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.
- Duolingo. 👎 This is not a resource for Oromo.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Drops. 👎 This is a new app that I just heard of from Shannon’s post. Unfortunately, there’s no Oromo.
- 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.
- Participate in a quick chat on HelloTalk. 👎 This language is not an option on this app.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Listen to a recording or two or three on Forvo. 👍 Forvo is a good repository for a lot of Oromo words.
- Listen to a One Minute Lesson on Radio Lingua. 👎 Oromo doesn’t exist on Radio Lingua.
- Do a bit of math or counting. 👍 This could be a good idea. I could use the boost in Oromo.
- 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.