I’m stopping this blog… at least for now

In the past, I’ve neglected this blog… often disappearing for months at a time between the occasional sporadic post. I’ve had good reasons for this. An example of this was last year when my daughter was born. Another example was when I found myself frantically doing lots of home improvement whilst trying to get the house ready for my said daughters arrival.

This time around, it’s because I simply don’t have the time to manage my study workload and also maintain a regular posting schedule here.

Forcing myself to a rigid “one post a week” rule has done wonders for my Danish learning this year. I’ve felt like a successful hardworking language learner, even if it hasn’t always been the case.

Ultimately, the point of this blog is to maintain motivation while I learn languages by making myself accountable. Right now, I have more than enough accountability with my full time Danish studentereksamen course!

As much as I’d love to see myself as a successful polyglot, right now it is more important to be a successful student, father and husband.

In addition to my Danish gymnasium education, I also plan on continuing to write in Danish on Lang-8 every day, and playing Duolingo every day. I may also continue with some Danish italki tuition, because private lessons make a huge difference at any stage of learning a language.

Stopping this blog has not been an easy decision to reach, but I feel it is for the best. I sincerely wish whoever is reading this good luck and fun with their language learning.

So this is “Vi ses” for now.

Danish Maths

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With foreign languages being such a right brain activity and mathematics being such a left brain activity, it is actually very challenging to do arithmetic in Danish.

The number order is switched round, so instead of saying “thirty six” you’d say “six and thirty”. This is still something that I problems with in Danish, particularly when listening to people reading out telephone numbers. I sometimes even have problems saying my own telephone number in Danish, but by now I’ve managed to learn it by rote.

A special mention goes to Danish mathematical symbols. The multiplication symbol is not what it was when I went to school in the UK. We used an x as in “3 x 2 = 6”. In Danish, you use a dot. So the small equation above becomes “3•2=6”. Sometimes, a division symbol can be a semi colon “:”, which I would associate with expressing a ratio. Continue reading

My first impressions in a Danish Gymnasium!

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I am now enrolled full time on a course called “GIF”. It is a super intensive 1 year course, where I will achieve a “studentereksamen” – a typical Danish school leaving qualification – by next Summer.

It was daunting doing everything in Danish. On my first day there, the introduction speech about the course was punctuated by a lot of laughs. Not that I understood much of it – I was extremely nervous, and it is really hard to concentrate on listening to a foreign language when your attention is all going into how uncomfortable you are feeling!

But then suddenly I tried to reframe the situation and think a lot more positively: ”I am going to get so good at Danish by the end of this course!” Continue reading

Going back to school… Danish style!

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It’s time for a history lesson. I originally started this blog when I was living in Thailand in 2013, and I wanted to document my journey about how I’d become fluent in Thai, followed by how I’d learn several other languages to a high level.

Suffice to say, that plan didn’t really happen. This blog followed me back home from Bangkok to London, and then finally to what is now my new home here in a cosy satellite town of Copenhagen.

Despite having been in Denmark for almost two years now, I am still very much trying to get established. Continue reading

JRR Tolkien on Learning Languages — the book-bound polyglot

This week I have been taking advice from Rachel over at the book-bound polyglot and reading in my target language for pleasure. The book that I am reading’s original title is “Mindset” by Dr.Carol Dweck, and although it has a rather plain name in Danish “Du er hvad du tænker” (you are what you think) it is still full of uplifting and encouraging ideas, and research backed stories. If you haven’t heard of the book, I’d heartily recommend it!

I’m also in the process of reading The Lord of the Rings, and I thought I’d share this amazingly written article about JRR Tolkien and his refreshing and simple approach to language learning. See you guys next week!

