Languages

On this page I would like to share any useful information I encounter while studying languages, both for myself and any other learners out there. I always try to find good and interesting resources (books, podcasts etc.) while learning a language, so I hope this is helpful!

The order below does not reflect a language’s popularity, but rather my order for learning.

1. German

My native tongue, so quite glad I didn’t really have to learn it (some people have told me it might be a bit complex to learn…😁). I guess German is mostly known for having plenty of compound words and a rather difficult grammatical structures (e.g. with articles).

2. English

Not much to say here - I learned English from around ten years on, mostly by massive exposure to books, movies and (of course) the Internet.

3. Spanish

I studied Spanish during high school and kept on with it during my undergraduate studies. During my studies I also completed a semester abroad at the Universidad de Buenos Aires and travelled extensively in South America. Studying abroad is definitely one of th best experiences you can have, and with respect to languages gives you the benefits of learning directly from natives (it also boosts your oral skills).

At the moment, I’m mostly trying just to retain my Spanish skills via books and podcasts, some of which I have listed below.

Language Resources:

4. Portuguese

I started to study Portuguese during my time in Buenos Aires and progressed to CEFR level B2 during my undergraduate studies. It’s relatively easy to learn once you are proficient in Spanish because both languages share the grammatical structure and plenty of vocabulary as well. In the first Portuguese course that I took at the Unviseridad de Buenos Aires, I in fact didn’t even learn any Portuegese, but instead only the Portuegse words and grammar that is different from Spanish.

Language Resources:

5. Arabic

Learning Arabic is a project that I have been pursuing for a rather long time now. I have taken courses in Arabic at university, at a language school in Cairo and in Jeddah and at LSI Bochum as well. From time to time, I try to follow the news on Arabic news sites (to get familiar with Arabic being spoken by natives) and slowly but steady I’m becoming more and more fluid.

Language Resources:

6. Russian

I’ve started Russian fairly recently in July 2020. I’m learning it with my girlfriend (who is a native speaker) and we are using a book called “РУССКИЙ ЯЗЫК КАК ИНОСТРАННЫЙ. НАЧАЛЬНЫЙ КУРС”. Even though our learning sessions are rather infrequent, it’s still great fun and I’m looking forward to be able to communicate with her relatives in their own native language!

Language Resources:

7. Chinese

Chinese is the language that I have started most recently with a language course at LSI Bochum.

Aside from the signs (fluency in Chinese requires learning > 4000 signs), the language has an additional difficulty: tones. The difference between mā (mother) and mǎ (horse) is just the direction of your voice (flat vs fall-rise). A good way to study this is through the Duolingo app.

A phonetic table can also be extremely helpful if you want to play around with sounds and train yourself to hear the difference.

At the moment, I’m learning around 2-3 new signs every day (sort of a morning ritual) and would like to follow-up with a language course in Chinese for CEFR level A2 soon.

Language Resources:

Multi-Language Resources

Language Map

Below is a map of the countries in which I would like to be able to communicate in the native language (at some point in the future…):