Exercising your brain

Slavic Dialects- Languages
Slavic Dialects- Languages

For those of you who follow any/ some/ all of my adventures and misadventures I have something a bit different to share. My newest mental exercise…

Like most everyone, I need to learn new languages. Also, like everyone I can make a thousand excuses about not learning a new language. I should note, although a language is new to me chances are pretty good the language has actually been around a while. I could say I have heard all the excuse and certainly there are probably too many reasons for me to list, nonetheless I’ll offer a few of my favorite language comments:

  • I don’t have the time to learn a language; I’m too busy.
  • Can you read this for me? I don’t understand the writing, language, words, whatever…
  • Is this available in English?
  • They use a funny alphabet.  I can’t read it.
  • I can’t learn a new language.
  • I am bad with language (Although I should comment thatmost people who says this to me seem to use the plural form ‘languages’; but, they actually only speak a single language. Curious.)

In my situation, I have the desire or ‘need’ to learn Polish because of friends I have found in the region I research for my mother’s family genealogy.  Today, the area is Poland. The area used to be German. I already read, write and speak German, albeit to my mind sub-optimally. Now those former areas of Germany are part of Poland; I like the people I have met; and I want to communicate ‘a little bit’ in their language with them.  Why? I guess it is because I like them.

The bottom line is that I am who my son says I am, the old guy (60+) and I am learning Polish… ich bin der alte (60+) und ich lerne Polnisch.  For me it is more than fun.  It is full of interesting twists; and, I am able to fit most of my learning in while doing my morning walk. I have to say, I do like the sound of Polish, even tough it tangles my tongue.

For those who are still reading my ramblings and are interested, here are some of the tools I use:

  • Pimsleur Language Tapes (Obtained at no-cost from my local library– because I’m independently poor)
  • 50languages.com (I bought the lifetime subscription for 6 euros.)
  • Mówić po polsku -Speak Polish  (also Free)
  • Easy Languages– These videos are free but fast moving.  They give you a good idea of a language’s sounds and cadence.

So I guess if you want an adventure coupled with a sense of accomplishment, I recommend trying a new language.  Try one that your family might have spoken in the past, if you don’t already know them.  There are many affordable (or Free) and easy tools out there.

Note: if you want to try learning or improving your German, Deutsche Welle offers an excellent set of Free courses.