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Land of the Mad Lupin Lovers

Ramblings from a geek

Friday Five
Dorian
linda_lupos
Bit late, but eh.

1. After your first language, what language would you like to learn? (Say first language too.)
- My first language is Dutch! I'm currently learning Italian, Japanese and sign language, and occassionally practising French on the side. I want to learn Spanish eventually, too, and maybe even Frisian.

2. Does your country have a second language? What is it?
- For such a tiny country, we actually do have an official second language! Frisian, mostly spoken in the province of Fryslân, or Frisia, home of stubborn, tall blonde people, ice skaters and majestic black horses. Frisian is quite similar to English, and it's the native language of my dad - he spoke nothing else for the first five years of his life.

3. How many languages can you count to 5 in? To 10 in? List them.
- Dutch: één, twee, drie, vier, vijf, zes, zeven, acht, negen, tien.
English: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.
German: eins, zwei, drei, vier, fünf, sechs, sieben, acht, neun, zehn
French: une, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept, huit, neuf, dix
Italian: uno, duo, tre, quatro, cinque, sei, sette, otto, nuove, dieci
Japanese: ichi, ni, san, shi, go, roku, nana, hachi, kyuu, juu

And I can do it in Dutch sign language too but that's a little harder. :p Basically you hold the back of your hand towards the person you're talking to and extend your index finger for 'one'. Then add the middle finger for 'two', etc. The thumb is the final one for five - all fingers extended. Then six is thumb plus index finger (thumb = 5, index = 1, so thumb + index = 6), thumb + index + middle is seven, etc. Ten is all fingers extended again but with the palm of your hand towards the person you're talking to!

4. What is the first overseas country you visited? And from where? (ie/ timbuctoo to mars)
- This is a bit of a weird question when you're in Europe because there's a huge difference between overseas and foreign countries! The first FOREIGN country I visited was France - we used to go there on holiday a lot when I was a kid. The first overseas country, technicaly, was the UK - the North Sea is a sea, even if the distance between the UK and the Netherlands isn't that big!

5. What country do you most want to visit? And why?
- I love Italy! And I'm saving up for a trip to Japan in a few years. :) And I want to go back to Ireland and the US someday.

2018 resolutions
Dorian
linda_lupos
Is it just me or does it already feel a little different than 2017? Somehow I like the numbers better. They feel... softer. But then I have synesthesia so hey. (In that vein, 2018 has a nicer colour, sort of a blue/green mix, whereas 2017 had some red mixed in from the 7, so maybe that also worked against it?) Weirdly enough for me personally 2017 wasn't even that bad a year, but I still feel some relief that it's done. On to making 2018 kickass! This year, I want to do the following:

General stuff/self-improvement
- Challenge myself more, workwise. I'm keeping an eye out for a better, more fitting job, but right now this one is ideal because I can basically fill in my own hours. The downside is that it's way too easy for me to just show up whenever and end up underperforming, which is bad. So I need to put more effort in and work towards a place where I can show my skills and talents.
- In that vein, maybe look into volunteer work that's more up my alley, maybe even disability advocacy.
- BLOG, DAMNIT. Can also tie into the first two points.
- Read a French book
- Read an Italian book and hold an Italian conversation
- Learn to read Japanese (I want to go to Japan in 2020)
- More hiking to where I can do at least a 15km hike
- Read 50 books (my Goodreads challenge)
- Visit England in the spring (London for the Hamilton musical, then Bath and maybe Glastonbury) and Florence in the fall. In Florence I want to do a language and art course where you do Italian classes in the morning and drawing/painting classes in the afternoon. During the weekend I want to hop over to Venice and Siena so I can pretty much tick those off my list, too.

Knitting/sewing
- Sew a dress and a skirt
- Sew a coat
- Knit a pair of socks
- Knit myself a new Hogwarts scarf
- Knit a fisherman's sweater/gansey
- Finish at least 2 works in progress
- Work on a pair of 17th century stockings! (I'm a volunteer for this project!)
- For the love of god, finish something crocheted

Other hobby stuff
- Do more urban sketching
- Practice the tin whistle and the ukelele to where I can play at least five songs on each
- Learn to juggle
- Learn how to work my new mirrorless camera
- Follow an art course in Florence


There, quite a list! Let's see how this goes. :)

2017 overview
Dorian
linda_lupos
Wellllll it's been a year, hasn't it? Pfff.
Let's see how many of my resolutions I kept.

