Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Do You Mind Not Knowing What is Going On?

Show card for my Art in India exhibition.
A Nepali Indian friend asked if it bothers me ”when people just speak in Hindi?” She continued, “I think it would drive me nuts if everyone around me was talking and I couldn’t understand.” This is a good question…

The simple answer is “no, it has not bothered me yet.” I really enjoy observing and using these times to learn and listen. Every time I have wanted to understand more or need clarification I always ask.

So why does it not bother me? Haha probably because I am a bit socially awkward to begin with. I don’t mind observing nor do I mind that isolated feeling while in a large group, in fact I really enjoy it. I love people but am fairly introverted. That “alone in a crowd feel” can be incredibly nice…though I don’t really feel alone with my Indian friends. Most of the time I can pick up enough….though the times I am lost are nice too. Sometimes I just don’t talk even when I do know what’s going on. I suppose it’s less awkward to have the language “barrier” as an excuse.

The most important reason I don’t mind is the answer to the question “what is the best way to learn a language?” To go to the country…unfortunately I tend to do things backwards. I go to the country then a month after returning home decide to commit to learning the language. Spending time with people speaking the language you are trying to learn is really the only way to pick up a language…

The other friend in the car joined in and stated “they don’t do it on purpose, it’s just habit.” We continued the discussion for a bit longer (and by we I mean I continued to ponder over the question in my head…I will share my ponderings in future posts.)

I nodded in agreement as we continued to sing along to Bollywood music and drove off.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Why the Bible?

As I said in the first post, I wanted a Hindi/English Bible for Christmas last year.
Why the Bible?

Reading the New Testament in Spanish in high school was really enjoyable and challenging but I love that it is a book that is translated into so many languages. The Bible has been translated into over 2,000 languages, making it the most widely translated book there is (The Quran is in over 700 coming in at #2) . I like that it is a book that so many people from all over the world can and have read...Here are some more reasons...

I am a Christian, so the Bible is where my religious beliefs come from.

I was both a religious studies and philosophy minor in college (well actually both were areas of emphasis in my second major. Long story, you can watch my YT video if you want more on that)
The Bible consists of many types of writing. It has proverbs, short stories, history and lists.

I suppose these are just a few of the reasons I picked being able to read the Bible as my Hindi goal. Though I do read the Bible in Hindi and Portuguese on Regular basis, I have a long ways to go...

The water lily painting was a part of my exhibition East Meets West which was a response to my trip to India. My art is a major reason for my love of language. Check out my art blog for more art

Lily Pads and Lots,
from The Lily Pad Project
Aprox 11x15

Thursday, May 11, 2017

YouTube Practice

One of my favorite ways to practice speaking is on YouTube. I realize that you don't get to practice conversational skills this way, which is where I struggle in all my languages.

But here are the steps for how I practice using YouTube.

1. Preparation.
My preparation for a YouTube video varies greatly. I either decide on a topic or simply take out my phone and start rambling. Sometimes I will write out a script and read it or use notes (I do both of these from time to time in English as well).

2. Recording.
This is simple. Sometimes I use the webcam on my computer and if I'm not at home, I use my phone.

3. Editing. 
I realize that I could just upload the videos but I have noticed that it is helpful for viewers to at least have subtitles and its no fun for them to sit through my ums and pauses. It can make the video more enjoyable for my viewers, who are primarily English speaking.

4. Posting.
Upload and share.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Goals 2017 - March Through June

I’m a little late getting my 2017 goals in here…surprise. surprise.

The first two and a half months of the new year were a whirlwind. But its mid march and I am ready and excited to rock and roll. There is even a new language on my list that I didn’t plan to study. But lets start with a quick review of the languages you already know I’m working on.

I will write 1-3 month goals and hopefully I will create an update of some kind within that time (here or on paper).
Travel Collage

Old Studies


Update - I’m pretty rusty, as you may guess. I was able to practice with people who don’t speak any English at all while in Italy (which I will post on soon. If not here, on my art blog for sure over at

Goal - practice conversation and talking about topics. Topics include, religion (what I believe), family, friends, and why I’m studying Hindi.

Urdu Goal - Learn alphabet. Though I’m not sure how serious I am about this one. I may focus on Hindi/Urdu/Hindustani speaking. Though I know reading will help improve my vocabulary and overall Hindustani skills. But I could also, simply continue to read in Hindi.

I suppose if I find a Pakistani friend to chat with in Urdu, maybe I will decide to learn the alphabet.


Update - RUSTY RUSTY RUSTY and I get really shy and freeze when trying to listen.

Goal - Listen to more Portuguese videos and music while working. Improve listening and reading skills, as I know speaking will come back as I regain confidence, as this was once my strongest language I suppose.

New to me Languages


Update - This is new!!! This is new!!! I am a complete beginner with this one, so I am excited to document the process and I think it should be realistic to advance, much slower than with Hindi or Portuguese but still at a steady pace.

Goal - Be able to hold a basic conversation by the next international dinner. Have some questions to ask and be ready to answer.

Tasks to Reach goal - Create flash cards and study them daily. Work on Duolingo to get some vocabulary and grammatical usage into my brain Keep chatting with my new French speaking friends using translator and trying phrases I am learning. Listen to the sounds using google translate

Listen to pronunciation videos and practice reading with online friends Find some folks who can correct me and some who will be more relaxed Maybe find someone looking to learn English and exchange with them.



