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White Belt
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:11 am
Location: Japan
Languages: Japanese, Portuguese(N)
English, Español, 中文, 한국어, русский язык, Deutsch.
Studying: Français, Italiano, հայերեն, ქართული, Bahasa Melayu, монгол хэл
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9807
x 153


Postby Iceberg » Sat Dec 22, 2018 8:03 am



I think it is time to brush up my overall English skills, especially after a long hiatus. I have been solely working in the past years and I started missing the joy of learning and maintaining foreign languages.

My schedule was and still is very harsh for my own taste: I do work 6 times a week and I usually do overtime. Not to mention that I was frequently working on my day off as well. I look like just one more person with a dead fish face, early in the morning inside the train…However, I can still try to figure out a way to use the long commuting time, despite the crowd inside every morning and night.
I’m considering applying for a job that would pay me 50% of my current wage. Many people will judge me, but YOLO after all. I have to think about its positive side: have a life. No matter how simple it can be, there is no way anything else could be worse than now.

I mean, I can’t complain because I know there are hundred millions of people, if not more, starving every day. Many people don’t have a job, a place to sleep, something on their plates on daily basis. So, yes, in a way, I can consider myself as a lucky person.
I remember that the best thing in my life was quitting a job after feeling so many things inside my heart. I quit from a good position from a very big company in Japan. Things should and will change, but for the better. I will quit my current job when the right time comes by 2019.

When I did it in the past, I haven’t thought about anything, but just traveling as a backpacker. I have traveled around Europe and Southeast Asian countries. How I miss those Golden times. I could wake up and sleep at any time, go wherever I felt like going to, choosing members to explore places or simply going on my own.

I could see the good side of being a place not followed by strict and very strict rules all the time. I mean, there are rules everywhere. But, somehow, I felt and still feel a bit oppressed in Japan, if there isn’t a better term to describe what I truly feel when it comes to working environment.

Sometimes I feel like going to Africa or South/Central American countries and just keep traveling until I end up somewhere I feel like living in. It could be temporary, as long as money and Visa aren’t a real problem to return. Did I say come back home? Well, if this will ever occur to me. Planet Earth is my home place. :D Truth is, I am afraid if I backpack again, I will not return with the same mentality as before. :D :lol: Traveling and exploring overseas’ lands, it has taught me many life lessons I could never learn at school or university. It has put me out of my comfort zone and get exposure to different cultures, people, backgrounds, etc. It has not a price. Well, it actually has. I had to pay for the air tickets and cheap accommodations, public transports here and there and so on. But my backpack has survived the mission to go to dozen of lands and I could see the joy of life.

Traveling has opened doors in my life. It has broaden my vision by being exposure to a multicultural environment. I really love this. I really miss traveling, working on languages, eating different dishes and talking to people with different backgrounds.

How many times I have been told here: “you are so different. You seem to come from a different planet. You are the most foreign-ish Japanese I have ever seen/met/talked to”. I take it as a compliment, rather than an insult. It is good to be very different from people surrounding me. Language learning and maintaining, however, it can be hard at times because I feel it is a very lonely activity due to the nature of my personality, personal and professional goals and other reasons.

But as I wrote somewhere above, I’d like to change. I will. I will change my lifestyle because this is the only thing I can control.

It will allow me to sleep more, work out more consistently, have a social life, eventually meeting language enthusiasts, have time to travel (even if it is inside Japan), learn and maintain languages, work on other projects, work on photography, smile and laugh more, have fun and enjoy the bright side of life. The focus is to have a healthier lifestyle than I had in all the past years…

So, here we go…

I’d like to use the “in use series” to complement my studies.

In use series

English vocabulary in use - Upper intermediate
English vocabulary in use - Advanced
Business vocabulary in use - Intermediate
Business vocabulary in use - Advanced
English pronunciation in use - Intermediate
English pronunciation in use - Advanced
English collocations in use - Intermediate
English collocations in use - Advanced
English phrasal verbs in use - Intermediate
English phrasal verbs in use - Advanced
English idioms in use - Intermediate
English idioms in use - Advanced
Advanced grammar in use - Advanced

Additionally I’d like to use the recent acquisition of mine:

Michael Swan's Guide Practical English Usage 4th edition.
Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English
Obviously, I’m not in a hurry to study them all. They will be just references when I need.


My strategy will be reading fiction and non-fiction books in English. One of my favorite Bookstores is called Kinokuniya and there is a branch where I can find only books written in foreign languages: English, German, Spanish, French, Chinese and Vietnamese. Obviously, the majority of the books are written in English. I can’t recall if there was a corner in Italian since I’m not particularly interested in that language at the moment. Oh, there is also a section for Japanese for foreigners, so, some of the books are actually written in Japanese, but for teaching Japanese as a foreign language.

I might take a look at what books are sold at other bookstores such as Maruzen, Junkudo, Sanseido etc and compare with the prices at Amazon, Bookdepository, Rakuten etc.

I’m considering buying Kindle or similar devices for reading fiction and non-fiction books in English. I don’t know what are the best options available, but I might check soon and purchase one from Rakuten.

Additionally to the books, I plan to read news from BBC, the Washington Post and the New York Times from time to time, some academic articles on bodybuilding, rehabilitation, nutrition and its related stuff.

I will also take some articles from Financial Times, The Economist, Wall Street Journal as well as read sometimes some tabloids. The latter has helped me gaining more vocabulary I wasn’t much familiar with.


Music. I will also consider Netflix and other streaming services for watching Western TV series (American and British TV shows) and movies for “listening” purposes.


I’m planning to write from time to time and edit when I have time. Proofreading has been one of the ways for me to improve my writing skills. When reading after a while, I might have some better ways to restructure the sentences and replace some words and expressions.
Having a log here could be the first step. I might write in English about other stuff in other platforms.


I live in a monolingual country. I have heard from tourists and expats that they have trouble for not being able to communicate in Japanese. Despite the government attempt to invest into foreign language education, I see it as a fail in terms of cost and performance (of the students). Of course, you will see some students who can speak reasonable English here and there; some speaking good English (for Japan’s standards) due to the fact they have studied and lived abroad. There are some advanced and fluent speakers as well. But generally speaking, Japan is still a country where most people can speak solely Japanese.
There are indeed many English language schools, especially in big centers. However, if you take the number of people who attend such schools or hire private teachers, the majority still don’t do well.

In my field, no one (native Japanese) speaks English at all. Maybe they know a couple of words they learned at school, but they can’t structure any sentence. The young generations are probably getting more in touch with content in English. I see so many textbooks aimed to young children these days, so let’s see how things will change 10 years from now.

Speaking about myself, I will need to find some time to go to Meet Ups of my interest and eventually try to make friends with native speakers or advanced speakers. It is important to find a common hobby or interest with foreigners and try to speak to them in English; otherwise, I will not improve my speaking skills. I wanted to pretend I am not Japanese, but I was once told: “you are a terrible actor. You can’t do that because of your facial features”. Lol. The language exchange I have been to, people were solely talking about IT related stuff. Although it is one field of my interest, I don’t want to go to Meet Ups to discuss about programming etc since that was not the specific title or purpose of the organizers.

I will also consider in the future taking an online lesson on Italki with a community tutor. Maybe once a week would be okay for maintenance.

Proficiency exams

Although I dislike the idea of taking language proficiency exams, unfortunately I will have to take one in the future. My idea was to take the TOEIC and 英検. Depending on how the Cambridge exams are accepted here, I might sit for FCE, CAE and CPE in the future as well as other tests that can be taken where I live.

Other languages

What are the strategies and approaches that I have in mind? None to be frank. The first step is to pick up some languages that interest me for a variety of reasons.

How will I choose a language? That's a good question. Let's take a look at some languages...

I thought about choosing FIGS and work on the “major” or most popular languages. French, Italian, German and Spanish are some of the most popular languages in Europe these days.

2. Sino-Tibetan languages

I could choose the languages spoken in China such as Mandarin, Tibetan, Wu and other Sino-Tibetan languages/dialects.
If I choose Mandarin, then, I could go for the variety spoken in Taiwan to work on and indigenous languages in Taiwan. Austronesian languages from that region seems quite interesting to me.

I’d like to travel to China or Taiwan once a year starting from 2021. I’ve been there before, but there are a lot more to explore.

3. Korean

Why not Korean? I’d like to travel to South Korea once a year starting from 2021. It is quite near, I can find some good fares (if I look 3 months or more beforehand), I love Korean food and Korean culture.

4. Balto-Slavic languages

4.1 Slavic

Russian could be the “anchor language”. If I reach a reasonable level in Russian, I could start picking up other East Slavic languages such as Ukrainian and Belarusian. I could go for West Slavic languages such as Czech, Slovak and Polish; South Slavic languages such as BCMS or Bulgarian and Macedonian and eventually take Church Slavonic.

