Ever since I first heard about the idea of building a "bucket list" I have been fascinated by it. It's optimistic, ambitious and fun. It keeps us focused and excited about the opportunities out there. And of course, there's a natural sense of urgency to a list of "things to do before I kick the bucket".
So imagine my excitement when regular Fluent writer Angel sent me her most recent blog article. She's sharing her own language bucket list, the list of languages to learn in her lifetime. It's a great perspective, and I'm excited to be sharing more of these lists in the future.
Over to Angel..
My Language Bucket List (or things I want to achieve before I die)
There are bucket lists for almost everything you can think of. I have even made my own little generic bucket list on a blog that I eventually deleted. They seem to interest us because it's one of the few things we all have in common and that's death. Since we can't live forever there are things that we'd like to do and possibly be remembered for. I got the idea of a language bucket list from Ron at Language Surfer. I decided maybe this was the type of bucket list I could stick to.
Why a language bucket list?
I've tried all the other bucket lists such as a health related one, a spirituality related one and even a few based off of traveling but I always grew bored with them. Languages may be one of the few things that I can work on everyday and not feel like I'm doing work. I'm passionate about all the other stuff..just not to the length that I want to really write out my progress for the world to see.
I also love the fact that it gives me more people to speak to by learning a language. I can speak to the many natives of that language or other language learners. I love reading so it gives me more books to read, more video games to play. Language learning just opens up a whole new world for me. Other things can do that but this way has been the one that has been the most fun for me.
Here are my big language bucket list items:
1. Spend Winter in Japan speaking Japanese
I love the Japanese language & culture. It was the first foreign language I studied seriously. Since then I have even created a blog using some of my favorite games/anime to help others with learning that language. The reason for winter came up when I read a book stating that in Sapporo during winter that there are more snow-people than people. I love winter because of snow. This is probably my number one goal in language learning and I could die happy with just this.
2. Read and write in Arabic
My reasons for this are mostly religious. I consider the Arabic language one of the most difficult. I probably said the same thing about Japanese years ago but I've learned a huge amount of that writing system. It's the only language I'm learning mostly for religious reasons. But I do now also have Arabic friends and I would like to speak to them in their native language. But this was not one of the languages I had originally planned on learning.
3. Have a conversation in Mandarin Chinese
Mandarin Chinese was originally going to be my first second language. But it looked and sounded so difficult that I gave up on that goal and started studying Japanese instead. I always liked the way the language sounds. I still do. After giving up the idea of learning this language I met many people who have learned to to read, write and converse in Mandarin Chinese as their second language. It proved me to that maybe it's not as difficult as it seems. Even if it is difficult it would be worth it in the end.
4. Learn Russian and read many books in that language
My first encounter with this language was as a kid in some cartoons and the music on most keyboard pianos. Back then I wasn't as sure if I could learn another language but I did love hearing Russian. It also doesn't hurt that recently I downloaded a whole lot of books in Russian. I lost count. It's one of the things I love about my Kindle: free books. I will read them one day. In my opinion Russian is one of the most beautiful languages in the world. I had talked about learning Russian back when I was taking Japanese in college. I just need to get back to it and probably will when Duolingo releases that Russian course.
5. Read Marx books in German.
Let's get it out of the way. Marxism was not my reason for wanting to learn German. After Russian, German is one of my favorite languages to listen to. English is a Germanic language and I love seeing the similarities in English & German. According to my mother we have German ancestry. I have sometimes wondered why her maiden name means “big” in German. The Marxist book idea came much later when trying to create a political atmosphere in a novel I'm working on. I'm North American and did not want to do Republicans versus Democrats. I'm too close to that and would be biased. I looked over the languages I was interested in and decided to use a political belief that I would have to research. Authors use any excuse to research something.
What's on YOUR language bucket list?
I'm not a huge fan of bucket lists though I love the movie that inspired the idea. It sometimes feels like New Year's Resolutions. You're hyped up when you create them but they quickly fall to the side to be forgotten. I do like seeing language bucket lists though simply because I like encouraging other language learners. So if you have any language goals to do before kicking the bucket let me know.
Tell us more about the languages you must learn in this life in the comments! What do you want to achieve with those languages? What is your speaking, reading, writing dream?
Angel and I can't wait to see what you've got.