This week, Shannon from Eurolinguiste.com will be sharing her experiences with language learning. She is also a quite talented musician from Belfast who is now based in California, USA. I must say, I really love her Instagram posts with the inspiring quotes she shares over there.
Can you tell me a bit about yourself? What is your main occupation?
My name is Shannon Kennedy and I run Eurolinguiste.com. I am a musician first and foremost, but I also love learning languages. I blog about my personal study routine and the resources I’m using, how they work for me, and the places I’ve been where I’ve had the opportunity to use them on my blog.
How did you become involved with languages? Did anyone motivate you?
Languages have been a part of my life as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t really until university that I began to enjoy learning languages and chose to pursue it as both a “hobby” and for my studies. As part of my degree, I studied the relationship between language and music, and in order to work on my research, I had to learn other languages. The learning process was incredibly enjoyable for me, as was getting the opportunity to really apply what I’d learnt.
Have your family, loved ones and friends been supportive with your language interests?
My family has been supportive of my language learning. Even if they don’t understand why I want to learn so many languages, they are still the first to purchase language books for me as gifts. I also have the benefit of having family that speak two different languages so I get quite a bit of practice depending on who I am with.
Did you ever face a hard moment while learning languages? How did you overcome it?
Every so often I hit plateaus in my language learning where my progress kind of stagnates. Finding the motivation to work through it can be difficult – especially when I need direction. I’ve found that studying with a teacher and getting input has been extremely helpful. A teacher can help you work out which aspects of your language abilities need attention and provide you with tips to improve them. This has been irreplaceable when I reach those plateaus in my language learning.
What languages are you currently interested in right now? How do you practice them? What are your lifehacks for that language?
I speak French and English, and can have basic conversations in Italian, Croatian, Mandarin and German. I am currently focusing on Mandarin and Croatian. I use Assimil and a variety of podcasts to study as well as the help of teachers I met through iTalki. For vocabulary, I use Memrise. I share my resources for each of these languages here: http://www.eurolinguiste.com/
Are you interested in a certain language that you know, more or less, you will not be able to learn it properly?
For a while I was interested in learning Breton, for which there is not a large variety of resources. I would not necessarily say that I would be unable to learn it properly though. It might be more difficult than some of the other languages that I am learning, but there are resources for the language. If one is truly motivated to learn a language, I believe they’ll find a way to make it happen.
Can you tell me a short, positive anecdote about your language learning history?
For me, the realization that I could navigate my way through a country using one of the languages that I had learnt without relying on my family.The first time I traveled abroad alone I was terrified. I feared I would get off the train at the wrong station, that I would eat something I was allergic to because I didn’t understand the menu, that I would end up lost with no way to contact a taxi, and so on. But none of that happened. I managed to get through the trip successfully and that was life changing for me. Incredibly motivating. I would absolutely encourage everyone to step outside their comfort zone when it comes to language even if it’s not as extreme as what I did. Some of the best learning experiences (about yourself and the language) can certainly come from it!