Language Freak Summer Challenge

Language Freak Summer Challenge

Via Cleo @ Classical Carousel I ran into the Language Freak Summer Challenge.

Reading books in foreign languages was something I’ve wanted to do for a while anyway, so this challenge is perfect! The aim is to read one or more books – in a language other than your first – during the summer (May 1st to August 31st). For more information about the challenge, see the sign-up post!

Some sign-up questions:

What languages do you know? Note: even if you are a beginner, it totally counts! And don’t forget to mention what your mother-tongue is!
My mother tongue is Dutch, and besides that I speak English, German, Japanese and Mandarin. (In some dark past I also learned French (6 years of high school x_x) and Latin (2 years), but I’m not counting those)

What is your history with these languages?
English: I mostly taught myself English through games, tv and the internet when I was young (we also learned English in school but by then I was so far ahead that it wasn’t of much use).
German: I learned the basics of German from an early age because we usually went on vacation to German-speaking countries (Austria, Switzerland, Germany), and the rest during six years of high school.
Japanese: I was a Japanese studies major in university and lived in Nagasaki for one year.
Mandarin: My most recent language is Mandarin. I’ve been taking evening courses for about four semesters now (for work).

Do you use them or are you out of practice?
English: I use English all the time and most books I read are in English… so hereby I exclude it from the challenge 😉
German: I get most of my recent practice from listening to musicals like Elisabeth and Tanz der Vampire haha. I understand German pretty well in both reading and listening but am absolutely awful at grammar and my accent is terrible.
Japanese: My Japanese has gotten rusty. I graduated in 2011 and haven’t used it much since then, despite being surrounded by Japanese materials most of the day. I plan to focus on it more after this semester of Mandarin has ended (next week).
Mandarin: hahaha. My Mandarin is awful. My strong points are reading and grammar, but don’t even ask me to listen to it or worse: speak it. I’m hopeless.

Have you read some books in these languages? Did you like it?
Surprisingly I’ve never read anything serious in German, but I’ve read some short stories in Japanese (no choice if I want to read more from one of my favourite authors, Haruki Murakami 😉 ). Mandarin? Nope.

What are your plans for the challenge?
German: Krabat by Otfried Preußler
Japanese: ふしぎな図書館 by Haruki Murakami
Mandarin: Probably a Mandarin translation with pinyin of one of books from the children’s series Frog by Max Velthuijs

Krabat Fushigi na toshokan Frog


  1. Elizabeth!!!! <3 <3 <3 I hope you are watching the version with Mate Kamaras! Are you?) Love-love-love him!
    *Taking a deep breath and trying to shut up his voice in my head*

    I'm really impressed with the amount of languages you know! And some of them are Japanese and Mandarin! Wow, that must be difficult! I wish you success in your reading and I'm looking forward to seeing your progress 🙂 Welcome on board! 🙂
    Ekaterina recently posted… Language Freak Summer Challenge – My Sign-UpMy Profile

    • Yes! I was even very very lucky to see the cast with Mate Kamaras and Maya Hakvoort in Tokyo two years ago *_* Such an amazing cast! I <3 Elisabeth so much T_T

      Honestly Mandarin is a bit easier now that I also know Japanese (learning a gazillion characters doesn't faze me any more, so that helps XD).

      Thank you for the warm welcome 😀

  2. The browser crashed and I don’t know if my comment went through, so I’m reposting it.

    Wow, that’s an impressive number of languages! I want to learn Japanese someday, but right now I don’t have enough time to learn a language where I would also have to learn a new form of writing.

    • I’m having some problems with comments too lately on various blogs :S It’s weird…

      Yeah, the writing is an obstacle… At least with roman languages you can read what it says, even if you don’t understand it XD

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