4.2 Baltic languages
Lithuanian and Latvian. Why not? :D

5. Germanic languages

English could be my anchor language. Then, I could proceed by taking West Germanic languages such as German, Dutch, Frisian, Scots; North Germanic languages such as Icelandic, Faroese, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish etc.

6. Romance languages

Spanish has been on my radar. I could have the benefit of having Portuguese as my “anchor language”. I’m not in a hurry, so I can take my time. Other languages could be French, Catalan, Italian, Romanian, Galician etc.

7. Afro-Asiatic languages

The two languages that have been on my radar are two Semitic languages: Hebrew and Arabic.

8. Sign languages

I could benefit from learning JSL. I have never talked to anyone whose mother tongue was JSL, but it would be interesting to talk to them.

9. Austroasiatic languages

Khmer has been on my radar. I have plans to visit Cambodia and get deep into Cambodian culture.

10. Kra–Dai languages

I wanted to learn Laotian and then explore Thai; however, due to the scarcity of materials for Laotian, I would probably do the other way round.

I love Thailand and Thai food. Nowadays I have some local acquaintances who could help me improving Thai and also be guided there.

11. Hmong–Mien languages

Currently looking for resources.

12. Uralic languages

Finnish, Estonian, Karelian and Hungarian.
My material has just arrived. Yay! Estonian Textbook by Juhan Tuldava. I’m not sure whether I will study Finnish then pick Estonian or the other way round. Suomen Mestari 1 also came together in the package. Yay! A good headache to pick up the next language!

13. Languages of the Caucasus

I’m particularly interested in Kartvelian languages, especially Georgian. I love sumo and there has been four Georgian wrestlers, according to Japanese Sumo Association data. One hasn’t reached the top two rankings, while the other three has reached the top division. The strongest so far has been Tochinoshin. I was amazed to see him speaking in Georgian with the Georgian minister and few Georgian people living in Japan. I also saw Japanese news showing Georgian news. But before that, I have first researched about Georgia when Kokkai has appeared in the top sumo division. I had no idea where this country was exactly on the map. Since then, Georgian has been on my radar, despite being a challenging language. Perhaps it becomes even harder because there aren’t many foreign user-friendly resources.

14. Niger–Congo_languages

Currently looking for resources.

15. Nilo-Saharan_languages

Currently looking for resources.

16. Austronesian languages

Besides the ones I mentioned about Taiwan (indigenous languages), I’d like to study Malay/Indonesian, Filipino etc.

Well, until I now, I only brainstormed about some languages within a particular family group. So, the question is, what would be the criterion for choosing a particular language? :D :shock: :o :( :D
21 x
中文: 06 / 15 한국어: 10 / 30 Deutsch: 28 / 100 Русский: 03 / 10 Français: 01 / 100 Italiano: 01 / 100հայերեն: 01 / 100ქართული: 01 / 100Melayu: 01 / 100монгол хэл: 01 / 100

User avatar
White Belt
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:11 am
Location: Japan
Languages: Japanese, Portuguese(N)
English, Español, 中文, 한국어, русский язык, Deutsch.
Studying: Français, Italiano, հայերեն, ქართული, Bahasa Melayu, монгол хэл
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9807
x 153

Re: Wanderlust

Postby Iceberg » Sun Dec 23, 2018 10:34 am

Other languages:

What are the strategies and approaches that I have in mind? None to be frank. The first step is to pick up some languages until December 31st. Hopefully.

I will choose some languages based on many criterion.

Within one minute I will simply type any language I want to learn that will come up to my mind. Whether I will really have free time or not, that’s not relevant now. So, here we go:

Spanish, French, Catalan, Galician, Romanian, German, Dutch, Afrikaans, Icelandic, Faroese, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Malay/Indonesian, Armenian, Georgian, Russian, Polish, Thai, Laotian, Hindi/Urdu, Estonian, Finnish, Karelian, Hungarian, Greek, Turkish, Persian, Tibetan, Latvian, Lithuanian, Mongolian, Arabic, Hebrew, Swahili, Tagalog and Khmer. No cheating. It was an interesting exercise.

Let me write some comments of some languages that came to my mind earlier.

Candidate number 1: Spanish

Estudié español hace casi 20 años, pero hace mucho tiempo, se me olvidó. Really, I can’t remember anything. I will start from the alphabet, as I don’t know how to pronounce everything. Probably not.

I want to study on my own and reach a reasonably higher level than the A courses (A1 and A2) and B1 course at Instituto Cervantes. Preferably, if I ever start studying there, I want to go beyond B1 (CEFR) courses as well, which means, B2 level. It would help me saving some money on textbooks, courses and commuting. I’m not sure what are the best resources available out there nowadays, but I will make sure, I will have solid foundations on this language before taking the language assessment test.

Why Spanish?

Spanish is a good candidate because there are plenty of resources available there. I’d like to watch Telenovelas as well, not to say (re)start reading literature. There are many fiction books of my interest.

Proficiency test
DELE. I’d like to take the test in the future.

It would be great if there were free resources available such as Deutsche Welle for German learners.

The thing is that both Spanish and French are in advantage over other languages because I have an anchor language: Portuguese.

Candidate 2: French

It doesn’t appeal to me at all or, at least, not as much as Arabic. Perhaps because I prefer taking languages with different scripts. I tend to feel mentally tired just by looking at the Latin alphabet for some reason. English alone could be enough, but I will probably take Spanish. I haven’t had a great experience in France; on the other hand, Germany was great and I felt home there. Don’t take me wrong. France was just “okay-ish” and I’m not talking only about Paris and its surroundings. Perhaps if I visit France once again, with French skills, I might have a different experience. I was considering starting with Assimil French, though honestly, I don’t like how it sounds. It annoys me when I hear French as well. Then, you could be wondering “why did you type French, then?”. I’d rather take French just for reading purposes. There are tons of stuff to read in French. For the same reason, I could pick up Ancient Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, which are in my radar, but probably not this time.

If I were to take French language seriously, I’d study to take DALF at long term. I don’t see myself motivated enough to watch and listen to all stuff available there. Lastly, I cannot forget to mention that I would study to reach B1 on my own, then, proceed my studies at Institut Français.

I could start with Assimil French and take this as a trial opportunity to learn French. If I feel more comfortable to go ahead, then, I can continue. If not, I can drop.

Candidate 3: German

Another major European language.

Like the Spanish section above, I’d like to study on my own and reach the B1 level before taking the language assessment test. I guess that Assimil with ease German seems to give the learner B2 (CEFR). I’m not sure how true it is, and also it depends on how much you can retain as well. There are many resources available on DW to complement my studies if I choose this language.

If I pick up German, then, I would exclude temporary the other Germanic languages from the list.

Since there is a Goethe Institut here, I could also apply for the language proficiency exams there. It would be another motivation to keep this language on my track.

Candidates 4: Korean and Chinese

Number 4 is actually a package. Take two or none!

They are on my radar due to my personal interests. It is likely I won’t be short on materials at all. Any big bookstores I know give me many good options for either Korean or Chinese. I haven’t looked for materials for English speakers yet.

I’m interested in traveling around China, Taiwan and South Korea as well. I also have some Chinese acquaintances, so why not? I don’t have any Korean friends, but still, there are lot of things to consume. There are many books I’d like to read in both languages.

Candidate 5: Arabic

Another good candidate from my list. There are many resources out there, but first, I’d need to decide between a MSA or dialect. Since I don’t have any friend who speaks Arabic or the desire to visit a particular Arabic speaking country or area, I’d probably start with MSA.
It would be doable because of the lexicon. I don’t have any experience with Semitic languages, but my curiosity kills me.

Candidate 6: Hebrew

It seems another interesting Semitic language, which has been on my radar for more than a decade.

Both Semitic languages are very strong candidates.

Candidate 6: Indonesian

I have been to Malaysia before, but not to Indonesia. That said, learning Indonesian would be interesting to navigate through Malaysia (as I love Malay food) again. I wonder how my experience would be when speaking with Malay people and also Malay Singaporeans in Singapore as well. I’d like to make a language experiment in which I could see how much Malay people would understand me if I speak Bahasa Indonesia to them. Would be it something like Swedish and Norwegian? Galician and Portuguese? Portuguese and Spanish? Scots and English? Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian? Czech and Slovak? Bulgarian and Macedonian? Turkish and Azeri? Hindi and Urdu? Dutch and Afrikaans? Finnish and Karelian?

Bahasa Indonesia is definitely on my radar. Malaysia, Indonesian, Singapore and Brunei are just some of the destinations I could go on yearly basis. I love Malay, Indonesian and Singaporean good as well.

I have been to Singapore few times before and with Mandarin and Bahasa Indonesia it should be more fun next time!