General stuff
- Find a new job as my current one is... not a good fit for me Sort of? I switched departments, from HR to Servicedesk, and my new colleagues are a lot more fun.
- Start and maintain a blog (for real this time) Hahaha nope... I didn't even manage to properly keep up with this LJ. D:
- Improve my French enough to read a book and comfortably hold a conversation Sort of did this! I had a few conversations in Paris and Chartres, and I bought two books (so yeah they were French translations of P&P and PoA, what of it? :p)
- Improve my Italian enough to read a (children's) book and attempt a conversation I think I can have a basic conversation now, not entirely sure I would be able to read a book, haven't tried it yet. I did manage to follow quite a bit of the Italian-spoken parts of The Young Pope, that was a nice surprise!
- Do more hiking, getting good enough to do at least one 15km hike once (I got a health tracker at a Black Friday sale last year so that should help keeping track of how much I've walked) LOL nope. We had a bad summer, very changeable weather with a lot of rain, so it wasn't at all hiking weather. Boo.
- Read at least 60 books (my Goodreads challenge) By the skin of my teeth (finished the 60th book last night) but I did it!
- Practice the tin whistle more Well, more than "once every three months" is still more, right? :p
- Learn how to play harp Never got around to doing this. Instead, I decided to learn to play ukelele!
- Learn how to juggle Nope. OK, it didn't help that I only remembered this in like, November, and then only did a few halfhearted attempts. :p
- Visit Paris and Chartres in the spring, Naples in the fall. Also maybe London to see Hamilton??? I did go to Paris and Chartres! It was mostly fun - Chartres is beautiful, but the weather was way too hot in Paris. I don't really like Paris anyway, but it's even less fun at 30+ degrees. Ironically, I went BACK in late September, this time combining it with a visit to Reims for the other famous French cathedral. I liked Paris a little better this time around, but I'm not in a hurry to go back. I never got aroun to going to Naples - I had some financial setbacks and it was just too expensive. Hamilton didn't open until December  21 so that was a no-go for 2017 to start with, but I'm probaby going to see it in 2018! Also Naples is back on the 'maybe' list; it's a toss-up between Naples and the Amalfi coast, or going back to Florence for an Italian language course, combined with trips to Venice and Sienna.

Knitting & sewing
- Sew at least three skirts
- Sew a corset
- Knit a pair of socks
- Finish my 2016 weather scarf
- Knit a fisherman's sweater
- Knit a pair of gloves
- Finish at least two works in progress that have been on the needles for ages now
- LEARN HOW TO CROCHET
Yeah this was mostly a bust. I find I don't have enough time and energy (mostly energy) left over for creative pursuits anymore, and it sucks. :( I need to work on that. I was going to do a corset workshop but it was cancelled due to lack of participants. I did sew three skirts, although they were really simple a-line affairs, and I at least made a design for my fisherman's sweater/gansey so that's something. Oh, and I crocheted... a square. :p

Drawing and other papery art
- Do more urban sketching, while on holiday for example
- Practice calligraphy more
- Practice the trois crayons technique more
- Set myself a drawing challenge and actually stick to it for once...
Like the knitting and sewing above, I put too little time into this. I did do some drawing in Paris, Chartres and Reims - I even got photographed by some tourists while I was painting the Reims cathedral! That was fun. But I need to allot more time in my schedule to do stuff like this.

Bit disappointing, but eh, I did enough other fun stuff. :) My list for next year is coming tomorrow!
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End of year fandom meme
Dorian
linda_lupos
Stolen from author_by_night :p
Your Main Fandom of the Year?
Harry Potter, always and forever. :p I did a full reread of the entire series, and I was going to do a rewatch of the movies but that sort of... petered out. (I'm at PoA and I guess I'm subconsciously avoiding Moustache!Remus.)</div>Your Favourite Film Watched This Year?
Uhmm.... Good question! I really liked Coco. The Last Jedi was impressie, as was Wonder Woman. I really enjoyed Get Out, Moonlight and Hidden Figures... I saw too many movies. :p</div>Your Favourite Book Read this Year?
Probably The Alice Network, by Kate Quinn, one of my favourite authors. And the HP books, particularly PoA. It's like sinking into a warm bath.</div>Your Favourite Album or Song to Listen to This Year?
Either Hamilton or the The Young Pope soundtrack.</div>
Your Favourite TV Show of the Year?
The Young Pope was BIZARRE and fascinating, and said some really interesting things about religion and the Roman Catholic church. Plus some STUNNING shots of Rome and the Vatican.

