Friday, January 7, 2011

الهربة - الأسبوع 1

Week one of Arabic down.  This week has been a fun, challenging and occasionally painful week for my language study.  After tonight's studies (it's still Thursday for me) I will have learned all of the Arabic alphabet!  As of the present time I have put in 7.45 hours of study, which breaks down to a quarter of my first Arabic text, Mastering Arabic, and nearly three CDs of Michel Thomas.  I like the combination of audio work and written work even more than I liked purely working on grammar last month.  The interesting thing for me in this language is that all of my written work is dealing with Modern Standard Arabic and my audio work is in Egyptian Arabic.  For those who do not know, there are many different dialects of spoken Arabic, with Egyptian being the most prevalent, but most publications and news broadcasts are in MSA, hence the need to learn both.  I have really enjoyed the process so far and am surprised by the amount that I can already say after only a week of work.  If I can continue my current pace for the rest of the time I am studying Arabic this time around (until March) then I should reach my goal amount of hours and should be right at the level that I want to be at for this first part of the cycle.

I had a good week of singing including coming upon some sensations that I had not made contact with since my lessons six months ago.  I was able to vocalize up to a (not pretty) high C yesterday and am becoming more and more comfortable with A-flats every day.  Only two weeks until my lesson with JRL!

I am not going to type this in Arabic this week as I have not yet learned the entire alphabet.  Plus, it will take me a long time to do and I have studying to do yet.

Methodology Minute

Youtube is an amazing resource for learning languages.  Within the site one can find sermons, soccer clips, television clips, presentations, songs, etc. all in ones target language.  I have long used youtube for following present singers and past singers to the point of obsession, however I just recently discovered a new reason to peruse the site.  There are many clips of various polyglots on the site detailing various methods of learning languages.  This is huge!  If you are like me, you were taught to learn by studying in a class with a teacher and a bunch of unmotivated classmates.  Through the magic of youtube though, there are many, many possible ways to learn outlined for you.  A few examples:

FluentCzech:  A British gentleman who lives in the Czech Republic developed a method which he calls the Spiral Method which relies on the student's curiosity.

NJLIversen:  A Dane who has a very specific way of studying which is suited to the more strictly academic pursuit of languages, focusing on wordlists, morphology, etc.

Glossika:  An American living in China who teaches others how to speak foreign languages using mass sentence input.

ProfASAr:  Another man living in Asia teaching languages who has a very specific approach including shadowing and scriptorium.

Through youtube, we are provided with so many possible approaches that we can try and adapt to are own learning styles and find what works the best and most efficiently!  I encourage everyone who is interested in studying languages, or is currently at a standstill in the pursuits to check out these channels as well as anything else they can find on youtube.  A new approach may just be what is needed to get you over the hump!

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