My adventures in 10 languages

I have to admit that finding a title for this article took me “slightly” more than a second. By saying ‘adventures’ I intend to refer to my encounters with certain foreign languages – yes, this is what the article will be about. And by saying ’10 languages’ I mean that I will try my best at telling each little story in the corresponding language. I would like to emphasise that, even if the quality of my writing disproves this fact, the paragraphs below are not a result of clicking the ‘Translate’ button on our favourite instant translator website. It’s not worth copying the story of my English adventure from my introduction, so I shall move on to Hungarian, which will be followed by a bit of French, Neo-Ugric, German, Lingua Franca Nova, Modern Hebrew, Italian, Greek and Esperanto. In case you have some knowledge of any of these languages, I would appreciate if you could give me some feedback on my attempt, by leaving a comment on this post.

Régebben nem okozott különösebb gondot, ha magyarul kellett szabadjára engednem a gondolataimat, de sajnos az angol nyelv napi rendszerességgel való használata súlyos csapást mért az anyanyelvi szókincsemre. Habár arról, hogy hogyan ismertem meg a magyar nyelvet, magától értetődően nem tudok beszámolni, említésre méltó a tény, hogy valaha verseket és kisebb novellákat is papírra vetettem, természetesen a magam gyermeteg szemszögéből.

Jusqu’à présent, mon meilleur accomplissement en matière de langues étrangères, c’est le fait que lorsque je commençais les cours de français à l’âge de douze ans, je ne connaissais que trois mots de base, mais depuis lors, j’ai obtenu mon brevet une année en avance et peux avoir une conversation simple. Bien sûr, je ne le parle pas couramment et je dois améliorer ma compréhension des natifs aussi. Pour faire cela, j’ai l’intention de trouver des gens dont c’est la langue maternelle, avec qui je peux avoir des appels vidéo (en d’autres mots, faire un échange linguistique).

Neo-Ugric

Ich habe in der Schule vier Monate lang Deutsch gelernt. Danach bin ich die Schule gewechselt und ich musste statt Deutsch Französisch lernen. Deshalb ist mein Deutsch nicht so gut. In Zukunft würde ich gerne mein Deutsch verbessern, aber im Moment habe ich nicht so viel Zeit.

Per es onesta, me nunca ia aprende la lingua franca nova. En la pasada, frecuente lo ia xerca sur la interede, ma no ia ave la tempo per studia. An con no lo parlante, me pensa ce la lingua sona bela (la espanol e la portuges brasilera sonas simil a alga grado) e es multe fasil aprendeda. A esta ora me usa disionario, an si ja sabe la fundas de la gramatica. Me no pote parla o scrive ancora, ma la majoria de la parolas me ja comprende, par causa ce me capasia en franses me aida. Ma aora la demanda xef es: esce me cualce va ave la tempo e la capases per comensa lo aprende vera? Me ta vole studia la lingua franca nova a la plu pronto, donce va revisita la pajes instrui a multe veses.

התחלתי ללמוד עברית בגיל אחת עשרה בבית הספר שלי בהונגריה. כשעברתי לאנגליה, למדתי בבית בעצמי. עכשיו יש לי שיעורים פרטיים בעיר הסמוכה. למרות שאני יכול לקרוא ולכתוב בעברית, אני לא יכול לדבר עם אנשים או להבין עיתון רגיל. אני חושב שעברית היא השפה הכי קשה שאני לומד.

Probabilmente, scrivere in italiano è la mia sfida più difficile oggi, ma a me le sfide piacciono. La grammatica è troppo difficile per me da capire, soprattutto perché non ho mai studiato l’italiano a scuola. Sfortunatamente riesco a dire solo un paio di frasi senza un dizionario. Spero che il francese mi potrà essere di grande aiuto in termini di vocabolario e strutture grammaticali. Sicuramente adesso non ho il tempo di studiare l’italiano, sebbene a mio parere sia una delle lingue più belle del mondo.