I also really enjoyed season 3 of The Leftovers, another bizarre but fascinating and deep tv show. The final episode was... wow.</div>Your Favourite Online Fandom Community of the Year?
I have been really enjoying the Jane the Virgin fandom. They're all so... nice. :) There are shipwars but they're more pleasant than those in big fandoms. Although I guess that's not hard. :p

Best New Fandom Discovery of the Year?
I'm... not entirely sure what they're asking here? I didn't discover any real new fandoms, at any rate.</div>Your Biggest Fandom Disappointment of the Year?
The reaction to The Last Jedi, which seems to be taking blue/gold dress levels of disagreement. I don't mind people thinking the movie wasn't great (I mean, it was over long, some of the gags were on the edge of cringy) but some people are SO BUTTHURT about it! God.
I saw someone on Twitter point out that the downside of all those "examination/trope discussion" youtube videos is that people seem to have sunk into a sort of mindset that you have to pick everything apart and judge it on its parts rather than the sum of those parts. Star Wars is of itself very much a series of tropes, but it's HOW it deals with those tropes that gets interesting. But if you keep judging for using a trope ("omg Rey is Naturally Good At Something, she must be a Mary Sue!!") rather than how the story uses or twists a trope to tell a story ("Luke was hailed as the Chosen One, how does such a status/reputation work out 30 or 40 years later?"), you get really lame stories. And as TVTropes puts it: Tropes Are Not Bad.
(What really gets my goat about this whole "omg they ruined Luke" thing is that Avatar: The Last Airbender did exactly the same thing with Aang in Legend of Korra, but there was way less whining about it then. Even that horrible The Cursed Child brought down the famous hero of the first series! Come on, like Luke was immune. The kid was whiny in his first ten minutes of screentime!)

Oh, and the fact that Johnny Depp is still Grindelwald.

Your TV Boyfriend of the Year?
Um. I guess anyone from The Young Pope is inelligible because of being a priest? :p I'm going with Michael from Jane the Virgin, even though he left the show last season.</div>Your TV Girlfriend of the Year?
I really liked Nora fom The Leftovers, although I'd mostly want to give her a hug and buy her a coffee, haha.</div>
Biggest Squee Moment of the Year?
The Last Jedi had some GORGEOUS cinematography. I saw it twice already and am seriously considering seeing it a third time just so I can see some of those shots on the big screen again. Absolutely stunning.</div>The Most Missed of your Old Fandoms?
Just... peaceful, respectful discussion?</div>Your Biggest Fan Anticipation of the New Year?</div>Erm. Dunno? I might be seeing Hamilton in London, that's gonna be a squee moment. :p</div>

Christmas Meme part 4
Dorian
linda_lupos
And the last few  questions. Merry Christmas everybody!

20. Favourite Christmas meal
I... don't really have a favourite? I don't like too much meat, but I don't like that in general. For some reason I enjoy Brussel sprouts, so I guess... Brussel sprouts with potatos and a small amount of meat on the side? I dunno.

21. Do you travel on the holidays?
I live in the same city as my parents, who only live a seven-minute bike-ride away, so no. :)

22. Eggnog or hot chocolate?
Never had eggnog so hot chocolate by defaut. :p (I literally have an empty mug standing next to me as I type this, haha.)

23. Your plans for Christmas 2012.
I'm beginning to suspect that this meme was made in 2012, haha. My plans back then were to take it super easy - I had JUST reached the end of my six weeks of only liquid and soft food after my oral surgery on November 15 (technically that period would end on December 27, but my orthodontist said I would be free to eat whatever I wanted at Christmas - not like I WANTED to eat chewy food right away, haha. So I was still pretty weak. Christmas Day was (I'm guessing) spend at my parents'. Normally I would spend the day after at my aunt and uncle's, but because I was still recovering I skipped that year and just stayed home.
This year, my mom had to work on Christmas day, so I spend Christmas Eve at my parents' instead. Went to see Star Wars with my brothers first, then over for games and food at my parents'. Today (Christmas day!) I'm staying home and doing basically nothing, whoo. And tomorrow is another visit to my aunt and uncle's.

