Do language-learning tips work for Oromo? I was surprised! (pt. 1)

If I run the numbers, will my feeling still hold true?
If I run the numbers, will my feeling still hold true?

Recently I’ve been talked to some folks about practical tips for learning less well-resourced languages. La Polyglotte works on finding on-line resources for African languages, and Lindsay Dow specializes in practical tips for language-learning. I’ve had the feeling when I hear language-learning advice that won’t apply to the languages I’m learning.

But let me be honest now. I haven’t actually tried everything that people suggest.

So I decided to run an experiment. Shannon Kennedy authors a great blog as the Eurolinguiste, and she recently blogged on 30 5-minute language exercises. I wanted to test which of these suggestions would work for Oromo. I was surprised not only at how many of them apply, but I also gained insight into what sorts of tips are the most universal.

For part 1 of this post, I analyzed the first 15. I’ll finish the last 15 in part 2, in my next post.

  1. Duolingo. 👎 This is not a resource for Oromo.
  2. Flashcards. 👍 You can always make flashcards, so this is a great idea. While you won’t find any decks pre-made on Memrise, you can find one deck on Anki.
  3. Record an Instagram or Snapchat Video. 👍 This would work great. I’m not well-versed in these worlds, so I haven’t tried the tip. If it can help me in learning languages, though, maybe that’s motivation to get into them.
  4. Watch a video on Youtube. 👍 I could only find a few videos for learning Oromo, but they only presented greetings. Here’s a playlist of just about everything that exists on YouTube for Oromo.
  5. Write a short journal entry. 👍 This will work great, but trying to find someone who is capable and able to correct what you write is a challenge. Facebook and Twitter would probably be good places to start to find someone.
  6. Drops. 👎 This is a new app that I just heard of from Shannon’s post. Unfortunately, there’s no Oromo.
  7. Listen to a song in your target language. 👍 I found a fair number of Oromo songs on YouTube and in Google searches. Finding lyrics, though, is hard.
  8. Participate in a quick chat on HelloTalk. 👎 This language is not an option on this app.
  9. Play a word game (if you have someone to play with). 👎 I don’t have anyone to play this game with, and I think I’ll need a lot more vocabulary before I’ll be ready to play.
  10. Go through one page of your phrasebook. 👎 I was surprised that I cannot find an Oromo phrasebook. The fact that Lonely Planet doesn’t have one is a big miss on them. If someone knows of one, please let me know.
  11. Start distilling your notebook. 👍 Dang, this one hit home. I could really gain something looking through my old notebooks to memorize a thing or two.
  12. Listen to a recording or two or three on Forvo. 👍 Forvo is a good repository for a lot of Oromo words.
  13. Listen to a One Minute Lesson on Radio Lingua. 👎 Oromo doesn’t exist on Radio Lingua.
  14. Do a bit of math or counting. 👍 This could be a good idea. I could use the boost in Oromo.
  15. Change the language of your phone/preferred social media account/computer to your target language. 👎 Oromo does not yet exist for my phone as far as I can tell.

So that leaves a respectable number, even for a language like Oromo: nine thumbs-up, six thumbs-down. So I could do a different one every day for a week and still have plenty left over so I’m not bored the next week. Nice! This shows that my original pessimistic feeling did not necessarily hold up against the data.

We’ll see where the count goes in part 2 next week.
Photo credit: Baghamut via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

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5 thoughts on “Do language-learning tips work for Oromo? I was surprised! (pt. 1)

  1. I recently began to study Occitan. (Finally!). Unfortunately there is no beginner’s class in my town at the moment, so I had to find online resources. On twitter, I follow a few accounts in Occitan. The good thing about twitter: the messages must be short, and therefore are easier to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Do language-learning tips work for Oromo? I was surprised! (pt. 2) – Loving Language

  3. Pingback: Loving Sign Language in coffee shops: Could we do more? – Loving Language

  4. Pingback: First steps at language love – Loving Language

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