Monday, April 30, 2018

Lazy day today, tomorrow it will be full speed

It's the Eve of Mayday. I should go visit my sisters, and drink sima and eat munkkeja, but - uh. Can't be bothered. It's a lazy day, "bad day" as I call them, I don't want to do anything.

I have managed to get in Karelian Swadesh list on Memrise. I would really have wanted to add ALL the languages on the SAME list, but that cannot be done on Memrise. :-( So I have to write their own lists.

So, the Chinese R is said "like J in French, but start dragging the tongue backward until it's touching the roof of your mouth". There should be a definite buzz to the sound... sometimes it sounds like SH, sometimes like L

I made a list of animal names in Hebrew to write my Alephbet cards, but my Word ate it. :-( Not happy. So the Hebrew Alephbet card project is frozen at the moment. I need to find the words again. :-(

Láadan needs a better course. Well... every language needs a better course. But, whatever. Beggars can't be choosers, huh? I suppose there aren't that many words in the language, so the amount of sentences to be created is also limited. And also, the Feminist ideal of women being totally void of all negativity, hatred, belligerency, and violence, creates serious problems, which becomes pretty obvious with the "sample stories", that, still, are based on existing Patriarchal stories. X-D

Romanian pronunciation is fun!
You see, I have started copying my favorite book in the Bible, Ecclesiastes, in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French and Romanian, à l'Alexander Arguelles.

BTW, I listened to his speech at Polyglot Conference, and realized that that's what I want to do. (At least right now.) Think of myself as having a job of a Polyglot, and the whole world of languages at my fingertips (because most books have been pirate copied and available online, especially when I can manage in Russian and Portuguese... :-D)

I need to put in the next Chinese lesson on Memrise. :-(

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Uuuuuhh... Errrh...

Decided to use the Ecclesiastes as writing practice sample. I don't want to use the Bible, for principles, and also because I don't like it, but... I wanted to have a long text that's the same in Spanish, Portuguese and Italian, and that's it. Also, it's freely available online.
I still don't like it.

Started putting my Chinese characters/radicals on Memrise. Can't find a good pronunciation of 人 on an MP3 file I can use. :-( On Forvo they all say it like "jen", when it's "ren". I can't produce the Chinese R.

People were 30 years late to the Láadan party. :-( Too late, now.
But, funny, that...

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Two days and counting...

6 Weeks' Challenge is starting again on May 1st.
I am really tempted, but... considering that I participated in it a couple of times, and got among three best, and it was for French BOTH TIMES, and I STILL am not good with French... er... I'm not good at 6 weeks' challenge. :-D
I really need to keep reading French literature. *sigh*
It shouldn't be a "sigh". :-D

Today I compilet (yet again) my 50 when 50 list of languages, and decided to give each 15 minutes a day for the next year. It will take 12 hours a day, and I won't be doing it, but as I said, I have nothing else to do. I'm free as a bird all days long.
(Yes, I have a lot of free time, but it's not all fun and games and lazying about. I have a very painful and decapacitating illness, which is why I live on disability pension. But I am free.)

I kind of... well... I'm not quite sure about some half of the languages on the list.

I mean, some of the languages I am not passionate about. I am not especially hot on learning Asian languages, except Chinese, Japanese and Korean... I mean... I have Hindi and Sanskrit on my list, but I don't really want to learn them. Not even to understand Bollywood movies without subtitles.

Then there are the rare languages no-one seems to want to learn... where it is extremely difficult to find any material - or at least any EASY material online. Like... I like Albanian a lot, but try to actually learn the language? Ha! No-one will answer your questions, no-one will correct your texts, you won't find vocabulary, translations, much help at all. I think I should take the Bible approach and learn that, and then see what I can do...  And Syryoyo is about the same. I mean, the only text I have been able to find was all about God and sheep and archaic farming society with very old-fashioned rules. I don't think those two old guys in the bus where the one sang a song to the other and then they laughed, were talking about lambing problems.

And then there are the endangered languages. Not really possible to learn through internet.

