Hello and welcome
If you don’t know me yet; this is me: my name is Kenny and there’s something polyglot about me. I am an online multilingual language teacher from Belgium 🇧🇪 who loves exploring the world of languages. I teach my native (Belgian) Dutch (aka Flemish) but also Italian, French and English. All online from my flat here in Madrid, Spain; as always with the loving support of my Venezuelan partner 🇻🇪 and in the company of Ósar 🐕 and Rubi 🐕.
I’m writing this on the last day of the first month of 2024 and it has been an amazingly interesting month for me language wise. The past few years I’ve used the month of December to decide what to do in the new year. So what about 2024?
Reactivating my lost languages
I’ve had a few languages that I invested a lot of time in but then along the way life happened and I couldn’t or I didn’t want to continue with them on a regular basis. For a long time, I continued to listen to the news in Portuguese 🇧🇷, Danish 🇩🇰 and Afrikaans 🇿🇦 while working out but then the news became more and more negative and listening to it multiple times in different languages had a negative effect on my mental health. So even that stopped and then for almost a year those languages disappeared from my radar. Last December I decided to try to reactivate these languages. I already booked lessons in December so when the clock hit midnight on the 1 January 2024 they were already up and running. My main goal was also very clear: to get all of them to B2 level. I soon realised that for Portuguese and Afrikaans there’s no big issue because I speak multiple other Romance and Germanic languages; Dutch is afterall Afrikaans closest relative. Danish is a completely different story. I still have difficulties understanding it; though I can have a conversation. I decided to turn it into one of my priority languages.
For me that means three priority languages for this year. Greek and Japanese 🇯🇵 get the company of my old friend Danish. For Greek, which I started in 2022 I also want to get to B2 level but for Japanese, a language I studied a tiny bit in the past for a few months and started all over again half a year ago, I just want to get to A2.
A new Romance language
But then at the end of 2023 I was doing a Romanian 🇷🇴 lesson on Duolingo. Why? Because I already speak its siblings Italian, Spanish, French, Catalan and some Portuguese. Wouldn’t it be interesting to discover how it differs from them and how much I can understand with a Duolingo lesson a day? But then 10 days ago, I went to Barcelona to meet up with my friend and language exchange partner. We stayed at his place and when we went away on Monday morning he said “Do you want to have my Assimil book for Romanian?” So now I’m not just doing one Duolingo and one Mondly lesson but also a little bit of Assimil.
Followed by a new Germanic language
Something else happened. A long time language exchange partner and I have been having exchanges for over 2 years now; mainly Catalan and Dutch but also some Italian and French; twice a week. I thought that as he speaks Swedish 🇸🇪 fluently and I speak some Danish we could do like 5 minutes of Swedish and see where I can get but he was very enthusiastic and actually almost pushing me to do more AND I I almost immediately wanted to do more so now we’re doing 20 minutes twice a week AND every day a bit of a Clozemaster AND a lesson on Duolingo and one on Mondly AND Assimil.
Let’s venture into a new language group
That made me think. I’ve had difficulties finding language exchange partners. I tried again last year with Tandem and on Facebook groups and I found maybe one person but I don’t know if he wants to continue and how often. A thought popped up in my mind “Why not study the language of one of my friends or language exchange partners?”. I have been having also for over a year now a weekly language exchange with someone who I consider a friend now (we have loads of fun butchering languages). I practise my German with him but he’s actually from Poland 🇵🇱 AND also the friend I mentioned before and who lives in Barcelona is from Poland and so I said to myself “Why not just maybe one word a day?” (because I don’t have time for another language). Side note: never ever before had I considered studying Polish. What I also didn’t foresee was the enthusiasm I saw in my friend’s eyes. And that my dear language lover friends is for me very contagious. I automatically went to Duolingo AND to Busuu AND we switched from one word to 20 minutes AND Polish for Dummies is lying now on my desk.
Let’s get back to where it all started
And still this is not where it stops, because I started reading a book about Italian linguistics and they talk a lot about Latin 🇻🇦 obviously and I thought how interesting would it be for me to reactivate my Latin. I had Latin in high school for 6 years: more analysing and translating so we didn’t speak it and I don’t remember anything. Duolingo has Latin, you know. I bought a book on the biography of Latin and the French Latin for Dummies.
In conclusion, at the end of the first month of 2024 where my idea was just to focus on my three lost languages and prioritise Greek and Japanese I find myself with four languages that suddenly one way or another are wandering around me every day.
I have an attention span that is sometimes very short and what works for me now is jumping for half an hour or an hour from one language to the other, from one app to the next. When I have more time I do more, but this is like the minimum. When I have a lesson or a language exchange I always do something extra just before to have my head in the language and to get the most out of the chat or lesson.
I’m going to continue like this for as long as I feel it helps me and it’s not too much of course I don’t want to exaggerate and we’ll see how this goes and maybe in a few months I’ll give you an update. In the meantime, enjoy your languages and good language learning!