this over and over and over again during my time living in the city.

 

In New York City, however, I was met with a surprise. From the very first week, I had certainly heard Spanish and Chinese being regularly used, but now that it is nearly two months that I have spent here, I ran into more Scandinavians on the streets of New York than I have Slavs and Germans and Romance Language Speakers (other than Spanish) put together!

 

“That’s odd”, I thought, “I was expecting very much a similar mix to Heidelberg in regards to what European nationalities I would find here, I was not expecting to be regularly encountering Swedes and Danes with such an extraordinarily high frequency!”

 

Truth be told: every language as its place. If it isn’t where you are, then it is definitely somewhere else. Somewhere, someone will thank you for your effort…