03 November 2013

Language intensive project introduction


I've mentioned in several posts about the languages I'm acquainted with. I say "acquainted", because at one time, I was either fluent and/or conversational in American Sign Language, French, German, and Spanish. But currently, I am not.

Lack of maintenance meant I forgot a lot of what I had learned (read: use it or lose it), which is frustrating, but at least I still know how I learn and how to build my way back up to the level I want to be. Kind of like when you used to run around all day and then that XBOX you got for Christmas took away all of your endurance and only reminded you how out of shape you were when you got to your high school gym class.

My project is to go through each of my acquainted languages individually for at least a month (maybe longer if I'm struggling at the end of the month) and then continue to maintain the language after the intensive.

"But Zoë, you have no money. How are you learning languages?"

Well, dear reader, I personally think traditional language learning is bullshit. Depending on the teacher and the program, it's a great introduction to the language, but it's expensive, overly time consuming, and usually a waste of time.

My biggest language learning influence is Benny Lewis of Fluent in 3 Months.  Every 3 months or so, Benny takes a language and learns it on his own, mostly to meet other people, learn about other cultures, and prove to the world whatever reason you think you can't learn a language is wrong.

His blog name is a challenge not a promise. He's successfully learned and maintained over 11 languages during the course of 10 years. As of this writing, he's learning Japanese -- in Spain.

Benny's biggest piece of advice (which I agree with) is to speak from day one. As in, do not wait until you feel comfortable enough with vocabulary and grammar to reach out and speak to someone who knows the language you are learning. Visit his blog and have your life changed.

Throughout this project, I'll be blogging about what resources I'm using for the language I'm focusing on, the progress I'm making, and, of course, in true blog style, anything else I find relevant to share.

I'll be studying in the order of ASL first, then French, German, and, finally, Spanish. Because everything is better when alphabetical.


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