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languist's lazy language lunacy - 2019

Posted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:12 pm
by languist

    TEFL | español | français | الدارجة | ελληνικά | русский | адыгэбзэ | slovenčina
    English | Spanish | French | Darija | Greek | Russian | Kabardian | Slovak

Re: Multilang Goals - Summer 2018

Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:07 am
by languist

Re: Multilang Goals - Summer 2018

Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:26 am
by languist

Re: Multilang Goals - Summer 2018

Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:27 am
by languist

Re: Multilang Goals - Summer 2018

Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:29 am
by languist

Original first post: Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:12 pm -

Hello everyone!

Like many others, I have stumbled in my language learning goals - and consistently, the issue has been consistency! For a year or two, I've been either too busy or too exhausted to stick to any serious routine. Usually, the pattern is one of enthusiastic focus followed by an absolute void of studying (rinse and repeat). I also tend to overcommit myself because there are so many things that I'd like to achieve, but of course this mixes badly into the above formula to make for even less progress and success. SO! 2018 is my year, right?

I've resolutely decided to shake this inactivity/inconsistency this year, and finally make concrete progress. Most of my learning over the past while has been passive, which is great, but also not great. Now I'd like to really actively work to better myself and my languages, which is why I joined this forum (and another, but it seems to be inactive). Back in the day I used to learn in groups (we'd be learning different languages, but keep each other accountable and motivated in terms of studying), and so I'll be using this thread to keep a log of my attempts. I'd love if others would comment and share their ideas and routines too :)

I want to learn SO MANY languages (!!!) but of course one (or a few) at a time is a better approach than my tried-and-failed method of hopping between 2903948 of them because it's more fun that way. Therefore, in 2018 I'd like to focus on three languages... or five.

The first is French, which I already speak to a basic level; I can communicate easily enough but littered with mistakes and "euuuhh"s. It's been a long time since I studied or practiced this language, and I have to sit an exam soon enough, so my goal is to go over the basics, gain confidence, and be at least a very robust A2/B1 level (minimum; to be honest, I'm already above this level but now have lots of memory gaps which make me feel like a beginner), by Summer 2018. I don't intend to spend a lot of time studying French, although I will attend a 3hr class once a week, and then spend maybe ~2hrs a week in private study.

The second is Slovak. I don't know how to assess my Slovak level; I can almost always understand the gist of conversations, I can communicate about simple things, ie. I could have a conversation about daily activities, food, weather, but not really politics or ethics etc... I guess I'm not very familiar with the grammar, I mostly picked up the language from exposure. So I would also like to reach at least a solid A2/B1 level by Summer 2018, because I'll probably be taking a trip to Slovakia then. I'll study for ~4hrs a week.

The third is Russian, which I can understand a little but can't speak at all. I know some basic phrases, and can read/understand a bit just from picking stuff up (I like Russian music etc, and Slovak helps a bit), but really would say my Russian level is below foundation. So, my goal is to be a very confident A1/A2 by Summer 2018. I know this is a modest ambition, but I've spent so long scratching the surface of Russian but never really grasping it, that this would be really something! I'll probably study for ~4hrs a week. 

Finally, there are one or two languages (of the Caucasus!) which I love too much to ignore, although it isn't very practical to commit to learning them full-time. My goal with them is to simply master things like pronunciation, alphabet, and basic phrases "with confidence". I'm not sure if I should have a strict schedule with this or just study when I feel like it. 

Later today I'll start to make a study plan and I'll post it here. I'd love any suggestions or whatever any of you might have. Sorry that this has been such a long post! Thank you for taking the time to read it, wish me luck! :)

Original second post: Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:07 am -

(I guess double posts are okay for logs; apologies if not)

So I said that I'd come up with a study plan, and so here it is - or at least here is the first draft. We'll see how things go. This will be my first serious attempt at getting into a studying routine in a while, and therefore my first time trying to overcome my fairly busy and disorganised lifestyle, so for now I will allocate general resources and hours per week (rather than per day), with a look to allocating more strict and specific daily tasks once I'm back into the swing of things. For now, I'd like to meet these quotas, and do at least something small every day.

- - - - - - - -

Slovak ~4hrs/wk
- Colloquial Slovak (book w/o audio + memrise vocab course)
- speak with friends!

