I'm Kris, a twenty-something year old Dane, who found language learning when hopelessly drifting around trying to look for a path to follow.
I founded Actual Fluency to chronicle my journey, stay motivated to keep learning, and to share my findings and experiments with other people in a similar situation.
You're not alone out there, remember that.
My Story – the short version
Around 2002 when I was in elementary school I was a top student. I always did all my homework, attended every class and in return got top marks. Then my parents broke the news that they were getting divorced and my world shattered. I began entering a state of depression that lasted all the way up to the present day. Particularly language classes had always fascinated me but I had no idea one could learn a language outside of school.
In 2004 my father unexpectedly died, which naturally affected me. Living with my mother I struggled to find my path or passion in life. I tried various educations and jobs, but I could not stick with it. Everything was “meh” and I became overweight and the vicious cycle seemed to have no apparent way out.
That is, until I discovered the big Polyglots on YouTube. People like Benny Lewis, Richard Simcott and Luca Lampariello were living the life I always wanted. Fascinated by learning and languages and travelling the world – actually experiencing SOMETHING. That's when I knew I had found my path.
I'm not an expert on languages, linguistics or learning, I'm not a great student, I don't have any specific talent or gifts for languages. What I do have though, is an unquenchable desire to learn and improve every single day.
You can get the full version of this story in my presentation: My NAPS 2016 Presentation
The mission: 10 languages in 10 years
I'm currently proficient in English, Danish, German, and can understand and converse in limited fashion with Esperanto, Russian, and Hungarian. My current goal is to learn Hungarian as well as bring up my weaker languages so that I speak 6 languages decently by the Summer of 2017. Once I have those solid 6 I can start adding the rest up to 10.
To me, decent means being able to communicate impromptu, watching television, reading books and understanding most of what is going on. This is probably somewhere between B1 and B2 on the CEFR framework.
I have big plans for my languages, so stay tuned on the blog for more information!
So what's Actual Fluency?
I wanted to share my feelings and emotions, because I knew that I could not be alone out there. My psychological state as well as being a pretty big introvert, AND suffering from focus problems, which meant that I couldn't just sit down and study for 8 hours a time. This blog is my speak-pipe as well as my research platform but most importantly it is a way to tell the world that ANYONE CAN LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE which incidentally became my tag-line.
The blog also acts as an accountability source. I knew that if I had to battle through and climb the mountain that is another language, then I needed some kind of external accountability to stay on track and prevent me from giving up, as I had so many times before.
Thirdly I also wanted to present some of my findings on personal development. Learning a language takes a lot of will power, and without proper care of yourself it's unbelievably hard to do.