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Archive for the ‘Pidgin (HCE)’ Category

Big Project Update (see first post for more details)

After a couple of failed attempts that didn’t really get started (largely due to heavy work commitments and illness), I’ve chosen to rethink this noble project again. However instead of falling back to fewer languages or a kinder schedule, I’ve decided to up the stakes and say “Impossible? Hell no, let’s go for it!” instead, and return to my original idea of learning 10 languages at the same time.

I’ve also decided to extend each session to 15 minutes, as this is a more honest appraisal of the time it really takes to set up my resources for each language, review vocabulary from previous sessions, and engage in new study. Hence the change from “10 Minutes” to “15 Minutes” in the title for this thread.

Finally, I’ve put Hawaiian Pidgin and Jamaican Patois on the back burner for now. I really enjoy listening to creole languages and find most of them relatively easy to understand, and that’s good enough for me right now. I’ll still watch Jamaican films and listen to Hawaii’s “Liddo Bitta Tita” and “Bradajo” from time to time, and maybe look up a few words in my “Pidgin to Da Max” book too, but that’s as far as it goes. Well, with 10 second languages now, I’ve got to draw a line somewhere (lol).

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After an initial trial period in 2012, I quickly realised the insanity of trying to fit in 10 languages a day AND AT THE SAME TIME work, study, and complete a PhD. So I’m going to reboot this project with 7 languages rather than 10 as originally planned, and see how this goes instead. It’s still a LOT of languages, and with a new semester now upon me, it’s going to be an enormous challenge to find those extra hours for language study, but I’ll give it my best shot. I’ve amended my introduction for this project to reflect the change, and have added a little note at the end to let readers know.

Here are my goals for 2013 (the first CEFR rating for each language listed below is my current estimated speaking level, whilst the second rating is where I hope to be by the end of the year). In the past, I’ve always focussed on reading levels, but this year my goals are more speaking-oriented:

German: B2 –> B2 (ideally B2+)

Vorsprung Durch Technik; failing that, I’d be happy just to maintain my current level and keep the engine running.

Russian: B1 –> B2

Reaching out for that all-too-elusive shiny B2 Holy Grail, will 2013 be the year?

French: A2 –> B1

It’s been over 20 years since learning how to ask the way to the train station; hmm, I wonder how much I’ll remember… “Pour aller…à la gare,…s’il vous plaît?” It’s coming back, it’s coming back!

Irish: A1 –> A2

On the high road with shillelagh in hand, every step brings me closer to the green grass of home.

Japanese: A0+ (false beginner) –> A2

Without doubt Professor Tanaka’s worst ever exchange student, I hope to make reparation for my sins and eventually take my place as his long-lost eighth prodigal samurai.

Pidgin: A0+ (false beginner) –> A2

If I start speaking Pidgin (Hawaii Creole English) at length with the local mokes, I might quickly end up with a good ol’ fashioned haole lickins; just imagine a southern-born Englishman enthusiastically trying his hand at Scots on a Gorbals Glasgow estate whilst wearing an “I love Nessie” t-shirt. I think I’ll just settle for improving my cultural understanding here and throw in the odd phrase from time to time.

Hawaiian: A0 (total beginner) –> A1

Not quite ready to become the next Big Kahuna, I’ll settle for being a touristy pineapple headdress instead.

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Total hours of study: 15

I’ve clambered on the hay wain and am slowly getting back on the study track. Next week I aim for full speed ahead. I’ve thought carefully about what materials and methods I’ll continue my journey with, and have settled on the following:

  • Easy Texts (Inductive Reading): Latin, Pidgin (Hawaiian Creole English)
  • Assimil (Study-and-Click Method): Japanese, Ancient Egyptian
  • Coursebooks, TV (Study-and-Click Method, Primetime Method): Hawaiian, Irish
  • Yabla Video (Study-and-Click Method, Primetime Method): French, German, Spanish
  • Movies and TV (Active Listening and Repetition, Primetime Method): Russian

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Total hours of study: 10

Oh, what a false stroke of beginner’s luck… With students and colleagues dropping around me like flies on campus, and the winter vog creeping over the verdant mountains to descend on her unsuspecting valley-dwellers, I finally succumbed to illness last fortnight. I was hoping it would just go away last week, but despite my obstinancy to work through it all, things just got worse. The good news is that I’ve been to a clinic for a series of tests, and am feeling a bit better now on some meds; hopefully I’ll be able to “get back on the capall” (Ir: horse) next week and report something more cheery.

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Total hours of study: 9

As with any new venture, the first week is often the hardest. For me, this project was no exception, and the first day took 6 hours altogether! In and around each 10-minute session, I had to set up resources on the computer, try and fix my old speakers, and nose around through the palm leaves like a truffle pig for enough tasty language morcels to last the week. The next day however proved much faster and less frustrating, and my time management and enjoyment’s been improving ever since.

I’ve always found it difficult to settle on just a language or two in my studies, when there are so many other fantastic languages out there just waiting to jump into my life. As soon as I heard someone speaking Polish on the street, or I read a new language log about Korean, I felt that wander-urge rise up in me again. Now I’m juggling 10 languages, I’d like to reassure you that this is all under control, but I still find myself bookmarking new language links and must confess to having already downloaded 1-Minute Ukrainian in a weak moment. Well, what can I say…old habits die hard.

What I have found this week is that I LOVE studying and immersing in multiple languages all in the same day! I’ve had no trouble with language transfer or interference so far, and don’t seem to even notice the transitions much anymore. It’s a bit like a complete gym workout now, and I’ve even started dreaming in different languages during different parts of my dream too. It’s hard of course to find time to fit it all in, but I think it’s well worth it!

