The lack of resources available for learning Somali weighs on me. I listen to polyglots talking about spending such-and-such amount of time daily working on their language. However, they’re learning Russian, Portugues, Chinese, or whatever–languages that offer many resources for learning. I have to work to produce sources that I can use before I can study them, which becomes overwhelming.
Moreover, focusing on languages struggled with work, other writing projects, and a busy home life this week. For example, I just forgot to look at my vocab deck yesterday. I’m grateful to have spent some time on Somali, even if it’s less than I would have liked.
Rather than be negative, though, I want to think about what I can do, without a big budget or tons of spare time. I do have some decent materials, and I can continue to learn from friends. I simply don’t have the resources to spend 30-60 minutes per day on Somali; I just want to use my time as best as I can. Using what I have well and producing the material I’d like to have are where to start.
- I switched books. I went to Colloquial Somali, by Martin Orwin. It’s the best for a fresh learner of the language. As I mentioned two posts ago, I need more grammar than La soco offers. It has many dialogues with translations followed by grammar explanations. There are a few exercises for the grammar section. Thankfully, I noticed that many of the vocabulary overlaps with La soco.
- Looking at the work of Liban Ahmad. This is someone I met on-line, and more than anyone I’ve seen, he writes actively and consistently about Somali grammar. He is a UK-based Somali. Please support him and check out his ebook, Somali Grammar Revision. I find his explanations and categorizations very helpful, and he answers many of my questions.
- I still don’t get “ah.” According to Orwin, this is a relative marker–“which” or “that” in English. In Week 4 I mentioned this particle. That week I had asked a Twitter friend about the particle, as it often appears with “oo”. I’ve seen it several times with “oo” since then. This week I asked a couple Somali friends in town what the difference is between these two sentences, other than that the first is more grammatical. (The first comes directly from Orwin.) They couldn’t tell me; can you? (Full disclosure: Mr. Ahmad told me his explanation.)
Koob shah ah samee!
Koob shah samee!
- Anyone want to write a new Somali learner’s textbook? I would love to put together a Pimsleur-style audio course on Somali, just based on brief dialogues. My idea is to focus on dialogues that would benefit those of us who live among Somalis, and bump into them at the store, at the airport, or at our work. Unlike Pimsleur, though, I’d like to have a grammar supplement that would explain the phonolgy and syntactic structures that go along with the dialogues. Would anyone like to collaborate on that?
I haven’t studied a language before with so few resources. I hadn’t thought that half the challenge of learning Somali would be finding and creating things to work on in my study time.
What do you use for learning your language? Have you ever had to create your own material?
Where do you find time to study your language when all the other cares of the world creep in? Do you set aside breaks from language study, or do you use all the time you can?