Bahasa Indonesia, otra vez (again)

So, my language learning journey continues and I think that I am actually getting to the point where I may learn to speak a language other than English or Spanish.

I began with Japanese all those months ago (2 and a half years or so) and for a long time I just floundered about like a blind man in a dark forest and did very little actual learning. Then I tried Arabic and Turkish and this and that and the other thing all with the same results. What I didn’t know is that slowly I was learning how to learn until finally, a number of things came about.

First, I met a Brazilian man and was surprised that I could actually communicate with him in Portuguese. I was not perfect; not even close, but I knew enough Portuguese to hold conversations. This was very exciting and it fueled my desire to keep on going. Sometime after he returned to Brazil, I met yet another Brazilian and was able to communicate with him as well. Sometime around this time I tried Esperanto. With Esperanto, my language learning methodologies began to take shape and to settle down. Soon I had an opportunity to speak with someone who was a fluent German speaker and so I stopped Esperanto and took up German. By applying my now maturing language learning skills, I was able to learn enough German in a short time to impress this person. After this, my confidence was increasing and I wanted to try a language that I had never really studied (I actually took a semester of German a long time ago) and I settled on Indonesian. I had already bought Colloquial Indonesian and I decided to use it as my sole textbook for this language.

After 4 weeks of study, I can almost read the book in Indonesian I ordered (Amplop Merah Muda Untuk Pak Pos) and I am confident that by the end of October I will be able to converse in the language at a low intermediate level. In fact, I believe that Indonesian will be my third working language after Spanish and English. I am very excited.
This is what I did different with Indonesian:
A) I opted to use ONLY one textbook. With all my other languages I kept on acquiring resources and spent little time learning.
B) I concentrated on learning vocab. Instead of finding a list of the most used words in Indonesian, I simply made vocab cards using the book I bought (Colloquial Indonesian). The book introduces about 1500 new words and I vowed to learn them all. At the time of this post I have learned about 700 words passively and about 300 actively. I have noticed that the rate of learning both passively and actively increases as I go along, almost as if the language learning is fueling itself in a self-sustained way.
C) I made usage the third thing to concentrate on. Of course, this happens just by studying the text. By the way, learning the vocabulary ahead of time, makes the lessons ever so much easier.
D) Last but not least, I vowed to listen to the language a lot more and more consistently. Once my ears grew accustomed to the sound of spoken Indonesian, it became easier to learn phonetically as I could pick individual words out of the spoken resources and look them up to learn their meaning. Somehow, I learn the words actively when I learn them this way.

So that’s my methodology thus far and it seems to bear fruit. Indonesian was a good candidate to try this as it seems to be easier for a Spanish and English speaker such as me. The really tricky part to Indonesian is the use of affixes but even that is not bad. I was exposed to affixes in Esperanto so affixes seem logical in Indonesian.

On a different note, I decided not to mix languages in this blog. Originally, I thought I would write this blog in every language I learned but now, that seems silly. I will keep this blog in English and I will start different blogs in each language once I feel confident enough to do so.


I continue to work on these two languages but in a very relaxed way. I received Italo Calvino’s novel “Le cittá invisibili” –Invisible Cities and I plan on reading the thing. I was trying to read a novel by Umberto Ecco in Italian but I found him a little harder to read. An Italian friend confirmed that Umberto Ecco is best left for when I have a much better command of the language and she recommended Italo Calvino. Reading Portuguese is no problem at all for me because written Portuguese is very recognizable to a Spanish speaker. Speaking Portuguese is an entirely different exercise and I continue to work on it slowly. Once I am somewhat fluent in Indonesian, I may give Italian more time. I also plan on returning to Japanese and to attempt Swahili.

Anyway, I feel less like a fake now and perhaps I may actually promote this blog.

Thank you for stopping by!


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