Tuesday, October 18, 2011

An overdue update...

It's been a couple months since my last update.

But with Fall in full swing - ending even - I'm getting close to the end of my 2011 language learning goals, I'm assessing my progress, as well as beginning to think about what I'm going to do next year with my language learning.

As for my progress in Norwegian, it's gone quite well. Probably a little better than I had hoped. I have the chance to speak it every single day with native speakers. My original goal was to reach a C1 level, and I think I will do that. I'd like to say I've already reached that goal, but truthfully, I'm hesitant to overstate my abilities. I've worked on expanding my vocabulary by watching a ton of movies and listening to music, I've improved my writing using Lang-8. My speech has become more fluid. I've also worked on my accent.

When thinking about what languages to learn, I've kept in mind that I may someday want to use them to expand my freelance translation business. While I've thought about adding Norwegian to my roster of working languages for translation, I won't be adding it any time soon. Why? Before I started working with Spanish and Italian, I spoke both languages for well over a decade. The comfort level is just so different. And I've specialized somewhat with the types of documents I translate, namely business and legal. I do not yet have that specialized vocabulary for Norwegian, although I can readily talk about business and legal things in general. With time, I could acquire that vocabulary, but it's not there yet.

Polish has been pretty weak all year long. I've listened to plenty of music and watched plenty of movies, but almost everything has been passive. I have gained some passive vocabulary, as well as some more advanced grammar, but passive learning can only take you so far. I've not had the chance to speak it much. Early on I made an attempt at finding a language partner to practice with, but for whatever reason, the couple responses I got didn't work out. My goal was to reach a B2 level. That's not going to happen. I see no way of it happening without active practice. I will probably get no further than an A2 level. But I'm OK with that. For anything I feel I've failed at with Polish, I've more than made up for it in Turkish.

I've made no secret throughout any of my posts that I've fallen in love with Turkish. It has consumed a lot of my life these last 10-11 months. When I'm not doing my job, I have something Turkish in my ear or in front of my eyes. I've worked hard at exposing myself to as much Turkish as I possibly can, and it's paying off. Even while I'm working, I usually have something Turkish going on in the background, whether it's radio or TV. I've been extremely consistent at watching specific programs every single day. I've mentioned Burada Laf Çok a couple times already in previous posts, and I can't say enough about the program. Why? It has the same host every day, so I was able to get very familiar with one person's accent. Not just his accent, but his idioms - he has several that he uses regularly. Combining his familiar speech with three different guests (usually) every night gives me a real opportunity to compare accents and vocabulary. I've heard everything from the standard Istanbul accent to Van to various foreign accents. While Kavak Yelleri was still showing, I would watch that. Now that that show has ended I'm starting to get into Yillar Sonra.

And of course, I can't forget about my conversation partner. We speak often (now three times a week for an hour). I have learned a lot from these conversations, and I'm able to ask questions about some of the things I see on TV. I get immediate feedback.

My goal for Turkish was to reach a B1 level, and I think I'll achieve that. And I already know that Turkish will one of the languages I maintain for the rest of my life - it's enriched my life immeasurably.