Archive for the ‘Latin’ Category

Tired new daddy octopus.

source: superdad.gr

A LOT has happened over the last 8-9 months since my last update. As I’m currently beyond exhausted, I’ll try to keep this post brief, and will fill you in more when I hopefully score a few hours of sleep and a hot shower sometime in the new year.

First of all, my little baby girl was born last week. She’s gorgeous and now snuggling in nicely at home with new mommy and daddy. We’ll be spending our first Christmas together as a family in just a few days!

Earlier in the year, my wife and I left the islands of Hawaiʻi for the first time in 4 years, taking the time off to visit family and friends back in England and Russia during May. My wife also attended her PhD graduation ceremony, which made me very proud. It’s tough for both of us living approximately 7,000 miles away from loved ones, so it was great to see everyone over those few weeks (as well as practice my Russian with the in-laws of course 😉 ).

Minor Language Russian (182h)

Prior to visiting Russia, I spent an additional fortnight chatting with around a dozen professional Russian tutors on italki. As my in-laws don’t speak any English, I quickly picked up speed in Russian during my 2 week stay in St Petersburg, and the initial preparation with italki helped me hit the ground running. I also won the 6 Week Challenge on the Language Learners forum during this period with Russian as my target language, which was a nice encouraging bonus.

Minor Language Latin (86h)

Every new semester, I enroll in a language course at university to keep in touch with how other professors teach, and more importantly, what it feels like to be a student in the classroom. I find this helps me with my own teaching in terms of developing a genuine empathy and partial understanding of what many of my students are going through. In Fall, I chose Latin, with a view to building a grounding in Latin grammar and reading, and I hope to follow this later with the Lingua Latina series at home.

Minor Language Hawaiian (55h)

In the previous spring semester, I rounded off my Hawaiian with an advanced conversational class for fourth year students. As many of my classmates were fluent speakers or worked with Hawaiian on a daily basis, it was really quite a challenge, but I managed to hold my own and did a fair bit of immersion in the language. I also had my first real vivid dream in Hawaiian, which is the source of one of the middle names we gave my daughter, but more on that another time.

Minor Language German (40h)

My German is at a point now where I can enjoy computer games, tv series, movies, and literature much more than before. On that note, I completed a few games and a couple of tv series during the year, and look forward to more of the same in the new year (ideally some more extensive reading).

Major Language French (35h)

When I started my little odyssey in French, I envisaged all kinds of progress by the end of the year. However providence had different plans for me, and so my aventure française is still very much in its (*ahem*..pun ahead) infancy. I did however collect some great resources earlier in the year which will keep me busy for a good while, and having recently bought a Kindle Paperwhite on a Black Friday week deal, I’m now looking forward to adding more digital content to my collection.

(Total time spent on learning languages during 2016 altogether: 410 hours)

With Christmas just round the corner and a new year on the horizon, I wish everyone the very best in achieving their hopes and goals in 2017, and Mele Kalikimaka from all 3 of us here!!


Read Full Post »

Hours of study this week: 5.0
Total hours of study: 35.3

Magic Island

I got up bright and early to indulge in a stroll around Magic Island this morning, where I let my mind ponder over the Furey Brother’s Irish classic “It’s a long, long way from Clare to here”. And as I relaxed to the sound of the waves crashing around the peninsula, I took a moment to reflect with my wife on how my learning strategies had evolved over the last half a decade.

If you’d asked me how to put my best foot forward in learning a language back then, I’d have probably pulled out a big fat frequency dictionary and feverishly referred to some efficient flashcard system like Anki, solely focused on reaching “Grand Central Fluency Station” as soon as possible. I certainly wouldn’t have dared suggest tackling a new language before reaching a pretty decent level in any former study languages, and the idea of doing just 15 minutes a day would have felt like an abject sacrilege to the gods of efficiency.

