My Language Background

English: A "Danger – Keep Out" sign ...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many friends asked me about how many languages that I know. 

I was born in Medan, Indonesia. Luckily, Indonesia is a diverse country and so does Medan. You can find the diversity of Medan in almost anything, such as ethnicity, culture, language, culinary.

Native Languages

Born as a Chinese-Indonesian of Fujian (Hokkien) ancestry, I speak Fujianese (Hokkien). This language is widely used among Chinese-Indonesian in Medan. However, there is also Chinese-Indonesian like Cantonese, Hakka, etc. Therefore, they may have their languages too!

I am lucky to have a Cantonese grandmother too. I still remember that I used to learn Cantonese from her everytime I visited her on Sunday. Besides, I also learnt by myself. I would say that my Cantonese is basic or OK for travelling purpose. 

As an Indonesian, I speak Indonesian too. Indonesian is the official language in Indonesia and used in education, TV programs, formal/ informal activities, news, and so forth. My life is actually surrounded by languages. An interesting occasion for me is in Chinese wedding, Indonesian and Mandarin are both used but sometimes English is used too!

Because of the diversity in Indonesia, I am familiar with several Indonesian dialects too, such as Batak language, and Javanese. My familiarity of these languages is just up to recognizing them, not understanding them. There are actually hundreds of Indonesian dialects. Many of them even cannot be found in Medan! Indonesian language and Fujianese (Hokkian) are similar to Malay and Taiwanese, respectively. Therefore, I understand quite well Malay and Taiwanese.

Foreign Languages

English is taught at school as the first foreign language, so many people know English. Then, Mandarin is also taught, as the second foreign language at school. Therefore, I learnt English and Mandarin at school. Apart from that, I took 1 year German as the extracurricular.

I figured out that there are many Korean students in the university I am attending. This gives me a good opportunity to learn Korean. Then, I go for it! I have been learning Korean since my second semester (that was in 2009.) 

Recently, I have made language learning as one of my hobbies. I have been learning several languages since this becomes a hobby, such as Latvian, Russian, and Spanish. I do not aim high for the result. The point is just relaxed and enjoy. 


What is your language background and what motivates you to learn a foreign language? Thanks for reading. Feel free to share this article if you like. If you have any opinions, please leave a comment. I love reading them.

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