Why are chickpeas called that way? They don’t come out of a chicken, do they? And when you’d hear ‘chickpeas’ without a context maybe some would hear a ‘chick pee’. In Dutch, ‘chickpea(s)’ have a similar weird animal connotation: ‘kikkererwt(en)’, literally frog peas. Why are they called that way? They don’t pop up when heated up, like corn, do they?
My Language Journey -Geneva
This post is written in both French and English. It’s a format I’m trying out to get to practice the language(s) of the area while interesting potential readers as well.
Today I’m going to Geneva, the famous Swiss city by the lake. On Google Maps I saw that the runway runs just next to the border with France. interesting to realise that when we land it’s EU soil on the left.
Confédération suisse(de) Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft(it) Confederazione svizzera(rm) Confederaziun svizra(la) Confoederatio Helvetica
Looking at the language situation in the Communitat Helvetica there are four official languages: Swiss French Swiss German, Swiss Italian and Rhetoroman. The national hymn.
As I’m staying in Geneva, in La Suisse Romande, I’ll be focusing on Swiss French.
As is often the case, country borders do not coincide with language borders. In fact, bordering languages within the same language group often flow over from one to the next in a so called dialect continuum.
The French spoken in Switzerland or le Français de Suisse is part of the francoprovençal language which apparently has the following dialects: vaudois, genevois, fribourgeois, neuchâtelois, valaisan, et franc-comtois.
I suppose they speak Genevois in Geneva.
Gotta run now.
Röstigraben is a term used for the the difference between the Romand and Allemanic Swiss people.
I hear quite a lot of Russian and French on the streets, as well as Italian.
Le Pays romand est un chant populaire composé par Émile Jaques-Dalcroze. Ecoutez ici.
There was even a Mouvement Romand.
next time I’ll define specific goals. Well no, except for that I’ll just try to enjoy it, that works better. But it could help to have a format or something or some assignment because when I visit a new city like this I’m just not going to speak the language a lot.
Only yesterday I wrote an article motivating blog visitors here to speak the language they want to learn, regardless of feara. Today I came to the hard realization that I blocked speaking French myself, even though I’ve had it in school for five years and heard it now and then, living in Holland, just in the Dutch neighboring language area. In Geneva I heard a lot of French of course and spoke some when it made sense, like at the reception, in the store and to ask for directions. But I noticed a fear that I don’t have when addressing people in Spanish. Actually, I told a couple of friends from Honduras and Spain that the cathedral had a guide in Spanish too, which they couldn’t seem to find. I had a small chat so I wonder if it’s their openness or my higher level of Spanish over French or more frequency of speaking or just my perception or any of this. In any case, I’m going to think about ways to encourage myself to speak the local language more on next destinations, at my level of course. Am I still motivated? I should check my own list of requirements I wrote yesterday. If so, is it mostly fear that prevents me from engaging into meaningful conversations? Or is it not the right environment or lack of structure? As your motivational language learning blogger I need to deep dive into this! And one second after writing this I’m drawn in het another convo in Spanish. A woman who shares me her life story simply begins to talk to me and the waiter in Spanish. I guess it’s also a cultural aspect!
My language journey
As I started a new job as a flight attendant recently, I just compiled a list of destinations I visited and other cities that I’m planning to request flights to and learn the local languages of:
|Johannesburg||South Africa||First: Afrikaans. Later: Zulu|
|Accra||Ghana||Akan / Ga|
|Quito and Guayaquil||Ecuador||Spanish|
|Rio de Janeiro||Brazil||Brazilean Portuguese|
|Dar es Salaam||Tanzania||Swahili|
What helps me to maintain my language learning goals
Motivation: connection with people
Learning from years of experience what got me going, I should continue to use low-entry apps such as Duolingo. It’s low effort to open the app or a browser tab, press D, hit enter and start a lesson in one of my target languages. That way I improve a bit, but not every day and the language and skills learned are not as natural as… yes, a natural conversation with real people. Cause that is a strong motivation for me to learn other languages.
