My enthusiasm for Bengali is currently at a height. I think the tutoring sessions have a role to play in this, as it's great having someone knowledgeable to talk to just about the language. There's a little siren in my head that makes me want to learn more about the history/culture than just sitting down and studying, but I'm fighting that as best I can! For example, I've just ordered Hanne-Ruth Thompson's Comprehensive Grammar, which I'll probably use as much for random browsing as targetted learning. I also grabbed a couple of articles on Bengali literature and its history. But on top of this, I've been doing quite a bit of work in using the language.
I want to crack my speaking fluency finally. Apparently my pronunciation is now not too bad, although I'm lazy by habit and have to work to concentrate properly on each syllable. Where I get stuck is trying to say something, even when knowing what the next word is, but my mouth seems to balk at getting to the right shape and making the sound.
I have been reading aloud from a book, but this has not been intense enough I think. I've now put a hundred or so sentences into a special Anki deck, along with the sound recordings, and I'm working on these - I guess I'm 'shadowing' the audio by saying each sentence a dozen or so times, and trying to speak along with the recording. I am not moving on unless I get the audio more-or-less fluent.
I'm doing the 'weekly writing challenge'. It's helpful to have a topic to write to. But I wish I were better disciplined to write something each day. I intend to, but it seems to be the most likely to slip.
My 'favourite' learning activity is simply to pick up a book and read/study it at random moments/chairs in the day! I have a book of paired english-bengali words, with a vocab of 800 words, and a book with german-bengali paired phrases, and from these I've been learning quite a lot.
I am slowly working away at German. I have four weeks exactly to my A2 test, which sometimes I feel should be simple so long as I check out a few phrases for the spoken section, but then sometimes I think will be impossible due to my slipshod grammar. Tomorrow I plan to sit down and get a plan organised for the test. I doubt I need more than a targetting of the speech component and some care with the writing process. The whole point of taking the test is to keep a balanced level of achievement, so I should put in the effort.
I've worked through much of the A2 word list the institute provides, and I have not had to look up too many of the words, thankfully. They have the list with the word and then example sentences, all in German, and in most cases I understand the sentences. Of course, reading and understanding is one thing, but I wouldn't be able to actively use all these words.
For listening, I'm still hearing a certain amount of German. This week I went through the Lord of the Rings trilogy in German.
I don't know why, I have this notion bugging me in my head that French is something I should know. This is in part because I'm very pleased with how German has developed over the last year. But it just irks me that this school-level subject is something I remember next to nothing of. So, in the same vein as German, I would like, in a theoretical sense, to have the knowledge 'restored' somehow. Apart from that sense of atrophied knowledge, I don't have any particular desire to learn French, but it bugs me...
If I were to learn by "need" I should be learning Hindi. It's the one language I can guarantee would be needed at least once a year in practical settings. I'm forever getting stuck in Delhi not able to communicate/understand in a daily setting. And there's always the "why don't you understand Hindi yet?" comment I get when some film comes on the TV! Even my Bengali tutor assumed I must be knowing some Hindi as he used a Hindi phrase to clarify the different grammar used in Bengali...
So, I have these three sirens in my head. I'm trying to control each one. For the French and Hindi, I've allowed myself to open the Duolingo course on each, and spend 10 minutes or so a day on them in place of late night random internet/youtube browsing.
Bengali is, and I think will remain, my number one language. It's the one my heart is really in. I seem to like all aspects of it: the language itself, its culture, history etc. I want to get some kind of spoken fluency this summer and then be able to move forward to more advanced material. The other languages - German, Hindi, French - are less exciting for me. I mostly want to learn them to fit some travel need. My first post for this page started with this frustration with German after last year's trip to Europe! But German I can see myself trying to keep some momentum with.
Anyhow, I will get this A2 test over and then think what to do for the rest of summer. I could make a push to either:
- take German further, to B1
- learn French to a similar A2 level
- learn Hindi to an equivalent level
- forget everything except for Bengali ...