And then there are the constructed languages... *sigh* Talk about a guilty pleasure! I would really love the fantasy writers to take an existing language and use that as the language of their imaginary world, it's already created and time tested and historically correct, someone has already created a whole language, and when it dies, it will take with it a whole world view, a whole world! So why not rescue them? Most endangered languages are spoken by so few and probably also isolated, so it won't be like people will get mad with you for misusing their language.
Any way... I would really like to learn Klingon and Sindarin... :-( But it feels like I should use the effort and resources to learn an endangered language. (Which leads us to the material problem with endangered languages)

And then there's the "being in love" effect. It wears off. I know too much of certain languages for them to be interesting enough for me to actually study more of them... I find it really hard to sit down with Spanish, Italian, French, German and Scandinavian languages. *sigh*

Friday, April 27, 2018

"You had one job..."

Or two. :-D
Started working with the Hebrew alphabets. Decided to make flashcards in stead of a poster. Can't find my "card condoms" (Trading card sleeves). Have to buy some.

Can't be bothered with the Karelian. It's easy and quick and I really should do it, but... uh.
I should also continue with my Finnish lesson and add all the necessary pronunciation. I like courses with pronunciation.

There was a language challenge "10.000 flashcards"at Language Learners' forum. One is to add 10.000 flashcards to one's pile and go through them in SRS at least once. (Or twice, perhaps - one initial round and then one repetition round.)
I don't think I have 10.000 flashcards. Speaks to my megalomaniac soul...

I found Nice. There's my 50 languages easily packaged! Yay.
No, doesn't work like that. I am not that into Slavic languages. I found 28 I might be interested in. That's a great start :-D
There's 100 lessons in Chinese with audio, I assume it's the same for all languages.

Thursday, April 26, 2018


So... I have been adventuring in the Duolingoland, and found out that it's VERY hard to switch from one language to another without any space between. I kept thinking in German on my French review, and it went pretty badly :-D

Now, people will tell you it's not smart to study several new languages daily, or even at the same time. I don't find that a problem - if you keep small pauses between languages - but if you are serious, don't do what I do, do what Luca does.

So, today's task with Chinese was numbers 0-10, 100 and yuan.

零 líng (0) = 雨 yǔ (rain) + 人 rén (man) + 卩 jié (seal)
一 yī (1) *
二 èr (2) *
三 sān (3) = 一 yī (1) + 二 èr (2)
四 sì (4) = 囗 wéi (enclosure) + 八 bā (8) (though it looks like 儿 ér (legs)
五 wǔ (5) = 二 èr (2) + ?
六 liù (6) = 八 bā + ?
七 qī (7) = 一 yī (1) + ?
八 bā (8) *
九 jiǔ (9) = 乙 yǐ (the second, the other one, B) + ?
十 shí (10) *
百 bǎi (100) = 一 yī (1) + 白 bái (white)
元 yuán (monetary unit) = 二 èr (2) + 儿 ér (legs or son)

Here's some fascinating data about the Chinese numbers

Now, I really need to do two things tomorrow:
The Hebrew alphabet chart or poster
write in the rest of the Swadesh for Karelian at Memrise and publish it.

Also, I need to find some short stories in French, German, Spanish and Italian and read them.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Just not my style...

I just realized something. Yes, I know, really stupid of me, not to get it earlier, but better late than never, huh?

I will never be a polyglot in the normal meaning of the word, because I don't have the tenacity. One just needs to look at this blog to get that.  Last year I made two posts. TWO. I WAS SUPPOSED to take the 6 weeks' challenge in Russian, but... that was about it. I think I managed one week this time around. :-D
(One thing that did me in was the Russian keyboard. I went to and got it all set up nicely, but then the program had me typing the same 4-5 letters day after day, never gave me any new letters, and I gave up. Not fun.)
2016 I got into Korean. That lasted a couple of months, I think...
2015 I posted my 52 in 52 plan at the beginning of the year, but if you look at the entries, most of them are empty. 
2014 was also a slow year.
One thing to notice about statistics is that I post mostly during January (New Year's promises... every year I wish I will do better and actually stick to something.) and April (Because of my birthday. Every year I am reminded of my "50 languages by 50" goal.)

It would be wonderful if I just had the determination and perseverance. I mean, one can learn anything in 15 minutes a day, if one just does it for a longer time, like a year or so. The longer one persists, the more one learns. And I have been studying languages for some 40 years now. Had I only stuck to it, it would be more probable than possible that I indeed spoke 50 languages by now.
I do love languages and I learn them easily enough...
I'm OK with my bad pronunciation (good enough to be understood, but is never going to be good enough to pass as a native.)
I am kind of proud of the Finnish influence in my language. I use languages as I use Finnish, and Finnish is very elastic. I know it's a bad habit, but... as long as I am not working with the language, like being an interpreter, translator or teacher, I don't see the problem with that.

