Learning Language for Yourself and Your Characters

I received my Bachelor of Arts in English-Creative Writing focus in 2010.  I have always had a love of language.  Obviously the English Language but other Languages as well.  I am just not good at learning them.  Particularly the spoken word.  I have never been able to roll my “R”s which is part of the problem.  I can learn a few words in short term and without context.  By this I mean I sang in other languages for competition.  Do I remember any of the Italian, German, French or Japanese I learned?  Not really.  Or I should say I know the words and some of their meanings but the connection in my brain does not exist to use them outside of the songs.

A friend of mine introduced me to Duolingo.  Link Here: http://www.duolingo.com Now, some people love it and some people hate it but for me I think it works well.  Right now I am learning the written side of the language.  I will work on the spoken part later.  

Katnes comes from French and German heritage, in fact her and her sister are first generation Americans, and she spent the majority of her life running around Europe. Naturally she knows the majority of European Languages and a few of the Slavic Languages.  Her standard languages are English (U.S.), German and French.  My co-author’s character, Ursa, is from German heritage as well.  When writing our story together, without exactly meaning to, we wove German words into the story.  It has particularly (and perhaps peculiarly) become their “love” language. 

While Google Search is a wonderful thing to use for looking up translations of words it is also nice to have some idea of the words and syntax so as to double check the translation as correct.  This brings me back to Duolingo

My goal is to eventually be fluent in German.  Right now according to Duolingo I am at 42%.  Though I am not just learning German for my character but for my own personal lineage and fun.  On the back burner I have French, Spanish (this is also for career purpose), Hebrew, Vietnamese, Japanese, and Korean. 

I have a love for religious knowledge and would one day like to read the Torah in its original language.  I have always been fascinated by Asian culture, plus I have a friend from South Korea and cousins from Vietnam.  Being able to communicate with them in their own language would be wonderful. 

Research and learning is a huge part of writing a great story and besides it is fun to do.  Besides the more languages you know the better possibility of a World Book Tour when your book goes international!