Candidate 7: Armenian

I like the Armenian script and I’m interested in this Indo-European language. I have never met any Armenian in my life, but I like how it sounds. I’m interested in Classical Armenian; therefore, learning Armenian would help me finding texts to study its oldest form. The idea is to start with Eastern Armenian. I’m only afraid of the scarcity of good and more updated materials available there. That is a minus point for this candidate.

Candidate 8: Georgian

Another language whose script caught my attention.

Since I’m fond of calligraphy, Georgian, Armenian, Arabic, Persian, just to mention some languages have been on my radar.

I’m aware about its difficulty and I’d like to challenge myself. However, before starting this long journey, the main problem relies on the scarcity of materials. I will probably struggle to find foreign-friendly resources.

Candidate 9: Romanian

Instead of French, I’m considering taking Romanian. I don’t have many references for this language, though.

Candidate 10: Hindi/Urdu

My father has always recommended me traveling to overseas. One of his favorite countries were India and Pakistan, a common topic between us. He feels nostalgic about his adventures in those countries as well as in other place such as Afghanistan etc.

I’m interested in visiting India and Pakistan because I’m fond of Indian and Pakistani food. Oh, I also love Sinhalese and Nepalese food as well, not to mention Burmese, too!

India has many different languages being spoken and seems to be multicultural country. Despite the cuisine that I have already mentioned few times, I’m also interested in art and architecture, clothing, literature etc, not only from India, but from all places other than Japan.

Candidate 11: Estonian or Finnish

Both languages have been on my radar. I love how those Uralic languages sounds to my ears. I’ve just got Tuldava’s textbook and Suomen Mestari home. I could choose this path: Estonian, Finnish and Karelian or Finnish, Estonian and Karelian.
Estonian and Finnish are one of my favorite languages.

I got more interested in Estonia after I started watching Baruto’s sumo. He was one of my favorite sumo wrestlers. I have even visited Estonia and the other Baltic countries before. Unfortunately, I haven’t been to Finland yet, but I still have plans to visit there in the future.

Candidate 12: Russian

A very strong candidate. I want to go back to St. Petersburg and as well as explore other places in Russia. I have Russian speaking friends and I also love the Russian cuisine. I’m interested in exploring Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikstan, Turkmenistan, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Moldova. Russian is apparently still being has its importance more or less in most of the countries aforementioned.

I want to make Russian as my “anchor language” for Slavic languages. Will Russian be on my list?

Candidate 13: Thai

I have the preference to explore Thai after working on Laotian. However, there aren’t many interesting resources available there at the moment.

I love the Thai cuisine. It is definitely on my top 5. In addition, I know some native Thai people from different regions who could help me improving. I guess, they would be happy to teach me more about their culture as well as giving me feedback.

Candidate 14: Greek

I wanted to study Greek to get into Ancient Greek, like the same way I want to take Classical Armenian (through Armenian).
I should keep an eye on Greek.

Candidate 15: Tagalog

The Philippines. I haven’t been there yet, but I love the Filipino food. From what I heard from the Filipino people, I could navigate more easily with English only. However, why not Tagalog? I can’t wait to start studying an Austronesian language.

Candidate 16: Turkish

I’m curious about the mutual intelligibility between Azeri and Turkish. I might go back to Turkey somewhere in the future. There are a lot to see and to explore, but probably it can’t beat the other candidates of the list for now.

Candidate 17: Persian

Persian has been on my radar for more than a decade. I’m interested in Iran and its culture. However, it is likely Arabic and Hebrew are ahead on my list of priority.

Candidate 18: Tibetan

I’d only choose Tibetan after Mandarin, so I can exclude temporarily this language from the list. I’m interested in visiting Tibet, but there are lot of places that I want to visit in China first. And if I were to visit Tibet, I’d visit Uyghur as well. Therefore, Uyghur would be another language for wanderlust in the future.

Candidate 19: Khmer

Cambodia is on my wish-list for years like the Philippines. Whether I will pick up or not depends solely upon the beginner resources that I may find. If they catch my attention, it will definitely be on my list for the next year.

Candidate 20: Mongolian

Mongolia has been on my radar since 2000. I have always dreamed to go there. I almost bought a ticket to visit Ulaan Baatar lasts summer.

I’m not sure what are the best resources available for English speakers which will be my base language for minor languages at the moment.

Candidate 21: Swahili

Currently I’m looking for the resources available on this language.

Until next post I hopefully will have decided to pick up some languages. :D :D
5 x
中文: 06 / 15 한국어: 10 / 30 Deutsch: 28 / 100 Русский: 03 / 10 Français: 01 / 100 Italiano: 01 / 100հայերեն: 01 / 100ქართული: 01 / 100Melayu: 01 / 100монгол хэл: 01 / 100

User avatar
White Belt
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:11 am
Location: Japan
Languages: Japanese, Portuguese(N)
English, Español, 中文, 한국어, русский язык, Deutsch.
Studying: Français, Italiano, հայերեն, ქართული, Bahasa Melayu, монгол хэл
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9807
x 153

Re: Wanderlust

Postby Iceberg » Mon Dec 24, 2018 10:19 am

Other languages

General goals
No goals. No goals?! Yes, I meant no goals besides picking up some languages before January 1st (my time zone). I could explain here some of the reasons, but they are already explained here:
There are other motivations, so, perhaps I will choose the no-goal approach when it comes to languages.

So, here we go.

2. Russian

I will add Russian to my list in 2019. That said, I will probably beat the record of being the slowest learner of all time! Lol. The reason is simple: I can’t and won’t content with only Russian because other languages will be added one after one.

I’m interested in all former Soviet Union countries. Nowadays besides Russian itself, I’m really into many aspects of Central Asian countries. I thought Russian could be of good use in those regions, though eventually I’d add some Turkic languages such as Kazakh, Uzbek, Kyrgyz and Turkmen, but also the Indo-European language Tajik to my list. That is, if I plan to go to Kazakhstan, learning Kazakh could be of good use since I tend to go to not so popular or mainstream places necessarily. Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan would be probably my priority among –stan countries in Central Asia.

Just a note here: learning Tajik could be interesting to note differences between Persian and Dari. Are they really the same language or separate languages? Are the differences somewhat comparable to Swedish, Norwegian and Danish? Portuguese, Galician and Spanish? Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian and Montenegrin? I heard from native speakers from Afghan, Uzbekistan, Tajikstan and Iran both arguments that Persian, Dari and Taik are the same language, but different mutually intelligible varieties, but also that they are different languages. So, instead of speculating, I’d love to learn the language and feel myself until I satisfy my curiosity.

Another reason for choosing Russian is that there are lot of language resources in Russian. It could be interesting if I reach a reasonable level where I can learn another language through Russian.

However, before dreaming and speculating too much, the first step is to find resources that suits my personality, approaches, etc. Once I find some reasonable resources, I will start my journey.

3. Chinese

I told myself that I’d choose Chinese and Korean as a package and so I will. I will purchase resources from varieties both from Mainland China and from Taiwan. I’m more inclined to the variety from Taiwan because of calligraphy. I personally feel it is much more beautiful when I see traditional characters over simplified ones; but perhaps, that is just my point of view. I don’t know how Chinese calligraphy masters feel about that.

4. Korean

I finally chose the package Chinese + Korean. Together with Russian, I think these package wasn’t difficult to choose, giving practical reasons. I can have access to vast native resources, not to mention that travelling from Japan isn’t that doable in terms of time. Of course, I will try to avoid taking the holidays when all the common people also take.

I will look at the bookstore tomorrow or the way after tomorrow. I shall see what the most popular Korean resources (textbooks, dictionaries etc) among Japanese people are.

5. Spanish

Having an anchor language (Portuguese), I will add Spanish in 2019. I’m fan of Real Madrid since I was young. I’ve read about Real Madrid’s history some decades ago and I have watched the team playing since I was young. By the way, Real Madrid has just won another tournament, though I’m more fond of the Champions League. Despite being a huge fan of Real Madrid, I guess it will be pretty hard to won the CL again. Other candidates have been playing more consistent and convincing football.

I wish CR07 could play one more seasons for Real Madrid, but I do understand what he has been saying on the interviews and other possible reasons for him to move to Italy. I’m familiar with the jargon of football used in Spanish. Since I’m fond of football, I have enough reasons to keep watching some games, though in Japan, Barcelona has more attention and fans. Rakuten also sponsors Barcelona, so they will keep streaming the Barcelona games on TV…

Besides English, Spanish will probably the only language that I will work on active skills. I have friends from Spanish speaking countries, so this would be a good reason to speak in their native tongue.

If I make friends with people who speaks natively any of my target languages, then, I might work on activating them. Other than that, unless I travel to those regions where they are spoken, I will probably not worry about activation at all. Or maybe, I will work on writing, but not speaking.

One day I hopefully will write about the other reasons I chose Spanish. After I finish reading part of the bibliography, I might write here some thoughts.


The big surprise of the list. It wasn't on my plans, really. However, today I have already duckduckgoed for some resources and I created a folder with Galician bookmarks.

