Keeping up the other languages: A six (five and a half?) language week!

As a polyglot I get to talk to all sorts of people!
As a polyglot I get to talk to all sorts of people!

Yes, I’m focusing on learning the Somali language. Somali takes the majority of my linguistic time and energy. But speaking lots of languages makes me a polyglot—and that brings me so much joy. This week I got to talk to old friends, discover great music, and meet new people. Though I haven’t had much time for more than the bare minimum of Somali, here’s how I worked on my languages this week.

  1. Russian. My cousin will be visiting Kiev soon, so I Skyped with an old friend there. It happened to be the 8th of March, International Women’s Day, a big holiday in the former Soviet republics. Coincidentally, we met at a March 8th party—more than 20 years ago! She remarked how things have gotten worse over the past few years; the war has brought out desperation in people, resulting in more robberies and burglaries. With a dark sense of Slavic humor, though, we remembered fondly how much worse things were back in the 90s. We had a good laugh!
  2. German. Weekly I like to listen to the interviews of HR1 “Talk”, which gives me some insight into German-language popular culture. It’s also nice because it follows a standard format: background and conversation, then an “Überraschungsgast” (“surprise guest”), then “Ping-pong” (short, personal questions told in a “lightning round” kind of way), and finally some more conversation. In between, the guest gets to pick a song or two for the audience to listen to. I listened to one today, and the song they played was really cool, so I’ve been listening to it all day. (“Astronaut,” by Sido, featuring Andreas Bourani)
  3. French. I had a nice conversation with a colleague in Paris whom I met for the first time this week. We were working on similar projects, so we needed to consult with each other. Ultimately, we carried out the technical discussion in English, not French, as I have a long way to go to talk technically in French. (I’m learning slowly how to do so in Russian, and it’s a little slow-going.)
  4. Spanish. The “final exam” is coming Thursday. The mother of our exchange student arrives in the afternoon. She speaks no more than a handful of sentences in English. I will have to find her at the airport, collect her and her things, and bring her home. She will stay with us for 11 days, so I will have to speak Spanish every day. I’ll let you know.
  5. Somali. I met a new person at work who is Somali. I got to run through my introductory speech, and he helped correct a couple phrases that I had mis-learned recently.
  6. Portuguese. I met a Brazilian at work briefly when a colleague introduced me to him. I couldn’t remember any Portuguese except Bom dia, so I can hardly call that practice.

What a wonderful week I had! I should brush up on my Portuguese some more, just so I don’t get stuck with my pants down again.

How have your languages been these days? How have you been practicing?

Photo credit: BRICK 101 via / CC BY-NC-SA


4 thoughts on “Keeping up the other languages: A six (five and a half?) language week!

  1. Love it! I’m operating in much the same way, using my 5 every day in one way or another. Last week, I got to have an email exchange with a London client’s São Paolo office. They usually operate in English, of course, but they were only too happy to indulge me. I think I spent about half an hour on each of my emails to them which would have taken me two minutes to compose in English, but so what! 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Someone gave me a smartphone and I finally am exploring the wondrous world of language apps! Got an app for Czech (to play around and see how dis/similar it is to Russian) and an app for Vietnamese (have a Vietnamese student now and want to pick up a few simple phrases to greet her). But overall it’s still mainly just sneaking bits of Russian into the day here and there. And Spanish, ugh, nothing at all on that front these days :p

    Hope your cousin’s trip to Kyiv goes well!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, I am German, living in Bulgaria. So my everyday life is in Bulgarian. My school is a german school and I have friends, that are foreigners, too. So I use Bulgarian, English and German every day. Moreover I am trying not to forget Dutch so I read Wikipedia and newspapers in Dutch. In school I am learning Russian, but this language is not my passion, so I just do, what I have to. 😀 And with Duolingo I recently started with French (about 2 or 3 weeks ago) and I will see, if I want to learn it more serious. But there is time, since I am only 16. This blog is really nice! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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