Thousands of posts and countless experiments later, and both my approach and attitude have radically changed. I find myself getting to know one big ʻohana (Ha: family) of languages better each day (or at least trying to, as and when time and tide permit), still keen to reach that same Grand Station above, but now with a much more relaxed demeanour, focused more on slowing down just enough to enjoy the vista and deepening friendships along the way, and savour some of those little epiphany moments on what I hope will be a lifelong journey.

Read Full Post »

Hours of study this week: 5.8
Total hours of study: 30.3

Language targets.

I’m still not hitting all my targets, but I’m gradually getting there… I threw around a few phrases of Pidgin and discussed Anglo-Japanese bilingualism with a Hawaiian-born taxi driver, and also happened to scare some Russian speakers half to death in an elevator when I asked them (in Russian) to press the floor for my office. I also learnt several new words in Spanish whilst listening to my wife’s Zumba DVD in the background this weekend, and set aside some time to make some Hawaiian parallel texts.

Read Full Post »

Hours of study this week: 5.5
Total hours of study: 24.5

I watched Stargate with my wife this weekend, as she’d never seen the film before and was interested in watching the series. Not long into the movie, I jumped up and was compelled to hit the pause button. Hieroglyphics on the screen…and with incorrect translations just begging to be mended beneath them (which is actually part of the plot)…it was all too tempting! I found myself able to translate whole phrases of hieroglyphics and couldn’t help but round off my eccentric performance with a “little Pharaoh” victory dance of delight (much to the bemusement of my Nefertiti). But hey, how often do I get to use my knowledge of Ancient Egyptian in this modern age! 😀

Gate to the stars

Come on Danny boy, you overlooked the 3 lines on that first one…it’s plural!

Read Full Post »

Hours of study this week: 7.8
Total hours of study: 19.0

My first week back at university this semester was, in a word, gruelling! I managed to fit whatever spare moments I could into studying languages (lunch breaks, 4 o’clock morning rises, bedtime snacks, etc), but I had so much prep to do for teaching my own class, in addition to tackling 4 new graduate courses on top of this, that it was really quite a challenge. Hopefully next week will afford me more opportunities to study and less overall admin.

I found this Hawaiian dictionary in my local bookstore over the weekend, which ended up being a bit of a silly impulse buy:

"Old Skool" Hawaiian Dictionary

Silly, why? It was only when I peeled off the plastic cover that I discovered it was based on a dictionary that dates back to 1865! No ʻokina & kahakōs, and no English to Hawaiian section either, noooo….this baby’s going back to the shop on Monday! I think I’m going to order one of the dictionaries by Mary Kawena Pukuʻi instead, and will make do with the ulukau online dictionary until its arrival.

Read Full Post »

Hours of study this week: 11.3
Total hours of study: 11.3

I officially reopened this project and cut the ribbon on 19th August, after I spent a little time getting used to a new study regime, fiddling around and fine-tuning methodologies, and tidying up or simply getting hold of suitable resources in the preceding week.

Lingua Latina books

Hooray, look what arrived just in time!

Now a week down, I find that everything’s starting to become much easier and fit into place. Studying several languages at once is already proving helpful in terms of learning new vocabulary and grammatical concepts. I have a broader frame of reference to draw on, with which to compare and contrast elements of different languages, and I anticipate that this positive synergy will only grow exponentially over time.

Read Full Post »

United Colours Of Teango

Project: Learn 10 languages simultaneously by trying to study each one at least 15 minutes a day (Mon-Fri).

Languages: German, French, Spanish, Russian, Swedish, Latin, Irish, Japanese, Ancient Egyptian, and Hawaiian.


  • Can I study several languages at the same time without falling prey to language interference?
  • Is it possible to study so many languages consistently over a longer period of time with heavy work/academic commitments?
  • If I study a mere 15 minutes a day (i.e. little but often), how much progress can I make by the end of a year?
  • How can I stay motivated and not burn out over the long run?
  • Is there a positive synergistic effect that comes from studying multiple languages at once?

Start: 19th August, 2013

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »