So even though I'm far from being completely fluent in Italian, I decided to add another language to my repertoire.
I began preparing for this in the last week of November, by downloading Duolingo on my tablet, fishing out my books/CD (German in French, which I bought before leaving France), and finding a good site for Grammar etc. I then officially started the process on the 1st of December, giving myself 9 months in which to learn, and achieve the goal of being able to communicate effectively and confidently. An initial look at the language gave me the impression that it was logical, similar to English and familiar (from learning Swedish briefly a few years ago, sadly all gone now from lack of use). I therefore overconfidently thought I was going to have a very easy ride. However, I hadn't banked on getting interference from French, which also seems to have left its ravages on my poor brain.
The main problem (apart from declension, which is another issue entirely) is that I often think in French and so use French constructions for German sentences. A typical example would be use of the verb "to be," where the verb "to have" would have traditionally been more appropriate. Case in point, to state my age in French I would say "J'ai 30ans" (literally, I have 30years). However, in English and German the verb "to have" is replaced by the verb "to be" so we end up with "Ich bin 30 Jahre alt" or "Ich bin 30" which literally mean I am 30years old and I am 30 respectively. Intellectually, I know this, but I cannot seem to stop myself from mirroring the French phrase and saying "Ich habe 30 Jahre".
As if this wasn't enough, my brain (perhaps cognizant of the fact that English and French are kind of forbidden), has decided to come up with a coping mechanism to deal with the stress of learning yet another language. I now sometimes find myself using Yoruba and Italian words to fill in the currently large gaps in my German vocabulary. I think my poor brain feels like a melange of languages is its only way of producing anything intelligible at the moment!
Still, I'm not one to give up...I'm hoping to achieve my goal in spite of the challenges, but I've decided to restart the count from the 1st of January after the holidays when I'll be less distracted and more able to dedicated myself to the hard work ahead of me. By the 1st of October 2015, I hope to be able to express myself clearly in German, and have reached level C1 (to be assessed objectively with a test from the Goethe institute).
And my English? Also going down the drains it seems. Living, thinking and working almost exclusively in French has done a number on my brain. For example, whenever I do a long piece of writing I have to re-read it a few times, since I've realised that I sometimes forget to add the preposition "to" in English when using the infinitive form of verbs. This is a really silly mistake to make as a native English speaker, but a quick glance through a list of verbs in both languages reveals how this becomes possible (to have = avoir; to be = être; to do= faire and so on). In other news, I've also taken to writing English with French spellings, for example, ou for or, Décembre for December, familiarity as familiarité, accompany as accompagne, and my construction of English sentences is also unfortunately undergoing a change for the worse. I now say things like "he is more big than you" or "the car of the man" (to think I used to be so proud of my English language skills!). Worst of all, I've noticed that I'm gradually morphing into that obnoxious person who corrects others and gets irritated when I see/hear people using bad French :(
Anyway, over to you. Are you learning a new language? How that's going, and/or what impact does it have on your first (or second, third, etc.) language(s)?
With that, I say...A lovely weekend to all/Bon weekend/ Ein schoenes Wochenend!