Language corner


Hello! Since I love languages, this page will contain anything and all things linguistic. EVERYTHING IS BETTER IN ITS ORGINAL LANGUAGE!!!!! Obvs, culture is heavily tied to language so I’ll pop in cultural insights here too….maybe 😛 ?

Update 2015: Man I still love languages and this page will always be near n dear to my heart but it needs some UPDATES!!!! Since I last wrote here, I’ve done a lot of linguistic things.

So 2015 = italiano and latin! ciao belli!

So after two years in GVA, there are 2 standout cultures for me: German and Italian. I love these ppl! And they make for great friends and fun insights and random discussions. BUT if I have to study one of these languages, I’ll try ITALIANO b/c it is just easier for my brain at this moment. And the weather is better! So that’s been in progress as of late 2014. But for the first time, I’ve tried self-study instead of classes with a large supplement of Italian movies and it is going great! Sorry to be a nuisance tutti i miei amicis italiani 😛

In the past 2 years, I have greeted diplomats in about 8 languages and I look like I could belong to several ethnic groups so wy not play that game? This is the United Nations ppl and I guess, well, I belong 😛 I had no idea but actually my interests and skills set me up to be a pretty good international policy person. And amazingly, I have a cultural interest and weak knowledge of several countries and have worked on 3 continents and on projects involving dozens of countries…that is kinda wild if I do say so myself 🙂

2012: had to pick a research topic for my master’s program so what the heck, why not throw in some language training to make it more interesting? Japanese then! Yayyy nihongo! After blasting through a speedy summer session and 4 months of intense study with a tutor MAKIKO SAN <3 and weekly 3-hr Sat morning classes (I do believe in self-torture sometimes), I was ready to hop a plane and get this field study on labour integration and Japanese Brazilians done!!!!! NOTE TO SELF: I can’t do Chinese characters so this is where my Jap study FAILED. But easy phrases, speaking, food stuffs and directions, YES I CAN. But then, move a girl to Europe and the Asian bits of her just FALL FLAT to the ground. Ahem, that is moving to a small village-town that is…..if I were in Paris, I’d have Jap and vnese stuff galore!

4 years in VN led to me overworking as usual and NOT taking many language lessons. Never went to a class but had a few tutors over the years. Grateful to my colleague Mr. Lam in Danang and then my awesome linguistics tutor in SGN for very pedantic sessions. Loved it but seriously, now I can only write text messages and read very basic Vnese…News articles make my eyes water…and accents never happened. BUT I can speak so that is already pretty good and I’m not shy about mistakes or looking like a fool. My grammar’s kinda weak but I am comprehensible. Ca marche pour moi 😛

Mission: to become trilingual on this trip to Vietnam (According to my friend Anita, if you make grandiose declarations, they become easier to realize and may actually happen. And funny enough, that’s why I ended up going on this trip: she made the statement; I followed through and here I am 🙂 )

Feb 10/07 Hmmm, so how’s this mission going? It is HARD to learn a language that you have been exposed to as a kid cuz as an adult, we just learn differently. And in VNese, there’s so many vowels and I can hardly hear the difference between the 3 A’s or 3 O’s. And it’s disheartening to know that you’ve been pronouncing words incorrectly for most of your life. BUT I still like it and will keep plugging away….Very grateful to have a colleague teach me:)

New idea: several actually
As I sat in the Camosun office today/2006, I thought to myself, why couldn’t I become trilingual? In fact, why couldn’t I even teach Vietnamese to foreigners in the future? Could the non-traditional Vietnamese girl rediscover her native language and actually teach others to excel in it as well? Yes! Bien sur! Da, duoc! Can you imagine Cathy’s classroom? It’d be a party in there!

Also, the linguist in me also wants to complete a study on borrowed French words in the Vietnamese language. I know that in the 19th century, French missionaries translated Vietnamese, which used to have Chinese characters, and implemented the use of the Roman alphabet, which makes up modern Vietnamese today. It would be super interesting to find out which words were inserted into the language and why. Go Cathy!

My cousin also told me that Nguyen has the same roots as the Chinese last name, Eng. Does that mean I’m M. Eng’s long-lost sister? hmmmmmmmm… Whoever can find out how to spell my name in Chinese characters wins a prize! BUT actually, I’ve now been corrected and it seems that Nguyen and the Chinese last name Yuen are related. I also know a Mr. Yuen who could be part of my family so that’s ok too 🙂