But, anyway, I have decided to allow me to be just as "airy" as I am and not be serious with my languages. So I will be studying 20 languages side by side 2-3 times a year for 1-3 weeks, and what stucks, stucks, and that's good enough.

So, today's "20 languages" were:
Láadan (conlang)
High Valyrian (conlang)
Tegirenai or Tigerian (conlang)
Vulcan (conlang)
Toki Pona (conlang)

I got irritated by the way someone pronounces Láadan, it sounds so... unnatural, forced, fake. So I studied about how to pronounce it.

Russian didn't get much love, I read the "word of the day", and that's it.

Maltese got more love. Still the same problem as every day. *sigh* I managed to find a forum, but it's a disgusting ultra-nationalist, racist forum, and I don't want to learn what they say. I want to learn nice things. I have also decided that I really need to learn the verb basics. This is too difficult, trying to figure out the verb forms without the support of grammar. :-D

Spanish got some proper studies, though if the studies at Duolingo count as that, I don't know.
I started reviewing my 5000 French words. I still remember pretty much, and last time I looked at it was 2016! I had an experiment going on there, learning the 5000 most common words 100 words a day, and I got to 2900 words.

High Valyrian... it's mostly a joke. It is offensive that there is a course on High Valyrian on Duolingo, BUT NOT ON ARABIC.

I got some German brushed up. I know surprisingly much of German. On the other hand, I should. German is one of the languages I can actually read. It's still like B-level, but still.

Started brushing up my Welsh as well. Though I like the Goedelic branch more.

Continued with my Chinese. Right now that's about the most serious I am with languages. I decided to just jump in and so far it's going great. I am holding the reigns tight and not letting me to go gathering information, it's really hard as it is, but I really want to learn the language and not just wish I knew.

I was reminded of how much I like Korean dramas, and decided to brush up my Korean as well. Relearned the letters.

Min mand er dansk, og jeg vil kunne tale dansk med ham. So I started the Danish course at Duolingo as well. I have given up with trying to pronounce it well, and just try to repeat it as it sounds in my Finnish ears. My husband has told me my Finnish accent is great for Danish. :-D The fact that Danish has like more vowel sounds than Finnish has ANY sounds - bah. What ever. :-D

Now, that video with the woman speaking Korean, Chinese and Japanese was inspiring, so I have added Japanese to my list as well. I am going to use Heisig's Remembering the Kanji, so I would like to learn the basics of Chinese and Japanese transcribed... At least until I know the letters. There's quite a lot of them. :-D It's not like with Korean or Hebrew.

Turkish I noticed was on Duolingo as well, and I like the Turkish tv dramas as well, so - let's brush that up a bit, too.

Now, the inventor of Tigerian was expressing himself on Láadan, and as tigers are my spirit animals, I went to see what this Tigerian is. I don't think it's going to get much attention from me in the future though.

They had Vulcan on Memrise, and because I identify myself with the Vulcans, I thought I could just as well learn the language :-D

They had Walloon as well, and I suspect our family might have some Walloon roots, though... maybe not. I think I look a bit South European... could be possible.

Mari I was just looking into. It is a Finno-Uralic language, and it would be interesting to learn some of that, just for the nationalist streak in me - and to save the endangered languages

Karelian is on the list because I am writing in Swadesh lists of the Finnic languages on Memrise.

Toki Pona is still waiting. I don't think it will take much time to learn enough of this language to be able to use it. It fascinates me a lot.

I was rereading this blog again, and I just love Kati Wolf. So Hungarian.

I have such difficulties with Maltese, so I decided to learn Arabic to be able to learn Maltese. (Now, Arabic is one of the "brush up" languages, so it's not like I'm beginning from zero here either.)

And my Jewish husband is into his Jewish studies right now, so Hebrew got up on the list.

Monday, April 23, 2018



I just can't produce the sounds. Learning 4000 characters. Not a problem. Tones. Not a problem. Learning words, grammar, sentences, not a problem. Phonemes? A huge problem.