I’m a huge Tolkien fan, and it’s not just because of his fiction. There’s no doubt that JRR Tolkien was a true language lover. While he is most famous for writing The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, those stories grew out of his avid construction of new languages, like Quenya and Sindarin. Tolkien […]

via JRR Tolkien on Learning Languages — the book-bound polyglot

Obligatory Pokémon GO! post

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During the past couple of weeks, Pokémon GO has taken the world by storm – there have been so many news stories and an incredible amount of people affected by it. Sorry, but here is one more story for you…

As a long standing Pokémon fan, I was a bit disappointed but not altogether surprised to find out that my ancient Samsung Galaxy S2 was not compatible with the popular pocket monster app. Seriously, my phone is 5 years old –  I am surprised that Duolingo runs on it!

Something that I was also surprised about was when I was cycling home the other day when a small group of teenagers shouted out to me “undskyld har du set nogle pokémon?” (excuse me, have you seen any pokemon) as I passed them by. I absent mindedly replied “nej, desværre” (no unfortunately) before it suddenly dawned on me that I was spontaneously having a random conversation about Pokémon in the street with a bunch of strangers. All in Danish.

If nothing else, the app certainly gets people talking!

I’ve got to be honest, this was a situation that I never thought would ever had happened when I came to Denmark almost two years ago. But then again I guess life is full of surprises!

I’ve also found myself explaining about Pokémon GO in Danish to several other people, so it has been a fantastic ice breaker.

Have you experienced any bizarre Pokémon GO stories involving foreign languages?

Consistency really is king

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I am delighted to report that recently I’ve been getting lots of compliments about my level of Danish from my wife’s friends and family here in Denmark.

The secret to my Danish language learning is a massive focus on consistency. That’s it. Just doing something every day with Danish, and making a habit out of it. You can also see my efforts in this from how often I update this blog – here’s a graph showing how my blog posting went from being irregular to consistently publishing something every week.

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You can also see this from how often I use Lang-8. Here is a snapshot of how often I wrote in November 2015:

lang-8Nov2015

And let’s compare that to how frequently I wrote in, say, May 2016:

Lang-8May2016

(for those who are curious, you can see my Lang-8 profile here)

Continue reading

The next step with Danish integration

In about 5 weeks from now, I will have been living in Denmark for 2 years. That has gone by very quickly!

I’ve been surviving here doing work mostly revolving around English teaching – or at least using the English language in some vicinity.

I will be looking for new work in August/September time, and now I am considering the option of working in a Danish environment! It will be really scary and challenging, but it is also something that I feel I need to do in order to become more integrated in my local area.

In my local library I spotted a book called “Vejen til Jobbet” by Trine Just Jørgensen (the road to the job) which has advice about CV writing and job applications. It is all in Danish of course, but hopefully it will be of use to me.

Continue reading

Having fun with languages again

Earlier this year, I publicly listed my language goals which were to:

  • achieve a CEFR C1 level of Danish (by passing the Studieprøven exam)
  • achieve a CEFR B2 level of Thai
  • possibly work on “Russian, Chinese and Esperanto”

The final bullet point on that list is rather fuzzy, but I’m just directly quoting my blog post at the start of this year.

It’s July now, and so far I have achieved a certified B2 level in Danish – this is still something I am super proud of as it gives me a sense of momentum and legitimacy as an aspiring polyglot. Continue reading

Results of my Prøve i Dansk 3 mundtlig test

After receiving a C grade equivalent for my Danish reading and writing exam, I was kind of dreading the oral (mundtlig), mainly because Danish pronunciation is extremely difficult.

I spent a tremendous amount of time trying to prepare my presentation. I memorised the whole thing by rote, practising it constantly at home, at work during my breaks, and even muttering it under my breath while commuting to and from work. It was a two minute presentation, and honestly I must have practised it hundreds of times.

During my oral exam, I am sure I that delivered my two minute presentation in a very nervous manner. The second section of the exam, an absolutely unscripted conversation was also quite challenging – I had to talk about youth culture and crime, offering opinions on an ideal justice system for Denmark.

As per the standard oral exam format, I left the room while the examiner spoke to the censor and they agreed on my grade. It was the most agonising three minutes in recent memory. This grade is important because it affects my future education and employment options here in Denmark, and in turn how I can provide for my family.

Finally I was called back into the room, and to my relief, I passed the exam! Continue reading