August 25th, 2013


언어 공부...

It was a nice, relaxing weekend. I stayed in... studied... napped... did fuck all. Good times.

I've been feeling a craving to learn new languages lately. Wanderlust, if you will. But I also came to a realization: it's silly to try to become 100% fluent in 92 different languages. It just isn't going to happen. So for these new languages I'm going to pursue certain skills that I consider quite important.

1. I will learn enough to read literature and newspapers without the use of a dictionary- or with very minimal use thereof.
2. I will learn enough to comfortably watch TV shows and movies.

In other words, on these secondary languages I want to pursue passive skills as opposed to active skills. Honestly, as I've discovered in my time in Korea, it's HARD to maintain active skills in a language. I'm simply not at the point in my life right now where I can learn to write and speak other languages to a high level. However, reading and listening? That's a piece of cake. (Uh, sorta.)

For the next few years I will have two types of languages: focus languages and slow and steady languages. My focus languages will number no more than one or two at a time. I will focus on achieving a high ability in every skill set. For the foreseeable future this will be Korean; starting in the next two years I'll also pick up either Japanese or Mandarin, and it will be my next focus language. Slow and steady languages will be languages I will pursue for the pleasure of participating in the culture by intaking native content. I've decided that I'm going to work at reattaining my high levels in French and Russian before I pursue a new language. (I can still read both at quite a high level, so this won't be overly difficult, actually.) Once I'm reading novels and watching TV comfortably in those languages I'll pick up more languages, this time from scratch (German, Norwegian) or from near scratch (Italian).

For years I've been focused on the idea of fluency in my languages; more specifically, oral fluency. But at this point in my life that's too difficult - I've met a grand total of 3 Russian speakers in my time in Korea. Why don't I combine my love of literature and my love of languages? It makes sense. Plus, I'd love to be able to watch movies and TV shows without subtitles. And honestly, if I have the passive skills, it will be fairly simple to activate my active skills later on. The reason my Korean writing skill is so good is because I text so much with Koreans. I'm certain that I could find a French or Russian penpal somewhere on the internet.

I dunno, it seems like a good idea. For the time being I'm going to spend 4:1 Korean:French, and in a couple of months I'll go for 4:1:1 Korean:French:Russian. I want studying languages to become a hobby for life, with becoming a hyperpolyglot being my long-term goal. I work best when I have a goal. If I say that I want to be able to read and watch TV in 10 languages by the time I'm 40, well... I'll do it.
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