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Aloha everyone!

I’m back from my swimabout in the big blue yonder, and so my first port of call is to check in and reassure everyone that I didn’t drown at sea or get carried off by a lonely manatee… As “lolo” (Ha: crazy) as it may sound, I feel like a large part of me has been missing during my absence from the language blogging community, and I’m delighted to be back again on virtual home soil!

I’ve finally found a small studio apartment on the oceanfront, just a stone’s throw from Waikiki beach, and have officially “survived” (*wink*) my first tsunami this weekend! The workload has been crazy, as I arrived a month later than planned with my wife due to visa complications, and am still trying to catch up and work my way around all the floating red tape.

I’m currently teaching English academic writing at the University of Hawai’i this semester, and will be unleashed on some poor unfortunate souls next semester, when I start teaching some actual SLA courses. Whatever’s left of my time after teaching duties is then divided over the several graduate courses I’m taking in preparation for the long and winding road to PhD.

I’ve only met one other Brit on the island so far, and am mainly surrounded by Japanese speakers and stores. A lot of locals also speak Pidgin (Hawai’i Creole English) outside the tourist areas, which I’ve started to learn and is a lot of fun.

Apart from my bashful attempts at Russian conversation here and there, and joining a German language group at the university, I seem to have completely dropped the gauntlet in my language studies over the last couple of months. SO…it’s time to make amends and put this unforgivable oversight right! Let the games commence…

I will be starting up a new project this week [actually, I’ve restarted this in August now, so if you want to skip all the warm-up preliminaries, feel free to jump here] that hopefully fits in and around my work hours and studies, putting a hold on some of my other past projects for the time being (but still dropping in from time to time in these logs to update on any significant hop, skip or jump in progress and play with my language maps). My “big kahuna” goal right now instead is to consolidate all my efforts into one crazy language adventure in 2013 and beyond. This will be my focus:

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

Here’s the lineup of languages in order of my initial estimated reading level (according to CEFR guidelines):

  1. German (B2+, high intermediate)
  2. French (B2, high intermediate)
  3. Spanish (B1+, high intermediate)
  4. Russian (B1+, low intermediate)
  5. Swedish (A2+, high beginner)
  6. Latin (A1+, low beginner)
  7. Irish (A1+, low beginner)
  8. Japanese (A1, low beginner)
  9. Ancient Egyptian (A1, low beginner)
  10. Hawaiian (A0, complete beginner)

As you can see, there’s a good variety of starting levels here, ranging from complete beginner through to high intermediate, and hopefully there’s also enough variety across language difficulty levels and language families to keep my mind from wandering too much as well.

And here are some of the questions I’d like to try and answer through my new blog that keep popping up on this forum like happy august mushrooms:

  • Can I study more than one language at a time without falling prey to language interference? How about some of the more closely related languages in my list?
  • Is it possible to study a language consistently over a longer period of time with heavy work/study commitments?
  • How much progress can I make and what level will I reach after a year, if I study a mere 15 minutes a day (i.e. little but often)?
  • How can I stay motivated and not burn out over the long run?
  • Is there a positive synergistic effect that comes from studying several languages at once?

Mahalo for dropping by and surfing to the end,
Teango


Edit on 15th August, 2013:

After a couple of failed attempts that didn’t really get started (largely due to heavy work commitments and illness), I’ve chosen to rethink this noble project again. However instead of falling back to fewer languages or a kinder schedule, I’ve decided to up the stakes and say “Impossible? Hell no, let’s go for it!” instead, and return to my original idea of learning 10 languages at the same time.

I’ve also decided to extend each session to 15 minutes, as this is a more honest appraisal of the time it really takes to set up my resources for each language, review vocabulary from previous sessions, and engage in new study. Hence the change from “10 Minutes” to “15 Minutes” in the title for this thread.

Finally, I’ve put Hawaiian Pidgin and Jamaican Patois on the back burner for now. I really enjoy listening to creole languages and find most of them relatively easy to understand, and that’s good enough for me right now. I’ll still watch Jamaican films and listen to Hawaii’s “Liddo Bitta Tita” and “Bradajo” from time to time, and maybe look up a few words in my “Pidgin to Da Max” book too, but that’s as far as it goes. Well, with 10 second languages now, I’ve got to draw a line somewhere (lol).

Edit on 24th March, 2013:

I’ve decided to combine my studies in Hawaiian and Pidgin into the one study period, alternating between the two languages every week. Pidgin is largely situational and closely linked with being a local born and bred native of the island, whilst the chances of running into any native speaking Hawaiians are almost second to none. So my goal here is not so much to reach any level of fluency in these languages, but to learn enough of these languages to gain a clearer understanding and empathy for Hawaiian culture and to integrate better into the community here.

Edit on 1st January 2013:

After an initial trial period leading up to the new year, I quickly came to the conclusion that it’s impossible for me to fit in 10 languages a day AND AT THE SAME TIME i) work as a graduate teacher for 30 hours a week, ii) study at least 30 hours on top of all this for several graduate level courses, iii) secure additional funding to keep a roof over my wife and I’s head whilst juggling all the perrenial red tape, and finally iv) prepare for my PhD and publish journal papers along the way. If I stretched myself any thinner, I’d resemble a glass noodle right now! So with this in mind, and some modicum of sanity still prevailing, I’m going to try and study 7 core languages instead of 10 each working day, and have amended my introduction above accordingly.

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