Today I have spent 1 hour watching a program of Galician people living all over the world. I could understand everything, except for two words during the whole program.

I won't take this language seriously, but I will love to watch programs in Galician from time to time. I thought about reading in Galician, but at short term, I won't do that because my focus is on Spanish. I'm afraid I will have problems with orthography at this point of the journey.


I have been looking for JSL schools or centers to decide whether I’d start it in 2019 or not. I have just read one message from an acquaintance and he sent me one website recommended by his fellow worker. Both are language teachers (L2) and apparently know about this market and everything here where I live.

There are indeed many references on Duck Duck Go, but still, I needed some references from people who have had direct contact with such public. Only one school/center was recommend to me. So, I checked the website and it sounded nice. However, due to my schedule, I can’t enroll to the lessons. So, JSL is out for 2019 unless I drastically change my schedule.

Well, I've chosen Russian, Chinese, Korean and Spanish so far. Galician has just jumped on my small boat. lol. :lol: :D

I thought about adding two more languages, at least, regardless of its difficulty. If I take into consideration the geography, German and French, Arabic and Hebrew, Armenian and Georgian, Estonian and Finnish, they all remain as strong candidates. In Southeast Asia, I'm interested in Thai, Laotian, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Khmer, Malay/Indonesian. Curiously they happen to be the languages from ASEAN's members, except for Burmese, spoken in Myanmar. I've studied Burmese before and I have no plans to restart it any time sooner. It is the only language I will probably not take at short term.

From the last list, I will put Greek, Turkish, Azeri, Persian and Tibetan on hold. Maybe in the next life I will take them. lol. Joking aside, I hope wanderlust feelings don't distract me anytime in 2019.

The other languages that are not covered but still is on my priority list are Mongolian and Hindi/Urdu.

I guess, I will not take Thai AND Vietnamese together. I have already taken Mandarin and 3 tonal languages won't be good at this stage. Let's see what will be the next languages that I will choose. I still have some days before January 1st.
Last edited by Iceberg on Wed Dec 26, 2018 2:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wanderlust

Postby Iceberg » Sun Dec 30, 2018 9:16 am

Global cuisine


After a hiatus, I will restart adding English into my life. I really miss reading books and watching TV series in English. I’m ready to start in January. I already got all the ingredients and dishes, therefore, I need to refine the techniques and just restart cooking.

As I stated somewhere on my confusing log, I will use the “no goals” thoughts, at least, for English, though it can be applied for other languages as well.

In the end, what matters more is a persistent curiosity for other cultures, the desire to understand them by learning their languages, and the discipline to work your way to “cultural fluency”. Consistency, discipline and motivation are just few keywords for the success in language learning and maintaining.

Regional cuisine

Russian, Chinese, Korean, Spanish.

I will take some time to collect information on Russian, Chinese and Korean ingredients and dishes. Whoops, I meant, resources. Then, I will choose the right techniques and approaches accordingly to my needs. I’m not sure when exactly I will officially start all of them. I hope that by the second or third week of January I will already have something interesting to start with. As for Spanish, I don’t need to waste too much time. I will look for native resources and simply continue doing what I have been doing before: watching Real Madrid’s games whenever possible, with Spanish commentators. Hala Madrid! Then, I will look for sports related newspapers and eventually create an account on Instagram, Twitter or wherever to follow Real Madrid fans.

From time to time, I will watch something different such as documentaries, films and eventually telenovelas, as long as I find online streaming that are available on my region. I have many other options such as reading both fiction and non-fiction books, academic papers on rehabilitation, bodybuilding, nutrition etc, listening to some songs etc. Due to its high lexical similarity with my anchor Romance language, I will choose some specific resources accordingly to my needs. Another good idea is to use monolingual dictionaries to check unknown words, idioms, expressions and eventually talk to native speakers.

Somewhere in the future I have plans to take DELE exams, but as for now, I won’t bother with language proficiency exams that much.

At first, I thought my priority would be from left to right: Russian, Chinese, Korean and Spanish. However, I thought it would be better to allocate the same amount of minutes for each at mid and long term. Therefore, an alternative I’d propose is to rotate Russian, Chinese, Korean and Spanish every week.

Week 1: Russian, Chinese, Korean, Spanish.
Week 2: Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Russian.
Week 3. Korean, Spanish, Russian, Chinese.
Week 4: Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Korean.

There are obviously other mathematical combinations, but the one above is very simple and it satisfy my needs.

New cuisine

Armenian, Georgian, Mongolian and Indonesian.

First combo: Armenian and Georgian.

I have always been interested in creative arts. For instance, I’m specifically interested in getting to know more about both Armenian and Georgian literature, dance, architecture, carpets, art and lacemarking and so on.

I will definitely look for Armenian and Georgian music to add to my playlist. I can’t forget to stress that I’m fond of world’s cuisine. If I could, I’d eat food from different countries every single day without repeating any country. It would be great if I could eat Armenian and Georgian dishes every week.

On a specific note: Georgia has a centuries-old tradition of a calligraphic works. This is another reason for having chosen to learn Georgian as well as Armenian. However, I haven’t found many references for the latter. It is a pity since Armenian has traditionally done so many beautiful works in the past.

Well, that said, it is time to gather some Armenian and Georgian resources. I already have some list in my mind, but still, I have to keep looking for some alternatives. I guess, I will spend more time looking for resources than actually studying.

Second combo: Mongolian and Indonesian

What I wrote for Armenian and Georgian, applies for both Mongolian and Bahasa Indonesia as well. Culture, culture and more culture, not to forget about food. Mongolian and Indonesian food are one of my favorite cuisine.

I have an idea of resources to use for Indonesian, but I still have to gather information on Mongolian resources.

Trial, experiment


It is just a trial or an experiment; therefore, I will not necessarily stick to that language at midterm. Well, maybe actually I will keep it because I’m fan of Bayern München! I hope I won’t come soon with the following sentence: “it was interesting while it lasted”.

Other cuisine

I think there is nothing wrong in dropping languages. We have to act accordingly to our lifestyle, goals (or no goals) and prioritize certain things in life. What are my priority now? Family? Partner? Social life? Work? Health?

Speaking of health, some weeks ago, I had a hard time at the hospital. I wake up without being able to move most part of my body. I used to press a bottom to call the nurses to help me move to the wheelchair. The whole process of trying to move little by little from the bed to the wheelchair itself, it took me more than 30 minutes.

It reminds of the same experience I had 10 years ago. That said, I hoped I’d never be on wheelchair again. I couldn't move my lower body and the right hand. Although I am a functional left handed for many tasks, my right hand has much better skills. For instance, I can use the fork and knife almost as well skilled as the right handed. However, using the chopsticks cannot be comparable. It takes more time to eat with the left hand, despite practicing for years. I can brush the teeth with the left hand, play certain sports with like a left-handed player, but eating with chopsticks (left-hand) is difficult task for me.

I couldn’t go to the washroom by myself. I had to ask for the help of nurses to use the toilet as well. What an experience! In fact, 10 years ago I have experienced exactly the same thing…

Fortunately, the surgery went well this time and last time. In both cases, the process of getting up and walking with crutches took lot of time for me. This time I could get rid of crutches in a quite short time due to the technology or machines I barely see in rehabilitation centers in overseas. I’m still walking as a handicapped person, but I have no shame for that. I’m optimistic I will recover in 2019 and I will definitely walk like a normal person again.

Health is one of the most valuable things in life. Without health, I cannot live properly. I don’t want to live to work, but work to live. For me, there is a huge difference in that; the former is one condition that has worsened my health in past years. I would like to work, but have time for my partner, family, have a social life (having fun with friends), go to the gym regularly (as I did in the past 10 years), eat healthy food, and travel more, read fiction and sometimes non-fiction books and so on. I believe it is possible to keep my hobbies active, including learning and maintaining languages, which are not actually my priority among my hobbies.
I wish I would walk like a normal person again. I have been dreaming about it for so many days! Rehabilitation has been helping me a lot. Sometimes I feel like crying because of the pain at the centers, but physiotherapists have been supportive at this stage.

Now, going back to the cuisine topic…

Now, time to think about one more candidate for 2019.

Hebrew, Arabic (MSA), Arabic (dialect)

If I were to learn those languages, I'd probably study Hebrew up to B1 level. Then, starting with Arabic (MSA) and reaching B1 level on reading skills. After that, I would finally navigate through Levantine Arabic, Egyptian Arabic or another dialect. Of course, there are many pros and cons on learning MSA then getting into a dialect and vice-verse. Some others take both altogether. For my purposes, I will stick to navigate through a dialect only after taking MSA to some reasonable level.


I have plans to learn Urdu, then, get deep into Hindi resources. I will look for resources to learn both Urdu and Hindi, before deciding whether I will incorporate them on my schedule for 2019.


