Happy Valentine’s Day to all our members! Today is a day where we usually remember our first date, the first words that we told each other, and more. In celebration of Valentine’s Day, we asked LingQ members to write to us about their “relationship” with their beloved languages. Enjoy these unique and very special language love stories!
LOVE TRIANGLE: CARLOS – RUSSIAN – ITALIAN
“I fell in love with Italian in my childhood. My father lived in Italy for some time and spoke some words or phrases in Italian, or listened to Italian songs. The first word that I learned was Buongiorno.
Why Italian? I love Italian art and culture, architecture and landscape. I think the way Italians approach to topics of my interest, such as architecture and urban planning, is quite different from the dominant Anglo-Saxon main stream.
I was devoted to my study of Russian language and at some point I burnout. I was about to quit because of my little progress. I was convinced that I was a disaster as a language learner, because after studying sometimes up to 14 hours a day, I still could not understand what was going on. I kept saying to myself “if I would have put this amount of effort in learning, say, Italian, I would have been already fluent, instead of speaking like a 2 year-old”.
One day I stopped complaining and decided to learn both languages. That was the best decision I could make. I started by listening and reading some Italian short lessons at LingQ on the weekends, then 15 minutes a day. Afterwards there was a chance for me to visit Italy for a conference for 3 months, and that was my first 90-day challenge. In the end, I didn’t manage to attend the conference, but my Italian has been improved significantly.
The most challenging in my “relationships” with Italian is the conjugation of the verbs in the subjunctive and the spelling of double consonants.
I would describe Italian as emotional, musical, culturally rich, and… bellissimo!”
THE SECRET OF LOVE: ALWAYS BE AROUND
“I fell in love with Korean sixteen years and two months ago. At that time, there were very little resources to accommodate effective Korean language learning. The very first words I learned to say in Korean were “Thank you,“ and “I love you”.
I am fascinated with the idea of being able to delve deeply into the wealth of literature, culture, and history of Korea. I also absolutely love Korean food! I enjoy learning the art of cooking Korean food. Even the day long process of making Kimchi suits my temperament for order, stamina, and patience.
The most challenging part of our “relationship” is speaking. I cannot speak with any coherency or skill. I do not take into account the usual salutations or the odd imperative. Suffice it to say that I understand a great deal more than I can intelligently utter. Although speaking is the most challenging skill for me to develop, I find exciting the absolutely sublime sounds of the Korean language. What’s more, I’m intrigued by the countless ways there are to express the inner life of ideas. For me, the Korean language is a poet’s treasure trove.
I spend a good portion of the day on Korean, but in bits and pieces. Korean is interwoven in and around my other languages, work, activities, and family life. It is important to have a nourishing balance. I greet Korean upon awakening. I eat it along with some of my meals. I take it with me on my errands. I drive with it, walk with it, gaze at the river with it, and wait in line with it. But, I leave it alone when I do yoga, meditate and pray. I let it alone when I need to rest because when it’s time to sleep, I sleep. In sleep consolidation and conservation happens.
Language learning is a basic part of my life. Enjoyment manifests when there is peace and playful assessment of mistakes, errors, and triumphs. It is in this way that I avoid making a “big deal” out of language learning and am able to make a favorite of all activities involved in the process.
I would describe Korean as Indefatigable, formidable, soulful, alluring, and intoxicating!”
LOVE AT SECOND SIGHT
“I started learning French because I wanted to read the novels and essays of Albert Camus in their original language. Camus has been my favourite author ever since my university days, but I felt inauthentic making this claim when I couldn’t actually read his words. When I first began studying French, the language itself meant nothing to me. It was simply a means to the end.
However, the more time I spent with this beautiful language, the more I found myself falling in love with its sound, its clarity, and the tantalizing little bits of poetry one often finds hidden within it.
For me, the most challenging part of French is understanding native speakers. I do alright if they talk to me like I am an old dog which no longer has all of its wits about it, but even then I am often lost. The most exciting part is being able to read in French. It still seems a bit unreal that I can do it.
I spend at least two hours a day on French during the week, and even more on the weekends if I can get away with it. My favourite learning activity is reading and listening on LingQ. I wish I could convince all of my friends and family to learn French. It’s really one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.
I would describe my beloved language as exacting, clear, sensual, and poetic“.
ALL THE DOORS ARE OPEN FOR TRUE LOVE
“Many years ago I worked in an export management company and a fellow employee came from Peru and shortly before he left the office every day he looked at me and would say…. “Lo siento, pero estoy cansado y pronto voy a mi casa”. That was my first phrase in Spanish, and started my “relationship” with Spanish.
My father was a merchant marine Captain and told me that if one spoke English, Spanish, Russian and Chinese that you could always find someone in any port to talk with and those were the languages he recommended to learn. I have always remembered my father’s words. I have many Spanish speaking friends. Those two things have been a very strong motivation for me.
The verbs were the most challenging. The most exciting thing about Spanish for me is all the doors that have opened. That include great literature, music, food recipes, but most importantly to be able to make lasting friendships while traveling in Spanish countries.
I have been spending most of my day (daily) on Spanish. I spend between 4 or 5 hours on LingQ. Also, I am watching Spanish TV and listening to a radio station from either Madrid or Panama while doing my daily activities. Nearly all of my reading of news, books, blogs and so on have been in Spanish. I am trying to completely immerse myself in this language.
I would describe my beloved language as beautiful, expressive, and romantic.
ANGRY AND BEAUTIFUL
“I really love Finnish, how it sounds, how the grammar works, and of course because my wife is speaking it! I am now living in Finland and my son is growing up with both Swedish and Finnish.
The most challenging in our “relationships” is how words change all the time. Vocabulary, I believe, is extra hard when learning Finnish. But that is also the most exciting part to see how this language is functioning. It is really interesting!
I learn Finnish every day, as much as possible. I visit LingQ in the mornings, to import articles from Finnish newspapers, then about 1-2 hours in the evenings, a good day (like during this Challenge).
Learning Finnish makes other languages a bit easier to learn! I am not that afraid of grammar anymore.
I would describe my beloved language as angry and beautiful”.
Thanks to all our language lovers for sharing their wonderful stories!