My name is Edmond O’ Flynn, and I’m a 16 year old polyglot from the Republic of Ireland.
I grew up speaking two languages as my mother tongue, English and Irish. Later on, at about the age of 8, I found a book about learning Spanish for children at the local library. It fascinated me how you could become able to speak a language from books! And so, between that book, going on holidays to Spain with my family, and the purchase of a computer game that was only in Spanish, I became quite proficient very quickly.
But my interest in languages faded away until the age of 11. That was when I began to study Japanese on a whim. I bought a Japanese grammar book, a Japanese script book, a phrase book and a vocabulary book. I had no real idea of understanding grammar at the time, so I never really progressed in speaking it with any degree of fluency. In addition, there were no other speakers of Japanese in my area. But I did manage to learn the two Japanese scripts and about 20 Kanji in 3 days. My interest in Japanese continued until my 13th birthday.
I bought books on Mandarin Chinese in London while my mother and I were on holiday there. My interest in Mandarin stayed with me until the age of about 15. I got to a really high standard of Mandarin, and pen-pals helped me fully develop my understanding of that language.
I learnt German in school from the age of 13, and within 3 years, I can pass as a person with a neutral accent who seems to have been living in Germany for quite a while. I have an immaculate understanding of grammar, and can read books and newspapers easily in German. During the Summer, at the age of 16, I began to study grammar intensively. English grammar, Irish grammar- everything I could find available.
By September I seemed to have an explosive interest in other languages. I had Slovak and Polish classmates, and as a challenge in being able to understand them (and to prove that a non-native can learn a foreign language), I began to study both those languages in the evening. Since they’re closely related Slavic languages, learning them both wasn’t difficult. So after a half year of study, I can now talk with them exclusively in Slovak and Polish.
I learnt Dutch last Summer by conventional study and by approaching it from the perspective of sound changes from German. I gained proficiency quickly by using that method. I have lately begun to study Russian, Finnish and Swedish for fun in my spare time. I learnt the Russian Cyrillic alphabet in 2 hours, and have acquired a good knowledge of both Russian and Swedish grammar. Finnish grammar I have found to be much more challenging (for the moment! 😉 ), but I eventually hope to become proficient in all three, in addition to the previously mentioned languages.
In the future I wish to study linguistics.
Here is my progress so far;
English and Irish (mother tongues)
German, Dutch, Mandarin (very good proficiency/almost fluent)
Polish and Slovak (good proficiency)
Czech (good listening and reading understanding from the other Slavic languages)
Russian and Swedish (good conversational level)
Finnish (need to study more!)
Thank you for your time 🙂
YouTube Channel: SimCity4IE