The essay "My Language Adventures" is written by Emily Bates.
Emily is home educated and lives in Wales/UK. She tells us about her awesome language learning journey.
I’ve never been on an aeroplane, or even out of the UK, but I have experience of eight languages! My parents are from England, but I was born and have lived all my life in Wales.
My first language is English, but I have been learning Welsh (Cymraeg) for ages. I enjoy Welsh songs and watching Cyw TV (Chick TV!), the Welsh kids channel, with my little brother.
I have also known Romanian since I was little. My mum worked in Romania before I was born, and speaks “romaneşte” fluently. She used to sing me Romanian lullabies, and we still say “noapte buna, te iubesc” (which means “goodnight, love you”) at bedtime!
When I was eight, I started at an afterschool French club. (I now go to a homeschool French group where we sing and play games “en français”). My mum saw an ad for a French language competition, the “JLC” (Junior Language Challenge). I took part, and got a silver certificate.
Last year, I decided to take part again. The first language this time was Spanish, and I got through to the second round.
The next language I had to learn was from far away – ខ្មែរ (Khmer), a Cambodian language! I really liked Khmer, it was finally a language that my mum didn’t know! I did well enough at it to qualify for the live semi-final in Bristol. I was surprised and excited and a little nervous, but not as bad as my mum and dad, who took me and were allowed to watch. I came first, and went through to the National Grand Final!
I then had about one month to learn as much of a third language as possible- Kinyarwanda, a language spoken in Rwanda. I competed in London against the top 32 JLC contestants from all around the UK. The competition was fierce! I didn’t win the trophy, but it was an amazing experience, I really enjoyed it.
If you have been keeping count, you are probably wondering what my eighth language is. Well, eight years ago, my uncle married a lady from Iceland. I now have two little cousins who live over there! My mum, dad, brother and I are planning to visit them next year. It will be my first time on an aeroplane.
I am very excited about this trip, and I have started learning some Icelandic to get ready!
In the Age category 8 - 11 years, Emily's essay is very well structured and a compelling read. We only can be amazed at Emily's gift to learn various language at that speed! Thank you for sharing your journey with us, we are sure the next time you will win the big prize! Keep up the hard work and continue learning languages. The world needs more internationally minded and well-educated people like you! Well done, Emily! Congratulations!
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