Lost in Translation

language-learningDisclaimer – this post has nothing to do with a Scarlett Johansson movie by the same title. No.

Back to topic then :
I’ve just realized that it’s been close to 2 years since I moved to Finland. Yes..almost 2 years since I said ”I’m Finnish’d“. Time flies eh?

So how has it been? Of the several aspects, I only wish to deal with the language bit in this post. When I landed in Finland, the first few weeks made me realize that knowing finnish is a must. Also, being in the business development domain, I know for sure it is wise to speak (or try atleast) in local languages. I feel it’s arrogant to not attempt.

I can speak 4 indian languages which are all completely different from one another giving me a sense of confidence that learning new languages is no big deal..how hard can it be.really. I survived a bit thanks to google translate and was starting to feel a bit eased being a bit over-confident at what I thought was prowess in Finnish…untill I tried to initiate conversations in Finnish..damn shit..I knew nothing. spoken Finnish sounds so very different. .or maybe I never knew how the words are supposed to sound. Oh one thing I kind of perfected is pronunciation of a few cuss words..oh yes. You always have to know when somebody is cussing at you and you not aware.

Back to the drawing board then or in this case, a language school. This thing called over confidence keeps kicking in you see. Here again, I thought I knew the basics and proceeded directly to level 2. Five minutes of the first class and I quickly realized that my basics were rubbish. Back then to level 1 where I originally should’ve started.

In the meanwhile all my friends in Finland are laughing over my plight while some others suggested I learn swedish instead. For those unaware, Finland has 2 official languages – Finnish and Swedish. Swedish is said to be relatively easier. Vaasa, where I live, has a mix of Finns and Swedes which means either language is OK for survival. So I started to learn a bit of Swedish as well. My business takes me outside Finland too. Usual visits are to Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany and Norway. In my attempt to further complicate matters, I tried to learn Swedish, Italian & German. You get the drift don’t you.

The current status then? Not surprisingly Middle of no where.

I can probably exchange a few pleasantries in Finnish, Swedish, Italian & German.
Throw some cuss words when needed.
I can of course read a few things on the restaurant menu cards enough to order myself some food. Survival you see.

And.. well, that’s it.

Oh yes I now remember. . The last time I tried learning Japanese it went in more or the same way.

Note to self – just shut up and stick to English. It still works everywhere.

pic source : google images | Copyright with original image owner.



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