Categories Blog Memes & Asks Personal


Snagged these language-related questions from annaserene@Livejournal

What would you consider your native language?


What was your first language learning experience?

We started learning Swedish (the second mother tongue here in Finland) in the third grade when I was nine. My memory of learning Swedish in the 3-6 grades is that all the lights were put out in the class room and as if the curtains were drawn to shut out the sun and like I would die of boredom. I remember this is not true, but the Swedish teacher made me feel this way – very sad, very dark… it was all about her manner of being. She wasn’t bad, or nasty, or unfair or anything. Just that I wasn’t into Swedish at all and then we had a complete and utter chemical failure between me and that particular teacher that made it so bad and boring.

What languages have you studied and why did you learn them?

Swedish for six years, starting with grade 3 when I was nine. It’s a required subject, and is forced on students in school.

English for 3 years, starting with grade 6 when I was 12. It’s a required subject, but I was very happy to start learning! All my fave tv shows were either English or US.

French for two years, starting with grade 8 when I was 13. It was a voluntary subject I wanted to take, because I’ve always been interested in mid-European history and particularly in French castles and palaces. German was also a voluntary subject that I wanted to take, but I only had room for two additional voluntary subjects and I also wanted computer science as a voluntary subject. So French it was.

How does your personality affect your language learning?

I was an obedient, if mostly mediocre pupil because I hated school and couldn’t easily be motivated to put in effort beyond a certain point. But in certain subjects I was passionate about, I got better than good grades. English was one of them – I was serious about it, did all the homework assigned and even the extra ones that we didn’t have to do but could if we wanted to. My first English teacher was very demanding, strict and fair and respected her a lot (she was generally hated because she took no shit from pupils and kept the classroom in order; I respected her for it). When she gave you a good grade, you know you had earned it (and vice versa). She taught me a good grammar base that was easy to build on and extend my vocabulary later on.

I LOVE reading and always have! When elementary school was over, and I started the library school, the biggest, best book store chain in the country had English language Star Trek tie-in novels on its shelves, and I dithered many months about buying one – I wanted to so badly, I wasn’t sure my English was good enough. But finally I did buy one novel, and two days later went back for more! Reading novels became the major motivator for me to keep at it, especially after I finished all schooling. One of my favorite things to do was to curl up with a novel in English and a thick Finnish-English-Finnish dictionary, read and look up any English words in the dictionary I didn’t know that the meaning of. I’m not at the point that I very rarely have to look up the meaning of a word in dictionary – mostly when it’s something sciency, or medical.

Do you prefer learning a language in a class or on your own?

In a class! Over the years I’ve done a few attempts to better my Swedish and to continue my French lessons, but it’s been half-hearted at best.

What are your favourite language learning materials?

Well, in school we had typical 1980s grammar books, and excercise books. My favorite though were the pronunciation and discussion practise lessons my French teacher gave us – she said it was very important to learn to pronounce French properly. I don’t remember us having those things a lot in Swedish or English. English pronunciation I think I mostly learned from tv and movies, grammar and spelling in school.

How much time do you spend on language per day?

I read in Finnish and English every day, for hours and hours. I write at least a little in English and Finnish most days, and several days a week, I write a lot in English. Swedish very little, randomly and French not really at all, sadly. I’ve forgotten 99% of my French, honestly.

What are your short-term and long-term language goals?

I don’t have really have language goals. I just want to keep reading and writing English and Finnish fluently.

Oh wait! I lie! I do have a goal – sometimes, often, I forget the Finnish word for a thing, and all I can think of is what it is called in English. I’d like that to happen less! So I guess I need to keep reading Finnish widely going forward!

What is your favourite language?

English just because fanfic in my fandoms, or for my fave characters, doesn’t exist in Finnish. And the availability of certain published book genres is much wider in English than Finnish, and yet other book genres practically non-existant in Finnish.

What is the next language you want to learn?

If I could pour French language into my head that be cool! But I don’t think I’ll actually try to learn it again. German would be nice too!

What advice could you give new language learners?

Submerge yourself in it in whatever format you love! If it’s movies, great! If it’s reading, great! If it’s, writing, discussing… it’s all great! Whatever makes you want to spend time on it.

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