The 'Colloquial Slovak' course book is one that I've used before, albeit only the first few chapters. I've decided to return to it because I'd like to finally forge a strong foundation in the core grammar of this language, because despite speaking at least a little bit of Slovak every day, and having great familiarity with it, I sort of lack that core; and no core/foundation = no confidence = less progress. There are a few minor errors in this book (tbh probably in most language books?) which made me abandon it the first time, but I've realised now that there is much more sound content than wrong content here, so it's still a useful resource. I think the Colloquial range in general has a great approach to grammar at the beginner level. I'll bolster this by going over the vocab for the course on memrise. Luckily, I no longer need any audio help with Slovak because I've had Czech & Slovak friends for so long, and visited both countries a few times, and it no longer feels scary at all! Especially after having a two hour conversation only in terribly broken Slovak with my partner's mother! :shock: In addition, I'll force myself to stop being lazy and go back to my old rule: If you can say it in their language, say it in their language. Almost all of my friends speak English as a second language, and share little bits of their own language with me, so I always had this really basic idea to communicate where possible in that language - a philosophy I recommend to everyone because it really grows confidence and brings lots of learning opportunities. But I got tired and lazy and stopped this, and stopped paying attention to conversations in other languages, and therefore stopped naturally accumulating vocab (probably 90% of my Slovak/Czech vocab was not from active studying). Starting tomorrow, I'll break through this plateau. :D

French ~2hrs/wk (5hrs incl. class)
- 3hr class

Not that I want to carry any negativity into 2018... but thinking about resources for French has made it clear how reluctant I am to be studying French again. :lol: Don't get me wrong - I love French! and I want (need) to improve, but I guess I have already dedicated so much time in my life to studying it, that now it feels like a chore to go back and do it again. I'd rather commit my time to learning something new, y'know? I'm sure that I'll be more enthusiastic once I get a taste for it again. This is probably just the feeling of trying to oil a rusty hinge for the first time in years. So, I'll be going to my 3hr class once a week, and I'll allow this to demonstrate my weak spots and I'll try to work on these at home. I suppose I'd rather be doing tests in French than studying a course, so maybe I'll look into that.

Russian ~4hrs/wk
- official memrise course
- memrise vocab course
- The New Penguin Russian Course
- italki lessons
- HelloTalk
- Pimsleur

I love Russian, truly, but she has evaded me for too long. Mostly due to my own aforementioned flaws (busyness, laziness, disorganisation). Finally, I'm going to tackle this beautiful language with serious intent. I'll try out the official memrise Russian course, and perhaps also a memrise vocab course. For grammar, I'll dust off my 'Penguin Russian Course', which although sometimes heavy going, is really wonderful. Someone gifted me their old Russian Pimsleur course a long time ago, so I'll also check if that works. I'm exposed to Russian through the music I listen to, and the places I end up online, so that's handy for reading/listening practice. I'll try to chat to some of my Russian speaking friends & colleagues, online, in person, via skype, and then also seek language partners on HelloTalk, and once my schedule is in order, a tutor on italki. I really feel like I've been courting this language for so long and now I'm finally ready to commit!

Adyghe ~2hrs/wk
- youtube lessons
- vocab decks
- speak with natives

I was trying to subdue my love for the languages of the Caucasus, because frankly I need to focus on other languages more urgently... but I love them too much! My favourite changes from month to month, but for now it's the Circassian (Adyghe.... but the Kabardian dialect lol) language. I listen to a lot of Circassian music, and just really enjoy the sound of the language. I've gathered some resources, and although I know that it's not realistic to expect to gain any proficiency in this language, I'm going to try just for the fun of it. I also have some Chechen friends and picked up a few words, and it would be nice to learn it too (especially because there are more resources/speakers), but I'm trying to resist it because I'm sure the combination is a recipe for disaster.

- - - - - - - -

So this is the plan for the first few weeks! Eek! Lemme know if you have any suggestions for better resources/studying approaches!

