New York and America in general, is a melting pot of cultures – which includes languages. Blue Fountain Media is no different and at time it feels more so. This is part 1 of week’s question to the BFM team is as followed; we will continue the post next week:
Do you speak a foreign language? If so, which one?
How long have you studied this language?
Have you visited the country where this language is from?
Lonnie | Designer
I took a semester of Japanese in college out of curiosity and ended up loving it! So I took another two semesters after that. A few months after I graduated, I moved to Japan and taught English for about a year and a quarter. I'd love to find the time to start taking formal Japanese classes again, but I also plan on going to a meetup.com Japanese practice group with Ishmael, which I'm definitely looking forward to.
I also had to take Hebrew in school for many years, and I've been to Israel a few times, but I've unfortunately forgotten pretty much all my Hebrew. I can read it phonetically, but I don't really remember any grammar or vocabulary.
Gabriel | Founder
I can speak and read fluent Martian, but I can’t write it. Just kidding (maybe not)!
I can speak Farsi (the Persian language), and I can read Hebrew. Does that count for one full language? Hmmm…
Joe | Analyst
So I speak several foreign languages. I speak Farsi which is Iran's language and that I learned it as a child, yet sadly I have yet to go to Iran and am illiterate. I've studied Spanish for five years and still use it today whenever in Jackson Heights or Corona. I went to Mexico when I was 12 but at that time didn't speak any Spanish, though I would also love to go to Spain and test my Spanish when communicating with people of the Castilian dialect (they tend to lisp a lot in their Spanish).
Also, after Going to Italy when I was 13, I was intrigued by the language and how beautiful it sounded. When I was 17 took Italian for a year, and now use it only once in a while having very basic conversations (no where near as fluent as the Spanish but still enough to survive).
Lastly, I took Mandarin Chinese in college for two years. After 9 months of intensive studying, I went to a small city in China for 3 weeks (I was 20 at the time) where no one knew English and used my Chinese constantly; people where astonished at the progress of speaking so well after so little time! I continued studying afterwards, and today just read Chinese books to improve my vocabulary and am constantly in Flushing (a heavily concentrated Chinese community here in New York) to keep my mind fresh for literacy. If I could I would like to go back to China every other year; so if not next summer perhaps the following summer I can make my joyous return.
Like a good website, communication is key to getting around in this world.
Asya | Account Manager
I speak Russian fluently and was born there. I'm 100% Russian, so I have been speaking it my entire life. I was born in St. Petersburg, but have only been back once, for two weeks when I was 17.
David | Marketing Intern
French (fluent up until about three years ago): 4 yrs high school, 1 semester in college. I have been to France and lived in Belgium for a year during college where half the country speaks French.
Dutch (not nearly as well as French): Studied for 1 yr in Belgium while in college and haven't attempted to speak a word of it since. While in Belgium, I went to Netherlands on numerous occasions where they also speak Dutch.
Hebrew (even more rusty than my Dutch): I grew up in a fairly religious home, but haven't spoke much since I was 16 or so. I went to Israel on a Birthright trip after graduating college.
Note: I'm not fluent in any of them anymore because I simply don't have the necessity to speak them.
Zack | Marketing Project Manager
I studied French in high school and then spent six years in Paris, including undergrad, so I speak, read and write. I took Spanish for 7 years, but it's still not as good as my French. I also did a few semesters of Italian and German, and I'm trying to learn Japanese and Serbo-Croatian on my own.
Ishmael | New Media Strategist
My first language is Spanish, as both of my parents are from Spanish-speaking countries (Spain & Mexico), and I learned English from TV (Sesame Street) and from my nanny as a child. I took a semester of French in high school, but haven't really pursued it - first I need to polish up my Japanese.
Speaking of Japanese, after university, I moved to Japan as an English teacher and was intrigued by the language, and thus took a nine month intensive Japanese course (and obviously interacting with Japanese people on a daily basis). While living in Japan my Japanese did improve, but since moving back to the States it is completely rusty and needs to be polished (literally and figuratively).
Lastly, I would love to learn Arabic but all in due time.