Swahili is also on my plans and it might be a reality soon. It could even be on my list before Hebrew and Arabic, or even Hindustani for practical reasons. If I were to drop German, I would replace it for Swahili. :lol:

Persian, Tajik, Dari

I want to put these languages and its variants on hold. But my curiosity never ends. Languages that were not my priority suddenly were chosen to be on my list for 2019.


Since I chose Indonesian, I will temporarily exclude Tagalog from my list. Khmer will be put on hold as well.


I have been regularly watching and reading in Galician, but I’m not sure whether I will keep this language or not yet.

Old English

Perhaps, the only “dead language” from my list. Although both Sanskrit and Pali have been on my list for a decade or even more, I think Old English will be my priority. I have materials on Old English; therefore, I can start whenever I want. I’m more keen to study about the lexicon, syntax, phonological and morphological aspects of Old English.

Scots and Frisian

I have been interested in both languages for a decade as well. Who knows I will take them in the future?

I still have one day to decide.

My journey will finally begin next week!
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Re: Wanderlust

Postby Iversen » Sun Dec 30, 2018 9:23 pm

You'll need the speed of Father Christmas and his trusty reindeer Rudolf to make the journey through all those languages!
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Global cuisine. Fish and chips.

Postby Iceberg » Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:30 pm

Global cuisine. Fish and chips.

Achievement list

○ It is great that I decided to restart my language journey. Learning to speak a language, even just a little bit of one, it gives me some joy. It is very wonderful to know that what I am learning can open doors in my life. The whole process will open me to communicate with new people and perhaps allow me to express from a different perspective.

However, while thinking about the journey per se might be very thrilling, where or how does it begin? And what where the considerations before I started? The truth is that starting out properly is important to successful language learning.

Many people often come up with questions on the easiest or most difficult languages. The answer to those questions depends on many variables. Instead of thinking on those answers, I rather pick the right language to begin with. I also take into consideration very clear reasons and sometimes any purposes for learning it. Your goals alone won’t be enough, though. One have to ask himself what are his aims to maintain the process of learning a language.

So, I’d summarize what I have done. I picked up some languages. Then, I have assessed the main reasons for learning them. Satisfied those two conditions, I chose some short term and realistic goals for some of my target languages.

Let us break down here and write more details.

☯ Part 1. I chose some languages for 2019.

Usually many people start with a particular language because he is attracted to it in a way. Sometimes, we will see a situation where one person cannot decide which languages to start with. If this is the case, then, it is very simple. You first assess your schedule and see if you can fit one, two or multiple languages. Then, you check what languages you find more appealing to you.

Different people learn a language for different reasons. I suppose there are no right or wrong here, in a strict sense. However, when you assess your motivations, there must be some reasons that could be your priority over others, at short, mid and long term. There must be one or two languages that will strive your motivation more than others will.

No matter what are the reasons, it is important to think about them. Perhaps writing down as in notes, it will help you to choose one, two or perhaps multiple languages to start at same time.

☯ Part 2. Evaluate my purposes.

Every time I learn or I drop a language, I try to go through this process. I try to be very honest with myself. I keep asking some questions such as the following ones:

Why am I learning this language? For reading books? To communicate with native speakers? Both? How will I use this language? How often will I use this language? Do I need to use this language in 6 months? 5 years from now? If so, in what settings will I need to use? Etc etc etc.

After I have been through these questions, I will realize whether my decision was good or not. After all, I need to make good use of my time. I should weigh the pros and cons giving this right moment and see if it is worth taking it seriously or not.

☯ Part 3 Goals or no goals.

As for some specific languages, I do have some goals. That doesn’ translate into being my priority, though. I can simply set some realistic goals.

For most people, I guess setting some goals are very important. And that can be explained in just one word: focus. If you are someone who cannot focus or lose focus easily, being attempted to wanderlust in other languages, getting out of track to do other activities, well, that’s okay. Oh, not so okay, but that is your life. Your life, your rules, your choices.

I will set up some short and realistic goals for myself for a couple of languages. As for others, I do not feel like setting up any goals.

Setting goals works well if you associate them with your purposes. You have assessed them before. You should not forget what you were looking for before. However, as human beings many things happens in our life. Moreover, that’s where I feel I need to be flexible and change accordingly to the circumstances. If language X were my priority now, language Y could be my priority from tomorrow, for instance.

Biggest hurdles so far

△ I haven’t stablished a specific time to fit all languages into my schedule. Now, I have already decided to commit with English, Russian, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Armenian, Georgian and Mongolian, not to mention that I shall keep reading on my native language. It seems doable for many people. Once I get used to insert each language into my daily schedule, from Monday to Friday, I guess things will start to flow.

Biggest triumphs so far

◎ I chose some languages as written in the achievement list. I should consider it as the first triumph of the year. I hope I will be able to report on monthly basis or every other month here on my log. But if not, I will not get stressed, after all, languages are just one of my hobbies. There are many other interesting things to do every day.

Regional cuisine: Борщ, 臭豆腐/餛飩(馄饨), 김치, chocolate con churros y buñuelos

2. Борщ

I got a textbook to learn Russian.

Achievement list

☯ Textbook

I started with the alphabet, then, checked the phonetics. I finished the unit 1.

☯ Workbook

Each unit of the workbook is directly related to its textbook. Therefore, unit 1 of workbook corresponds to unit 1 of textbook. That said, I don’t think this is worth the money. The workbook is unnecessary purchasing, but since I have them both, I will try to make good use of them.

Biggest hurdles so far

△ I started with the Cyrillic alphabet, then, I checked the audio for the phonetics part. It was great, until I listened to these two letters: Ш and Щ. For non-Slavic native speakers, it might sound similar when you first hear them both. Then, I listened more carefully until I realized I was correct: Ш is a voiceless postalveolar fricative /ʃ/ while Щ stands for voiceless alveolo-palatal fricative /ɕ(ː)/.

I also thought about learning the cursive writing; however, that will kill my little free time I have and which I will spend for my other hobbies and interests.

△ The textbook becomes too challenging at once. Unit 1 was easy to understand and practice. Then, Unit 2 became like a huge wall out of blue. One of the reasons is that they added too much vocabulary at once. So, one of my strategies might be to study the lesson vocabulary before getting deep into the unit itself. Otherwise, I will feel like climbing a short mountain in day one and the next day going for Mt. Everest or Kanchenchunga. No one reaches the top without proper training.

Biggest triumphs so far

◎ Triumphs? :D :D :D :D :D None. :cry:

3. 臭豆腐

As the title suggests, stinky tofu, I chose one Taiwanese textbook. A six-volume series that focuses on spoken language in the first three volumes and written language in the latter three volumes. It also says that the six volumes covers levels A1 to C1 (CEFR).

I’m aware that this series is aimed to classroom setting. The initial idea is to work through the textbook only. I am not sure what the cons of not taking the workbook at this moment are.

I will try to make the best use of the textbook and still try to reach C1 level (CEFR) at long term. Unless somewhere in the future I find much better resources, I hope I will stick to this resource until the end. It seems way promising to me, more than Mainland’s resources such as NPCR, Boya Chinese, Integrated Chinese etc etc etc. The reviews from foreign students in Taiwan’s universities have also apparently given very good feedback so far. They said that this is much better than PAVC (Practical Audio-Visual Chinese) series, which is outdated, especially when it comes to its lexicon. Overall, I know it indeed has its pros, which I’m not interested in writing here.

Anyway, I’m not in a hurry to reach C1 level in Chinese. I don’t care how long this journey will take, who cares? My life, my choices.

Achievement list

☯ Phonetics
I worked on phonetics to check what sounds are possible in Chinese. Initials, finals, the combinations etc.

☯ 注音符號 Bopomofo (ㄅㄆㄇㄈ)
I worked on ㄅㄆㄇㄈ, on its stroke order and tonal marks.

☯ A brief introduction on Chinese language written on my material.
It introduces some introductory stuff, more focused on grammar.

☯ Topic 1: Introducing myself.
Now that I finished the lesson, I can:
Use simple greetings;
Use simple phrases to introduce people;
Use simple phrases to discuss likes/dislikes;
Use simple phrases to express gratitude.

☯ Chinese culture and other stuff
Tea culture, Chinese nicknames, notes on pronunciation (third tone change, 不 tone changes), introduction to Chinese characters (basic Chinese strokes).

☯ Topic 2: My family.
Now that I finished the lesson, I can:
Discuss about people in my family, their names etc;
Describe people, names, places and possessions in simple forms;
Talk about the number of people in my family.

On Chinese culture and other stuff:

It was interesting to get briefly on the meaning of family to Taiwanese people;
A note on the rule changes of 一;
Basic structure of Chinese characters;
A note on Chinese calligraphy: I am very interested in traditional calligraphy, that is, not only Chinese, Korean, Japanese styles, but also the ones from Mongolia, Armenia and Georgia, not the mention the ones for Arabic and Persian, for example. All of them are very beautiful form of art.