I am Finnish. Finnish consonants are pretty hard. I find Chinese incredibly soft and... sort of melting... It's the same thing with Norwegian. Some consonants are very soft. I feel like I should make my tongue a snail trying to fill my mouth to be able to produce these letters... The Norwegian N... I just can't.

Now, apparently, this is a problem not only for me.

And R is a problem both in Norwegian and Chinese :-D For different reasons. The Norwegian R is a bit like rj (consonant y, not English j)

But, but...

I decided to use Duolingo, and learn the characters at the same time, and also learn the radicals. Sounds like a lot, huh? I'm not moving to the next lesson on Duolingo until I have learned the characters, however long time that will take.

Anyway, the first lesson has two... er... what ever to call that. Sentences? Words?

你好 nĭ hăo (hello)
再见 zàijiàn (goodbye)

The characters are 你 nĭ (you)  好 hăo (good) 再 zài (again) and 见 jiàn (to meet)
The radicals are  亻 rén (man) 小 xiǎo (small) 女 nǚ (woman) 子 zǐ (child) 一 yī (one) 冉 rǎn (slowly) 目 mù (eyes) 儿 ér (feet)

And I find it extremely humiliating that I cannot copy the Chinese characters. My copy looks awful. And I do calligraphy... (blush)

So, what I have done today is
study Spanish
Read the Russian word of the day and the sample sentences
Write the Maltese word of the day for this blog, and then I searched some Maltese recipes - that is, recipes written in Maltese, and that was pretty hard, and then I stumbled over an interesting blog entry about Christmas, moved that to LWT and now I'm going through it, so I have studies Maltese
Then the Chinese. I went to Duolingo, and found that they have a lot of interesting stuff there, so I have studied Spanish, French, German, Valyrian,  Korean and Welsh :-D
I wonder how the heck they have Valyrian but not Maltese or Finnish.

I like this :-D I don't have the slightest idea if anything sticks, but this is fun. 

Yeah, that too

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Constructed languages I find interesting

"Solresol, the creation of a French musician named Jean-François Sudre, was among the first of these universal languages to gain popular attention. It had only seven syllables: Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, and Si. Words could be sung, or performed on a violin. Or, since the language could also be translated into the seven colors of the rainbow, sentences could be woven into a textile as a stream of colors."

I was thinking about the non-verbal Autists. We need to create a non-verbal language they can communicate with, and this might be of some use.

"A professor of linguistics, Dr. Suzette Haden, created Láadan to test the idea that human languages are not adequate for female expression and Western natural languages may be better suited for expressing the views of men than women. One goal was to determine if development of a language aimed at expressing the views of women would shape a culture.
Laadan is designed to allow people to express things in words which in English can only be conveyed by body language or tone. So, for example, a sentence might contain a special word that indicates that the whole sentence is meant to be a warning. Láadan contains a number of words that are used to make unambiguous statements that include how one feels about what one is saying. there are separate names for an emotion that means ‘happiness for a good reason’ and one that means ‘happiness for no reason’, and a single word for expressing the feeling of ‘I’m angry for a reason but nothing can be done about it.’"

More than words; Láadan

Toki Pona
Extremely minimalist but cute little language - totally possible to learn in a couple of days, but has some difficulties in using :-D


I was watching Pushing Daisies and in the episode 2 Chuck speaks Japanese and tells Ned she had very little other things to do, so she studied languages. :-D
Well, it was inspiring. I want to be able to say "The Jarlsberg is on the table" in all possible languages, too :-D I wonder how they chose the languages to showcase. Someone who spoke Norwegian? Swedish? something in the cast?

Anyway, my 49th (7x7) birthday was a couple of days ago, and I was reminded of the "I want to know 50 languages by my 50th birthday" "goal" I have. And "52 languages in 52 weeks". I had a list of things to learn... now I can't find it anywhere. I have been going through this blog, and find that a lot of links and videos are unavailable. I should go through it all and fix it, but. Uh.

Also, I have a couple of guys in my circles, one speaks Spanish, another Arabic and the third Wolof. And I'm thinking about the Norwegian guy and how I missed the opportunity to learn Norwegian. :-(
So I'm going to take up my French and German and learn Spanish, Arabic and Wolof properly.
Let's say I'll give this... er... to the end of May. And then I should be able to be comfortable with reading books in French and German, preferably also in Spanish, and be able to have rudimentary discussions in Arabic and Wolof, to have something to build on.