Did anyone else choose to study a language at a convenient time?

General discussion about learning languages
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Did anyone else choose to study a language at a convenient time?

Postby sporedandroid » Sat Feb 10, 2024 7:55 am

I started studying Hebrew in 2019. About a year after I started studying, the lockdowns happened. So my level was high enough to listen to a bunch of podcasts in Hebrew. I think that was pretty good timing.

About a year ago I “officially” started studying Finnish. I was getting a bit burnt out by Hebrew and I found Finnish fun to dabble with in the past. At the end of September I was so fed up with Hebrew, I just decided to watch a Finnish video instead.

I didn’t care that I probably wouldn’t understand. The video ended up having captions, so it didn’t feel like a total waste of time. After that I decided I should just take a break from Hebrew. Right after that Israel declared war.
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Re: Did anyone else choose to study a language at a convenient time?

Postby tiia » Sat Feb 10, 2024 9:31 am

My most obvious examples are Swedish and French. I basically started both of them just because I had/have time and the option to get into a beginners' course.

Swedish I started after graduating from Uni and when I was still able to do free language classes for one more semester. In addition I also had an advanced Spanish class and a sports group there. So even though I was quite clueless what I want to do now with my life, languages kept a structure in my life. I had no idea, whether I would be able to continue after one semester.

With French it's similar. Having more days off work, than I would like to, I wanted to prevent myself from loosing structure. I found this French class, that is just perfect in terms of time, duration, location and level (= no previous knowledge needed). There was nothing else even close to fulfilling all those criteria. So even though I was not planning to start French, it just kind of happend to me. We'll see what happens after that one class.

When speaking about the pandemic I was really lucky I was already studying Spanish and Swedish: Regardless of the pandemic I could improve in both languages. Swedish classes switched from offline to online and for Spanish I had found a nice friend, with whom I could practise every now and then.

edit: When I started Spanish back in school (so the first attempt, after which I forgot almost everything), it was just the better alternative to other subjects (=not languages). I had to choose something and Spanish felt like the most useful choice.
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Re: Did anyone else choose to study a language at a convenient time?

Postby Ug_Caveman » Sat Feb 10, 2024 1:43 pm

I did a half-hearted near decade study of Dutch which got me to a shaky A2 level but with lots of stopping and starting.

When lockdown hit, I had nothing to do, so I went back to it and studied properly, then achieved my A2 cert with much more conviction that I would have had before.

Sadly I only have space for one language at the moment, but do have some plans to bring more in when my Dutch level is more comfortably in the B-tier and my workload reduces for my job.
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Re: Did anyone else choose to study a language at a convenient time?

Postby zgriptsuroica » Sat Feb 10, 2024 4:41 pm

I had started Finnish just before the pandemic began, but it wound up being untenable once the pandemic kicked into full swing. I was working at an online grocer that delivered to several major metro areas at the time, so as you might imagine, demand shoot through the roof, along with my work hours. I wanted to learn something, though, so I settled on Portuguese and downloaded an ebook of Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cuba and started talking with a friend of mine from Brazil. It wound up working out pretty well, and my Portuguese quickly caught up with my Spanish abilities, much to my friend's amusement. He's told me that my method was probably the most ridiculous he'd ever heard of and that it would be akin to someone saying, "Well, I wanted to learn English, so I bought a William Faulkner novel and set to it." There was a time where my speech was so old-fashioned he said even his grandfather would have laughed at how much of an old man I sounded like, but it came around eventually, so a win all around.
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Re: Did anyone else choose to study a language at a convenient time?

Postby Iversen » Sat Feb 10, 2024 8:02 pm

I chose to follow official courses in Icelandic, Romanian and Italian when I was officially studying French in the 70s - and why not use the fact that we had other topics at the university (and that nobody objected to my being there)? I might also have added Catalan, Old French and Old Occitan, but those languages don't count because they were offered as topics under the French curriculum - and Latin step 2 was a precondition for being allowed to study French. So it was actually convenient that I already was walking around at the university premises much of the time, and I could just as well grab the opportunities. If the Slavic institute had been hosted in the same buildings I could have been fluent in a couple of those also now, but they cohabited with mathematics at the other end of the university area (buggers...). I did have Art and Nordic languages in the same complex, but art theory is pretentious nonsense and hot air, and those that studied Nordic languages studied extreme leftist politics, not Nordic languages. I could have walked over the courtyard and learnt Hungarian from the Linguistics people - but missed the opportunity (buggers!).

On the other hand I had a full time job in IT when I restarted my language studies around 2006, so that can in no way be called a convient time to get addicted to such a stupid timeconsuming hobby as language (re)learning.
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Re: Did anyone else choose to study a language at a convenient time?

Postby garyb » Sun Feb 11, 2024 11:58 am

I got into Japanese after visiting Japan and decided to get more serious about German after a week in Austria... And soon after these trips, my partner and I split up, at the same time, my social life has gone very quiet. Now I'm suddenly free most evenings and weekends. I guess that's worked out well :lol:
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Re: Did anyone else choose to study a language at a convenient time?

Postby Le Baron » Sun Feb 11, 2024 1:32 pm

I started Spanish before the Covid pandemic, so by the time I felt like really getting into some interaction everything ended up closed down! So it was more inconvenient and I ended up putting it on the back-burner for some time.
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Re: Did anyone else choose to study a language at a convenient time?

Postby Khayyam » Sun Feb 11, 2024 4:27 pm

I'd already been learning German for quite a while before Covid, but when I caught the virus, I spent the entire three weeks going German-crazy. It was virtually every waking second. Whenever I felt too run-down to learn in one way, I'd switch to an easier way, but I almost never stopped. I know it sounds crazy, but I look back on that time with nostalgia, and I have a special fondness for all the books and video games and radio dramas that I read or played or listened to during that time.

If I'd just started learning the language when I got sick, I don't think it would've worked out so well because you don't really have the option of sitting back and coasting when you're a total beginner; it's hard work every step of the way. But when you're intermediate, you can do a lot of fun stuff that doesn't feel like work.
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Re: Did anyone else choose to study a language at a convenient time?

Postby Sonjaconjota » Mon Feb 12, 2024 8:52 am

I started Turkish in November 2019 and would never have studied as much during the first two years without the pandemic, so that was perfect.
Covid also made me discover this forum and italki, two things that have completely changed my language learning game.
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