Learning to talk with the world

I’ve always liked languages, I remember one time around 12 years old when I find out Spanish and French where kinda related and I’ve heard some Italian at the Tv, which I knew it also was related to Spanish. So I found a book at our home study that it was in French so I thought, “well maybe I’ll be able to understand at least a sentence or a few words”.

After reading the book for only a few minutes I found out I didn’t understand a thing so I decided to stop trying.

I had a French and English teacher who was a polyglot, he knows 8 languages. So I started learning Japanese based on a recommendation he gave me since I wanted to learn Chinese.

A few years later I forgot almost completely about Japanese since I stopped taking my classes and practicing, same happened to my French. When I finished high school I stopped practicing French.

I used to watch videos Ray William Johnson’s videos at his channel over YouTube called =3, so that way I continued “practicing my English, at least my listening. But I was wasting a lot of time on purpose being kinda lazy so I found some funny videos in German with subtitles and I noticed that after a little while I already knew a few words in German so I kinda got interested and made a little research so I found Duolingo.

I thought it was pretty interesting so I chose German and started playing for a few minutes. After just around 20 minutes I noticed I was already able to understand, say, read and write some basic stuffs and I didn’t even felt it like I was studying but like a game, that made me feel motivated to continue learning.

Learning to talk with the world
“Hello” in Chinese, English, Spanish, German, Italian, Korean, Hindi, Greek, Japanese, Russian, French, Arabic and Portugese.

Sadly I couldn’t continue playing too often since university got me busy all the time and basically ended up quitting. It wasn’t until almost 3 years later that I was listening to some Tedx Talks over YouTube at my phone while I was working and suddenly a video based on my likes started Playing. Breaking the language barrier | Tim Doner |TEDxTeen 2014.

I felt amazed I couldn’t believe a 17 years old was able to speak 23 languages. I thought:

–  If he could do it I might be capable too.  

So I started searching more videos about him, about the subject and soon I was deep in a new world, full of names like his, Luca Lampariello, Richard Simcott, Susanna Zaraysky, Benny Lewis, Moses McCormick, Steve Kaufmann etc.

I started feeling more and more into it. So as soon as I could I started studying French again, I changed my phone’s language, I watched some movies, funny videos over YouTube, tried to chat with a few people over an app I used to use back then. Only two months later I was listening to a song I just found and got surprised to notice I understood everything. I was already able to stand a conversation in French so much better even than when I was taking classes at high school.

So I got more into it, I decided to start learning Japanese again too, and was there when I decided that I wanted to be able to stand a conversation in at least 16 languages, 9 so far, I couldn’t just keep up learning only one language at the time, I got so excited about it I started learning as many and as variated as I could.

Learning to talk with the world H
Letter “H” in ASL. (There’s where “Ache” – the sound of this letter in Spanish – come from)

I tried out almost every single app, and website to language learning. I’ve been studying since then and I wanna keep going until I’ll get to at least 16 languages and probably I’ll continue even later. I’m not fluent in any of the languages I speak so far, but at least I’m already able to stand a conversation or make myself understand.

Just in case you are wondering don’t worry I’ll share later “how” I’ve learned what I know so far and here is my list of languages in order of how I learned them and how comfortable I feel in each one of them as the ones I’m not able to stand a conversation yet but still learning, again I’m not fluent just able to have a conversation or make myself understand:

  1. Spanish (Native Speaker)
  2. English
  3. French
  4. Portugese
  5. Italian
  6. Catalan
  7. German
  8. ASL (American Sign Language)
  9. Chinese

I still learning:

  1. Russian
  2. Hebrew
  3. Indonesian
  4. Japanese
  5. Korean
  6. Arabic
  7. Dutch
  8. Polish
  9. Hindi

The hardest part of learning a new language is not to be able to speak, read or write but don’t to forget what you’ve learned so far and be able to keep on learning new things. A language, even our first language is something we won’t be able to learn completely ever. New words apear and some others stop being used.

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