Bucket List

Languages to Learn: My Bucket List

Ever since the movie “The Bucket List” came out back in 2007, the concept of the Bucket List has well and truly embedded itself in the English-speaking world as a “thing” 🙂 It may have been around in the USA before this (and I assume it was), but in Australia it really wasn’t. We had “Wish List”s or “Things To Do Before I Die” lists… but not Bucket Lists.

But now we do 🙂 And in my travels this week, reading back through some old posts on a few language learner blogs, I came across some of their bucket lists, and decided that I could do that too 🙂 Why not?

Language learning can be addictive – well, certainly for me it is. There is nothing more fun than the “high” that comes after the penny dropping, and finally having a reasonable conversation with someone in a new language for the first time. I’m a bit obsessive with languages, I’ll admit. I have a tendency to do that with anything much that becomes a hobby 🙂 (Asperger’s much? 😉 ). So here is the list as it stands today…

1. French & Dutch to C1 (Currently FR: A2, NL: B1 spoken/A2 written)

At some stage in the future I would very much like to make my home in Belgium for a time, and in order to do that effectively I really need to have at least French to that level, and seeing as I already have conversational Dutch, it would make sense to improve that as well. (Yes, I know Vlaams isn’t Dutch exactly… but I’ll take what I can get!).

2. Modern Standard Arabic, Mandarin & Russian (U.N.languages): Oral Skills to B2

Part of my hopes and dreams for when this middle aged woman grows up (:O) include the need to be able to build relationships with people from all over the world, and I figure being able to speak conversationally in Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin and Russian (in addition to English, and above listed French) is a pretty good start. I’m not in a rush to achieve it – Spanish is on the plan for 2019, but the others just sit in my “bucket” 🙂

3. Spanish & Catalan: All Skills to B2

My “next in line” languages to begin are Spanish and Catalan, basically because I am preparing for a conference to be held near Barcelona at the end of 2020, by which time I would like to be quite conversant in…

4. Langue des Signes Française, Lenguaje de Señas Español & Llengua de Signes Catalana: B2

As a sign language interpreter, sign languages of all groups fascinate me. And for me they are particularly easy to learn. However, typically the resources available to learn different sign languages are produced heavily dependent on the written language of the area. So when I began learning LSF (French Sign Language), I was forever translating back and forth from the written French. Hence my motivation to brush it off this last 12 months, and my motivation to learn Spanish and Catalan to a high enough level that I can easily read the subtitles on LSE and LSC teaching resources 🙂

5. Modern & Ancient Greek: B2 & C1 respectively

In 2019 I am also starting studies in Modern Greek. I am doing this really to help learn Ancient Greek – I figure whatever I can learn in the Greek alphabet, and of their culture, will help me to really understand Ancient Greek a bit more that I otherwise would, having had no personal contact with the culture or land.

6. Australian Indigenous Languages

In the same way as I chose to travel around Australia first before travelling overseas, I think it is respectful to learn an Australian Indigenous Language, seeing as that is where I am from. It has been possible to learn Yolngu (from the north of the Northern Territory) for around 20 years (previously by correspondence and now online) through Open University, and now Arrente (Central Australia), which makes accessing those languages easy. But realising that the NT nations of Australia are a long way from Brisbane, I would prefer to learn my local language, which is likely to be Yuggera (I’m right on the border of two territories) – but there doesn’t seem to be many resources, so I may instead check out Yugambeh, which is the language of the nation slightly to my south, covering the rest of my city. I know that the Yugambeh elders have been working to preserve the language, but unfortunately the iPhone app they created wouldn’t work on my phone, so I will have to do some research and find out where to get the information.
#Update – the app now works – yay! But it is really not much more than a small dictionary.

7. Modern & Ancient Hebrew: B2 & C1 respectively

At some stage in the future I intend to do the same with Hebrew as with Greek. For all the same reasons! 🙂

8. Icelandic

Iceland is on my Travel Bucket List, so …. pretty natural, right? And doing a LanguageJam challenge in it recently just made me think “I’m going to have to study forever to understand this language!”… so I better get started!

9. German, Afrikaans,  American Sign Language, Samoan, Maori, Swedish, Korean, Japanese & Hindi

I have already dabbled in the first three of these languages, and while none of them are high priority languages, I have friends who speak these languages and so… why not take the opportunity to learn, right? 🙂

So… I’m thinking that will take me through nearly until death 😀

What’s in YOUR bucket list? Are you, like me, a hopeless dabbler? Or do you have just one or two languages in which you want to become really fluent? Let me know in the comments below!

Cate is a language enthusiast sharing her language learning journey here. Apart from her native English (albeit 'Strine'*!), as an adult she has also learned Auslan (Australian Sign Language) to approximately a C1 level, Dutch to around B1/2, French to around A2, and has a smattering of other languages.

B.A. (Anthropology/Marketing), Grad. Dip. Arts (Linguistics), Grad. Cert. Entrepreneurship & Venture Development, (CELTA).

Auslan Interpreter (NAATI), and general Language Nut.

*For more information on 'Strine', visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strine