Talking to yourself: It’s not just for crazy people anymore.

I am now staring at the barrel of the 6 week Esperanto Challenge gun. I have only 3 weeks left. Yikes! So I have to find a way to improve my spoken Esperanto fast. The problem is, although Esperanto has up to two million speakers worldwide, there are none to be found in my area. So what is an aspiring Esperantista  to do? Talk to himself of course!

I know that what I should really do is get on Skype and find a willing victim…er…partner with whom to practice Esperanto. I just cannot seem to pull it off however. So the next best thing is to talk to myself. This is most efficient if you record yourself. Second to that is talking to yourself in the mirror. Take a subject. Any subject will do; lettuce, mice, red paint. It doesn’t matter. Chances are that whatever subject you choose will have you running to the dictionary to acquire the vocabulary necessary to talk about the subject. That is one part of the magic. The other of course, is to get your brain and your mouth to pronounce the words. I find that after repeating a paragraph ten to twenty times, my brain begins to get it.

So there you have it.Talking to yourself is a simple, always available technique to improve your foreign language skills.

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Passive vs Active

I think it is odd how when learning a foreign language, one can learn vocabulary passively or actively. This phenomena is very much evident when I read stuff written in Portuguese or Italian. I can recognize tons of words because they are words that share a Latin root with Spanish but as I try to memorize them to use them in my speech, they don’t stick the way I feel they should.

Interesting for sure.

OTHERWISE…

I have learned a couple of things on my quest to speak  six to eight languages. The first is handles. Handles in foreign language learning, as I understand the term, are phrases very commonly used universally. For example, the phrase “if I had…” is used a lot in the English language and it is as commonly used in other languages. Another one is “if you like…”. So you learn these phrases in your target language and you can start conversing in that language in no time. Unfortunately, NONE of the books I have seen so far in ANY language, deals with these.

I first became aware of the concept of handles by watching a YouTube video by KiraPepelu.

The other thing I learned recently that may really accelerate my language learning is that by writing the target language, your brain learns the language actively and thus you can more readily use the language. Interesting idea and one that I believe to be true because one you write, you are in essence talking to your reader thus you are conversing in the target language.

A LOFTY GOAL

I think once I feel comfortable with the languages I have set out to learn to fluency, I will pick a dying language and learn it as a way to try to delay that language’s demise. I recently read an article while waiting at the dentist’s office, about all the languages in the world that have but a handful of active speakers left. That would be cool.

Thank you for stopping by!