Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Linguistic Determination Syndrome

I sometimes am frustrated that foreign language instruction is so difficult to get right. I don't know if I learn foreign languages the same way other people do, but I've seen it done decently well and badly, and, motivation pending, I'm putting together things to teach myself Russian (hopefully allowing me to read some of their classics). For self-guided language learning, I like using the following steps:

  1. Learn the alphabet, if necessary
  2. Learn the articles (e.g. English's "the", Spanish's "el/la", and German's "der/die/das") and the connector (English's "and", Spanish's "y", German's "und")
  3. Expose myself to a lot of written works, and see how far I can get in recognising cognates. Try pronouncing things, and see how many giggles I get around native speakers
  4. Learn pronouns and basic conjugation, build a small vocabulary
  5. Talk with as many people I can, and mix use of that language into the normal mix of languages I use in my head
  6. Play games and shift elements around to give conjugation a workout
  7. Start reading things

Languages like Japanese frustrate me at step 1, but I deal with this by deciding that I will never learn Kanji, and am content with Hiragana/Katakana. How do the rest of you who play with languages actually do the learning? Do you prefer to learn more in a classroom way or in an informal way?

Also on the topic of language, I'm proofreading (and editing and reworking) a long paper a coworker wrote. I enjoy proofreading because I enjoy working with language. It's enjoyable working out the right way to phrase things, and my rarely-seen pedantic streak comes out in these cases.

Things are coming together for the Mediawiki trip. Exciting! I will stay an extra day or two to do a little bit of hanging out in the Boston area, thanks to having gotten both a lot of good advice and a cool guide. Hurrah.

Tonight is the night of shut-downitude for CMU...


  • Still alive

    Been feeling a bit nostalgic. Not about to return to LiveJournal - their new ownership is unfortunate, but I wanted to briefly note what's been up…

  • Unplugging LJ

    It's about time I pulled the plug on the LJ version of my blog: 1) I'm much more active on G+ than I am with general blogging. I post many times a…

  • Mutual Trust

    I don't know which should be considered more remarkable: That a cat should trust a member of a far larger and stronger species that it can't…

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded