Language Goals & Progress

Significant progress in Icelandic. I can read a more than 10% of newspaper article summaries without dictionary lookups and understand about 5% of the news on a podcast. I can tell when the movie subtitles lack parallelism. However, obsession fatigue is setting in.

Progress on Russian is stalled, but not getting worse. Various logistic hassles in the way of further progress in Russian (difficulties in buying media, still not knowing how to type Cyrillic). I listen to a lot of Russian music at work, but don’t do much else with Russian.

Progress on French is stalled, maybe worth continuing since son is studying French at school. I sometimes watch movies in French, but outside of that I don’t use French much.

Progress on Swedish/Norwegian/Danish/Mongolian is stalled. Possibly permanently.

In the realm of fake languages, I’ve stalled on toki pona– I mostly am writing a sentence here and there and am spending more time on meta-toki-pona, i.e. talking about toki pona & various mini-projects that don’t directly involve creating & reading it.

Is this working?
It is the mad man that keeps repeating the same thing and expecting something different. I study languages, but then not finding myself in a situation where I can use them, let alone must use them, I don’t and then then start to lose what skills I had.

Linguistic Touring
I’m thinking I should keep this in mind in advance and do more “linguistic touring” rather than studying as if I were going to use it. I plan to just walk through a few languages, see the sights and not focus so much on proficiency in reading, speaking or writing.

I’d like to
- Learn how to type in Russian.
- Figure out what it means to do a linguistic tour of a language (does it mean learning the top 50 common can phrases? memorizing a list of features? being able to laboriously write a single, reasonably accurate sentence? Being able to read with 100% dictionary lookups a single paragraph? I don’t know yet)
- Finish up a conlang up to the sketch level, if not the reference grammar level.
- Do some but not all my toki pona mini-project ideas
- Do a linguistic tour of lojban, esperanto, Klingon, Na’vi.
- Do a linguistic tour of Cherokee or Choctaw
- Maybe publish a website for reviving Virginia/Chesapeake Algonquian based on the conlang created for the movie. It would involve a field trip.
- Take a field trip to a research library and publish to the web the secret cat phonetics research held there.
- Get to the next level for Icelandic. I’m not sure what that entails.

One thought on “Language Goals & Progress

  1. For me, “linguistic touring” means not necessarily trying to memorize any particular vocabulary or phrases, but learning enough about the structure of a language that I can having something to contribute to a discussion of some general linguistic issues to which this language’s structure is relevant, and broaden my knowledge of what natlangs in general are like so I can better evaluate the naturalness of conlang designs and have a wider pool of ideas to pull from when designing conlangs. This is easiest to do with phonology and grammar; semantics is to me more interesting, but it’s harder to get a handle on without in-depth study.