I don't really have much experience with learning languages. At school I studied English, German and French as foreign languages, but English came to me almost through osmosis, I can barely remember ever having studied it, and the other two are long gone. The good thing is that this place abounds with people who know how to study languages, so hopefully I can draw on other people's trials and errors to make my own learning more effective. Tentative plans for the languages I set out to study are given below.
- Approach: One lesson a day of Assimil, supplemented with subs2srs when I find the time to set it up, and possibly FSI since people say it's such a good course.
- Motivation: I'm something of a false beginner in Spanish, having once taken some language classes during a one-month trip to Panama. It has long been the language I desire to read/speak the most, in part due to my love of Latin American literature. I've read authors like Borges, Bolaño and Cortázar extensively, but always in translation, and it would be great to be able to throw away that extra filter between them and me. I also have access to an apartment in the south of Spain, which I will hopefully make use of many times in the coming years, and I've promised myself that it is totally out of the question to go there and speak English.
- Goal: Be able to function/survive in Spanish when I go to Spain during the first week of November, i.e. three months from now. More long term would I like to get to a level where I could enjoy Spanish language literature in the original.
- Approach: book2 + Anki.
- Motivation: Persian is to my ears the most beautiful language in the world. I think it even carries over to the accents of Iranians speaking other languages. Iranian cinema is really good, with people like عباس کیارستمی (Abbas Kiarostami), محسن مخملباف (Mohsen Makhmalbaf), فروغ فرخزاد (Forough Farrokhzad) and اصغر فرهادی (Asghar Farhadi) doing/having done great stuff. The script is beautiful, and I think learning it will in itself help to have a more clear sight of this whole region where some variation of the Arabic script is used.
- Goal: Learn the alphabet and basic vocabulary in context with book2. Have fun, enjoy the aesthetics of the language.
- Approach: Fooling around with Duolingo.
- Motivation: Have an easy language to dabble with in between the more serious study of Spanish and Persian. In fact, Esperanto is what made me motivated to finally have a go at the other two recently, because language learning with Esperanto has been fun and pleasurable.
- Goal: No particular long term goal. Short term goal is to finish the Duolingo tree.
More to come in the days ahead.