My languages

My native language is English, and I am fluent, more or less, in Mandarin, French, Welsh and Irish. I can speak German, Scottish Gaelic, Manx, Japanese and Spanish fairly well, and can get by to some extent in Esperanto, Italian, Portuguese, Cantonese, Taiwanese, Czech, Russian, Breton and Dutch. I’ve also dabbled with a number of other languages, including Arabic, British Sign Language, Hindi, Hungarian, Korean, Latin and Turkish.

Since 2007 I’ve sung in a number of different choirs in Brighton, London and Bangor, and attended singing courses and workshops in Wales, Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man. I’ve learnt songs in many languages, including English, Irish, Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Manx, French, Spanish, Italian, Corsican, Latin, Bulgarian, Croatian, Greek, Georgian, Russian, Zulu, Xhosa, Northern Ndebele, Yoruba, Tswana and Maori.

Current language use
At the moment I’m learning Dutch, and brushing up my Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and Japanese. While I use my foreign languages whenever the opportunity arises, English is the language I speak most of the time. Since 2010 I have been going to a French conversation group every week; in 2013 I started a polyglot conversation group where I have opportunities to speak various languages, and to share my languages with others; and I use my Irish at a summer school in Ireland every summer. Apart from that most of my language use involves listening and reading, plus writing on Multilingual musings my other blog.

A year of languages
In July 2013 I decided to spend a year focusing on a different language each month in preparation for the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin in June 2014. This involves writing and recording something on Multilingual musings every day, listening to online radio, reading stuff, and trying to find opportunities to speak the languages. I focused on Irish in July, Scottish Gaelic in August, Manx in September, Welsh in October, Breton in November, and Dutch in December. In November I realised that my Breton writing skills were decidedly lacking, so I didn’t manage to write much in it on my blog, and in December I decided to start a completely new language, Dutch. Since January 2014 I have continued to study Dutch, and to work on a number of other languages.

Language goals
Ultimately I’d love to be fluent in all the languages I’ve studied or dabbled with, and in many others. I recognise that this is perhaps overly ambitious so am concentrating on maintaining and improving the ones I already know.

Wish list
Other languages I might get round to learning one of these days: Basque, Cornish, Greek, Hawaiian, Norwegian, Scots, Swahili, Swedish

More details of my language learning adventures


10 Responses to My languages

  1. Heru says:

    I read you are very amazing (mengagumkan). But won’t you be interested in Bahasa Indonesia?

  2. Simon says:

    I haven’t got round to learning any Indonesian yet – maybe one day I will.

  3. IronMike says:

    I like your idea of studying one a month. My wife calls me fickle about languages. I rarely spend too much time on just one. I am at the 2-3 level (ACTFL) in Russian, Serbian/Croatian, Esperanto, and lower (1-1+) in Cornish and German, with a smidge of Irish. I might be missing some. My Czech reading is about a 1, as is my Slovene.

    I think I’ll steal your idea. Perhaps this month I’ll try to get my Croatian back up?!

  4. Deja Koren says:

    Dear IronMike,

    if you need any help with Croatian, feel free to contact me, since I am a Croat and would love to help anyone who is interested. My email is:


  5. Akane says:

    Mike: you pretty much covered my ethnic background, all of it, with your chosen languages! I’m learning Croatian, too. I am a beginner, but I love THINKING in Croatian.

  6. Tim says:

    Hi there,

    A friend on Facebook told me about Wikitongues, and as I was looking through it, I landed here!
    I am teaching the language of my city (Penang, Malaysia) online. The language is called Penang Hokkien. If you have the chance, please check out what I have at:

    Learn Penang Hokkien

    Love to hear from you.

    Take care and thank you (or as we say in my language, kam1siah3 lu4 ce3-ce3!)


  7. Andrej says:

    Croatian doesn’t exist as a language. It is politics in the Balkans messing with science, Croatian is an extinct language and Croats use a Serbian dialect called Kaikavian. The other dialects in Croatia are mostly spoken by Catholic Serbs who have been indoctrinated either during communism or by the pressure of medieval Venice.

  8. Deanna says:

    Always get drawn back to language studies. But also need to make a living. Any suggestions besides greeter @ Walmart? I love computers but want more people contact. I also DON’T care much for the idea of being a programmer. Right now my focus is on Italian. Through my years I’ve also studied Spanish, Latin, German, & French. My Japanese & Chinese is extremely limited. I even have some on Nintendo DS for fun.

  9. Simon says:

    Deanna – there are some suggestions for language-related careers on:

  10. Simon you are a true miracle. So many languages and so a nice and interesting website.

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