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Greek in a Week

P1030866I love Greek. It has an awesome alphabet, cool cases, and a long legacy, and despite rumours to the contrary, it’s a living and growing language up to this day. It’s not quite my favourite language, but it’s right on up there, and over these next several days I’m finally getting around to improving my abilities in this noble and ancient tongue.

Of late my language learning has been kind of sporadic. Officially I am working on Nahuatl, in preparation for an upcoming trip to Mexico, and since a Korean sister in Christ has offered to help me with Korean once a week, I’ve been doing that. However, in general I haven’t been very focused or diligent in either Nahuatl or Korean lately for various reasons.

However, this time next week is the annual Atlanta Greek Festival, and since I enjoyed it last year, I would very much like to go again–and that means speaking Greek!

I have an interesting relationship with Greek. We got acquainted when I was quite young–in fact it was one of the first languages I ever studied, and I took special pride in being the only 10-year old I knew of who could parse Greek verbs. Nowadays I read from the Greek New Testament every day, and write in my study journal in Greek. I’m also currently reading the medieval epic聽Digenes Akritas, which is its own unique flavour of Greek. But the sad part is that I really cannot speak Greek, despite all this knowledge of the language!

Last year at the Greek Festival, I made a special effort to ask around and see if I could find somebody who spoke Greek. But when I found those people, I felt woefully inadequate as my brain protested “You want me to speak what?聽After filling me up with Nahuatl?”

But not this time! As a long-time lover and learner of Greek, I am going to try hard during these next seven days to review my basic knowledge of Modern Greek, form sentences aloud, and practice phrases that would be useful when meeting someone for the first time. It will be challenging, but I think with some effort I will feel much more prepared to go to the Greek Festival and enjoy it much more than last year!

螕谓峥断兾瓜 蟿峥喯 纬位蠋蟽蟽畏蟼 峒 胃维谓伪蟿慰蟼!

How to Not Look Like an American Tourist in Europe

My sister on a Belgian parkbench

I don’t really like being a tourist. At least I try to avoid the term, even if I am travelling and taking pictures of commonly visited sights in foreign countries. I guess the main thing is that I want to experience the culture more, speak the language, and get deeper than the superficial experience enjoyed by most other tourists. So when I went to Europe, I naturally wanted to try to blend in as much as I could. I did some preparation before the trip, but much of what I now know I discovered in my travels. If you are planning to go to Europe and you too want to avoid looking like a tourist, this post is for you! Here are some things that I’ve learned: Read More

Return from the Rainforest

sunsubiro

As a child, many things fascinated me, and one of these things was the rainforest. For one thing, rainforests teem with exotic wildlife, a feature which attracted the attention of this boy who kept a zoo in his bedroom. That fact, combined with the lush green foliage and the potentially hazardous insects and crawling things, made the rainforest an amazing topic for research and discovery. The rug covering most of my bedroom floor was brown, so I decided that would be the dirt floor of the forest. I had a poster showing the green leafiness of the rainforest, so that went on the wall, with hopes of more such posters to complete the effect. And then I worked my creativity to fashion multicoloured rainforest animals out of construction paper, to place around my room. It may not have been quite realistic or convincing, but it was the product of inspiration and creativity! Read More

Today I Went to Korea

OK, not literally. But I do live in Duluth, the heart of Korean-speaking Georgia, and today I went to a language exchange in a Korean bakery to practice speaking the language. With Korean things all around me, I sure felt like I was in Korea!

It was the first time I had really spoken Korean with human beings, and although I am very limited on what I can say, it was challenging and exciting to me. And the cool thing is that now I feel like I have a context for the Korean language. Let me explain what I mean.

Up to this point, Korean has been a language that I hear on the radio, in the audio lessons I am following, and in music I listen to. But the brain loves connexions, and Korean didn’t have a connexion to real people or a real place. Now my Korean experience has truly begun, and the language has come alive to me in the people I know who speak it and the places where it is spoken.

Now that I’ve had this experience, I believe it will make learning the language much more interesting, and I believe I will be more motivated. No longer is Korean a jumble of topic marking particles, counter words, and implied pronouns. It’s a beautiful language used by people who live and work all around me, and I’m excited to discover their world!

Interview about Nahuatl

Read interview at Freelang

I hope all my faithful readers (who may or may not exist) enjoyed a happy Christmas yesterday! Mine was very pleasant here in Texas with my family, and we were even treated to a short snowfall yesterday evening.

Although I’m sort of in-between language learning missions at the moment, Nahuatl is certainly still on the brain, and I thought I would share with you some interesting reading about Nahuatl.

Beaumont, the webmaster over at Freelang.net did an e-mail interview with me a while back during my Nahuatl mission, and it is up on his site for your reading pleasure. We mostly talked about Nahuatl, but he also asked me about some of my other languages and plans. As my first ever interview, I rather enjoyed it!

I hope the interview will be encouraging, and perhaps even generate some interest in Nahuatl as a modern, living language. It seems like most learners go for the classical variety, but what many don’t realize is that Nahuatl is still a living, thriving language. I admit it’s useful to learn historical languages in order to read old texts, but I enjoy much more actually using a language to communicate and make friends. And through modern Nahuatl I have done just that!

And in case you’re wondering what Freelang.net is, it’s a useful website with wordlists for many languages, multilingual phrases, and even free human translation. I’m one of the volunteer translators there, and if ever you need a short text translated, you should check out Freelang! We are always happy to help.

Hope you enjoy the interview, and stay tuned for announcements about my next language mission: Korean!

Read interview at Freelang