One thing you might want to know before reading: my ultimate goal? Finnish. Don't ask. Read on.
I mean, look at those hiragana. They're such cute little art pieces, and so relatively simple and loopy compared to kanji or the Chinese characters that I write.
And those umlauts and circles on top of a's and o's! They seemed so mysterious to me because English has none of those. (Also applies to the hats and accents for e's in French.) I still remember the first time I wrote out smörgås and the pure joy I derived from placing that circle on top of the a. Such pleasure. (Shut up. I'm not weird.)
And Finnish? LOOK AT ALL THE ÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÖÖÖÖÖÖÖÖÖÖÖÖ and a little bit of Å's!
(This is probably why I want to learn Hindi and Thai and Myanmar and Arabic
Their linguistic features
There's this proverb in Chinese that can be roughly translated as "The drunk man wants not the wine", which doesn't really make sense
And how's that related to my learning these languages?
Here are some good reasons to learn a foreign language:
a) because it's useful (the case with English) or
b) because you are interested in the culture. One of the illustrative examples is people learning Japanese for anime and Japanese drama
And here's me:
|the shape of the pillow has nothing to do with anything. yes it's a pillow. shut up.|
Yes, I learn Japanese because it's an agglutinative language*. (among other reasons to be mentioned later.) The structure of agglutinative languages is so different from that of the languages that I speak! Wouldn't it be so interesting to fully understand how it works, and maybe even speak it!? Juoksentelisinkohan, anyone?
The culture? And, like, connecting with people? Maybe?
Or not. (see reason above)
To be honest I know nearly nothing about Sweden when I started learning Swedish, except that it has pretty letters and Ikea. And Ericsson. And snow and reindeers. Oh, and that it's next to Finland and once owned Finland but not anymore. And that Swedish is also an official language of Finland. Fine, I'm just all about Finland. BUT (please lower you pitchforks) Sweden did slowly grow on me, and I do find the culture (and the food, of course) very charming.
I have a bit more mixed feelings for Japan though. Yeah, sushi is awesome and their arts and buildings are really cool as well, but contemporary Japan is kind of...meh?
An interesting fact: since Taiwan had been colonised by Japan from 1895 to 1945, older people here actually still speak Japanese, including my paternal grandparents. I remember every time after someone visited Japan, my grandma would always be so excited and would try to talk to them in Japanese, so my learning Japanese may enable me to bond with her? (She's just so happy whenever someone talks to her with Japanese, I just, ack.) Which leads me to the reason to learn Taiwanese.
Taiwanese is actually a variety of Hokkien, which is a variety of Min Nan, which is a variety of Min, which is considered to be a dialect of Chinese by some Chinese scholars
The thing is, a lot of people in Taiwan speak Taiwanese and it is even the first language to many, therefore is very close to people's heart. It is stigmatised, however, and the population that speak the language is decreasing in an alarming rate, due to some messed-up policy made by a
I only have a limited proficiency to it
The neighbouring country/countries
More language = more people you can talk to! Even though I'm a total introvert who doesn't talk to people! But yeah no, Swedish is actually mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish, and is also spoken in Finland, so BENEFITS!
As for Taiwanese/Hokkien, it is spoken among ethnic Chinese in South-Eastern China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore so BENEFITS.
And Japanese? It is spoken in Japan and...no where else.
Fine, I'll tell you the truth. The REAL reason why I chose Swedish.
I started to learn Swedish because I was bored one day, and Duolingo (which I used for French) offered Swedish lessons. There. There I said it. It's one of the best random decisions I've made though. (You may impale me with your pitchforks now.)
And because many Taiwanese are such Japanophiles(?), there might actually be more articles explaining the Japanese language than there are in English (didn't check though), which is a huge advantage that I'm not going to let go. Anime and cartoons also exist in abundance, so listening materials is not a problem either. Also I'm familiar with kanji so yay? (no. the pronunciation is so different you might as well unlearn it.)
Eavesdropping is fun, man
Come on, don't pretend you don't enjoy eavesdropping. The last time I went to Japan, I was bombarded by Japanese and I could understand like 3% of it. It's such a waste that people already speak so clearly for you to eavesdrop, yet you understand none of what they're talking about. Same goes for French-speaking tourists I've encountered in Kyoto. Also, it would be such a pleasure to surprise people who think you have an Asian face therefore understand none of their non-Asian languages, and therefore speak their non-Asian, non-English languages freely in front of you, wouldn't it?
Okay fine I'm a pervert. No one would do it now that I revealed my deep dark secret anyway.
And there you have it, part two of my glorious reasons to learn a new language. Tell me, do you like this mini series? How do you decide to learn a new language? And on a completely unrelated note, when's school starting for you? Mine starts on September 10th but I still refuse to acknowledge this wretched news.
Basically agglutinating is gluing morphemes (the grammatical unit for meanings) with a stem word to form more complex meanings.
Think: antidisestablishmentarianism = anti + dis + establish + ment + ari(y) + an + ism
So yes, English has some agglutinative morphology, but apparently agglutinative languages take this to a whole new level of madness like incorporating some crazy shit (tenses, passive voice, etc.) into one wordthingy (because I refuse to call that a word.) See example on Wikipedia.