Some Thoughts on Language “Fluency”

Un camino lindo en Mindo (Ecuador)

“So how many languages do you speak?” It’s a question I get quite often, and it’s one that deserves a lot more nuance than a one-word response. Having grown up as a monolingual in a household of multiple languages, I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of multilingualism, to speak two, three, or even an… Continue reading Some Thoughts on Language “Fluency”

Year of the Dragon: My 2024 New Year Language Goals

To celebrate the Year of the Dragon, our Chinese Language Program had a few activities such as 書法 (Chinese calligraphy) workshop. Here’s my attempt at this symbol for this year’s zodiac animal.

Happy Year of the Dragon! Six months in Taiwan have flown by, and I’ve done a lot of reflecting about what my 2024 new year language goals are. When it comes to language learning, I’ll be focusing on four of them — one that is relatively new, and three that I’ve been working on for… Continue reading Year of the Dragon: My 2024 New Year Language Goals

[四海为家]: Returning to myself in Taiwan

A chéngyǔ is a Chinese idiom that is typically written in only 4 characters. One that I’ve been reflecting on this past week is 四海为家 (sì hǎi wéi jiā), which literally translates to “four seas regard home”. A decade ago, I would have understood this to mean exactly what it implies: the ability to make… Continue reading [四海为家]: Returning to myself in Taiwan

One-Month Mandarin Marathon + 3 Handy Resources

I’ve been in Taiwan for a week now, and while navigating Taipei is doable in English, one of the major reasons I came here was to become fluent in Mandarin. With one month before the semester starts, I’ve got enough time for an intensive self-study challenge. I was fortunate enough to receive a monthly language-learning… Continue reading One-Month Mandarin Marathon + 3 Handy Resources

A Beginner’s Resource Guide to Less Commonly Taught Languages

In my various attempts at trying to acquire less commonly taught languages (LCTLs), one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced is knowing where and how to find the resources to begin. If you’re looking to learn an LCTL but don’t know where to start, this page is for you. The National Council of Less Commonly… Continue reading A Beginner’s Resource Guide to Less Commonly Taught Languages

Fieldnote #2: When a Pokémon Master knows 17th-Century French Literature

I’ve recently been playing through the French version of Pokemon Omega Ruby for Nintendo 3DS— partly for the nostalgia/escapism, but also as a means to improving my French reading.  For those who aren’t familiar, there’s a place called Maison de Combat (“Battle Maison” in the English version, strangely enough), where you can enter 20-round tournaments… Continue reading Fieldnote #2: When a Pokémon Master knows 17th-Century French Literature

To Buenos Aires

Te echo de menos, Amor de Verano— Even if I struggle to speak of three days  We spent in love strolling across  Summer afternoons in Italy and France  In t-shirts and gym shorts, still I  Whisper your name beneath blankets  Of strangers. We lay on the grass behind Gardens of roses and flowers of metal,… Continue reading To Buenos Aires

How to Learn Nouchi like an Ivorian

“Le bon wé pour caler son djê” (the right way to get your money)

On dit quoi? At first glance, Côte d’Ivoire’s colorful argot can be difficult to decipher. Some call it a dialect, some call it a creole, while others may consider it a completely different language. No matter which way you see it, you’ll certainly hear it spoken in Abidjan and many other parts of the country.… Continue reading How to Learn Nouchi like an Ivorian

The 5 Principles for Learning a Language Effectively

“The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: Original French (right), Bamanakan translation (left)

How do you learn a language effectively? Language learning is one of my greatest passions in life. Up to this point, I’ve studied 13 languages, and I’ve used two of them at a high communicative level. Even though I can’t claim near-native fluency in any of them (yet), I’m happy to say that learning a… Continue reading The 5 Principles for Learning a Language Effectively