Όταν ήμουν μικρός, η μητέρα μου συχνά μου μιλούσε στα ελληνικά. Από την ηλικία των οκτώ χρόνων, μάθαινα ελληνικά στο σχολείο. Πριν από τέσσερα χρόνια μετακόμισα στην Αγγλία και σταμάτησα να μαθαίνω. Τώρα έχω πολύ χρόνο ελεύθερο για να τα μελετώ. Από τώρα θα περάσω μια ώρα κάθε μέρα να μαθαίνω ελληνικά.

Kiam mi estis dekdujara, mi interesiĝis pri planlingvoj. Mi baldaŭ komencis mian projekton de lingvokonstruado, kiu poste evoluis en kion mi nun estas nomigi la neugra lingvo. Por esti kapabla de krei ĉi tiun lingvon, mi devis bone scii kiel la gramatiko funkcias kaj kio ekzistantajn helplingvojn simpligas. Mi volis lerni la bazojn de unu el tiuj lingvoj, do mi enskribis en mia unua kurso de Esperanto, en la interreto. Mi jam estas kompletigita la kurzon kaj mi ŝatus komenci la sekvan, kvankam Esperanto ne estas unu el miaj aktivaj lingvoj nuntempe. Malgraŭ tio, perfektecon oni atingas per praktikado, do oferi kelkajn minutojn ĉiutage por revizio valoras la penon. Estus ankaŭ bonege, se mi havis ŝancon partopreni en Esperanto-kongreso. Por mi, tia okazaĵo estus grava, ĉar mi ankoraŭ neniam uzis la lingvon parole.

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33 thoughts on “My adventures in 10 languages

  1. Pingback: More about Lingua Franca Nova | I wish to be a polyglot!

  2. tre bele! En la franca teksto, mi dirus “Bien sûr, je ne le parle PAS couramment”. Via agho estas la ideala tempo lerni lingvojn, post 18 estas pli malfacile. Mi pli bone regas lingvojn lernitajn antau la agho de 18. Daurigu! Aldonu kelkajn dekojn da idiomoj!
    amike
    Istvan Ertl

    • Dankegon pro via komento! Aĥ no, mi ĉiam havas problemon kun “ne … pas”. Nun mi havas du eblojn: mi povis lerni tiun regulon aŭ rezigni studi la francan! Sed evidente, mi preferas la unuan. Mi neniam vidus ĉi tiun eraron sen via helpo, do dankon pro informi min pri ĝi. Mi konsentas kun via aserto, ke ĝi estas la ideala aĝo lerni lingvojn, kaj mi strebas igi la situacion laŭeble plej utila. Idiomoj? Mi malamas ilin, kvankam mi konscias pri la fakto, ke ili estas ŝlosila parto de ĉiu lingvo. Ni havas grandan kvanton da strangaj idiomoj en la hungara, ĉu ne?

  3. CORRECTIONS! So this is the moment when I officially assess everything I have found out since the writing of this article and attempt to correct my mistakes. Before I begin, let me say thank you to everybody who helped me in reviewing the paragraphs! Every single piece of information was a powerful aid, and a good opportunity to improve.

    1.) French: I have to try and remember that the negative is made using “ne … pas” (or in other cases, “ne … jamais”, “ne … personne” etc.). As usual, I forgot to write ‘pas’, but István Ertl, pistike65, pointed this out to me. Furthermore, my sentences are way too long.

    2.) Italian: An Italian friend of mine suggested that I drop the word ‘oggi’ as it does not sound appropriate in this context. In addition, she also recommended the use of ‘poche’ instead of ‘un paio di’.

    3.) LFN: This will probably be long. As I have since mentioned in my article ‘More about Lingua Franca Nova‘, I was silly enough to attempt composing this paragraph without going through the detailed grammar booklet prior to writing. But anyway, here are my own corrections: LFN uses a strict word order, so instead of “la majorita de la parolas me ja comprende” I would have to write “me ja comprende la majorita de la parolas”. For the same reason, the personal pronoun must come after the verb (as opposed to how I learnt it for Italian) and must always be present, therefore “lo ia xerca” changes to “me ia xerca lo” and “lo aprende” becomes “aprende lo”. Of course, there are probably several other mistakes left (in all pragraphs, not just this one), but due to my limits on time and space, I will continue at another occasion. Thank you.