Update - no update.

Goal - One day to return to Spanish but for now focus on Portuguese and French (though I’ve recently heard it’s ok to work on 3 or 4 romance languages at once.


Update - none

Goal - One day finish the book of John (start over)


Update - I did get to practice my phrases in Italy

Goal - None


Update - none

Goal - When visiting my Sudanese friends I will practice what I know with their parents who don’t speak much English.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Language Learning 2016 Goals Update

Well as you can probably guess, I had another year where I slacked pretty hardcore but I have had some good language experiences too.

Português - I don't want to get worse and hope to maintain my Portuguese skills by listening to "Você Sabia?" on YouTube and commenting weekly. 

FAIL! It is safe to say that I FAILED this goal. I did not listen to a Portuguese speaker on a regular basis or comment. My skills have gone downhill and I cannot simply switch to speaking in Portuguese with confidence. I know that these skills will come back and I will likely have this as a goal after February (you will see why in a future post)
Traveling in my city on Instagram
Hindi - Weekly listening. Practice writing sentences. More complex sentences and find someone to correct them.

FAIL! This was a fail as well. I have only just recently began writing again. I failed probably 11 out of 12 months, maybe only 9 or 10. I also have been able to have some organic conversations in Hindi with people and there are people who I naturally speak Hindi with. I also have been watching a Bollywood movie and practicing writing again.

Urdu - Relearn the alphabet.

FAIL! I did study that alphabet through the year, I did not learn it but I have given it some practice and was able to use Arabic in one of the English classes that I teach.

Spanish - It will be important to learn Spanish in the future. I want to finish the Portuguese tree in DuoLingo and then start on the Spanish tree in Portuguese.

PASS! Well, kinda. I am about 2/3 of the way through the Portuguese tree. I am sure I will finish it in 2017. I may begin the French tree and work on it a bit in preparation for Italy too. I do still plan to one day use Duolingo in Portuguese to relearn Spanish. But I am not in a hurry for this.
Latin - I would love to finish reading John but that may need to wait.

Yep, still waiting. 

Somali - Listen when given the opportunity. Practice the few phrases I know.

My Somali and Sudanese friends have all moved to Seatle but I do practice my Somali basic phrases from time to time.

Arabic - Listen to speakers when they are around. Pick up common words and Urdu words. I don't plan to put any effort into finding Arabic speakers. Learn the alphabet and the difference between Urdu and Arabic.

See Somali.

As you can see I did not put a lot of effort into language learning over the past year. 

I know that I need to make quarterly or even monthly goals and track them on paper. That will be on my 2017 goals list. 

Some things that I did well that were not goals listed above but were added later on include practicing languages with native or native-like speakers and I was able to do this with Hindi and Portuguese. At international dinners I have also been able to work on code switching which is another goal. I would like to be able to switch between languages. I tend to be able to do this with Portuguese and English better than with Hindi but there have been dinners where I will switch in an appropriate way.

What are your top language learning goals? What is holding you back?

Monday, August 29, 2016

Some Practice Hindi Sentences

I have been slacking on practicing my Hindi the past couple years but I am still moving forward, slowly and surely.

Here is my most recent practice sentences. Please correct any mistakes that you see
EveFelicia Follum, Watercolor Prints $25Copyright 2015

Aap mujhe kya laana chahate hain?
What do you want me to bring?

Aap mujhe dinner ke liye kya laana chahate hain?
What do you want me to bring to dinner?

Mujhe aapko dinner ke liye kya laana chahate hain?
What do you want me to bring to your dinner?

Kya tum desi khana chahoge?
Would you like to bring Indian food?

Kya tum meri sath desi khaana banana chahogi?
Would you like to cook Indian food with me?

Kya tum mera dinner ke liye jaana chahoge
Would you like to cone to my dinner?

Mera dinner ke baad main thaka hua hongi
After my dinner I will be tired

Abhi tum kya karogi?
What are you going to do right now?

Ab tum kya karogi?
What are you going to do?

Ab tum movie ke baad (mein?) Kya karogi?
What are you going to do after the movie?

Main artist baanna.
I become artist.

Main ek din artist baanna. (Baanoongi)
One day I eill become an artist.

Jab main bacchi thi main baat kya ke...
When I was a child I said...

Kaunsa sentences accha hain? Galation correck kijie.

Main thoda thoda padna sakti hoon...
Mere pati ko classical hindusthani gaane pasand nahi bhi hai lekin mujhe pasand hai
Mujhe pet ka dard hai.
Mujhe pata hai - naya phrase hai

Lekin can you use
"Main jaanti hoon ke john kaha hai"
[8/18, 6:48 AM] Felicia Follum : Mujhe pata hai main cricket kelti hoon
I know how to play cricket

Aur cricket khelna pasand hai
Mujhe bhi yaqeen hai.

Mujhe parmeshvar yehova/bhagvaan/etc mein yaqeen hai.
I have faith in God

Mujhko ab kitab pardna hai mera kaam ke liye.
I need to read now for work

Thank you guys!!! I hope this was helpful for learners newer than me (and for learners of Hindi speakers who know more or are fluent, PLEASE CORRECT!)