I speak Romanian and English to a comfortable level. I hope my Romanian is better than my English, seeing that it’s my native language, but I make myself understood fairly easy in both languages.
I understand French and I speak it, slowly, when I put my mind to it. I can ask for food and directions. And I can say “Je parle français un peu“.
Lately, I’ve been learning Portuguese. I still have problems understanding what people say on TV and in real life, but I can read well enough. Portuguese people speak really fast and they “eat” vowels, so it’s not that easy to make out what they say. This is why I actually understand Brazilian Portuguese better, but I speak with continental accent.
Understanding Portuguese and speaking Romanian (both Romance languages) makes Spanish a lot easier to understand, as well. I still need to talk in English, though.
Anyway, I don’t write this article to humble brag, but because I’ve had an epiphany: whenever you’re able to read a new language, you “unlock” a new part of the internet.
I remember reading this exact expression on reddit, in a Showerthoughts thread, but didn’t really think much about it.
Lo and behold, though, I just surprised my self midtext, reading this article about a trip to Norway by electric car. Nothing necessarily amazing about that. But the article is in Portuguese. And I only truly noticed it about 20% in. And it’s a long article. With lots of photos, though.
Initially, you would think that the internet content is not that different, right? But it’s not that true. I mean, the internet is largely the same, no matter the language, but the nuances of each language and people that speak it can be felt in regional areas of the web. I mean, the Romanian internet is quite different in tone and subjects of interest from the massive, English one.
Right now, I’m happy though. I’ve just unlocked the Portuguese internet. It’s true, I’m just in “story mode – really easy” difficulty level, but it’s the first step, right? I can read about the weather in Algarve or At least I won’t die of starvation if you drop me in the middle of a Portuguese village, outside of tourist routes. I mean, how difficult is it to order “Bacalhau a brás”, “um cafe pingado” and “a conta, por favor!”. Which translates to “Cod mixed with egg and Julienne fries”, “a coffee” and “the check, please!”.
Btw, if you want to learn Portuguese, try learning online with the same teacher I study. She’s amazing.
Photo credit: The photo at the top is a part of my notes during the lessons.