Tracy is taking the Language Challenge with the goal of learning Esperanto, but she’s got a long way to go. Does this apply to you as well? Don’t give up!
What’s your goal?
I want to talk with others about language learning in Esperanto (and to see how quickly I can learn it).
I’ve heard that a large proportion of the people at the Berlin Polyglot Gathering speak Esperanto, and that it’s very easy. I’m curious to see how much I can learn in a short period of time, and I’d really like to be able to have a 15-minute long conversation with an Esperanto speaker, especially about languages, language learning, and their reasons for learning Esperanto. I’m still not sure if I’ll be able to make it, but this is my goal.
At the beginning of my first class, the only words I knew were “saluton”, “dankon”, and “lernu” (because of the Esperanto community lernu.net
), so this will be a fun test to see how far I can go after starting with practically nothing.
After my first hour of class, I’d already gained a reasonable understanding of basic grammar and phrases for asking basic information about another person (and how many languages they are learning)!
A secondary goal is to learn Esperanto through my second language (Chinese).
All of the languages I’ve studied previously, I learned through my native language, English. So, my Esperanto classes are a no-English zone. Just in the first hour of class, I was already very amused by the ways that the 3 languages I’m most familiar with: English, Chinese, and Spanish, are variously influencing my attempts at Esperanto!
How’s it going?
Esperanto is great!
It’s been a long time since I started a new language, and I love it! It’s like giving my brain a shiny new toy.
I’ve heard that someone else in the office has studied Esperanto before and I’m already excited to try out my 1 hour of learning on him.
As for the 12 hours…
Between my family visiting, a music festival, going-away parties, a generally demanding schedule, and the fact that at the beginning of the Challenge, there was only one Esperanto teacher, I knew that I’d have a hard time scheduling lessons. I was, sadly, correct.
That being said, I really do want to learn as much Esperanto this month as I can, so I’m glad that now I just have to figure out a way to fit my next …11.5 hours into 1/2 a month. Deadlines make things happen. I’m still committed to finding a way to fit my hours into the next two weeks.
The fact that my classes are so fun is definitely going to help me put in the time.
However, if I have trouble scheduling Esperanto hours, I might fall back on scheduling more time to practice Chinese or maybe even start dabbling in other languages that I’d like to focus on later.
How are your classes?
Really fun! My teacher Teddy Nee
has an obvious passion for languages and language learning. I’m very fortunate in that he’s also fluent in Chinese so I can avoid using English (my native language) during my lessons. I’m really looking forward being able to talk with him (and others!) about language learning in Esperanto!
Someone commented before that Esperanto was so easy that you can learn quickly without a teacher. But, the way I see it, if Esperanto is that easy, then I should be able to learn EVEN FASTER with a teacher!
Since my goal is to talk others, then I might as well jump into practicing that!
What are you doing outside of class?
At first, my daily goal was to write one question and answer pair that I want to be able to say in Esperanto. I’ve been discovering that actually, a better way to do this might be to write out my questions and answers for the week all at once and then make sure I look at at least one every day. This method would let me get all of the “thinking” done in bulk and then during each day of the week, I can just relax and follow my own instructions.
So, I might change that to have a weekly goal of generating my desired questions and answers for each day of the week and then a daily goal of reviewing my notes on the way to and from work + before bed.
Duolingo has recently opened an Esperanto section, and I’m excited to start using it as a supplement, but (this is embarrassing) it actually seems to be incompatible with the device that I have right now 🙁 (an old iPod that is incompatible with the current iOS). So, I’ll have to either use it on my computer or hurry up and get a new device.
[Edit: Actually, it’s because the Esperanto Duolingo is still in beta version, and was unavailable on mobile devices. ]
Tell us more about Esperanto:
Even though Esperanto doesn’t have a country, I’m learning that it does have a sort of culture. For example, I learned that since almost everyone who speaks Esperanto does so as a second or third language, Esperanto speakers are attentive to taking into account each others’ native languages and how different native languages may influence the way a person speaks Esperanto. I appreciate that level of consideration for others!
I’ve also heard that some people have suggested learning Esperanto before learning other languages. After the very little bit that I’ve learned so far, I already agree with this for 2 reasons:
- Since Esperanto is a “Conlang” – a ‘constructed language’, it’s very well organized. There are no exceptions that I know of. There is a pattern to the vocabulary and to the grammar that just snaps into place (it was designed to). It’s very elegant.
- Since Esperanto IS so well-organized, the basics can be learned very quickly. This means you wouldn’t have to spend much time training your language learning skills on Esperanto before moving on to a different language.
If you’ve never studied a language before, I think learning Esperanto would be a great way to make it very plain to yourself how a language is structured. Then, when you begin learning other languages, you will already have a sort of abstract language “blueprint” in mind that I think would make it much easier for you to approach learning other languages. Esperanto seems it could be a kind of “training wheels” for mastering the process of language acquisition.
Maybe I’m just a little over-enthusiastic about my classes right now, but I’m on the verge of saying that everyone (at least, English speakers or Europeans) should try Esperanto before they learn any other languages, even if just as a sort of language learning boot camp.
Tips for other Challengers?
Really, I think the hardest part (for me, anyway) is scheduling the lessons.
I often get anxious about scheduling my time because I try to anticipate what else might be going on. I easily over-plan things. But, once I just bite the bullet and put the time on my schedule, it actually is easier than I think, and I actually feel much better knowing that the hours are there on the calendar. It’s actually kind of a relief.
I would highly recommend just buying packages for the amount of time you need to finish and then just requesting the sessions all at once and getting them on your calendar. It’s so much easier than having to decide hour by hour when to have class. Get the decisions out of the way and then just do it.
This is actually very good time management practice for me, so not only am I learning Esperanto on italki, but I’m learning some good life skills as well!
I’m also very glad to be reminded how much fun it is to start a new language – this is definitely a positive addition to my life.