What do you do when language-learning stalls?
I’m trying to get back to work–language work. Other than my brief Portuguese stint, I haven’t done much language-learning this summer. My heart calls out for more languages!
I’m not getting enough from just the feeling of loving languages. A feeling won’t help me get connected with others, won’t give me the rush of new words and sounds and ideas coming through my mouth. Love is an action, isn’t it?
Two obstacles stand in the way of taking the action. First, I’ve always had a tough time measuring progress in my solo language study. Immersion is helpful because I use my language whenever I can without needing to count. Classes are helpful because someone else sets the benchmarks. Studying on my own, though, forces me to keep myself accountable. Unfortunately, I don’t know exactly what to look for to measure my progress.
(Can I get some advice on how to set benchmarks on language-learning? What works for you?)
Second, committing to a language proves difficult for me. I started Farsi a couple years ago, I started Somali when I moved here, last winter I took some Oromo, and I began Portuguese this summer. My main philosophy with language is learn whatever you can now. This works best when you find yourself someplace, like Portugal. If you mainly learn on line, you can start anywhere.
Without accountability or commitment, I made no progress. Even worse, I noticed I’m forgetting my Farsi and Somali and Oromo because I’m not actively learning any of them.
I’m acting now to overcome these obstacles. I made a commitment to learn Somali now. It’s very practical in the Twin Cities, and I know that many readers of my blog are interested in Somali.
While I’m not good at accountability, I have to try. I found a textbook on line for Somali (one of two books readily available). It has 20 chapters, which are only 6-9 pages long. I decided to read through and learn the vocabulary at the rate of 2 chapters/week. I created a reading schedule for myself for which day I should be done with each chapter.
After that, I have a series of dialogues that I created with some Somali friends, all having to do with work and lunch. I will learn those, and I will try to write up some grammar notes that might be helpful for me and maybe even others. I also can get a hold of “the other” widely-available Somali textbook, Colloquial Somali.
Those media will keep me busy through the end of the year. In the meantime, I hope to run into some Somalis–either on accident or on purpose. I hope also to learn more regularly from some people around town or over Skype, probably by December.
As long as I’m working, I’ll make progress, and my love will bloom again.
How is your language-study going? Continuing to go strong? How do you keep it going?
Stalled in the doldrums? What happened? How do you restart?
Can I get some advice on how to set benchmarks on language-learning? What works for you?