24. Favourite Christmas Eve tradition 
I... don't really have one for Christmas Eve specifically? Sometimes I go to church, if my parents are singing in the choir, and sometimes I just do whatever. In 2013 I had my last checkup with my oral surgeon (on Christmas Eve, yes), then went to see Frozen, that was fun. :)



Well, that was the entire meme. That was fun!

Christmas Meme part 3
Dorian
linda_lupos
And onwards!

14. Real or artificial tree?
I got a fake one, 40cms high. I have a tiny apartment and a cat, a large tree wouldn't be a smart idea. :p Plus a real tree gives such a mess with the needles and everything.

15. The best gift I've given
Uhhhhmmm. A few years ago I gave my brother a hat I knit him, then I knit an identical one for myself (ok, the colours were different) and just now my dad mentioned he wanted a similar hat for himself, so I guess that gift was pretty succesful!

16. Hardest person to buy for?
My dad. He rarely seems to know what he wants, he already has everything he needs, he has no real hobbies he is really into, and to add insult to injury his birthday is in early January so when you've finally figured out what to give him for Sinterklaas, a month later you have to do it all over again for his birthday. Sigh. At least now he mentioned wanting that hat!

17. Post a picture of an old christmas card.

First hit on Google for "old christmas card" haha.

18. When do you open gifts?
For Sinterklaas, in the evening. We usually start at 7:30PM after having dinner together.

19. Favourite stocking stuffer?
Shoe stuffer for Sinterklaas as kids put out their shoes in the hope of gifts! My favourite are chocolate coins. Or maybe a small Playmobil box.

Christmas Meme part 2
Dorian
linda_lupos
Next questions!

6. Favourite tree ornament
Uhmmm I don't really have one? This year is actually the first year I have a tree of my own! So I should get onto buying or making some tree ornaments, haha.
Maybe I'll knit some tiny socks or something.

7. Most memorable christmas
Hmmmmm.... They mostly sort of blend together? Sinterklaas 2004 was pretty memorable because my grandpa had passed away only a week before. :/ He was my father's father, and my last grandparent. So that was a pretty subdued Sinterklaas...

8. Post a picture of a Christmas decor.
Eh. I'll take a picture once I'm done decorating I guess. :p

9. Easiest person to buy for
... probably my cat, lol. Buying gifts for adults is hard because they usually have enough disposable income to buy whatever they want themselves!

10. Favourite holiday scent
Toss-up between cinnamon and pine, mmm.

11. Favourite Christmas tradition
I'll make it Sinterklaas as we don't really have a Christmas tradition in my family. Every year we draw names and you have to buy a gift and write a poem for the person whose name you've drawn. On Sinterklaas Eve (5 December or the Saturday or Sunday closest to it) we get together and spend an evening unwrapping the presents and reading the poems. We don't just randomly grab the presents: they get put in a large sack, roll a dice and if you roll the number you've called you get to take a present out of the sack (randomly, without searching for one that's for you). The fun part is when nobody managed to roll their number for a few turns in a row, we start shouting at the dice and stuff. :p

12. Wrapping paper or gift bags
Wrapping paper! I'm pretty decent at wrapping gifts, too, I like to think.

13. Favourite Christmas book
Uhmmmm.... Hogfather, by Terry Pratchett, although it's not really Christmas. :p I like Jostein Gaarder's The Christmas Mystery, too. And last year I read A Christmas Carol which was better than I thought! (I don't like Charles Dickens.)

Christmas meme!
Dorian
linda_lupos
Totally stole this from author_by_night :p


Although I'm fudging it a bit here and there since I'm Dutch and we don't do Santa, we do Sinterklaas, who is the OG Santa!

1) Favourite Christmas movie
The Muppet Christmas Carol. :D I also usually end up watching either Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter - they're usually on tv here, along with the Romy Schneider Sisi trilogy, and the Sound of Music.

2) 2012 Christmas wish list
Sinterklaas wish list, then. Uhmmmm.... I have literally no idea. Books, no doubt. Toys for my cat. Haha 2012 was the year I had my oral surgery, three weeks before Sinterklaas, so I wasn't even able to eat much. So much for all that Sinterklaas candy!
I just looked up my 2012 poem (we write Sinterklaas poems here). Apparently I had to give my younger brother a present; I gave him season 1 of Homeland. I genuinely don't remember what I got!

