Tag Archives: learning

RECEIVED CARD #4 – Escaping a wolf,…

Dear Friends,

I knew I would come across the topic languages again, as Postcrossing attracts many people not onyl interested in different cultures but different languages as well, but I hadn’t though it to be so soon. The fourth postcard I received was written in German! It was send to me by Helka-Maija, a teacher in a small Finnish town called Varkaus. Besides Finnish, English and German she also speaks Swedish and Russian.

All this writing about foreign languages and language learning had me thinking. What are the top 3 languages I want to learn before I die? It came down to…

… (1) Italian,
… (2) Romanian,
…and (3) Japanese.

The explanation for my choices is pretty simple because Italy, Romania and Japanese are countries I’d like to visit one day (I’ll tell you more about my travelling plans some other time…) and when I travel to a certain country rather than soley relying on English, I prefer to converse with people in their native tongue. I think it somewhat removes the glaring tourist-tag, is more polite and the natives are more inclined to show you the tracks off the beaten path. You get so much more out of your stay if you at least try to use the country’s native language! As I’ve said before: Language reveals a great deal about the people who speak it and the country they live in.
I’ve also done some research concerning language-learning-methods and stumbled upon this great post by Timm Ferriss: How To Learn (But Not Master) Any Language In 1 HourHis way of approaching and evaluating the new language you decided to learn is mind-bogglingly easy and logical. Just check it out yourself.
And then I came across a website offering the most common phrases for postcrossers translated into many different languages: Dictionaries for Postcrossers.

Back to Hilka’s postcard. If it weren’t already amazing enough that she send me a card written in German, she also added this great Finnish quote…

Finnish:
Kun menee sutta pakoon, tulee karhu vastan.
German:
Wenn man vor dem Wolf flieht kommt einem der Bär entgegen.
English:
When escaping a wolf, one will run into a bear.

…and picked a card with a beautiful art printing, showing an olipaniting by the Finnish artist Pekka Halonen. Hilka-Maija wrote that he is most famous for his winter landscapes but she likes the colorful paintings better. I think they are all wonderful. Just look at those two: “Ensilumi” (First Snow) from 1931 and “Talvinen Iltarusko” (Winter Sunset) from 1899.

Hilka-Maija’s postcard travelled 925 miles (1489 km) in 6 days until it reached its destination: My mailbox 🙂

So, what languages do you want to learn?

Bye! Tschüß! Näkemiin! Ciao! La revedere! さようなら!

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SENT CARD #4 – The limits of my universe

Dear Friends,

My fourth sent postcard (DE-1034284) went to Taiwan. It went to the eager language student Kai-Shun (Satimia). He’s studying French and German at university and is very interested in foreign languages. So when I wrote my postcard to him I first wrote it in German and then added the English translation. I’ve been able to fit about 200 words onto the card!

The Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein once said:

Die Grenzen meiner Sprache bedeuten die Grenzen meiner Welt.
The limits of my language are the limits of my universe.

I think he mostly refers to the limits within one language but I also think you can very well apply it to language-learning as well. With every new language you learn the limits to your universe get fewer and your life becomes more colorful.
Anyone who has learned a new language should have noticed that learning a foreign language doesn’t only give you a new way to communicate with others but tells you many things about the native speakers’ culture and their country’s history. Learning foreign languages means exploring foreign cultures. Just take a look at idioms and you’ll know what I mean.

The card I sent to Kai-Shun covered a distance of 5706 miles (9183 km) in 11 days before it dropped into his mailbox on September 16th. The image on the card is – once again – featuring a beautiful view of the Lüneburger Heide.

Speaking about German speaking postcrossing members:
Besides Kai-Shun I’ve also got to know Andrea from Chile who asked me for a direct exchange of postcards a couple weeks later. She’s studied German for more than 20 years now and has also spent some time in Germany as a student. At home in Chile she doesn’t get the chance to practice it very often so she asked me to send her a postcard in German.
Learning a foreign language is a tough task and to master it you need invest a lot of time, but keeping your once acquired skills is even tougher: It’s a use it or lose it situation.

The card I sent to Andrea is one of my self-made cards, featuring another great quote about languages:

Mit jeder neu gelernten Sprache erwirbst du eine neue Seele.
With every newly learned language you acquire a new soul.

I had a lot of fun creating the card and really hope Andrea likes it as much as I do. If you like this card as well and would like to receive it too, you can contact me by way of the contact form on my contacts page or via personal message on postcrossing. I am sure we can arrange for somthing. You can also contact me if you’d like to receive one of the postcards I’ve shopped.

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