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Second Language Meetup

A chef showing Tanzanian beer and Swahili phrasebook

Having had so much fun on the previous meeting, I joined the event again for the second time which took place on Saturday, April 25th. The first meeting was awesome, but the second one was even more awesome. Not only we had more participants, but we also had a special language host.

I joined the French table this time, instead of Spanish, which I have joined in the previous meeting. My level is not as high as Spanish yet because I have just learned it for less than half a year, and I could feel that my listening skill was terrible. I could not understand completely on the first try. So, I frequently needed to ask the speaker to repeat and speak slowly.

Almost every day, I exercise the habit of reading in foreign languages, including French. It is easy to understand reading since I have known languages from the same language family. However, listening is certainly different, moreover when we talk about silent letters.

I (purple shirt) and my group members with our French host, Lucy (far right)

All the way from Tanzania

The organizer started to hold "Special Language" program on every meeting to facilitate participants to learn more foreign languages, or at least, to get information about its speakers, culture, or country from the native speaker.

While everyone was busy conversing in foreign languages, the organizer introduced Stefano, from Tanzania, who is a Swahili speaker. Our special language was Swahili, a Bantu language spoken in parts of Southeast Africa, including Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya, Burundi, Mozambique, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Participants of Swahili table with Stefano (far right)

An easy language?

I have read once that Swahili is considered an easy language, but of course, there are different definitions of "easy" for everyone. What I consider easy might not be easy for you.

Luckily, there is a Teach Yourself Complete Swahili book in the local university library nearby and I got the chance to use it for a while. What I can consider "easy" from Swahili is the fact that it uses Latin alphabets and is pronounced phonetically. The grammar is quite interesting too, such as subject pronouns are represented by prefixes.

Teach Yourself Complete Swahili

Here is a collage photo of the second language meeting. Oh, and surprisingly, Mike from Glossika Languages was there. Mike is an awesome multilingual that have learned many Taiwanese aboriginal languages. His effort to save the languages certainly cannot be underestimated.

Have you learned Swahili? What do you think about it? Share your learning experience with us in the comment box. Thanks for reading, or "asanteni" in Swahili.

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