Tandem – language exchange platform
So I can go to Tandem to have a natural conversation with real people, but the words are lacking. Back to study. I’ll start with some basic phrases, that I want to know in my target language and can use with any new person I meet on Tandem, on (polyglot) conferences or out in the real world in town or on trips abroad.
Basic and common phrases for any language
My personal goal is to learn over ten languages now, maybe dozens eventually. I suppose you are not that crazy, but my efforts and experience can still help you in multiple ways.
-You can use the common phrases that I’ll create in my many target languages. It’s based on my 30 years of learning other languages, 10 years working with different methods in language education and my creativity, especially for the common language that I’ll offer in story format.
-You can learn from my successfail experiences. It’s a term I coined for the combined experience of what we often call successful or fails, which I think can both be helpful for future learning.
Language Learning with Netflix
I’m learning languages in multiple ways, but doing so while watching my favourite series and video’s makes it a lot of fun. I love the options to optionally auto-pause after each spoken sentence, show two (target) language subtitle lines at the same time. I’m currently usinh it for Russian, Swedish, Italian, Spanish and French and can’t wait to practice other languages that I’m learning. Sometimes I’m doing it instead of language lessons if I’m bored. Then I’m letting it pause after each sentence so I can dig into known and new highlighted words at my level, which users can indicate. Thanks so much for making this app! Find it in the store to add it for free to Google Chrome.
Learning week 8
Today I’ve been very busy with work, but I decided to do two a couple of exercises to practice my Arabic, Russian, Chinese and Arabic learning on Duolingo. I didn’t feel much energy after a long day, but it made me keep my 19 day streak.
Again a very busy day, so it took a real effort to do my daily exercises after dinner. I just finished my lessons in four languages on Duolingo. I must admit that instead of Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Turkish as the past 19 days, I now replaced the last one for easier Swedish.
Concluding learning Week 7 – Day 5
Reaching my daily goal is not enough
Even though I promised myself to keep up the daily exercises in Chinese, Turkish, Arabic and Russian, I realize my progress is minimal. It’s good that I followed up on my daily goal, but while maintaining my daily learning, I way to rethink the most efficient way to improve all my skills in my target languages. But not after 11 pm on a Friday night!
Learning Week 7 day 5
Not having much time, I just felt compelled to stick to my daily goal on Duolingo to do Chinese, Russian, Arabic and Turkish exercises. Other than that, I’ll follow the news (listening and reading skills) and do some actual speaking practice during the rest of the day.
Language learning week 7 day 3
Hello, Duo! To get me started today, I’ll let the green owl help me.
Diving into Arabic lessons
He is generous and he is your husband, Judy. هُوَّ كَريم وَهُوَّ زَوْجِك يا جودي. Also, it’s interesting to realize that before ever learning some Arabic, I wouldn’t even have known where these Arabic words ended, only knowing spaces between words in Latin, Greek and Cyrillic alphabets and Chinese characters. In fact, Arabic is just the same, but since all letters have four forms of writing them (at the beginning, middle and end of a word and separately) I wouldn’t have known that a word like زَوْجِك in that sentence was just one word ‘husband’.
At this moment, I can’t picture yet when I’d be using such a sentence at any point in my life, but maybe Duo knows better.
Still, I’m pretty happy with my progress in Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Turkish the past two weeks!
moving on to Chinese
Ok, I already feel that this sentence is more useful:
His stomach hurts, I don’t know what he ate. 他的肚子很疼，我不知道他吃了什么。
Also, it’s interesting to look at this Chinese sentence order: He | possesive | stomache | very | painful, |I|not|know|he|eat|past tense|what.
What I like about Duo too is that you get listening practice. And you can replay the same audio a few times in order to understand the sentence. Try to challenge yourself by replaying it a few times at normal speed. Only if your target language or the new words in an exercise are too difficult, play the slower version.
I’m using the on-screen keyboard as much as I can to better write Russian myself.
Last Duo exercise for now: Turkish
I just did one Turkish exercise today, to reach my daily goal, cause I need to do many things today.
Now it’s time to read today’s news and manage the translations to multiple languages on my self-study app!