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Languages I am learning: Real life mode! (Long post)


As I posted this few days ago, I am going to summarize my more-than-a-year-backpacking-experience and the use of every single language that I was/am learning on Duolingo:

Spanish: I was in Latin America, but it's my native language, so no need to say anything.
English: I wasn't in any English speaking country, but I was using English every day because that's the language I talk with my girlfriend most of the time (I was travelling with her) and I used it in every European country when I had to use more advanced sentences... it's my 2nd language.
French: I was in France and Belgium and I could use it with almost no problem, except when people spoke too fast, but then I asked them to speak slowly and all was good. A bit difficult to understand, but with dedication I could do it.
Italian: The easiest language (for me) to understand and use -besides English-. It's a phonetic language, like Spanish, and also pretty similar. I was in north of Italy and Italian Switzerland. I have to say that I spoke Italian all the time there since we were staying with a Swiss friend of mine from Ticino and we travelled by car around the whole Switzerland. Amazing country (But so expensive!!!).
German: We stayed in Germany for 3 weeks aprox, my girlfriend's 2nd language is German, so I didn't use it much because I was kind of shy in front of her, but I was able to understand all the context (not every single word). I went to the supermarket or some stores by myself and I had no problem asking for directions and basic stuff.
Dutch: One of my favourite places were Dutch-speaking cities: Breda, in the Netherlands, and Antwerp, in Belgium. I wasn't in the mood to use Dutch, since everyone spoke perfect English (especially in the Netherlands, it's impressive!), but people were so charming that they made me speak. I could have small talks and ask for basic stuff, but it was kind of difficult to understand, just some random words.
Danish: I was in Copenhagen and Odense (the 3rd biggest city in Denmark) only. Most of the time I was using English, but when I saw old people, I couldn't help practicing my rusty Danish. All was good, and sometimes people didn't understand me, but it's a part of the experience.
Swedish: I was in Malmo, Vaxjo and Gothemburg. In this last city I was with a cousin of mine who lives there, so I just used Spanish. In the other cities, I was trying to use Swedish, but they always switched into English since I sounded like a foreigner (Meh).
Irish: I have to say that I didn't use it during the week we were in Ireland. I couldn't find anyone who spoke Irish... just Irish English... Pretty difficult to understand, I have to say.
Norwegian: I was in many cities in Norway (Thanks to CouchSurfing, otherwise, I wouldn't have done it... pretty expensive) and it was an unforgettable experience, lovely landscapes, lovely people, lovely weather (I love cold weather). Same thing as in Sweden, they saw me and they switched into English immediately. Alhough I practiced Norwegian with my host in Fredrikstad and she taught me many useful things (many of them I already learned them from DuoLingo) and she gave me 3 textbooks to learn Norwegian... priceless :)
Turkish: Unfortunately, I didn't go to Turkey, it was kind of far from my kind of itinerary. I'm sorry, Turkey. I will try to go next time (I heard a lot of Turkish in Europe, though).
Polish: We were in Poland for about 2 weeks (I love Gdansk!). This language, for me, was a bit easier to understand and say some basic words/sentences, since my girlfriend is Czech, language that I know more than the basics, and it's very similar to Polish. I don't know if similar, but I could get a context not with much difficulty. I talked to some people in Polish-Czech, and they understood. That was a great experience!
Russian: I have to say that I was only in small cities in Russia (Not in Moscow or St. Petersburg), so my usage of Russian was a "must" (sometimes) in cities like Omsk, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg (-24°C there!) and Kazan. Some people speak English, but I went there to hear and speak Russian, and same thing as Polish: I used a bit of Czech and I could deal with it a bit better, but Slavic languages, for me, are easier to learn thanks to my Czech.

I was in so other many countries in Europe, but I am not going to mention them since the languages are not on Duolingo (yet).

My intention of this post is to let you know, learner, that if you keep dedicating to learn languages, keep going! Also, if you can, go to the places here the language you are learning is spoken, or find someone in your city from that place and have some immersion in real life, don't get stuck in front of the computer :)

Impossible is nothing!

Thanks for reading. Have a lovely day :)

P.S. Now, time to keep using Duolingo!

July 3, 2017



Impressive, but I think, you are very talented :-)


Wow! Impressive trip!! :D What motivation for me to learn more languages.


That's great, you know a lot of languages!


i'm in awe. You must be one of those with those special abilities all of us who struggle to learn foreign languages envy. Regardless you did not do this without real effort. Congratulations! I enjoyed reading your account!


Wow that's pretty cool! How do you retain so many in your head at one time?


Your story about languages is amazing! Thank you for sharing your experiences!


Wow, good on you!


Thanks for sharing it! It is really useful and motivating.

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