Just start………..

I guess the only way to get this blog going is to be discursive and anecdotal, so I’ll post a few lines to a couple of categories. Just to show how serendipity works in language study to reinforce vocabulary acquisition: today I had to wait for someone so I took my Dutch reading, The Hobbit, and read about a geur, a smell; this is the first couple of lines of the book. Then tonight, I switched to poetry and by chance the first book was Dutch poetry and I opened to a poem at random and in the first line was the word geur. My guess is that that will pretty well lock that word in for me.
I guess I should start here to lay out my study plan I call my circuit. I started out years ago studying in 15 minute increments, going from language to language. Then I discovered that five minutes was a good time. I can always prolong it but putting in at least 5 min. keeps me in the language. I had a binder for each language which I never used except to store items in, but recently, a few days ago, I thought about using a simple spiral bound note book with a page dedicated to each language. By taking notes on what I read, I give myself a kind of anchor. I think this is good for people like me who have trouble reading for CI; I feel like I will lose what I read unless I write it down, so this gives me comfort, a crutch, so to speak. Perhaps after a while, I can lose the crutch, but right now I’m really enjoying it.
I’ve organized the study of each language into several categories: #1 authentic text or close to it; #2 what I call lead-up, usually annotated readings in textbooks; #3 poetry; #4 about the language, usually language history or description; and #5 grammar. For languages I know pretty well like French, Russian, and Spanish, the grammars may be advanced. For languages I’m at a novice stage in, they are introductory grammars (Norwegian, Modern Greek, Macedonian, Dutch). For languages in between, like Urdu, they are in-between, say Intermediate Level grammars. I have to watch myself b/c if I allow it, I’ll just study grammar. But my book club has helped me learn to enjoy reading without grammatical analysis that’s a Spanish book club (boy! I wish I could find one for Russian. Once I retire, I’ll use my university contacts to see if native speakers would like to form one. There’s a French ex-pat group that meets locally that my dept chair belongs to; I might try something with them).

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