List of languages – sensible approach

Publishing lists of languages one is learning, wants to learn or merely dreams of learning seems to be a current fad in the Polish community of language bloggers (see eg. here and here).

As dull and vapid autobiographical posts like this one are bound to be read more (humans are gossipy animals after all) than anything more substantial, and as at the moment I don’t, in fact, have anything more substantial to say, let me join this caravan and for the umpteenth time provide you with an overview of my future failures (I say failures because such plans and lists always and always stay only on paper). 


Downsizing the dreams

A sensible approach first. Long-time plans (ie. more than a year ahead) make no sense because in the meantime circumstances change widely and wildly. Thus, I am only going to tell you a bit about a half-year perspective.

First, I am planning to use the coming months to improve my Persian – read stuff, write stuff, watch stuff, talk stuff – so that I would be able to play with the language and get well-acquainted with what’s going on in Iranian literature and humanities.

Second, I will try to pay more attention to Russian (and maybe English as well). Write more, try to broaden vocabulary, strive to sound eloquent and interesting (or at least to sound the way I can sound in English). Above all – use it more actively, maintain contacts with local Russian-speaking community, read the books I’ve gathered…

Third, a focus on Irish. It is not a language I really need to learn, but  it is a language I have to learn for the sake of preserving, as Persians have it, the water of my face. My honour, that is. I have told many people that I was going to learn it, so not learning it would mean backtracking on my word, which is not something I would do gladly.

If you didn’t notice – I am being less than half-serious now, as anyone who knows what honour is knows that it has nothing to do with keeping vague promises about learning obscure languages. Truth is, I wish to learn Irish for the fun of it. The fun of the language, the fun of the learning process, the fun of overcoming my own weakness of character. In April 2011 I will, if God so wills, sit an exam in Maynooth. It will be either B1 or B2 – I have until March to decide (which is good because right now my Irish hovers around A0).   

Fourth, – the hardest and the most pivotal part of it – resist the inevitable urge to play and toy, tweak and dabble with something else…


That would be all. The “daydreaming again” list should appear tomorrow.

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  • eskandarj  On December 13, 2010 at 10:47 am

    What are you reading (or what do you plan to read) in Persian?

    I’m taking a course on modern Persian literature starting in January and will have to read a bunch of novels in Persian, which I’m not looking forward to as I’m not a big fan of the novels. I’m still struggling to reach the point where I can read comfortably without a dictionary. When you were doing Iranian Studies, how did you improve your reading skills? Not being as dedicated a polyglot as you, the only other language I learned to the extent that I could read ‘high literature’ in it was Spanish, and that was much easier for obvious reasons. Now I’m wishing I could trade my conversational skills in some of the other languages for stronger reading ability in Persian ;)

  • peterlin  On December 13, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Hi! Long time no see! How have you been?

    Right now I’m reading: Zibakalam’s interviews with Rafsanjani; Sepehri’s poetry and a novel called قربانی باد موافق (but only because the author wants our help and presented the book to ‘prove’ that he’s dealing with Polish issues).

    Generally, I barely read fiction and we were not reading much as a part of our classwork (only some short stories by Jamalzade, Alavi and Hedayat).

    What I am planning to read is either not fiction or not modern – Siyasatname, pieces from Attar, books on Iranian national identity and Ahl-e Haqq and… I also plan to watch Qahve Talkh a lot :)

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