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Esperanto

Wow, so its been a while, huh? A couple of weeks turned into a couple of months. I don’t really have a good excuse about why I haven’t been updating the blog. My winter break ended, and it wasn’t a very plentiful one for language learning, nor was this busy January.

My 3 months of Esperanto is up! Even thought I didn’t spend as much time as I wanted on Esperanto, I’ll blame school for this, I still know a lot more Esperanto than when I started, and I’ve learned a lot on what I find the most enjoyable when it comes to language learning. I’ve also found more things to try. So let’s make this my 3 month post-mortem of Esperanto (I’m not sure if post-mortem is used outside of Ludum Dare, but here we go!).

The Good
The physical book to learn from (Teach Yourself Esperanto) was a definite plus for me, I just carried it around in my bag and read it when I was sitting somewhere waiting for someone or something. The paragraphs of Esperanto I was able to read really made me happy and I could see myself progress because I was able to understand more and more.

Memrise was a blessing from the heavens. The only thing I’d like to check is to have Memrise use a SRS like Anki. I like it better than Anki mostly because theirs a variety of mems to choose from, already made by other users.

Anki itself was okay, but I found myself using Memrise more because it was more enjoyable to use.

The Bad

Any sort of online learning site that functioned like a teach yourself book (for example:  Lernu) just didn’t work for me. The probability of me getting on a computer and going right to Lernu is very slim, and it is much more likely for me to end up looking at pictures of cats, so that is why I switched to the physical book.

I had a lot of trouble ‘finding time’ and upon reflection I realize there was a lot of different ways I could have made more, and I’m going to do my best in the future to use my time more wisely. Randomly browsing the internet is one of my weakest points and is certainly something I have to work on more.

More Learning?

One thing I learned is that the music in the language I’m trying to learn is important too me, and this is one of the reasons I wont be continuing with Esperanto for now. I had a terrible time finding any music that I enjoyed. Japanese music is much easier to come by, and is something I indulged in a lot during my 3 months in Esperanto.

I would say that it is the same for visual media in Esperanto. Which is unfortunate, and makes it really hard to learn the language if there no material that I enjoy to watch or read. I found like two movies in Esperanto but they were not about things I care about.

Which is unfortunate, because not having enjoyable and easy to find material makes it very difficult to learn the language. I’m of course not saying I didn’t find Esperanto content, because I did, I’m saying I didn’t find anything that I cared for, or that piqued my interest.

In Japanese I’ve got a large variety of j-dramas and anime to pick from, news, podcasts and music. I’m sure in some corner of the internet there are these things for Esperanto but I can’t find them, so again it makes it hard to learn the language.

Japanese on the other hand, as I mentioned before with the music, also has a large variety of television shows, media and podcasts. I found it a lot easier to find content I enjoy in Japanese then in Esperanto, and for these reasons a long with some others, I’ll be jumping back on the Japanese train and I am hopefully going to stay for a while.

I’m going to go back to one post a week, see you then!

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Sorry about last week the last two weeks, I was going to take time to write a post about my progress in Esperanto but two parts homework and one part procrastination managed to make me post nothing.

As this semester starts to come to a close, I’ve gotten a lot busier. After giving it some thought, instead of giving you a rushed post about my progress in the last month, I’ve decided I will abstain from posting until after my exams finish. Then I will take time to figure out how well I’ve accomplished my goals and what I need to improve on and what I did right. All that stuff.

Unfortunately this means I wont be posting again until the middle of December. I will of course be continuing my studies of Esperanto, (and between you and me, I’ve started doing some Japanese again, on the side). I promise an awesome post when I come back!

Until then, take care!

So I thought I would make a post of what I am using to learn Esperanto. Part of the reason I wanted to learn Esperanto was so I could try a bunch of different things and see which one works the best for me. So now I’m using.

Anki: Found a deck for Esperanto on the shared deck page, I’ve modified it to be split into two decks. English -> Esperanto and Esperanto -> English. I recently took all the grammar related cards out of the deck and then added AwesomeTTS so I could hear the pronunciations of the words. I think I’ll be making more adjustments to the decks in the future, I’m thinking about pulling out all the months of the year and doing them all at once.
I’ll also be making my own vocab decks as well, my first one will be for all the words that I need to know to actually use my computer while in Esperanto!

Lernu!

I’ve done some of the lessons on lernu! But they just aren’t for me, I will be taking the sentences and the audio clips and throwing them into an anki deck for some Eo-En sentences.

Teach Yourself
I noticed my university library has a copy of Teach Yourself Esperanto, gonna check it out after my last midterm and take it for a test run, since the Teach Yourself books are quite popular. The book is also said to be the best teach yourself book ever in the history of teach yourself, but that might just be a little bit of hype.

