Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Crappy at three languages

Quite some time ago, I graduated from a Swedish university and even if I by no means were a master of grammars and spelling I think it would be fair to say that I had a pretty decent grasp of language measured up to other natives. My English was also at a decent level with normal everyday conversation no problems but quite a few grammatical and spelling flaws and with a pidgin level of Japanese capable of me making it through the day without not too much pain, but not that great.

Now things have changed, in work my first language is obviously Japanese since all my colleagues are Japanese, but I also frequently talk to people in English in the head office, with other foreign colleagues and at home with Ms. Sunshine. Also, in my years in consulting, English was the primary language. But the times I use Swedish are now pretty rare and usually limited to conversations with family and friends back home, speaking it is now problem at all if you exclude business lingo which I am not completely comfortable with in Swedish. But my writing in terms of spelling and grammars has worsened quite considerably.

So now I am in the situation where my Swedish level has decreased quite a bit, my English ability has increased and my Japanese ability has increased significantly, but as it looks now, I am by no means perfect in any of these languages. So now I've ended up in the strange situation of being semi-crappy in three languages, some form of balance has been struck and the three languages live in harmony and equality inside my head.

Maybe I should mention my German as well, once I had a basic grasp of German, but the Japanese took the German language in my head outside and gave it such a beating that it hasn't really dared to come back. I can still understand a bit, but the moment I try to speak, the Japanese shoves the German in my head to the side and out comes Japanese instead...

I do not intend to learn another language...

4 comments:

Rabscuttle said...

I can relate to a degree. I an an English-speaker who switched to French from Spanish in college, because I thought French would be more fun. That was a bad idea. Now I'm not great in either. If I'd stuck with Spanish, I'd probably be at least functional in it. :) I admire polyglots like yourself.

I work for a language-learning software company now, and wanted to mention our free vocab software, at www.byki.com. You might be able to refresh your Swedish with it. There's Japanese too, and German, but it sounds like you don't want to mess with that. :)

Perry said...

I can relate to that. Luckily, I'm a translator so I work in Swedish on a daily basis, but there was a time when it was painful to speak it. I also speak Chinese and English on a daily basis, and my English is sometimes more Chinglish than anything else. And then I tried Taiwanese, and that didn't work out at all.

Our Man in Abiko said...

Don't feel too bad Mr S., you are better off than just being shitty in one, like Our Man.

Mr. Salaryman said...

Rabscuttle and Perry, yeah, it's the curse of working in your non-native language I guess...

My Man - you on the other hand I just pity, you should learn a new language to be completely incompetent in like the rest of us!

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