☯ Topic 3

I learned how to:
Describe what kind of sports of activities a person likes;
Express what two people or two groups have in common;
Politely ask others their opinions, make simple conversations and offer suggestion;
Ask and reply to choice questions (between two or more items)

On Chinese culture and other stuff

Shrimp fishing activity that is common in Taiwan. The book covered some other aspects of Chinese characters which I skipped.

☯ 餛飩(馄饨)

I will complement the stinky tofu with wanton soup. What a weird combination, isn’t it? Nah!


I picked up one material aimed to learner’s willing to take HSK. It is a thin book and I thought it could be used together with the 3.1 material. I finished the whole book.

Part 1: Unit 1, 2, and 3. It covered the basics in terms of phonetics. It explain the pinyin system.
Part 2: Unit 4. Unit 5. Unit 6.
Part 3: Unit 7, Unit 8, Unit 9, Unit 10, Unit 11, Unit 12.
Part 4. Unit 13 and Unit 14.

According to my material, HSK 1 book covers both grammar and vocabulary necessary to pass HSK 1.

Most HSK books I have seen, when they compare to CEFR, it says:

HSK 1 = A1, HSK 2 = A2, HSK 3 = B1, HSK 4 = B2, HSK 5 = C1, HSK 6 = C2, but I guess there is no way this could be true. I am not sure how drunk the 漢語水平考試 committee were. That’s a total nonsense.

Having spoken to people who have both studied Chinese as a foreign language and taken the HSK exam from A1 to C2, they have attested me my initial suspicion. Those HSK levels doesn’t correspond directly to the CEFR, in that, not in the way I wrote. Most people who have successfully passed and scored high points in HSK 6 have told me that they were around B2 level (CEFR) or B2 +, but definitely not C1 by any chance. My sample isn’t significant, though.

Biggest hurdles so far

△ None.

Biggest triumphs so far

◎ I’ve sent many audio to my Chinese friend and she answered me. She also asked me simple questions, I tried to guess, and answer based on the context. It was very fun activity to keep sending her some audios, despite my super foreign-ish accent. She laughed and kept laughing, but not to make me feel stupid. She said my Chinese sounds cute. I’m not sure if this is a compliment or not, but anyway, I could learn some new words based on my needs and that specific context. She told me to send me more questions after I study more next time. I think the language exchange will work since her minor is in Japanese language. She asked me to give her some feedback on her notes, homework or her speech.

◎ I’m checking the simplified characters through traditional ones. I highly prefer the traditional characters over the simplified ones. As far as I noticed, native speakers from Mainland have never complained when I write them in traditional characters. Even if they answer me back in simplified characters, I still answer back in traditional forms. It has been working well this way.

4. 김치

Achievement list

○ TTMIK Level 1: Lessons 1-5

Very little I know. But what can I expect when I have other languages?

Biggest hurdles so far

△ None.

Biggest triumphs so far:

◎ None.

5. Chocolate con churros y buñuelos

Achievement list

○ I neglected my Spanish for years due to life circumstances and priorities. I have been listening to songs every day. My play list contain singers from many Spanish-speaking countries.
Speaking of songs, the first one I listened in Spanish this year:

La "nueva" versión (2014) de Guantanamera. I love this song, its rhythm etc. The way Cubans were singing was inevitably contagious. I will need to practice this song for karaoke. :D :lol: I really liked this version. I hope I will listen to more songs like this during the year.

Biggest hurdles so far

None related to the language per se. The thing is, there are too much native resources to dive into. Sometimes I feel like reading books from South American writers. Sometimes I feel like watching series from Chile. Sometimes I feel that some programs from Mexico are quite funny. Sometimes there are very interesting documentaries streamed by Spain. A more advanced learner of Spanish cannot complain on the lack of resources I face in some of my target languages. If you like Spanish, if you are interested in some aspects from the language and culture (from Spanish speaking countries), then, there is no excuse you can’t learn it.

Biggest triumphs so far

I finally got motivated to take Spanish again. Have been listening to songs from different Spanish speaking countries and listening to native stuff (both TV programs and podcast).

Group 3: Local cuisine. Հայերեն, ქართული ენა, монгол хэл and bahasa Indonesia. I will choose soon a nickname or the cuisine that I like at most from those countries or regions.

Ideally, I will take 5-7 minutes a day for each language above, from Monday to Friday.

6. հայերեն

I will start on January 15th. I’m still looking for resources for learning this language. I guess, the best ones are probably aimed to Russian, followed by French and perhaps German speakers. I can’t find anything interesting for English speakers. One or two textbooks seem promising, but it is classroom oriented, which goes beyond my expectations. Since there are no audio for those resources, I will keep digging and therefore, I might even not start this language this month…

Achievement list

○ None.

Biggest hurdles so far

△ The scarcity of resources aimed to foreign learner. At least, in the languages I feel more comfortable with.

Biggest triumphs so far

◎ None.

7. ქართული ენა

Similarly to Armenian, I will start on January 15th due to “technical issues”. The best resources are designed to Russian and German native speakers. As for English speakers, there aren’t many options. One textbook seems interesting, but it doesn’t contain audio. I feel like one textbook I found for Russian. If I’m not wrong, it is called Penguin Russian or something like that. Why does the author publish a textbook without an audio recording? Even if it is designed for a classroom setting, I still think the audio should be part of any resource for learning a modern language. No matter if you live in Georgia or not, I think the audio could still be a huge advantage, especially for this not so popular language. Well, the question for why goes beyond the scope of my goal. I will keep searching until January 15th.

Achievement list
○ None.
Biggest hurdles so far
△ None.
Biggest triumphs so far
◎ None.

8. монгол хэл

It sounds like an excuse that I’m still searching for resources, but that’s unfortunately true.
The best resources I have found for Khalkha dialect are designed for Russian native speakers. Giving the fact that they had close relations in recent history of Mongolia, I can understand that. Other resources available are written for Chinese native speakers. That is, there are some materials on Chakhar dialect are available in Inner Mongolia. Either one or another, it will allow me to start before both Armenian and Georgian.

I really hope to achieve a reasonable level in the future, as I want to explore both Buryat and Oirat. I’d like to know to what extent they are mutually intelligible to Khalkha and Chakhar.

Khalkha and Chakhar.seem to be mutually intelligible. The system of cases seem to be the same, differing in some morphological changes that I might check at midterm. And due to historical contact with people from its neighboring regions, the Khalka’s lexicon has included many Russian words or expressions while the Chakhar has incorporated many words from both Mandarin and Manchu. Culturally speaking, I want to know how Inner Mongolians feel. Do nowadays they feel more part of Chinese culture, Mongolian culture or their own culture?

Achievement list

○ Traditional Mongolian script.

It has its flaws for the Mongolian language. I’m not someone in a position to say what is more efficient or not, but from the learner’s point of view, I suppose the Cyrillic alphabet is more “efficient” at the initial stage. I guess, for Mongolian native speakers from Inner Mongolia, the alphabet can easily be interpreted because they already know the language, how to pronounce and its spelling.

Instead of saying that I will start on January 15th, the good news is that I will start on 7th, regardless of the materials I find.

Biggest hurdles so far
△ Lack of resources.

Biggest triumphs so far

9 bahasa Indonesia

Honestly I’m not impressed by the quality of resources for Indonesian. I’m not fan of Duolingo and Memrise, so they stay out of my choices. I’m also not fond of Teach yourself + “language name” or “Colloquial series”. Indonesianpod101 didn’t appeal to me and the “Indonesian Way” doesn’t seem structured to learner’s such as me.

There is Assimil Indonesian in French, but I don’t know French. I actually don’t want to learn French (German, Russian etc) just for the sake to navigate through other languages more easily. If I were to learn French, it should be because I’m interested in any aspect of France and other French speaking countries or regions, but not because I want to use Assimil to learn language X, Y, W etc.

I’m in short of materials here. Nothing impressive so far. That said, my deadline to start will be January 15th. If I don’t find anything impressive, I will put this language on hold.

Achievement list

○ None.

Biggest hurdles so far

△ Lack of resources.

Biggest triumphs so far

◎ None.

Third group:
10. Language experiment: Deutsch x (?)

Nothing serious about my third group.

Achievement list

○ Assimil German with Ease: Chapters 1 to 10.

Biggest hurdles so far

△ None on German per se. The thing is, there are too many options for a German learner. There are many useful resources available for free on DW’s website. There are many textbooks as well. There are options for all types of learners and available in many languages. If you like any aspect of German speaking countries or regions, there isn’t any excuse.

Biggest triumphs so far
◎ None.

The purpose of taking one more language is to replace Indonesian, as I’m not so optimistic about it now. I found resources in: French, Arabic (MSA), Hebrew, Hindi, Tamil, Finnish, Estonian, Burmese, Khmer, Swahili, Bengali, Marathi, Persian or Nepalese. All of them could be okay to start with, but Indonesian…and I will be very honest here. I checked every single page from 1 to 20 so far. Too many links, too much information, but nothing that suits my needs or approaches.

