English Learning Personal

A teenager from New York irritated me

Written by Ioannes Oculus

While browsing the internet I came across Timothy Doner and his story. He is a guy who as a teenager became a polyglot and speaks in more than 20 languages.

What’s so irritating then? I’m simply jealous! He started his adventure while being at school. He had a lot of free time as he didn’t have to earn his living. He’s also from a multicultural city – New York. Without going out of the city he could practise languages with native speakers of nearly every language in the world. When you want to learn and it seems that you don’t have such possibilities it can be annoying.

Can it be that a teenager would boast about his language skills and I’d just stay at home and complain? No! I couldn’t agree to be defeated this way. I had to take up the gauntlet! Spanish is the language I’m currently learning but there are no Spaniards I am aware of in my city. I had to find another language. After a while it came like an illumination. There is an Uzbek Kebab restaurant nearby!

The next day I was there. Assalomu alaykum. Men katta kabob sotib olmoqchiman – I said and a big smile came onto the face of the cashier. I was excited. He understood me! A few minutes later I was eating my big kebab, exactly the one I’d ordered. My first success in Uzbek!

So don’t blame the circumstances you live in. We all come across different obstacles and it’s inevitable. The point is in overcoming them and not being defeated. Now I have a new language to learn and hopefully a lot of kebabs to eat while putting my new skills into practice!

P.S. Watch his TED talk, it’s really good: Breaking the language barrier.

About the author

Ioannes Oculus

I am addicted to languages, both modern and ancient. No language is dead as long as we can read and understand it. I want to share my linguistic passion with like minded people. I am also interested in history, astronomy, genealogy, books and probably many others. My goals now are to write a novel in Latin, a textbook for Latin learners, Uzbek-Polish, Polish-Uzbek dictionary, modern Uzbek grammar and textbook for learners. My dream is to have a big house in UK or USA where I could keep all my books and have enough time and money to achieve my goals.

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