3) When did I realise Santa/Sinterklaas wasn't real
Can't remember! I guess I figured it out gradually. It certainly wasn't a traumatic experience, or else I would have remembered, haha.

4) Favorite Christmas song
I really like Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. Not sure why. Maybe because it's a little whistful, a little sad. And it's fun to sing along to!

5) Best gift I ever received
Ermmmm.... I once got a mix cd with werewolf-themed songs...
This year I got a ukelele songbook (I'm teaching myself how to play) and a 'Japanese for dummies' book. :D That was pretty neat.


70 questions meme
Dorian
linda_lupos

It's less than half a year since my last post, that counts as not abandoning a journal, right? :p Also wow that new post editor thing is weird.

Anyway, I got a few new friends, and it's been a while since I filled in one of those questionaire memes, so let's do one again! I totally stole this one from erychan86

Cut!Collapse )
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Language meme
Dorian
linda_lupos
I totally stole this meme from Amy. :p

1. What is your mother tongue?
Dutch!

2. What are the official languages of the country you live in?
Dutch and Frisian. Fun fact: at the inauguration of our king (we don't do coronations as we don't have an official state religion - it's complicated) all the members of congress have to pledge alledgiance to the new head of state. One of them did so in Frisian, which caused a brief commotion: "what did she say?! Is she even allowed to do it in Frisian?!" Yes, yes she was, as Frisian is an official language here!

3. Are there any minority languages in your country? Are you interested in them
We have a number of local dialects, some of which only differ in the slightest and some of which are miles apart. There are even variations in 'city' languages and 'country' languages - the capital of the province of Friesland, for example, has its own slightly different dialect from Frisian. A friend of mine lives on one of the small islands to the north of the Netherlands and she is adamant that they do NOT speak Frisian but their own separate language!

The city where I live also has its own language/dialect. I can understand it (mostly) but I can't speak it (same with Frisian, which is actually my dad's native language, as it were). I'm somewhat interested in learning Frisian but the local dialects don't interest me much. I also don't know any native speakers and I wouldn't need to be able to speak it to communicate with anyone.
We also have a lot of immigrants who speak their own languages, like Turkish, Morrocan, Indonesian, Chinese, etc.

4. Are there any minority / extinct languages you are interested in?
Frisian, like I said above. Mostly to impress my dad, haha. I also once had a plan to learn Latin.

5. How many languages can you speak and on what level?
Dutch and English fluently, French tolerably (although I suspect I'm better at it than I think), German and Italian good enough to get by. I also know a few words in random languages like Irish, Czech, Swedish and Icelandic (mostly "hello" and "thank you" though).

6. When did you start learning your second language?
I officially started learning English when I was eleven or so, although the Netherlands being what it is I was exposed to it way before that. We had an hour of English class every Friday afternoon, and we learned stuff like "hello my name is" and "I live in the Netherlands". We did a lot of conversations, too. I still remember my teacher cracking up because we had to explain things about the Netherlands in English, except we didn't know the English word for wooden shoes yet. The Dutch word is "klompen" so we told her we wore "clumps"!

7. Is second language a mandatory subject in your country and how many hours per day do children learn it?
Yup. We're a tiny country with a lot of trade interests, we kind of have to! Most kids start English in grammar school - I started at the age of 11, but I heard that lots of kids start younger these days, some even in kindergarten. Lots of kids are exposed to English through videogames, tv or the internet, too, which allows them to pick it up pretty quickly (it's mostly how my younger brother perfected his English). In high school, Dutch and English are mandatory languages (both get, I think) one or two hours per week), and depending on the school level you have to take either one or two languages in addition. I had Dutch, English and French in my first year, then had German added in my second year (this was all mandatory). I dropped French after my third year to focus on German - mostly because German resembles Dutch a lot and I was lazy! I did my school exams in Dutch, English and German.

8. What do you think about immersion? Have you ever / would you like to try it?
I think immersion is a good idea, but not without a (semi)solid basis or some help by a teacher or guide, someone who is willing to help explain stuff or take it slow as you're learning stuff. It does teach you a lot of 'working' language, for buying stuff or making your way around. But it does sound really tiring.

Sometimes it sounds like fun (I mean, I wouldn't mind being dropped into Florence for a month to improve my Italian!) but I would like to have some basis on the language, too. I don't envy refugees who come here from God knows where and HAVE to figure out a language they have never heard before and which doesn't even remotely sound like theirs.

