Future Target Languages

Hi language friends! I was sick this morning but I’m feeling much better now so why not post on my blog today? 🤓 

Needless to say, I’ve developed a strong interest in several languages from around the world. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m actively learning Spanish, Korean, and French with the majority of my time spent with Spanish. However, these are some of the languages that I have briefly studied out of curiosity this past year; I hope to learn more of these languages and cultures in the future. Earning a basic conversational level in any of these languages would be amazing! 😍

These languages include: Irish  🇨🇮  Russian 🇷🇺 Cantonese 🇭🇰 An endangered Native American language   ASL (American Sign Language) 

In the future,  I may dedicate a good six months in these languages and see how far I get in that amount of time. Eventually, I’d like to interact with native speakers; whom, I believe, are at the heart of a language. 💖

Why learn Irish?

Genuine Interest:  a celtic language, a historically oppressed language, an endangered language, but nevertheless a vibrant, beautiful language.  Lately, I’ve become increasingly fascinated by Irish culture and celtic music. I have a tiny bit of Irish blood in me since my great-grandmother was part Irish. I think my great, great grandmother  immigrated from Ireland ( I don’t know what part 😟) to Liverpool, England and somehow down the family line ended up in the USA. 

I was looking up language videos when I came across a woman around my age who was teaching Irish online. I decided to watch some of her videos and simply became more interested in the language. It’s kinda funny but sad at the same time that so many Irish people do not speak Irish due to colonialism by the British. Only about 1.7% of the population of Ireland speaks Irish on a daily basis. It’s nice to imagine that there was a time where the ENTIRE population of Ireland spoke Irish. 

On a side note, I have started learning the traditional wooden Irish flute! Don’t be fooled it is a challenge to learn this instrument. 😂 I’ve become a fan of this special genre of music. I’m actually listening to Celtic flute music right now as I write this blog post.   Do you listen to celtic music too? It puts me in a good mood. There is this two minute song on Insight Timer called celtic harp in the rain ( I think) and I have listened to it multiple times. That’s how relaxing it is! I should probably donate to the artists since I listen to her song so much. 🎼

Why learn Russian? 

Native speakers in my community: I was working a year ago when I saw that a customer typed something in this language that I could not recognize. I found out later that they typed something in Russian. I am not familiar with the Cyrillic writing system and it initially sparked my interest in the language. I soon found out that there is a Russian speaking community within the Sacramento area where I reside. When my brother, Jon, started his first job as a high school math teacher in 2020 he soon found out that many of the students speak Russian at home with their parents. Who knew there’s such a large Russian speaking community so  close to home? 

I encouraged Jon to start learning a little bit to be able to have basic conversations with some of the Russian speaking students and staff at his school. We both started a bit of Russian with Duolingo but that soon fizzled out as I became focused on other languages. I hope to revisit Russian and learn some basics.  

Why learn Cantonese?

Family heritage – Many of my ancestors spoke Cantonese because they were from the Guangdong province of China. These ancestors immigrated to the United States so long ago… through the generations we’ve lost the language and along with that much of the culture and ties to China. I remember that my grandparents could speak enough to order food at a Dim Sum restaurant in ChinaTown;I think that we were provided better service because of it! 😂 

However, they did not end up teaching much Cantonese to their children. Therefore my mom and her siblings did not get the benefit of growing up with this language. I know that this is one of the most challenging languages for an English-speaker to learn so I will take my time with this one and I will expect to put in many years of hard work to get to a conversational level. I’ll need a lot of help with native speakers to get the tones right or at least sorta right. I figure if I say something in the wrong tone it’ll completely change the meaning and I really don’t want to say anything inappropriate ( has happened before). 🤭 

Why learn a Native American language? 

Respect and Interest for Native American Culture: I’ve decided down the road I want to learn an endangered Native American language. I grew up living near Maidu park in northern California –a protected area that was once the village of the Maidu tribe. The featured photo of this post is my favorite oak tree in Maidu Park. 🌳 I loved going to the Maidu museum and walking around the park. About a year ago I was curious about their language but I couldn’t find ANYTHING about the language other than Maidu means “Man”. It was saddening to find out that the language has died out. We have this patch of preserved land with a museum that my city takes so much pride in but we no longer have the language to pass on to future generations. 

The sheer amount of oppression many Native American tribes suffered from throughout history has created this gap where we have lost huge chunks of their culture as many died or were forced to assimilate into the domineering English-speaking American way of life. The early days of the birth of America and settling in the west was a dark period of time especially for Native American tribes. I have respect for people that speak the native language of their ancestors and work to keep traditions alive. Today, most people of Native American descent speak only English however there are language revival efforts. 

UPDATE: I actually found a website that has documented Native American languages including knowledge about Maidu. It is not much but there is some vocabulary. Check it out here: http://www.native-languages.org/languages.htm  Check out this site to view an extensive list of Native American tribes: https://www.legendsofamerica.com/na-tribelist/

Why learn American Sign Language (ASL)? 

Ability to communicate with the deaf community: A few years ago when I was working with children I taught myself a little ASL because many of the children that I worked with had developmental disabilities and struggled with speech. I would use the tiny amount of ASL I knew to help with communication. During one summer school session I met some children that only communicated in ASL. They were some of the sweetest children. I remember we were all waiting for the buses after school when a little girl signed that she needed to use the bathroom. I understood her and told the supervisor of the group so he could rush her to the restroom. He picked her up and was running to the restroom! It was funny! You just had to be there! She made it in time. 🤣

On a side note: The movie: a quiet place! The characters in that movie used sign language to communicate due to deadly monsters that will attack if you’re too loud. The movie stars Millicent Simmons who is a deaf actress and plays one of my favorite characters in the movie. I’m so glad she is in the movie and representing the deaf community on the big screen. She’s amazing and also inspires me to learn some ASL! Plus, I mean, we have to be able to silently communicate if there is ever a super hearing monster situation. Right?!

SO, that is my extensive list of future target languages at the moment. Of course, each language in existence is interesting in it’s own way. Let me know which languages you want to study in the future! 

Have a wonderful week y’all! Take care!

Rosa Janelle

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