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

January 15, 2013 § Leave a comment

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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