The OF Blog: This is what I've been working on this month instead of reading as much

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

This is what I've been working on this month instead of reading as much

I decided earlier this month that instead of trying to read 500+ books for the third straight year, that I would spend more time in 2013 studying and (re)learning about 2-3 languages.  I thought that I should show what I did yesterday when working (again) on learning how to read Serbian.  There is nothing "sexy" about my approach, as there are no language squirrels tutoring me here.  Instead, what I am doing is using the textbook Bosnian Croatian Serbian:  A Textbook with Exercises and Basic Grammar (2nd ed.), written by Ronelle Alexander and Ellen Elias-Bursać.  For 3-4 times a week, usually for 1.5-3 hours a night (the time when I would normally do reading for reviews), I copy down the vocabulary lists and study them until I recognize them and their conjugations/declensions before moving on to looking at the exercises and mentally working out the answers (and double and sometimes triple-checking them) before moving on to the next exercise.

I usually cover a lesson/chapter every 1-2 days and learn about 30-40 words a day.  Before I begin work on something new, I go back through my notes (two pages photographed/scanned below) and study them for about 20-30 minutes before beginning anything new.

At this rate, in a few months I might have over a thousand words in my vocabulary, know all the case endings, and a few tenses.  Already can sense the absence of a true subjunctive mood, which is one of my favorite grammatical items to learn...well, at least for a Romance language.

Hopefully, this little post will remove any mystique about my language acquisition abilities.  I do have to study in order to learn the patterns and it's once that I recognize the patterns of how verbs are conjugated and nouns are declined that true language/vocabulary acquisition begins.  If only the squirrels would teach me one of their favorite human languages, but alas, it's work on this and Italian (and maybe a German refresher) for this year, just in case I do get to do some travels late this year or next year to Central/Eastern/Southern European locations I've been meaning to visit ever since I was a history major almost 20 years ago.

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