Iversen wrote:You need the speed of Father Christmas and his trusty reindeer Rudolf to make the journey through all those languages!

Well, everything has its price. I added new ones to replace the ones I have been learning before. Unfortunately I had to give up on 8 languages. I don't need them anymore and I can always reactivate my skills, if needed.
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中文: 06 / 15 한국어: 10 / 30 Deutsch: 28 / 100 Русский: 03 / 10 Français: 01 / 100 Italiano: 01 / 100հայերեն: 01 / 100ქართული: 01 / 100Melayu: 01 / 100монгол хэл: 01 / 100

Green Belt
Posts: 279
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2015 12:10 am
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Languages: English (N)
Japanese (JLPT N2)
German (read several books)
Spanish (read a couple books)
Korean (studying for about a year semi seriously)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=21&t=1204
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Re: Wanderlust

Postby kraemder » Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:13 pm

Your written English level seems quite good. Are any of the other languages near your English level? You're making me want to try studying multiple languages at once.. (Chinese and Korean) but my experience is that one language at a time keeps you on track and making the best progress... well for me. Although when I was in college I seemed to be ok to study Spanish/French/German all at the same time. However, since then not so much.
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White Belt
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:11 am
Location: Japan
Languages: Japanese, Portuguese(N)
English, Español, 中文, 한국어, русский язык, Deutsch.
Studying: Français, Italiano, հայերեն, ქართული, Bahasa Melayu, монгол хэл
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9807
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Re: Wanderlust

Postby Iceberg » Tue Jan 22, 2019 3:45 am

kraemder wrote:Your written English level seems quite good. Are any of the other languages near your English level? You're making me want to try studying multiple languages at once.. (Chinese and Korean) but my experience is that one language at a time keeps you on track and making the best progress... well for me. Although when I was in college I seemed to be ok to study Spanish/French/German all at the same time. However, since then not so much.

Thanks, Kraemder, but my all language skills are very rusty, to be honest. I have neglected all languages for years. I have dropped some languages to give some physical space to the new ones: Russian, Armenian, Georgian, Mongolian and Indonesian. My place is very small and there is literally no extra space for new resources.

In terms of passive skills, some languages have surpassed English some years ago. They are the languages I decided to restart this year: Chinese, Korean, Spanish and German. In terms of active skills, my spoken and written German was way better than English skills, because I have maintained it for many years. Everything I used to do was in German. I used to read books and articles in German, write and speak it regularly.

I have used English only to watch TV series and reading academic stuff that was not available in those four languages. I guess, I used to consume German native resources for, at least, about 4 hours a day, 5 times a week. I have covered reading and listening every day, and also writing and speaking, at least, 3 times a week. But that was during my golden times. :D I'm working nowadays, so, it will take some time to review everything and reach where I once was many years ago.

I'd like to push myself to reach a solid B1 (CEFR) again. While I'm not in a hurry, I'd love to reach C1 and eventually C2 level in English. I want to sit for Certificate of Advanced English Exam (C1) and Certificate of Proficiency in English (C2) in the future. If time allows, I will take DELE for Spanish this year. However, I thought it was too expensive. So, instead of taking B2 (CEFR), I might work harder to start with C1. My ultimate long term goal is to take C2, though.

As for English, I want and need to improve my written English. So, I had in mind these resources below to complement what i have been reading.

Strunk and White. The Elements of Style.
George Orwell's essays.
Graham Greene.
Elmore Leonard. His "Vasquez is Coming" is a great book, as low-brow as it is. In my opinion, Leonard has excellent style that could positively influence me.

These are just few authors I had in mind for 2019. The good news is that there is always endless resources for me to improve my overall English skills. :D I will try to balance fiction and non-fiction books.

It is time to update my log... :lol: :lol: :lol:

I was watching some videos on Youtube, but somehow it decided to suggest me a video in English. I came across this:

I am interested in the life of some foreign people in Japan. I like to know how were their experiences so far, what their interests are and so on. I can always learn more about Japan from other people's perspective. When I watched this video, I got really surprised. Even though I have heard about such super tiny places, I have never seen such small places at real state. I was surprised someone can actually live in such a small place. I thought my place is already small, but it is still on the small standards. But her place, omg. :D How can someone live in such a small place?! I have never heard of any Japanese (I know) living in such places. One must use lots of creativity and think about the best way to use every centimeter of your space. :lol: :D :) :shock: :o Seriously, 8m2! :o :shock: :shock: :o :shock:

I was watching a match of Shogi/将棋 recently. I am no longer actively playing it, though. Sometimes they broadcast the youngest prospect Fujii 7-dan. He is only 16 years old and is already a professional player. Perhaps we are going to witness the new Habu, considered by most, the GOAT of shogi? He has lots of potential and he doesn't stop improving in a very short time.

After the match, I started watching videos on both Chinese Xiangqi/象棋 and the Korean Jangqi/장기/將棋 to assess both respectively Chinese and Korean listening comprehension. Jangqi is a variant of Xiangqi. They are very similar!

After some input, I switched to German to read about chess. Later on, I found out lexical maps of the names of chess pieces across European languages. Not surprisingly, Georgian often stands out. No idea where the word "Bishop" comes from.

In some languages, there are actually multiple names used for a piece. The data I found have chosen the the official names used in competitive chess. Historically there are different theories for each name. Some names such as "rook" might have derived from Persian Rokh/رخ, meaning chariot.

I will upload the king in the next post because I can attach only 5 files at a post.

The pawn
1.png (279.8 KiB) Viewed 939 times

The knight
2.png (265.08 KiB) Viewed 939 times

The bishop
3.png (303.48 KiB) Viewed 939 times

The rook
4.png (253.55 KiB) Viewed 939 times

The queen
5.png (272.78 KiB) Viewed 939 times

365 Challenge

22 consecutive days done. 22 points. I'm not sure how realistic is this goal for my schedule. At the moment, I am struggling to keep 30 minutes as I haven't been studying Indonesian, for instance, every day.


I have never had a big interest in learning French. Not compared to other languages. However, it seems that I was put into a position where I will eventually need French. I am interested in reading stuff in French, but what annoys me, with all the respect, is how it sounds. Unfortunately, I can't see myself learning and improving one language I have not much interest, not intrinsic motivation, but only extrinsic one. If my salary is going to rise after taking B2 or C1, then, I will consider taking it more seriously. Otherwise, if I'm going to be stuck where I am, I rather focus on Russian, instead, for professional reasons. I will negotiate the contract and other terms.

Now, if my superior has asked me which Romance language I would study, instead, it would be definitely Romanian or Italian. The first time I heard both, I fell in love with them. But, when it comes to French, I will need to push myself. I'd learn French only for reading purposes.
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中文: 06 / 15 한국어: 10 / 30 Deutsch: 28 / 100 Русский: 03 / 10 Français: 01 / 100 Italiano: 01 / 100հայերեն: 01 / 100ქართული: 01 / 100Melayu: 01 / 100монгол хэл: 01 / 100

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White Belt
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:11 am
Location: Japan
Languages: Japanese, Portuguese(N)
English, Español, 中文, 한국어, русский язык, Deutsch.
Studying: Français, Italiano, հայերեն, ქართული, Bahasa Melayu, монгол хэл
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9807
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Roller Coaster

Postby Iceberg » Sat Feb 02, 2019 6:42 am

May I ask why you are learning Taiwanese but using books for HSK? Do you know about TOCFL? TOCFL should help you more if you want to test for C1.

I’m actually a false "beginner" in Mandarin. I’m aware of both TOCFL and HSK. I've restarted my studies this year with Taiwanese resources to prepare for TOCFL and other resources from Mainland China to prepare for HSK. One of my ultimate goals is to take both HSK 6 and TOCFL level 6, for professional reasons. However, I think HSK 6 is easier and less challenging than TOCFL exams. And since I need to deal with clients not only from Mainland China, but Taiwan as well, I see I can get lots of benefits in immersing with the Mandarin spoken in Taiwan.


So, as I said last time, I'm uploading the picture of the "king". I found very interesting to the know the most popular ways to refer to the king (chess) in different countries and languages. As I expected, in both Georgian and Armenian they are very different. :D

6.png (211.18 KiB) Viewed 889 times

On languages

1. English

◎ Recent acquisitions.

☯Michael Swan-Practical English Usage - Oxford University Press
☯Cambridge Grammar of English - A Comprehensive Guide. Spoken and Written English Grammar and Usage Ronald Carter, Michael McCarthy
☯Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English
☯ George Orwell's books. :) :) :) :) :) More fiction books are coming on my way.

