Up until now
I started learning Swedish when I was 21 or 22. This kickstarted my language learning passion and since then I've studied German, Hindi, Croatian, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Russian, re-started Japanese (first time studied when I was 16) and sort-of-restarted Italian (learned at school). A few years ago the list of languages I wanted to learn was much longer than it is now. It included German, Swedish, Icelandic, Belarusian, Polish, Croatian/Serbian/Bosnian, Greek, Hindi and at some point Nepali and Latin. Icelandic, Belarusian, Polish, Greek, Latin and Nepali I all dropped pretty quickly because there was simply no real incentive for me to learn those other than the fact that I liked how they sounded.
When I was close to 24-25 years old I decided that I should concentrate on fewer languages so that I could make significant progress and actually be able to use them. There were three languages that I decided to keep studying: German (very useful in Switzerland and the whole of Europe, love listening to it), Croatian and Hungarian (both languages I really like to listen to and find interesting because they're so different from my own language). It was only a year ago I added Russian to the list.
Languages I speak
French (native) and English (C1 speaking maybe, C2 for oral comprehension - I was only tested for the latter). I also read and understand Italian and can speak it a bit (though I never use it so I don't really know how well... what I do know is that my accent is quite terrible!).
Current and long term goals
When it comes to languages I go for depth rather than breadth; the languages I choose to devote time to I want to be able to use quite intensively. Meaning: I want to be able to easily read books, articles/newspapers, as well as understand close to everything I hear (tv series, movies, documentaries...). I'm definitely not as focused on production/output; ideally I'd like to get to a B2 level at least but seeing as I never practice any language with anyone it remains a rather nebulous objective.
My learning style is accordingly entirely input-based. I pretty much never study grammar, I start watching series/movies from the get go. This is the way I like to study languages: by consuming media. I also study the translation of songs that I love in my target languages, a simple way to build up vocabulary.
A quick and not so detailed timeline of what I'm expecting for the coming years:
2020: Concentrating my efforts on Russian and Hungarian with a side of German.
- Russian: I can watch Disney movies and tv series for children. When I started in 2019 I understood only a few words here and there. Now when I'm watching The Lion Guard I usually understand close to 80% of what I'm hearing. I always practice active listening: when I hear words I don't recognize I immediately look them up. I dwelved on the russian internet for the first time last year; it was fun and exciting and I intend to do it more frequently from now on.
- Hungarian: I haven't yet started watching movies or tv series without subtitles but I remember some three years ago I used to understand very short sentences.
- German: Can read without too much trouble though my comprehension isn't 100%. Watching movies is usually not a problem.
2025: I want to be able to read and understand pretty much anything in Russian, Croatian and Hungarian, the latter being probably the most challenging of the three. I have five years to reach this goal, it's definitely doable if I don't let myself get too sidetracked or burnt out.
I should also try and keep my Italian from fading too much in the background. It's one of my heritage languages as well as a national language of Switzerland and it would be a shame if I were to forget it.
As for English: keep maintaining a high level in it, both in writing and speaking.
2030: If everything goes according to my current plans I should have a high level of written and spoken comprehension in English, German, Croatian, Hungarian and Russian (maybe Italian too). I'll be fully satisfied if I also manage to reach a B2 level in speaking in at least two of those (English and Italian don't count though!)
"Maybe one day" languages:
10 years is a long time and I doubt I'll be able to fight off the wanderlust for so long - and I'm fine with that as long as my primary goals are still met.
I will probably study:
- Japanese: I'm familiar with the language. I used to know hiragana and something like 40 kanji but forgot almost all of it. I can still remember quite a few words though and I feel like my knowledge of Hungarian might help me if I decide to learn it again. What is mostly keeping me from doing so right now is that I don't really have any use for Japanese currently... I don't really watch anime or play video games that much anymore. I hope to visit Japan next year maybe, so that might be an important source of motivation.
- Polish: there is a possibility that Polish will make it to the list of my main target languages. I always loved how it sounds and it shouldn't be too difficult to learn when I already have some knowledge of others slavic languages.
- Hindi: I love Devanagari and the way Hindi sounds (feeling like I'm starting to repeat myself here haha). Five years ago I learned close to a hundred words and I still remember some of them now. Nice movies, great food, very different culture and the language is Indo-European, so it seems familiar yet very strange at the same time. Fascinating!
- Swedish: come on, this one would be almost free with my knowledge of English and German! I haven't studied it in years yet I can still read and understand a bit. It's also the first language I started learning by myself and I feel some kind of nostalgic attachment to it.
- Faroese (and/or maybe Icelandic): this one feels so different yet not completely alien. I love to see the similarities with Swedish. My largely input based learning probably won't allow me to reach a high level in Faroese since there doesn't seem to be a wealth of dubbed movies or tv series to be found. Maybe I'll have more luck with books and songs.
Would love to learn but probably won't happen
- Kazakh: same problem than with Faroese, too little ressources. It looks like a fascinating language and country though.
- Lithuanian: I have the Teach Yourself Lithuanian book at home but haven't opened it in years. I simply haven't found the time or the motivation to do something susbtantial with it.
- Turkish: I toyed with the idea of learning it a few years ago but never really tried. Hungarian would help with this one too but right now I have no reason to dedicate time to it. It's simple daydreaming.
So that's it. This is what I'm planning to do for the coming years. I have no idea if I'll reach my goals, especially since I have other time consuming hobbies like writing; I'm not going to stress about it. Maybe I won't be fluent in the languages I listed above, maybe I won't be able to understand everything or read everything with ease. I'll still be learning a lot and enjoy myself along the way and that's what matters most