  4. Hey! 😀

    Mi legis la anglan, francan, germanan, italan kaj esperantan tekston. Estas interese! Fakte la italan mi neniam lernis, sed mi iom komprenas, char similas al Esperanto kaj al la Franca kiu estas mia patrina lingvo. Via Esperanta teksto tamen havis kelkajn erarojn sed estas bonege por iu kiu neniam parolis ghin.

    Klára

    • Koran dankon pro via komento! Multaj homoj opinias, ke la Esperanto estas eĉ pli facile lernebla se oni jam parolas latinidan lingvon, sed mi neniam aŭdis pri iu, kiu trovas naturan lingvon facila pro siajn kapablojn en Esperanto. Ĉu vi povas bonvole korekti miajn plej gravajn erarojn? Köszönöm szépen!

      • Jen eraroj : “Esperanto”, ne “la Esperanto” ; kaj en via teksto : “kiu poste evoluis en kion mi nun estas nomigi la neugra lingvo” –> kion mi nun nomas la neugra lingvo
        “esti kapabla de krei” –> esti kapabla krei
        kaj kio ekzistantajn helplingvojn simpligas –> kaj kion ekzistantaj helplingvoj simpligas
        “mi enskribis en mia unua kurso ” –> mi enskribighis
        Mi jam estas kompletigita la kurzon –> kurson, kaj “jam kompletigis” au “jam finis” – kial vi parolas tiom komplike? 🙂
        Estus ankaŭ bonege, se mi havis –> havus
        Jen! 🙂

        Pardonu pro ege malfrua respondo! Mi hazarde retrovis chi-tiu paghon…
        Amike

        Klára

  5. Jen korekto de la franca teksto :

    Jusqu’à présent, mon meilleur accomplissement en matière de langues étrangères, c’est le fait que lorsque j’ai commencé les cours de français à l’âge de douze ans, je ne connaissais que trois mots de base, mais depuis j’ai obtenu mon brevet une année en avance et je peux avoir une conversation simple. Bien sûr, je ne le parle pas couramment et je dois améliorer ma compréhension des natifs aussi. Pour faire cela, j’ai l’intention de trouver des gens dont c’est la langue maternelle, avec qui je peux avoir des appels vidéo (en d’autres mots, faire un échange linguistique).

  6. Pingback: atesto | lingvo-vojo

  7. Pingback: Simple, fluent, elegant – Introducing an alternative writing system | I wish to be a polyglot!

  8. … Et maintenant je comprende que mon français est vraiment mal. Yes, I suddenly realise how truly terrible my French has become. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t speak it for 10 months.

    On the other hand… Ich denke, dass ich besser Deutsch sprechen kann. Aber dass ist nur zu rechnen… Ich spreche ofter Deutsch.

    Anyway, that post was very impressive. I don’t have any knowledge whatsoever of most of those languages, so I really don’t know how well you went… But now you’ve inspired me to do a post like this of my own!

  9. Seriously impressive! Keep it up, it’s so inspiring.

    Your French is pretty awesome and my French isn’t at native level for me to give feedback. How did you learn French so well?