2. Español

Basically I have been reading as much as possible. I have successfully had good language exchanges so far. They are mostly from Mexico, though I get to talk to people from Panama, Chile, Argentina, Spain and Colombia.

Achievement list.

◎ Have done language exchange through long messages as well as some apps such as Whatsapp, Facebook etc.
◎ People started sending me audio messages in their normal speed to test my listening skills.

Biggest hurdles so far:

△ None.

Biggest triumphs so far:

◎ It is likely I have found serious, motivated, engaging language exchange partners, respecting each others' boundaries (no romance or whatever creepy). I have some regular partners from Mexico and Colombia. I'm willing to find more partners from other countries, despite being told that DELE will evaluate el acento de español de España. Regardless of the accents, I'm equally interested in all countries other than España too. I have nothing to lose. Actually, I only see that I have lots to gain.

What I liked is that my language exchange partners are native speakers of Spanish and they are happy when I send them both messages in written and audio messages. I also send them pictures of Japan (whatever they ask me) and try to write and comment on them in Spanish. They haven't slowed down their speed of speech, as if they were talking to any other native speaker. They are all motivated and some of them have accepted some help in Japanese or Portuguese.

Another pro is that we have similar interests, so we are never out of topic to talk about.

For the first time in my life, I started how Spanish sounds in different accents. Until some time ago, Spanish was just "okay".

3. русский язык
4. 中文
5. 한국어/韓國語

So, a lot of things happened in January. If I need to pick up one word to describe January 2019, I'd say "roller coaster". In one month, it there were so many tight turns, steep slopes, and sometimes inversions like when you ride roller coasters. Oh, well. :lol:

I'm still struggling with rehabilitation. I'm not walking properly, which makes me a bit sad. I wonder how many months or years it will take for me to walk like most of you. It takes lot of time to walk and rehabilitation really takes hours. It takes, at least, 2 hours of my day. So, the time destined for Russian, Chinese and Korean was almost non-existent, but for a good cause. I hope by June or July this year I am almost 80% recovered.

6. Deutsch
7. Français

Like I wrote somewhere, I'm a false beginner in Mandarin, but also in Korean and German as well. Although Assimil seemed fairly easy, it was good to review. I'm not sure where I am in that book right now. Gotta see later. I decided to read and watch native stuff, instead, but I will finish Assimil just because I don't like to start things and just not reach the last goal.

And the other news is Français. Whaaaaat? French?! Yes. Yes, (un)fortunately. I stated before that I don't like much how French sounds to my ears. I love Finnish, Estonian, Armenian, Georgian, Russian, Korean, but French sounds really awkward to me. Among Romance languages, I prefer Spanish, Galician, Italian, Romanian over French and Catalan. I may change my opinion, though. And hopefully I change because now I need French for work.

Actually, the deal with my superior was to be able to work using entirely in Spanish, Mandarin, Korean and German by December 31st of 2019. I guess, I'm already ready to work using entirely Spanish this month for my job. As for German, I think by July or August, I will be ready, too.

If I had no rehabilitation taking almost all my daily free time, I could push Mandarin and Korean to the level I was before by July or even before. But let's keep it to December. Of course, the earlier the better for the company.

He also added that I should learn French, regardless of me disliking the idea or not. I haven't received a deadline, though, but I decided to put A2, A2/B1 or B1 by December 31st this year. However, I need to know if I'm going to have my salary raised up for learning French. It has NOT been discussed yet. I don't want to invest my time in a language that was not on my radar for now. I was about to buy Romanian, Swahili, Hindi, Persian, Arabic or Hebrew resources next week.

Ultimately I have plans to sit for the C1 or C2 level of proficiency exams in Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, German and French. For personal reasons, I want to push my Russian to C2 level and I want it to be my third or fourth most skilled language. However, I have NO plans to take any proficiency exams such as TORFL etc.

The pros of French regarding learning materials is that there are so many available there. I guess, I will never be out of resources for Spanish, French, German and Russian.

8. հայերեն
9. ქართული ენა
10. монгол хэл

Armenian, Georgian and Mongolian are slowly progressing. Mongolian is the less challenging language so far. Actually, the most challenging language among the weakest ones is Russian. Slavic vocabulary are totally opaque for me and that has been the main hindrance to improve faster.

I found an interesting website for Georgian learners.


Speaking of idioms, recently I found this sentence below:

"გამოდის რომ ამ საარაკო ხალხს ორმაგი პოლიტიკური ბუჰგალტერია აქვთ, ორ სკამზე ჯდებიან".

"ორ სკამზე ჯდებიან" is an idiom that I'd translate as "to be unable to decide about something" or with another idiom: "to be of two minds", as people say in English.

Biggest triumphs so far:

One of the features I love exploring in any of my target languages is idioms. I really like it because it often preserves syntactic or morphological features of older or non-standard forms of the language.

I was looking for some grammar explanations on ჯდომა and სხდომა, as I remember having read that the former is a singular verb and the latter the plural verb. However, this type of explanation may lead to misinterpretation. I think semantically, the former implies "individualizable" while the latter refer to "mass subjects and objects". Therefore, the fact that I saw ჯდებიან with the suffix -იან should be okay, because this is how the language works. :?: :!:

Another example is the verb "throw". Let's take გადაგდება 'throw sg. obj' and გადაყრა 'throw pl obj'. The first verb does not imply 'throw a single thing', but rather 'throw one specific individualizable object'. In contrast, გადაყრა 'throw pl obj' really means 'throw a mass of things'.

In case I have a question, I always use one test that has been working so far. I use the quantifier "each" for the first type of verb, which can't be used in the second type of verbs. It becomes ungrammatical to Georgian native speakers.

Dropped out.

I honestly think Bahasa Indonesia is an interesting language. However, I didn't like any material I tested. It was the language I studied at most, but I thought I would not have much motivation on my way. I tried Indonesianpod101, TY and many other famous resources. None of them were fun enough to keep engaged. I also had an an unofficial offer to learn French which is THE priority for my superior. Well, it is his priority, not mine, but he asked me to learn it along with improving my Spanish, Chinese, Korean, German and Russian.

I can always restart Indonesian in the future, as long as I have real plans to visit Indonesia.

As for 2019, I see more advantage on going to Russia, Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan), Mongolia, South Korea, Taiwan or Mainland China. I feel tempted to go back to Singapore or Thailand too.

Speaking of Thailand, I got job offers there. I think I will not apply for them, but I want to visit my Thai friends, but I guess, my Thai skills are pretty rusty nowadays. :lol:

I dropped Burmese, Lithuanian, Latvian, Finnish, Estonian and Nepali in order to fit Armenian, Georgian and Mongolian. So, I guess, replacing Indonesian with French will not change anything in my tight schedule.

I will take a look on French resources on this forum as well as check the French group and its users' logs.

I'm trying to brainwashing myself by listening to French songs. It worked with Spanish. I was listening to Spanish songs for 21 days and telling myself: "I love this language, I love this language, I love this language". Who knows it will work with French too? Indila, for example, she is so sweet! :D Her voice sounds beautiful to my untrained ears.
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中文: 06 / 15 한국어: 10 / 30 Deutsch: 28 / 100 Русский: 03 / 10 Français: 01 / 100 Italiano: 01 / 100հայերեն: 01 / 100ქართული: 01 / 100Melayu: 01 / 100монгол хэл: 01 / 100

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Black Belt - 3rd Dan
Posts: 3626
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:54 am
Location: Moskova
Languages: heritage
Russian (native); Belarusian, Polish

fluent or close: Finnish (certified C1), English; Portuguese, Spanish, German, Italian
learning: Croatian+, Ukrainian; Romanian, Galician; Danish, Swedish; Estonian
exploring: Latin, Karelian, Catalan, Dutch, Czech, Latvian
x 4987

Re: Wanderlust

Postby Serpent » Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:52 pm

Oi, vc me perguntou sobre futebol russo :)
para mim o Spartak de Moscovo é o melhor :D é o "equipe do povo". sempre quer vencer, mas também é importante jogar com estilo atacante. aqui se diz que a derrota 4-1 em Moscovo (2000) foi uma inspiração para Wenger mudar o estilo de Arsenal :)
compreendo se gosta de algum jogador de outro time, como Ćorluka ou Akinfeev :)

também conselho que siga a seleção russa, provavelmente já viu no Mundial :D ainda está num momento bastante bom.

Os sítios mais populares são sports.ru, championat.com, sportbox.ru. Se gosta de google news, pode provar também as notícias de yandex :)

Como vc, também apoio o Real Madrid :)

Sobre o francês - tem razão, não gosto desta língua :P :lol: recentemente tenho seguido o PSG por jogadores como David Luiz, Zlatan, Cavani (que ainda está ali)... claro que com as minhas línguas românicas* compreendo francês escrito, mas nem provo ouví-lo :lol:
*só posso dizer que falo português, espanhol e italiano :)
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LyricsTraining now has Finnish and Polish :)
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