Filipino, French, Hungarian, Japanese, Languages

Language learning update

Posted by Cat Ramos

Bonjour à tous! お元気ですか?Ako, keri lang 🙂

Just a bit of an update from the language learning front. I know that I haven’t been writing much about the topic since quitting my Alliance Française classes. But I assure you that I have not stopped studying at all. 🙂

1. Filipino/Tagalog – My tutorial classes with my boss are temporarily on hold while he is in New York and will resume once he is back in Manila in May. It has been interesting so far and I hope to write more about memorizing vocabulary. In a future post, I would like to highlight Brainscape, one of the tools I incorporated in the lessons to help retain him new words. Also, my boss has an interesting way of dealing with vocabulary that many language learners and teachers swear by.

2. Japanese – I actually thought of enrolling in the Business Japanese course to be conducted by Ogata-sensei this summer. But I checked my schedule on Saturdays and I would rather be at the beach than inside the classroom. Sorry naman 🙂 But I am regularly studying business Japanese anyway, using my own deck in Brainscape. I have a long way to go before I finish Business Japanese. But after this, I will have to work on the books I purchased from Amazon: mail writing in Nihongo, plus more business related stuff.

3. French – aside from Assimil New French With EaseCoffee Break French, FSI (bit boring), and Alter Ego+ Niveau 1 (less boring than FSI because it has nice pictures), I have added Michel Thomas and the Youtube channel “Imagiers” to my learning arsenal. I am still having trouble with listening — not a surprise since I had the same problem with Japanese. Podcasts and Youtube are very useful to correct pronunciation through shadowing and also helps improve listening skills. God knows I need some huge help with that dreaded “R” sound. It depends on the word, actually. For the life of me, I cannot properly say “tiret” or “directrice” but I do not have any problem with “verbe” or “être”. Go figure.

Then there is also Brainscape. I purchased their French vocabulary pack that has an extensive list of words — and each word comes with an audio file. Again, great for pronunciation and listening. 🙂

4. Hungarian – surprise! Yep, I recently added Magyar to the list.

Parce que je voudrais parler hongrois avec Endre et je voudrais aller en Budapest et Lake Balaton et Etyek etc. Endre est tres important pour moi. > I really need to learn how to say this in Hungarian. But at least I should get some brownie points for using languages other than English 🙂

Many people think that Hungarian is one of the most difficult languages in the world, mostly stemming from the fact that it is so different from English or French or German. From the few days I have spent studying it, I am inclined to agree with them. The very first time I opened my book, I got intimidated by the funky-looking vowels and the combined consonants. Then I listened to the audio and almost got a nosebleed.

But polyglots like Benny Lewis and Gabriel Wyner do not agree. In fact, Benny came up with this list of reasons why Hungarian is easy. Also, Gabriel describes Hungarian as having a well-behaved grammar structure. Thank God for that. In this stage of my learning journey, I don’t think I have much energy to deal with “misbehaving” languages. 🙂

As proof, Benny made this video of him speaking in Hungarian after only 2 months of learning. He admitted that he is far from perfect. But who cares about perfection? The most important thing in language learning is to communicate – to speak and be understood, to listen and understand. One day, I will make my own videos too 😀

For this part of the journey, I have the ever-reliable Assimil to help me. And of course FSI because it is available to me. But my main material is Colloquial Hungarian by Carol Rounds. Highly recommended by Benny and Gabriel.

Also, I am subscribed to a couple of Youtube channels like Hungarianpod101 to help with the tricky pronunciation and of course, the bane of my existence, listening. I am slowly building a Hungarian phrases and words deck and will explore Rhinospike in the near future for audio clips.

Szia, jó estét. Hogy van?
A nevem Catalina. Filippino vagyok. Nem beszélek magyarul. (toink!)

It may seem that I am taking on too much at a time. Japanese + French would work since I am already at an advanced level of Japanese. But to throw in Hungarian into the fray could be suicidal. Maybe so. But it can be done, I think. Right now, I am doing all three on a regular basis. I do not spend more than 30 minutes on each, though.

I will consider this my Total Annihilation Challenge 2014. I hope that by the end of 2014, I would have some glowing results to write about. And a couple more languages to write with!


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2 thoughts on “Language learning update

  1. Eu

    Neko-san… *O*
    How many languages do you speak? 5? WOW *O*
    Btw, what is Brainscape? Is it similar to Anki? :O

    1. catchan1980

      Elaine-san: Yep, same thing as Anki. I used Anki before but my PC crashed and I just didn’t have the heart to start all over again with Anki. Besides, Brainscape is free for iOS while Anki is not (only free for Android).

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