(and given the opportunity I'd also like to study Farsi, Arabic, Greek, Turkish, Abaza, Abkhaz, Chechen, Ingush, Dargwa, Avar, Irish, Welsh, Ossetian, Georgian, Japanese, Polish, Albanian, German, Romanian, Hungarian.... etc etc)

Original third post: Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:26 am -

Start date: 10/1/2018

Colloquial Slovak: 1 / 16
hours studying total: 2
hours studying wk 8/1: 2

Penguin Course: 0 / 32
memrise Russian 1: 96 / 237
italki lessons: 0
hours studying total: 2
hours studying wk 8/1: 2

classes: 0
hours studying total: 0
hours studying wk 8/1: 0

Essential Vocab: 38 / 611
Lessons: 0 / 100
audio lessons: 0
hours studying total: 1.5
hours studying wk 8/1: 1.5

- - - - - - - -

Monthly progress 2018
January: 5 / 22

Re: Multilang Goals - Summer 2018

Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:52 am
by Brun Ugle
I love your user name and your log looks like it will be very interesting. I don’t imagine it’s that easy finding resources for most Caucasian languages. So it must make it rather difficult to study them.

You mentioned going to Slovakia in the summer. You wouldn’t, by chance, be going to the Polyglot Gathering, would you? Several of us will be there.

Re: Multilang Goals - Summer 2018

Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:12 am
by languist
Brun Ugle wrote:I love your user name and your log looks like it will be very interesting. I don’t imagine it’s that easy finding resources for most Caucasian languages. So it must make it rather difficult to study them.

You mentioned going to Slovakia in the summer. You wouldn’t, by chance, be going to the Polyglot Gathering, would you? Several of us will be there.

Thank you! And no, it’s definitely not easy, unless maybe you’re studying Georgian. I’ve dabbled a tiny bit in different Caucasian languages (and other languages of the Caucasus), and of course there are more resources available for Russian speakers, but even then the materials rarely resemble what we expect to study from. Luckily (although this definitely isn’t the right word given the context......) there are a few (limited) resources for the Circassian language in English, thanks to educational outreach to the diaspora. But to be honest, limited resources is just the first of many challenges when it comes to this strange, beautiful, cough-y, language family !

As for the Polyglot Gathering, I really hadn’t thought about it. I was going to go last year but didn’t. It’s in June, right? Usually I go to Slovakia around the end of the summer, but who knows, habits can always be broken - at least I hope so, or this log will dry up very quickly!!

Re: Multilang Goals - Summer 2018

Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:29 am
by Brun Ugle
Yeah, there have been a few people here that have studied Georgian, but we don’t hear much about the others. But maybe we’ll get to hear a bit about them now that you’re here. :)

The Polyglot Gathering is at the very end of May/beginning of June. There’s a thread in the travel section where we discuss things like who’s going and whether there will be cookies.

Re: Multilang Goals - Summer 2018

Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:53 pm
by languist
Maybe it's just the typical January-new-member-fever, but I really feel so happy that I found this forum, which I'd only searched for on a whim. I know it's only the first day of my "challenge", but I already feel so much more committed, motivated, and organised than I did yesterday. It's so helpful both to be tracking progress in this public way, and also to read the language logs and journeys of others.

I still don't want to study French though.... :D

I'm actually going for a long-overdue complete lifestyle overhaul, of which finally getting on with my language studies is just one aspect, but I'm starting to think that it's actually the integral factor; rather than trying to radically change the structure of my days, and then slot in language lessons, I think it's going to be much more practical to shape my time around these goals, and let the rest fall into place as I benefit from a more productive routine.

To avoid falling into my usual trap of massively over-committing myself and ultimately drowning in the workload, I'm starting things off very light. As I started this "challenge" in the middle of the week, right as my workweek begins, I'm not going to push for the full 12hrs+. I think I'll also leave French until my class begins on Monday. So far today I've just scooted through the basics. I read the first chapter of Colloquial Slovak extremely quickly as I'm already "fluent" in the simple stuff (one 'new' ie. always forgotten word for me tho: najmä). For Russian, I went through the first 7 memrise levels - it's mostly the alphabet, which I already know, and the very basics, so nothing new here except 'мне жаль' which I hadn't come across before. With Circassian, I mostly just laugh at myself trying to pronounce the words. :lol: Today, I went over the assorted vocab I kind-of-already-know, something I'm sure I'll have to do again.

It may seem redundant to go over the absolute beginner material in languages that I'm already familiar with, but for me it's probably the most important thing. I love languages (and linguistics) and am fairly good at accumulating vocab/grammar/info without too much repetition, but no matter how much I learn I always feel like I'm lacking a solid foundation to rely on. So that's what this is all about!

Not a very exciting update, but an update all the same !

Re: Multilang Goals - Summer 2018

Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:03 pm
by Elenia
You have an interesting log, I'll be following along! Good luck :D