9. How many languages are you learning at the moment {self-study counts} ?
French and Italian. I'm taking French classes right now. A few years after high school, I started to regret dropping French like a hot potato in favor of German because it was easier - I don't even like German all that much, nor do I like Germany itself or German culture, and I barely ever use it. I do like the sound of French, plus as a Romance language it would be a nice basis for learning Italian and Spanish. So I decided to brush up on my French through adult classes. Thankfully because I had studied it for three years in high school I could step in at the advanced beginners level. It's been quite fun. It's much more practical than in high school, more focused on conversation, reading and listening rather than cramming verb tenses or memorising the gender of words. It's ok if you misuse "le" or "la" as long as you can make yourself understood.
I'm nearing the end of my third year now, kind of debating whether I'll continue after the summer. I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on the language now, enough to continue with self-study in the form of reading the news and listening to radio and such. I'm going to France in May, that'll have to be the test!

I'm also learning Italian through Duolingo and the podcast Coffeebreak Italian. I started last summer and it's been really fun. I already finished the Duolingo language exercises so now I'm just trying to stay on top of that. It's been much easier to learn than I thought, mostly because I already had a good basis in French, and it turns out a lot of words in English and Dutch are based on Latin, so with a lot of words in Italian I could trace the word back to its root, go "oh it looks a bit like xxxx" and guess from there. 9 times out of 10 I was right. :) Plus Italian is such a delightfully dramatic language!
The only thing I don't like is that Italian often drops the subject from sentences (so "he likes dogs" would be "likes dogs") with little indication whether the subject is even male or female. Plus there are some verb tenses that I still don't really get, and Duolingo is little help there because all their grammar explanations are in English and I don't always know the grammar terms. :p ("What the hell are cyclids??") So maybe I'll take a few Italian classes if I don't continue French.

10. What languages would you like to learn in the {near} future?
Spanish, maybe. Frisian. And I might do the Japanese Duolingo in preparation for my planned visit to Japan in 2020!

11. Do you prefer attending courses / classes or learning on your own? Why?
Both have their advantages. With my French classes, I like having other students to practice with, and the opportunity to ask my teacher to explain stuff. Plus we're a pretty fun group - we have a shared app group where we chat, and each year we go out to dinner at the end of the year to celebrate.
On the other hand, with self-study I like that I can set my own pace and can leave it for two months if I want to. With classes, it's a little harder to stay away for two months without any comment and then expect to be allowed back in with no problem. :p

12. Is there a language you have just given up on although you really wanted to master it?
Latin. I'd bought this book about Latin for Newbies or something and I was all set to learn it. But Latin is a hard language to learn on your own, and while my French classes were only a few years ago back then (this was when I was just out of high school) I wasn't firm enough on Romance languages to really get it. So I don't think I got much further than the second chapter!
I should see if I still have that book and see if it's any better now...

13. Is {are} there word{s} you just always misspell?
Well my French is always pretty creative what with all those accents. :p
I always have to try out 'accessories' and see if it looks right. I have a tendency to switch the c and the s around. And "definitely", I must not think about that too much while I write or else I definitely mess it up!

14. Are there any words you just love.
I like the Italian word for "really small": piccolino! Especially with a little bounce on the first syllable: PIC-colino!
And the French for peanut is really fun: a 'cacahuete'!

15. What aspect{s} of language interests you?
How they're all related somehow, i.e. language familes. French, Italian and Spanish are alike (to the point where I shouldn't practice Itallin and French on the same day because I WILL mix them up!), as are English, Dutch and German. Then, interestingly, Frisian is this weird inbetween mix of German, Dutch and a little English. The language spoken on the island my friend lives on is still closer to English, with some words spoken in a distinctly English pronunciation (her brother studied English at university and IIRC he wrote his thesis on the relation between English and Frisian). Then on the other hand there are the Asian, Arabic and Slavic families, for example, which sound absolutely nothing alike. When I was in Prague and tried to find my way around the subway, I ended up memorising sequences of letters instead of words as the place names made NO SENSE to me (let's not even get into the spelling). Irish is pure gibberish to me, although I could make sense of some individual words. Icelandic was interesting to me - during the announcements on the plane, I had that weird annoying feelng that you can ALMOST understand it but you actually really can't. And I had a bus driver almost laughing at me completely botching the name of the bus stop I wanted to go to! Geez. :p

16. What linguistic category interests you the most? {lexicology, semantics...)
Uhh I had to look on wikipedia for this. I like how people use language to describe the world around them, and how language has evolved for a specific setting - the infamous "eskimos have 40 words for snow" thing. I also find sayings and metaphors really amusing, how people in different languages use different ways to descibe something. For example, in English it would rain cats and dogs, while in Dutch it would rain pipe stems! (Yeah I have no idea). So I guess that would be pragmatics and semiotics?

