Thursday, November 27, 2014

My Proficiency in Languages

I love languages. Maybe too much since I spend time I should probably be spending doing other things, such as reading or writing or studying, on learning languages. I used to try very much to limit the number of languages I study. For a long time, I only studied: Spanish (I'm a native speaker but like to improve), French, and Italian. The romance languages are pretty easy (if you already know one) because they're very similar - you just don't want to confuse them together! But then I added Japanese, being a longtime fanboy of Japanese culture. (This began, I think, with video games, such as Pokemon, then developed with anime, such as Dragon Ball Z and Yu-Gi-Oh! I remember getting a Japanese version of Pokemon Stadium for Nintendo 64 because I couldn't wait for the American version to come out - I had to get a converter to play it - and promising myself, perplexed by all the kanji, that I would one day learn this language.) After that, motivated by the amazing Benny the Irish Polyglot, who speaks some 12 languages, which, no BS, you can verify by watching him on YouTube, I started adding just about every language I had an interest in. I have held back a little, though. As you will see in the following list, there are languages that, though I like, I know I probably will never get to use much (at least, not right now), so I don't actively study them but am considering adding some study time to them. The languages I do study, through various means, I generally study every day. So here is a list of languages, organized by my desired goal of fluency, that I speak, which I like to define as being at least at level A2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, or am studying and want to be able to speak:

  1. English
  2. Spanish (C1>>C1/C2)
  3. Japanese (A2>>B2/C1)
  4. French (B2>>B2/C1)
  5. Italian (A2>>B2)
  6. Chinese (__>>B2)
  7. Hindi (__>>B2)
  8. Bengali (__>>A2/B1)
  9. Russian (__>>A2/B1)
(On the left in the parentheses, there's my current level, followed by my desired level. I'm counting English because I think one can always improve his native language, that, really, there is no end to learning a language.)

And here are the other languages I am currently considering: Albanian, Arabic, Cambodian, German, Greek, Indonesian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Thai, Turkish, and Vietnamese.

So I speak five languages (English, Spanish, French, Italian, and Japanese). I update my language proficiency about twice a year (January and July). I have just started to learn the last four on the list. If you like languages, you can find a few minutes every day, as I do, to study. You don't have to devote hours each day. The most important thing about learning languages, I've found, if you want to reach and maintain some level of fluency, is persistence, is that continual practice, like playing an instrument.

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