Language Circuits

I’ve been really busy recently, and sadly this poor blog has been neglected once again. Recently I’ve been reading a book about general language learning called “Smile Talk Cheesecake” and one of the things that I read in it was about how telling stories in different languages can change the feeling and tone.

Before Christmas last year I separated with my wife and around February of this year we finalised the divorce process. It’s been over eight months now at this time of writing, and during this calendar year I’ve really been putting in the work to rebuild my life alone here in Denmark. I’m happy to say that I’m doing ok for now, but the journey has not been easy at all.

Why I am telling you this story? Well I do volunteer work for the Rak Thai community here in Copenhagen, and I got talking to an acquaintance who hasn’t seen me in a long while. She asked me about what happened – I used to volunteer on a weekly basis and then suddenly I vanished – so I filled her in on the details in my private life.

To my surprise I found myself getting a little tearful as I explained about how I now live alone and that I went through a really intense heartbreak. A little later I realised that this was the first time I’d actually told the story in Thai language to anyone. And it hurt so much… the emotions were very raw.

I’ve told the story tons of times in English to the point where I can even make jokes about it all by now. In my improv comedy class I mentioned that I had poor mental health before coming to Denmark and was persuaded that life here would be better for me. I saw a psychologist every day for two years… and then we divorced.

Anyway, that’ll do for today I think. I plan on relaunching this blog very soon, I’ve even purchased hosting and a domain and everything and am working hard on getting it up and running.

Have you ever retold a story in another language and found that it feels very different? This is something really new to me, but on a positive note it shows that at least my Thai is fluent enough to talk about this stuff openly with someone. That’s gotta count for something.

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Lazy language learning

I have a bit of a confession. Recently, I’ve been feeling really, really burned out. This is a language learning blog, but outside of my routine use of Danish and Thai and my super casual side project of Esperanto, I’ve been doing a lot of other stuff.

I’ve been taking my health very seriously. I’ve been learning how to eat ‘clean’ – which is taking an enormous effort to buy the right ingredients, prepare these said ingredients, and then of course cook them. I’ve had to learn my way around a kitchen too. I’ve also been learning how to exercise and for the past couple of months have been consistently working out 2 – 4 times a week (I aim for 4 times a week). I’m using an app with detailed tutorials about body movements, so working out this way is helping my physical health a lot, but I am also learning a lot and it is surprisingly cerebral.

I hope that with time, these new skills will become a bit more like habits which are self reinforcing. But right now, doing all of this in addition to my two (soon to be three) part time jobs as well as being a dad is exhausting.

So I’ve been cutting myself some slack and watching a cybersecurity TV drama series called “Mr Robot”. Continue reading

Postponing my formal Danish studies until January 2018

So recently I made a huge mistake while studying Danish as a second language at the Copenhagen Adult Education Centre (or ‘KVUC’ as they write it in Danish). There was a whole string of events which went wrong, beginning with a rushed late enrollment to their online self study course, and then when I went to go in and collect my textbook my bicycle got a flat tyre and I had to wait several days while I found another opening in between my two part time jobs that I am working.

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This was the picture most in my likeness of me studying 😀

I logged onto their website, read the assignment, and then went on to read the required pages of the textbook in small bursts when I had time on public transport and during work breaks. Then I slowly worked through the exercises and submitted something that in the end I was quite proud of. It felt great to be studying again – all in Danish!

And then I got a confused e-mail from my tutor explaining that I had submitted the entirely wrong assignment! Continue reading

How Thai language helped me through challenging times

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So last week I wrote a post explaining what I’ve been up to over the past year and it has been great to share part of my story with you all. This week I’d like to talk what helped me get through some particularly challenging moments.

Oddly enough it was my knowledge of Thai which ended up being a really, really valuable asset in gleaning wisdom from this small book of quotes given to me by a monk at Wat Pa Temple here in Copenhagen.

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My well worn but loved book of inspirational quotes that has helped me through ridiculously hard times.

This book contains quotes from many western great thinkers such as Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, Issac Newton, William Shakespeare and many others. Continue reading

Et år senere / One year later…

It’s taken me ages to find the right words to tell this story. You could say that things got bad, but I prefer to describe them in a more positive spin and instead say that they got interesting. At this time of writing I am divorced, and I visit my daughter two to three times a week. I work two part time jobs – soon to be three part time jobs, whilst also studying part time. I think of myself as a part time father too, so right now everything in my life is a crazy jigsaw puzzle of part time everything!

Continue reading

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