... das Fischstäbchen, de visstick ~ I think they're known as fishsticks in America, too.
I have been practising these languages in the most practical way I know how ~ by writing out trilingual shopping lists: die Milch/le lait/de melk (and just for good measure, Esperanto: lakto)... deze vissticken of mine come in cod ~ der Kabeljau/la morue/de kabeljauw/moruo and haddock ~ der Schellfisch/un aiglefin/de schelvis/eglefino ~ I bought both (special offer/Sonderangebot/promotion spéciale/speciale aanbieding/o Esperanto can go hang it's late... it seems to have taken all evening just researching 20 words, with much continental Wikipedia comparison... driving me round the twist. I really need printed information.
I've continued researching educational opportunities, but feel my old chasing rabbits in two directions syndrome threatening to reappear.
I am referring to that Chinese proverb I've mentioned before:
he who chases two rabbits goes home empty-handed
and it has been the story of my life. Full of interest in too many different things I'm unable to focus and very little comes of the efforts I do put in. Well now I'm too old, and will have to sit down and do something constructive (and profitable) before I die. I now realize that an undergraduate degree does not have to, and indeed is not meant to, encapsulate your interests in every academic subject going. It is quite OK to be well into one thing but to do a degree in another. When I was younger I was also against vocational degrees. At the more intellectual end of academia they were unfashionable and only the "new universities" (that is: the former polytechnics") tended to offer them. I was all into penning great intellectual critiques on classic works of literature (which I was good at, when I gave myself a chance). The idea of business German, to me seemed soulless.
Anyway I've had a peruse around the subjects that interest me. For the record these are basically European and Asian languages: German with one or more of: Japanese, Dutch, French, Chinese, Italian or Spanish. These are the languages I want to speak. Those are my goals. Obviously there are three or more BAs there so I'll have to be selective...
London Birkbeck do a part time German and Japanese BA.
Now German and Japanese is what I wish I'd done first time round...
Oxford do what sounds like a very good FIVE YEAR course in BA Japanese ~ which includes one year abroad. In five years' intensive study I would expect a very high level of fluency to be attained.
There are several universities in Germany offering Germanistik/Japanologie at BA. To get on one of these courses I would need a very high level of German proficiency as (unlike the translator's degree in Mainz) they are squarely aimed at mother-tongue German speakers and any language exercises would refer back to German...
Perhaps studying a third language through the medium of a second sounds very high-falluting ~ but students with English as foreign language study in British universities all the time, so I don't think it would be that unusual for me to do the equivalent in Germany...
Now I do really want to learn Japanese and I love the subject and when I pore over my kanji books I feel centred in a way that only heroin and novel-writing could ever compete with...
But I have to bear in mind, the point of any degree would be to get me as near as possible to QUALIFIED to do something, namely to translate. And I think at my age I really need to focus energies where they are best spent... Common sense tells me that for a translator, a course in translation would obviously be the way to go. I already have French and German to A level, which represents five years' study (seven years in the case of French)....
Bearing in mind that Birkbeck's Japanese promises to take students from ab initio to "one year post A-level" and you see how much further I could take German and French. The course I'm looking at promises "near mother tongue fluency" ~ which is considerably further along.
Whatever I decide to do I am going to have to focus my energies economically. If I want to do a European D language on top of the other two I need to start that now. Three languages at once isn't quite as confusing as it sounds ~ remember I'm pretty much at book-reading level in the other two, so my hellos, how are you? ~ please would you be so kind as to direct me to the railway stations... shouldn't get into too many tangles.
Here's Mainz's gloss on their options:
In the BA programme, as a native speaker of English you can either study German as your only foreign language (B language, excellent active competence), or you can choose a second foreign language (C language, excellent passive competence), which can be Dutch, French, Greek, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish. (Please note that there are admission restrictions for French and Spanish.) Ab initio courses are not offered in all C languages. However, you can attend introductory courses in Finnish and Turkish (D language).
(Every language offered as a C-language can be studied as a D-language also.)
Without any school certificates in Spanish, it doesn't sound like I'd be able to take that (the most obvious practical choice of D-language) anyhow. Another factor to bear in mind is the competition: loads of professionals can offer Spanish. As far as I know it is now the number one most popular choice of foreign language in British schools (being easier than French and, people suppose, more useful, though I'd dispute that (the number of speakers might be lower, but French is extremely widely spoken)). German is least popular of the big three ~ and yet, so I hear, there is more work for professional linguists in German than every other EU language combined! Perhaps Italian would be the most "sensible" choice. Finnish appeals because it is non-Indo-European (related to Lappish, language of the mysterious reindeer-herding Saami) ~ hence difficult and exotic ~ from a land of lonely pines, ice-lakes, snow-capped crags and the midnight sun... Italian: best food in Europe, easier than French (and much more crisply pronounced)... classical ruins, great literature and poetry and opera... high fash in Milan, porn stars in parliament. Yeah: Italian is cool. But none of those others really grabs me. To learn any language it's essential to be exceedingly highly motivated and the fire isn't there.
As for Dutch, I've already prattled on about that before: Mainz is only a couple of hours from Dutch-speaking territory, I already have studied the basics of Dutch grammar and it's easy. As you can see from the examples I gave, most vocabulary echoes both English and German. And when I studied Dutch I felt centred, in the zone... like I do with Japanese and heroin (strange but true).
I need to make up my mind soon... and now it's a quarter to midnight, nothing has been done. I am drowning in word lists for fish, bread rolls and tomato sauce... How do I come up with a programme, by myself, to focus the skills I need to build up? (Without wasting time or running round in circles..?)
I have lost one decade solid of my life to heroin and mental ill-health. The decade before that was pretty much scuppered by health concerns, too ~ though I wasn't a full-on addict (it's difficult to date precisely when which problem began because they're so interwoven and in the beginning I was extremely cautious with heroin. I had no intention of getting addicted and so continuously "picked it up" (as NA say) ~ loved it, but forced myself to renounce it. This happened again and again over a period of years. Somehow the occasions when I used crept closer and closer together until I found myself withdrawing without even knowing it!... And THAT is a long story...
Now I must go. Has anyone any advice on what I should do? And how??
Mainz Translation, Language and Culture BA: www.fb06.uni-mainz.de/deutsch/261.php#balct
Birkbeck: Modern Languages with two of: German, French, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish www.bbk.ac.uk/study/ug/spanishstudies/UBAFRGEM.html
Here's an some interesting stats:
TOP 10 INTERNET LANGUAGES by number of users: www.internetworldstats.com/stats7.htm
English is number one with just under 500 million, Chinese number two with just over 400 million. German comes just ahead of Arabic ~ about 72 million... French is 57 million...
KAREL FIALKA: HEY MATTHEW
Produced for just £200 from the singer's Bradford & Bingley account, this got to #2 in the UK chart, it's called "New Wave" and that's it really
OK I'll try and be polyglot:
Deze hier is een £200 productie van het engelse sangschrijver Karel Fialka. Het is wel goed. Och! It moet nu gaan! Ik heb niet maar toe zeggen!
OK, tot later
I'm a Dreamer - Over on CopCar's blog there's a creative test you can take. Of course I had to do it and I came out as the Dreamer. It seems unusually accurate although so...
1 day ago