Hi there! I’m Israel Lai, a 20-year-old Hongkonger, music student/composer by day and language learner by night. I discovered my passion of more languages when I took German as a minor at university; now, apart from learning and teaching foreign languages as a hobby, I am a staunch supporter of the Cantonese movement, and I’ve taken part mainly as a Cantonese-English translator in projects like Cantonese Conversations, Easy Cantonese, Cantonese Movie Dialogue Corpus, and the words.hk dictionary. I’m also a Chinese-English translator at Die Musikzeitung.
On this blog you will read about my travel experiences as I begin to explore the world on my own, as well as the insights I gain through my successful (and unsuccessful) language learning adventures. I hope you’ll have a good read and perhaps even get inspired! If you’d like to tell me your views about my blog or ask a question, please feel free to leave a comment or send me a message through the Contact Me page.
I’ve also recently started a section with the fancy punny name Bel Canton, with the aim of introducing and explaining up-to-date Cantonese language with Hong Kong-specific cultural elements to learners of the language. If you see some symbols that you don’t understand, check out my “legend”!
It’s always hard to say whether you “speak” a language or not, but here is a list of languages I’ve ever learnt.
Cantonese – my native language.
English – my quasi-native language. I’d say I can handle all situations in English, especially in academic environments where my English actually beats my Chinese.
Mandarin – can communicate fluently, though I keep making pronunciation errors due to lack of practice.
French – can read Harry Potter.
German – [update] I now consider myself fluent in daily conversations!
Japanese – can barely communicate in daily situations because I’ve put it aside for a year or so.
Dutch – just for fun, pretty basic. Russian – was trying Glossika before I threw myself into Germany…I tried talking to a Russian, and it turns out my speaking ability exceed my expectations, while my listening ability was close to zero.
Swedish – basically fluent, even though I can still feel conscious effort when putting sentences together. Currently studying in Swedish.
Polish – current project! Can read with help, enjoying the challenge to speak.