Roman Malanke

Embarking on a New Linguistic Journey

Three years ago I got really serious about becoming fluent in Spanish language. By now I can comfortably say that I have achieved that goal and, most importantly, I have successfully integrated Spanish into my daily life. Today I have regular reading, listening and speaking practice both at my leisure time (books, movies, podcasts, radio) and at work (collaborating with Argentinean colleagues). In such mode I am able to constantly increase my level of fluency without dedicating any extra time to it. This brought me to the point where I feel ready to embark on new challenges on the linguistic front.

My friends and relatives have been asking me ever since I started with Spanish what language I would tackle next. Until quite recently I wasn’t sure about that. From practical perspective I thought about an Asian language, Chinese primarily. It’s very different, a huge portion of Earth’s populations speaks it, and its importance in the world is growing fast. Another option I pondered was German. German-speaking countries are among the strongest and healthiest world’s economies and there are many possible practical applications of German in career and business. Plus it allows one to access many significant works of art and science that have been originally created in German.

All these pragmatic considerations somehow didn’t push me to actually start learning, neither Chinese, nor German. Instead, over the last few months I’ve got very emotional about the idea of learning the native language of my father — Romanian. At the same time I have been thinking about my desired vacation destinations and dreaming where in the world I would like to live (or have properties) when I retire if I had the freedom to choose. Besides Spain, which is my absolute favorite, the second best option for both vacations and (hopefully) retirement was… Italy. I thought about this more and realized that Romanian and Italian are very similar, probably one of the closest pairs among all Romance languages, and suddenly it became clear to me what my next linguistic challenge will be. I will tackle both Italian and Romanian, simultaneously, building on the foundation of Spanish.

Within one day since the idea struck me I procured all the necessary “core toolset” to begin. This includes: 1) dictionaries for my favorite iPhone dictionary app; 2) websites and apps of biggest national radio stations in Italy and Romania; 3) several reference grammar books; 4) some of the best Italian and Romanian music.

My goal with both languages is, of course, to become fluent. For Romanian it means that I will be able to effortlessly talk with my father and all relatives on his side in their native language. For Italian, I want to be able to only use Italian during my first vacation trip to Italy. I don’t set any specific timelines, but, obviously, I’ll try to be as effective as I can. During this journey, I plan to be sharing my experience and observations either on this blog or on my Spanish language site.

Alright, now that the announcement is done, it’s time for me to go and begin learning, or rather listen to Italian radio. Grazie per la vostra attenzione. Arrivederci!