Discover more from The Average Polyglot
TL;DR #08 — Talk. Learn. Discover. Repeat.
I hope you’ve all been great ‘cause I have.
I’m finally starting to settle in Korea as I now have my foreigner registration card and was able to rent a flat in which I’ll move in later this month.
Last week was jam-packed but also quite productive so I felt great most evenings and took pleasure in disconnecting from the pressure of life. I did so even more this weekend as you’ll read below.
I also finally got back into studying a bit of Manmino after taking about a month of break. It was fun and I’m planning on creating more sentences this week to practice.
I’ve also done quite a bit of research into the next deep-dive language that’ll start the next area of the world. It’ll be about a language I didn’t really know existed even though it wasn’t far from me as a child. Whoops, I guess you now know which area we’ll be turning to then!
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Alright, let’s dive in!
This week, we’re turning to the importance of rest in learning.
More and more people are talking about the importance of rest and of disconnecting these past few years. It makes sense. After being told for decades being productive was the “most important” thing we could do, we now know spending all our time working is both unhealthy and making us less productive.
I spent this past weekend ahead, disconnected from much of the world surrounded by friends and playing like a kid in a swimming pool. It had been a while since my last real time off so this felt great.
Even though I got less sleep than I usually do during weekends, this break allowed me to start the new week filled with energy and motivation.
Living in Korea now, I can see people hooked to their phones all the time. I thought I was addicted but the level here is too high. Many were still on their phones in the swimming pool, entering to take pictures before leaving right after.
I bet they didn’t start the week as refreshed as I did. 😁
Take a break. Take a kit-kat even if you need one too.
And enjoy how great it feels, because your body and mind surely will.
✍️ Learn from my experiences
How Learning a Foreign Language Can be a Game Changer in Your Life
Every morning I write three things I’m grateful for. Often, but not always, one of them relates to language learning. If I were completely honest with myself, there should always be one.
Languages have made my boring life exciting. Languages have allowed my life to grow to heights I never would have even dared dream of.
In this week’s essay, I talked about How Learning a Foreign Language Was a Game-Changer in My Life and what they will give you too as a language learner.
From living a long healthy life to understanding others with more ease and gaining access to the entire world, these aren’t specific to me. Every language learner will get them. And that includes you too.
Isn’t this beautiful?
🌎Discover new cultures
This week we’re talking about how some countries in Europe have tried to care for the environment in recent history.
Since I’m biased, let’s start with my home country of France.
I’ve never considered France as a very environment-friendly country but doing some research showed me we’re not so bad after all. In far, France was rated 7th in the Green Future Index 2022.
France has one of the world’s most comprehensive hydrogen development policies and regulatory frameworks. Set in 2015, a new plan presented in 2018 had three main objectives:
“greening” hydrogen for industrial use;
using hydrogen for mobility to complement the battery sector; and
stabilizing energy networks.
On top of this, the “Programmation Pluriannuelle de l'Energie” (PPE, Multiannual Energy Program) published in 2020 plans to increase financial support for the hydrogen sector.
While all this is good, my experience seeing French people live their lives is that they’ve gotten more environmentally conscious but I believe recycling should be enforced with stricter rules as while people should separate their garbage, nothing happens if they don’t.
When it comes to renewable energy, Iceland takes the cake by being one of two European nations which generated more electricity from renewable sources than it consumes (the other being Norway). While the average renewable energy in the EU was 23%, Iceland reached 85% of the country’s needs.
This is, among others due to its abundant geothermal energy from volcanic sources (about two fifth) and hydropower. In fact, some of Iceland’s power plants can even be visited now!
The Netherlands, and Amsterdam in particular, is famous for having its citizens rely heavily on bicycles to commute but the country is also a green transportation leader! Passenger trains use clean energy since 2017 and policies have been set so that buses would run on renewables from 2025 and be emission-free by 2030.
Finally, it’d be wrong to talk about countries caring for the environment today without mentioning Greta Thunberg’s home country of Sweden. It’s no surprise she grew to care for the environment so much considering Sweden.
Sweden was one of the first countries in the world to set a Carbon tax, back in 1991 (the first was Finland, in 1990), which helped reduce its greenhouse gas emissions before other countries even considered it. This tax which started at SEK 250 per tonne (~$25) reached SEK 1,200 per tonne in 2022 (~$115).
It also has one of the highest rates of recycling in the world, with a recycling rate of 99% for household waste as of 2018. The country achieves this through a combination of mandatory recycling programs, financial incentives for recycling, and efficient waste management systems.
