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There's something about the preposterous difficulty of language… - Notes from a Medium-Sized Island [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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[Dec. 1st, 2016|06:09 pm]
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There's something about the preposterous difficulty of language learning that I occasionally find paradoxically relaxing.

So, obviously, what I am doing is watching more of this playlist of videos meant for learning esperanto if you already speak mandarin, and try to backport from my knowledge of e-o to pick up on patterns in chinese. It's super fun because I have such incredibly low expectations; I don't expect to, like, understand whole sentences of (spoken) chinese very often. But rather I get excited when there's like one or two syllables that sound familiar enough that I can run to google translate, do trial and error a few times on educated guesses for what I heard (since there are a lot of vowel and consonant pairs that sound really similar to me; easy to confuse chi and che, for instance, and easy to mistake xiang for shang, and given this particular narrator, I've misheard shang as shao, even --- never mind hearing tones wrong in rapid speech, which I do constantly) and I actually succeed once in a while. Correctly hearing 下次 xia4ci4 "next time" just as one video was wrapping up was really fun, since I was familiar with the morpheme 下 xia4 down/next/under/below, but had never seen 次 ci4 before, which I guess is "time" in the sense of e-o "fojo", like --- occurrence.

Anyway it makes language learning feel a lot more like puzzle-solving than flashcard-memorization, and therefore much more fun for me, at least. I don't have any real goals around being conversational or reading texts, so the puzzle-solving game is just fun unto itself.