We’re almost at the end of the decade and it’s time to reflect on my language learning, not only from this year, but from the whole decade!
A decade ago, I could only speak English, Scots, fluent Spanish & Italian, good Portuguese and basic Norwegian. Fast forward another 10 years and I have learned several more languages that have enhanced my life in many ways.
Which New Languages Have I Learned?
In the last decade, I have been able to learn a range of languages. As well as maintaining my existing languages listed above, I now speak French and Catalan to a good level, intermediate level German, Afrikaans and Greek in addition to learning enough Arabic, Chinese, Slovak and Russian for my travels. I also did 3 month language challenges in Sicilian, Gaelic, Napulitano, Greko (Calabrian Greek) and Welsh and made 15 minute conversation videos with my teachers. One summer, I did a challenge to take one lesson in 11 new languages and I made a video at the end.
I have travelled to over 50 countries, most within the last decade, and put my language skills to good use. Being able to speak these languages while travelling in the country has definitely made my travel experiences very rewarding.
Changes in Technology
This decade I learned so much more than in the previous decade purely because of language lessons on skype and the invention of websites such as Italki and Verbling. Smartphones have also been a huge help in my language learning. I can now learn languages on the go, watch foreign language videos, use apps, even take skype lessons on my phone. I created an online Scots Language Course with Language Boost which comes with audio and built-in Anki flashcard decks.
This decade saw the launch of worldwide language events that I attended. The Polyglot Conference where I gave a presentation on Scots and Gaelic in Japan, Langfest in Montreal where I presented on Gaelic and ‘The Other Languages of Italy‘ and the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin and Bratislava where I did 6 week challenges to learn Slovak and Urdu. The last year of the decade saw the very first Scots Language Awards held in Glasgow.
UN Year of Indigenous Languages
2019 was the official UN Year of Indigenous Languages. These languages were promoted, taught and celebrated far and wide with many events big and small taking place. I asked my friends in the Polyglot Community which indigenous languages they had been learning, writing and recording. You can read about that and watch some of our videos over HERE.
The Next Decade
My plans for the next decade will start by learning some Turkish for my trip to Turkey later in the year. I will continue regularly using my best 7 languages: Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Catalan, German and Afrikaans as well as continuing to learn Greek and Welsh.
I will also continue promoting and writing in Scots, my native language, and learning more about the other Scots dialects that are different from my own (eg Shetlandic). As for new languages, who knows? I doubt there will be as many as the last decade but that depends on my travel plans.
Which languages have you learned in the last decade? Let me know in the comments!