Other countries in Europe all have their own challenges and ways to tackle them so that’s all we’ll cover this week. I’ll probably come back to this topic in the future so let me know if that interests you!
But before we change the topic, we’ll go further west to talk about two countries working hard to care for the environment.
🗺️Repeat with me (Lesser-Known Languages)
Juba Arabic - An Arabic Creole with fixed plurals
As mentioned last week, this time we’re talking about another Creole language with a surprising base language: Arabic. Well, if I knew more about history I probably should have seen this one coming. After all, there was an Arab conquest of Africa after the death of the prophet Muhammad.
Juba Arabic, also known as Arabi Juba in the tongue, is the descendant of the Arabic that evolved in Sudan after the penetration of Arab groups from the 12th century. The slave trade at end of the 19th century was so large that the Egyptian government started restraining the zaribas in Sudan where slaves were drawn from various Nilotic tribes (Mundu, Lugbara, Dinka, etc.) lived.
While South Sudan’s official language today is English, the most spoken language in the country is Juba Arabic. It is estimated there are about 250,000 native speakers and over a million L2 speakers today.
Juba Arabic is not to be confused with Sudanese Arabic. While the latter had an impact on the former, Juba Arabic has a lot of other influences from surrounding Nilotic languages.
Another clear difference is the fact that while Sudanese Arabic is written using the Arabic alphabet, Juba Arabic uses the Latin alphabet.
Like other Creoles have had to do, Juba Arabic has had to fight to lose its image of “broken Arabic” or “Arabic spoken badly.” This is probably due to its simpler structure compared to Arabic.
When it comes to its phonology, Juba Arabic has lost some nuance found in Arabic, such as the plain and emphatic consonants (keeping on the plain variant). Similarly, there is no consonant doubling (known as gemination or tashdid in Arabic).
But there are a lot more differences too. Let’s see a few now:
The most shocking of allis that while Standard Arabic’s word order is Verb-Subject-Object (VSO), Juba Arabic is SVO!
Juba Arabic only distinguishes number while Standard Arabic also distinguishes gender. When gender needs to be specified, a word like rájil (man) or mára (woman) can be added after.
Plurals in Standard Arabic undergo a process known as “internal plural” or “broken plural,” which is made by retaining the root consonants of the word and rearranging syllables into new ones. These internal plurals then change based on their purpose in the sentence. This doesn’t exist in Juba Arabic where one of two solutions is applied:
The stress can be moved to the last syllable
The suffix -át can be used.
Some internal plurals exist in a “frozen” state with a plural meaning:
béled = country | bilád = countries
mára = woman | nuswán = women
Verbs are probably the aspect most different from Arabic. Indeed, while Standard Arabic has a complicated system in which the internal vowels of the verb change based on the tense, subject, and gender, Juba Arabic verbs only have one form. Instead, like in other Creoles, context and prepositions help understand all these aspects.
No preposition indicates the present or past:
íta deru laham? → Do you want meat?
[You want meat?]
ána kásuru bab. → I broke the door.
[I break door]
ge= indicates the habitual present or a progressive action
Anína ge=rówa Tokyo. → We are going to Tokyo.
[we PROG=go Tokyo]
bi= indicates the generic future
úo bi=raja. → He will come back.
kan can indicate a past perfect
úmon kan ja. → They had come.
ma comes before the verb (and the preposition indicating tense if there’s one) to indicate the negation:
íta ma bi=kátulu. → You will not kill.
[you NEG FUT=kill]
ána ma dáfa gurús ta bet. → I did not pay the rent.
[I NEG pay money POSSESOR house]
If you’d like to learn more about Juba Arabic, I invite you to check the APICS page about it and this short PDF about the basics of the language. If you want to learn more sentences, check this rather new YouTube channel all about teaching Juba Arabic!
If you speak a bit of Arabic, you may notice how many of these verbs and nouns look somewhat similar to their Arabic counterpart. I’m willing to bet you’re also quite surprised by how different this language’s construction is!
This is the beauty of Creole languages.
So close yet so far from home.
Next week we’ll go back to an island close to where the Tayo Creole developed and yet so different.
Until then, check this video to hear Arabi Juba’s beautiful rhythm.
Thanks for reading this eight edition of TL;DR! Let me know your thoughts 🙃
Mathias, an average polyglot
To me at least because I have no idea how this evolution happened!