Project Gutenberg

Not so much a learning tool, but Project Gutenberg has a lot of legally free books to read, including books in and about Esperanto. The books I’m using are:

The Last American

This book is really for motivation, not so much learning, it is certainly something I would enjoy if I had the vocab to understand it.

English-Esperanto Dictionary
I use this when I’m reading The Last American, along with lernu! which also has a dictionary.

The Esperanto Teacher
I’ve flipped through some of the pages, looks okay but its a bit dated in my opinion. Might use it in conjunction with the Teach Yourself book.

Thats really all I got for now, until next week stay safe and keep learning!

Now my first post had a specific definition of what I really want to get out of Esperanto by the end of 3 months, and this was intentional, because (to me at least) being that detailed tends to paints a picture of what I need to do, and the painting is on the wall. It reminds me where I’m going and makes that place within arms-reach of my desk .

But, 3 months is still… 3 months! If I’m going to complete the picture, I’ll need to do it in layers. So I’ve written in detail what I think each layer will be composed of.

Month 1:

  • Being able to use my Laptop in Esperanto. That is, actually understanding the words on the screen. Not staring at the warning and then guessing which button to click (Sometimes it feels like I’m playing Russian roulette with my assignments… Does that say delete or save?)
  • Being able to browse an Esperanto centred forum and get the gist of 50% of a posts. Gist is defined as not being able to read all of the words, but being able to infer the meaning based on what is known.

Month 2:

  • Commenting source code in Esperanto with no help, this does not mean mistakes are unacceptable, everyone makes mistakes the important part is to learn!
  • Being able to browse Esperanto websites about Esperanto music and news and getting the gist of about 50% of the page. If it is a single article, understanding the point the article makes, but not necessarily being able to read it all is acceptable.
  • By this point, being able to speak and chat online with only lite use of a dictionary seems reasonable. In the case of conversation, a high mistake ratio is okay I just need to make sure to learn from them!

Month 3:

  • At this point, being able to understand 80% of forums posts on a topic that I would understand in English (Video games, not TMZ Esperanto edition). That 80% is understanding, not inferring.
  • Taking notes at school exclusively in Esperanto. This implies the inability to use a dictionary or even think about what words one would need to write.
  • Bumping up all written Esperanto on websites, books etc to an understanding of 70-75%, inferring is okay. At this point, being able to read something like the Hobbit shouldn’t be a dictionary party, most unknown words should be learned through context (hopefully).
  • Conversation and live chat should be up par with forums posts. I should be able to understand 80% of what the person is saying to me, but 75% of my output ‘mistake free’ seems acceptable.

These are in no way concrete, pictures and paintings change at the whim of the artist. These goals are here to be accomplished, but they are also here for motivation. Have you ever made a todo list for the day, and then crossed out tasks as you finished them? It feels pretty good, and that is the point of these goals. Not only does it make me feel good to complete a goal, but it’s a way for me to measure my progress and really understand how far I’ve managed to make it.

Now, with these goals defined. It’s time for me to go study! An early Happy Thanksgiving, hopefully you enjoy it with family and friends!

Alright, heres the skinny. Me and Esperanto are going 1v1 for the next 3 months. At the end of the 3 months I would like to be able to do, or start doing:

  • Take lecture notes in Esperanto.
  • Start reading The Hobbit (or any Esperanto book I’m interested in) with only moderate dictionary use, and being able to explain the page/chapter I just read in Esperanto out loud.
  • Being able to make posts on forums / blog posts in Esperanto with little to no help from a dictionary. Spell check is okay!
  • Being able to chat about things I chat about in English, but a more acceptable mistake ratio, ie 70%-75% correct. This conversations would be about Programming, video games, books (The Hobbit even), etc.
  • I do a lot of programming, so it would be useful if I was able to comment my source code in Esperanto.

Quite lofty, but I can do this! I’ve spent quite some time reading AJATT, Benny’s Blog
and Japanese Level up. Yes, two of those blogs are related directly to Japanese, but the methods can be applied else where, and I’ve actually been learning Japanese up until this point. But I’ve decided to shelf it for the moment while I try learning Esperanto, I want to use Esperanto as a testing bed on how I best learn languages, so the next 3 months I have a lot of different things planed to see if I can find how I learn the best, and what I enjoy the most.

Benny’s Language hacking guide has convinced me to learn Esperanto but its not just some study that convinced me, I really like the ideology behind the language and the promise of easy grammar. It will also be valuable because  it introduces the rolling or trilled r, which isn’t really in English, but is in quite a few other languages (most famously, Spanish). Esperanto speakers are dotted around the world, and from my reading and research they can be found in almost every major city. This hopefully will make finding someone to speak it with easier.

So the journey begins. I wonder where this will take me?