vendredi 15 mars 2013

My past languages story

Here is my description on a pretty cool "learning languages website" called

My name is Leon. I am 32 and I've been interested in "language learning" for the last 11 years. The short story I'm gonna tell you now briefly mentions the 15 languages I've been trying to learn so far and the main others I would still love to go for within the coming months.

    After studying quite unsuccessfully some english and spanish at school I moved to London at 19 and then kept travelling and living most of the time abroad since then. When I was 21, not too early, I first Started to self-learn an easy language for me, romanian (I travelled around Romania by bicycle within 2 months), which is a romantic language. 
    I then moved to some Italian, spanish and portuguese. After that I started learning bulgarian during a 2 months trip in the country and continued with slovak, russian, german and some hungarian.
    Every time I was spending time in the country where the language learned was spoken. 
I had discovered the "Assimil method" with romanian and then sticked to it with all the other languages. I generally bought both the CDs and the book and after assimilating the content of the book while also working on the audio I would just keep listening to my mini-disc player anytime during the day while wandering around a city or place instead of doing the same thing with music.
     When I turned 26 I finally decided to explore Asia for the first time and I bought the "chinese with ease" volume I and II and studied it for a couple of month before to move to China for a year where I, while being wrapped in an english speaking environment, very rarely used and practised the most spoken language in the world.
     Coming back to Europe after that I didn't study any new foreign language for four long years and definitely kept on forgetting (or at least deactivating) the ones I already partly knew. my hungarian, bulgarian and russian were almost totally gone by then and I kept on mixing idioms as different as german or slovak with my most recent language, mandarin chinese.    
    Fortunately i took the vital decision to move back to Asia.
I've now been travelling back into South-East-Asia for the last 4 months and after visiting again the Philippines and China I started my "learning languages quest" again not knowing exactly where it would lead me, if anywhere, with Vietnamese.
    Once again (and for the last time I think) I was using the Assimil method. The "Vietnamese with ease" comprises 63 lessons that it took me over 3 weeks of daily and sometimes intense studies to end and still without knowing too much of it. 
    I first thought I had learned quite a lot within a month but then going to Thailand taught me otherwise. I finally started learning some thai after already 3 long weeks in the country but within a few days of study everything I had ever thought impossible started to not appear so anymore. I was undergoing a drastic shift in my mind and my whole perception about "language learning" went through some fascinating change.
    I knew that the main reason why i could already articulate some proper short and simple thai sentences  within a few days of study was due to the fact that apart from it's writing system and tones, thai is probably one of the easiest language on earth. I didn't have to struggle with any type of complicated grammatical structure. 
    Everything was absolutely straightforward and simple to understand. Also, finally, I wasn't using the Assimil method but the "Thai for beginners" and this "10 lessons" book with a large vocabulary section of over 50 words for each lesson, a conversation section and finally a "sentences" one considerably helped me to go "straight to the point" without having to get through a 100 or 63 different stories that will very slowly only enrich my vocabulary and most of the time teach me the most useful words only in the later lessons.
    In Thailand I tried learning one lesson every 2 days but finally i didn't properly finish the lesson 7 to 10 as I started loosing interest in the process. This had to be quicker I thought!

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