|Hitko Rafing in Konjic, Bosnia & Herzegovina.|
I was brought up bilingually. I was born and raised in Sweden, which naturally gave me the Swedish language, and my mother is from Finland, so we spoke Finnish at home. So basically I got two languages practically for free. I think growing up with two languages has given me the ability to aquire other language more easily. There are many studies about bilingualism and many of them show that being bilingual helps your brain in many ways, for example in multitasking. Well, at the moment in addition to my native knowledge of Finnish and Swedish, I also speak fluent German and English. But understanding a language isn't just about knowing what the words mean. It is just as much about knowing about and understanding the culture. That can not be aquired unless you actually live in a country for an amount of time. Native knowledge of a language cannot be aquired in class.
My hunger for languages is endless. Everytime I travel to a country, where I don't speak the language, I get the need to learn that language. I want to know more about a culture, and there is no better way to do that than learning the language, and vice versa. I am also very fast at getting the hang of the structure and basics of a language. Last summer and this summer I've spent altogether about two weeks in Italy, and already in that short time I was able to aquire a knowledge that made it possible for me to interact on a basic level with native Italians. Well, at least if they speak fairly slow... A few months or a year in Italy, and I'd be speaking the language pretty well. But this happens in every country I go to. I try to learn some basic things, and once I get back home, I have this endless hunger to learn more.
Last summer I was CouchSurfing in Hungary and I stayed with this lovely couple in a small city called Eger. In their home they had notes all over the furniture, where you could read the name of the piece of furniture in question in many different languages. I thought this was a genious idea! For what better way is there to learn new words than seeing them on regular basis. In this way you learn them almost automatically. At the moment I am trying to learn some more Italian, and I've done the thing with notes in my home as well. Thanks for the idea to P and J!
|Charming Eger in Hungary.|
During my travels and studies I have learned a bit of many languages. Russian, French, Italian, Spanish, Norwegian, Serbian and Croatian, Greek, Arabic, Japanese... The list will surely keep growing, but I hope that some of these beginner level languages will develop into a deeper level of knowledge, because that will help understanding the culture as well, and what's more important? At least if you find yourself in an ambulance with no means of understanding what is being said to you.