    Just a few corrections for Greek, which you speak seriously well by the way – the corrections below concern subtle forms of expression which will demonstrate mastery of the language:

    σταμάτησα να *τα* μαθαίνω. Τώρα έχω πολύ *ελεύθερο χρόνο* (the adjective usually precedes before the noun)

    Από τώρα *και πέρα* = from now on

    “Θα περάσω μια ώρα κάθε μέρα”- if you wanted to be grammatically correct, you would say “Από τώρα και πέρα, *θα περνάω* 1 ώρα κάθε μέρα” however I would rather say: από τώρα και πέρα θα αφιερώνω 1 ώρα κάθε μέρα

    • Thank you, Harry! Firstly, I apologise for the late reply, I did not see your comment (nor would I have had the time to answer…) Secondly, thank you very much for your corrections for the Greek paragraph, I will attempt to put together a second ‘Corrections’ comment with these included. I wrote most of this paragraph with my hand on the dictionary, yet still failed to retreive that little knowledge from years ago. As for French, I have clearly not learnt it “so well,” but thank you anyway. I was introduced to it in Year 8 (second year of British secondary school, at the age of 12-13), soon after I moved to England. In Year 10 I acquired my GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education in England) a year in advance. I believe it was not my ability but my interest in the subject that allowed me to catch up with the others and then gain a qualification in it. Nevertheless, as the college I moved to did not offer GCE (General Certificate of Education, normally done at ages 16-18) courses in languages, I have not opened a text book ever since. An A* at GCSE without a GCE is useless when it comes to university, plus I seem to understand less and less. How sad! 😦

  10. Pingback: Best of 2013 – The 15 most popular articles of the year | I wish to be a polyglot!

  11. Wow! I have just noticed that I’m actually not alone! I speak five languages fluently (German , Polish, English, Dutch and almost Interlingua) and I’m learning five other languages at the same moment ( Esperanto, Español, French, Norwegian and Afrikaans). I don’t know why learning languages has become my passion but I know that it started with learning Dutch. I became fluent in Dutch after ten weeks of learning and I found it so amazing. In this time I discovered my talent but you have to know that I’m a fourteen year old kid who has grown up with speaking three languages at home (En,Pl,De) and maybe this gave me advantages I don’t know. But we can feel lucky that we’ve got such a talent. Other people even cannot speak or spell their mother tongue. I wish you the best for the future and I hope that once you’ll be able to speak those language! Keep on learning and studying and remember one thing: languages always open doors for you because communication is an important good

      • Sorry that I’m writing a lot of comments into this section but I have a question. Did you have experiences with Finnish (Suomen)? I don’t have a knowledge of any finno-urgic language (You already know Hungarian) and I don’t know if these idioms are difficult or even much harder than usual indo-european languages. All I know that especially Hungarian has a strange word order and about 20 cases.

    • Hi Teddy! Thanks a lot for the feedback (and the like, and the follow), I really appreciate it. The languages featured in this article are English, Hungarian, French, Neo-Ugric (my constructed language), German, Elefen (Lingua Franca Nova), Modern Hebrew, Italian, Greek and Esperanto. Sorry about the quality of my Esperanto, it’s not one of the languages I’m focusing on at the moment… I’m glad I came across your blog today, it’s very impressive. You’re a good role model for us ‘wannabe’ polyglots! 🙂

      • You are welcome! Thanks for visiting my blog too. I just read about Neo-Ugric from your blog. It is so wonderful that you can construct a conlang. You must have put so much effort in it. All the best for your project.

        I wonder if you have learnt Latin language? I am pretty interested in it and I would like to know more about people experience of learning Latin language.

      • Unfortunately I haven’t! It’s such a great language and I’m fond of modern Romance grammar anyway so I might have a look at it in the near future. Where did you read about Neo-Ugric? I haven’t really published anything just yet… Perhaps I’ll do so when I have a bit more time to put it together. For the time being, would you be interested in writing a ‘guest post’? Of course, I could write one for your blog too, if you want. I’ve never invited a blogger (nor have I written for anyone else’s blog), but it seems fun and I believe it would add more diversity to the blog. I’ve skimmed through some of your posts on other websites and some that others have published on yours. They’re all quite impressive! I’ve added you on Facebook, in case you are interested. Have a nice day!

  12. Wow! Great!
    In your German text is only one mistake: It should be “Ich habe die Schule gewechselt” instead of “Ich bin die Schule gewechselt” (the auxiliary verb for “wechseln” is “haben”).
    Greetings from Germany!

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