Monday, July 15, 2019

Two and a half years, two languages

I wrote Five Interesting Things about Learning a Language and that was way back in February 2017.

Wow, how time has travelled. 

I wrote about these 5 things:
1. There are five sets of people on language acquisition: monolingual, bilingual, trilingual, multilingual and polyglot
2. There are five categories of languages on amount of time required to acquire them
3. We desire to learn a new language based on the prestige of the speaker
4. What it takes to acquire a new language to an intermediate level
5. Chinese is the hardest language in the world, in absolute terms, even for the Chinese themselves

Check it out here for the details. 

While I read the article again today, item 4 stood out for me. That section was about the length of time you need to acquire a new language and exactly how much time you need to invest on it.

And I said that, "I will only be able to dedicate an hour a day, at best, and (with that) it will take me three years to learn a new language."

I did not mention then that I was trying to learn two languages at one go - Korean and Mandarin. (I didn't want to say it for fear it will not last.)

I know some Mandarin, but I can't read or write it. 

And I know next to nothing when it comes to the Korean language. 

That was two and a half years ago, not yet three, and how do you think I have fared?

Not very good but not that bad either.

I can read some Mandarin, but still can't write. I blame it on the pinyin keyboard. And I still have not picked up the habit of speaking to my friends and colleagues in Mandarin. I am still sticking to what I'm comfortable with, English and Cantonese, and some Malay sometimes. 

I can understand what my Korean friends text me in simple Korean and I would reply them, in what I think that would sound weird to them. But what's important is that they actually understand me.

Not too bad, eh?

Two and a half years, two languages. 


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