During my year off between school and university (1988-1989) I had a vague notion
of trying to find a job in Iceland. Why Iceland? Well it seemed like
a good idea at the time. I bought a Linguaphone Icelandic course and
had a go at learning the language. After struggling with a few lessons
I gave up and haven't summoned the courage to have another go since.
One of the main reasons for my lack of success was the labyrinthine
complexity of Icelandic grammar, which makes German grammar look easy
in comparison. I didn't go to Iceland in the end but would like to one
of these days.
While I was studying Chinese in Taipei in 1990 a Korean classmate tried to teach me
some Korean. From him I learnt the Korean alphabet and a few words
and phrases then the next semester we were in different classes and lost
contact. Since then I haven't learnt any more Korean.
In preparation for a trip to Budapest in 2000 I learnt a bit of Hungarian
using a Berlitz phrase book and by listening to Hungarian radio on the
internet. In Budapest my limited knowledge of Hungarian was useful, as
was my knowledge of German because many older Hungarians speak some German.
I taught myself a bit of Turkish in preparation for a trip to Turkey
in 2001. I used a Collins phrase book, which comes with cassette
featuring a pronunciation guide and some useful words and phrases.
In Turkey I found the little Turkish I knew very useful and will try
to learn more if I ever go back there.
I first encountered Latin in the Asterix
books and also while studying Roman history at school. Ever since I've
been very interested in the Romans and particularly enjoy detective novels
set during the Roman period. Eventually I thought I should try to learn
some Latin. To date I have worked my way through only the first few lessons
in Peter Jones' excellent book Learn Latin and hope to learn more eventually.
In 2004 I dabbled briefly with Urdu, mainly out of interest. I hadn't studied
any Indo-Iranian languages before and was curious about them. I learnt the Urdu
script and some basic phrases, and would like to learn more one day.
In 2008 I started learning British Sign Language (BSL) using online lessons,
and have continued to dabble with it ever since. I find it fascinating and can
have a basic conversation in it, though have yet to met any other BSL users or
In 2011 I was given free access to an online language course on
Rocket Languages in return for writing a review. I chose Hindi as
I thought it would be an interesting language to learn, and because
I wanted to try out the course in a language I didn't know at all, which
narrowed the choice down to ASL and Hindi. I chose Hindi because I know
a number of people who speak it and I thought it might be interesting and
useful to know.
I worked my way through the first part of Rocket Hindi
and learnt greetings, how to talk about myself, ordering food and drink,
booking a hotel and such like, and also learnt to read and write the Devanagari
alphabet. I found the course quite interesting and might get round to learning
more one of these days.