Firstly, let me introduce myself. My name is Bálint and I’m eighteen years old. I was born in Budapest, in Hungary, to Hungarian and Greek parents. Currently I live in the United Kingdom, where I’m also enrolled in secondary education. This blog has been created in order to express my passion of learning foreign languages to a greater audience, as well as to pave my path towards becoming a polyglot.
For some the word ‘polyglot’ may sound a bit too confusing. In reality, the word means nothing more complicated than a person who is capable of communicating in numerous languages with a reasonable level of fluency. Yes, this is it, this is my dream. I am not special or incredibly talented, I struggle with languages just as much as anyone else would. But I do believe my enthusiasm and determination to achieve this uncommon goal makes a difference.
I’ve been interested in languages since a very early age. My mother and grandparents often talked to me in Greek, sang lullabies in their native tongue and got me involved in several cultural aspects of the Greek community. By the age of five, I had a clear image in my head about the concept of having different languages in the world, which are spoken by different cultures and in different ways.
At the age of ten (which corresponds to Grade 3 of the Hungarian educational system), I was introduced to English in the framework of a compulsory school subject. This is when I began to explore how languages differ in terms of grammar, vocabulary and phonology. Despite having gained a lot of experience from these early struggles, I left primary school with very little knowledge of English.
Simultaneously, I began my Greek language lessons at the Greek community of Budapest. As a result of the the basic education I received, I am now able to spontaneously read and write Modern Greek, understand simplified written text and say basic sentences with quite accurate pronunciation.
After moving to the UK in 2009, my knowledge of English saw a rapid development, just as expected. In my school I studied German, although I could not go any further than learning to read, count and say basic sentences before I left for another school the next year. Although I was at first disappointed that the new school only offered French, I soon became enthusiastic about this and other Romance languages. As a result of my great interest, I obtained my General Certificate of Secondary Education in French one year in advance, achieving an A* grade overall.
In these years I also had an interest in constructed languages and their structure. This triggered the initiation of my own conlanging project, which I call Neo-Ugric. It was also the reason why I eventually began to study Esperanto and Elefen in an autodidact manner. By now, I am able to communicate in both languages using a simple, but adequate vocabulary, despite not having many opportunities to do so.
Since Grade 4 of the Hungarian primary school I have been studying Modern Hebrew, which was the second foreign language taught at my school. After moving to England I decided to carry on with my studies and work towards a new goal, such as completing a GCSE in the subject. I received private tuition once a fortnight for a few years, although the majority of my learning took place at home. Now I can read and write Hebrew, although my communication skills in the language are still at a very low level.
Throughout the years I have also developed a great interest in Italian. The fact that I live in a city with one of the largest Italian populations in the United Kingdom may have had an impact on me, but so has my love of the country and its culture. With the help of a high-spirited nun and some resources on the internet, I got intensely involved in the grammar and phonology of the Italian language. Since then, I often try and find opportunities to have very basic conversations in the language, thus improving my abilities at a quick rate.
I have also learnt to read and write in several other languages that use the Latin alphabet, including Swedish, Polish, Czech, Spanish, Romanian, Finnish and Estonian. This was then extended by becoming literate in some languages that use other writing systems (in addition to Greek and Hebrew). These include Georgian, Korean, Russian and the Old Hungarian Runic script, although I have recently started to study the Amharic (Ge’ez) writing system as well. Unfortunately, my knowledge in these languages ranges from a few basic sentences to nothing.
To be honest I did not expect this introductory “paragraph” to end up being so long, so sorry about that. In that very unlikely case that you are still reading this, I recommend you to read some articles on the blog itself! You will see summaries of my “projects”, quotes from my idols and many other things which I haven’t published just yet… Anyway, thanks for skimming through my life story, now you are officially one of my loyal readers.
Have a nice day!