17. Favourite language teacher?
I was rather charmed by my German teacher in high school, an older gentleman who was rather old school. For example, my school would have this little "bible moment" after the first break (which was, along with the mandatory religion classes, the only nod to the official Christian background of the school!). Most teachers would do it half-heartedly or just rattle off the set reading of that day from the little popular-language booklet. This guy, however, would read from an actual Bible IN GERMAN. Which of course did heaps to enthuse us both for the Bible and the German language, ahem. :p But he had an amazing grasp of the language and he was strict but fair. I had a Dutch teacher in the same vein - my friend and I actually nicknamed him "McGonagall"!
On the other hand my school also had a French teacher who was young and pretty to the point where he had his own fanclub; I was rather less impressed with *that*. (I never had classes from him, instead I got stuck with the teacher who chucked chalk at us if we said something wrong, or the one who turned the heating up to eleven during the winter, basically smothering us. Maybe in hindsight I can see why I dropped French!)
I also really like my current French teacher. She is nice, enthusiastic, and she sews her own clothes, too!

18. What does your name mean and from what language does it come from?
Linda is a Germanic name. From Behind The Name: "Originally a medieval short form of Germanic names containing the element linde meaning "soft, tender". It also coincides with the Spanish and Portuguese word lindameaning "beautiful"."

So there you go. :p I also heard the meaning "shield" or "snake". I like the shield meaning better!

19. Native speaker or not, as a teacher?
Ehh I don't really have a preference? As long as they're good teachers. Although native speakers can help with the pronunciation, I guess. I like that about Coffebreak Italian: they have three presenters, one teacher who speaks the language fluently, one learner who has no idea, and one native speaker to help demonstrate the correct pronunciation and who occassionally expains cultural stuff.
Also the teacher and the learner are both Scottish, which is GREAT when they speak Italian. The teacher especially downright PURRS in Italian. :p

20. In case you are planning to have children, would you like to raise them bilingual {multilingual}? Or in another case, what do you think about teaching such young children languages?
I would certainly try and give them a good basis in English, maybe even to the point of reading them English books as small kids. It's such a useful language, and at that age their brains are still 'plastic' enough to pick stuff like that up pretty easily. And I am confident enough in my English that I don't think I'll be teaching them too many errors (now I'm worried I made some grave error in this paragraph, oops!). Of course I would also try and take them on trips to the UK or Ireland so they could get into contact with native speakers.

21. Do you think that one day we will speak only English?
No. There are SO MANY languages, it'd be ridiculous to think that there would ever be one global language. Actually, I think it might actually lose some relevance in favor of Mandarin. There are even some schools here who offer it alongside English because China is an upcoming market and superpower.
I do think that we might lose some smaller languages. Frisian, for example, is diminishing despite local governments' efforts to offer it in schools (somewhat comparable to Irish, really) and many local dialects get fewer native speakers as well. I'm not sure what should be done about that. On the one hand it's sad, on the other hand it's also a bit the natural way of things, I think.

22. What is the hardest language to learn in your opinion?
Gosh. Any with a different alphabet. :p Icelandic is supposed to be really hard, but I felt that as a scandinavian language it felt close enough to Dutch that the basics shouldn't be *that* hard. I found Irish incomprehensible, both written and spoken, so I guess I'll settle for Irish!
Some of those African "click" languages sound impossible, too, but I'm guessing that's mostly because we shape words completely differently with our mouths. Kind of like how nobody can pronounce the Dutch G because they never learned as kids how to shape their mouths. :p

23. Favourite foreign name{s)?
Guillaume. For starters, I can't get over the fact that it's the French version of "William" (HOW?!) and I like how it feels in your mouth. It basically flows off your tongue. Guillaaaauuuumm.

And any name that doesn't sound at all like how it's written, like Aisling (Ashley), Shioban (Shah-von), Þórr (Thor), etc!