sellarafaeli.com

I really like (studying) human languages.

I speak English and Hebrew as mother tongues. I grew up on fantasy books, primarily David & Leigh Eddings. It’s a great way to improve your vocabulary and expressive abilities (probably the most important skill in programming).

I speak fluent Spanish, after studying and traveling extensively in Central and South America and Spain. My favorite word is madrugada, which means ‘early morning’ or ‘dawn’.

I majored in (literary) Arabic in school, and worked with it a bit in the army. I can read subtitles, newspapers and perhaps a short story. My favorite Arabic song is Salama, ya Salama by Dalida.

I can speak conversational German. The most amusing thing about learning German comes from how in German, the ‘second verb’ in the sentence must come at the end (“I want to go with you” would be “I want with you to go”). Because of this, the following amusing scene would repeat itself - I would try to say something in German to a fellow German-speaker and would look at their face for clues as to whether you are saying the right thing. Because the ‘actual’ verb would be at the end of the sentence, the German-speaker would calmly (and frustratingly) wait for you to finish your sentence before giving any feedback (this would be aggravated by German-speakers’ famous politeness).

My current focus of language study is Russian. Israel (where I live) has a about a million Russian speakers, so it only makes sense to try and learn at least a little bit of what people around you are speaking all the time. I can probably get by in Russian; the hardest part is by far the grammatical conjugation of everything by case and gender. Three genders and at least 6 cases lead to 18 different options for conjugating every single word in a sentence. That requires some serious in-flight CPU, and I commend every Russian 5-year-old that seems to be able to get it done.

Other than that, I learned a bit of Hindu, French and American Sign Language (favorite word: Pizza. To quote one website, “The sign looks as if you are shoving a piece of pizza in your mouth.”)

I am not a polyglot, but I wish I were. Feel free to hit me up for any language exchange. :)