There are blogs such as Fluent in 3 months where Benny attempts to get fluent in languages in three months and Fluent every year where Randy tries to achieve the same goal in one year. Here’s the breaker: I will join them! I am going to be choosing a period in the midpoint of 3 months and one year – exactly 6 months, take on a language and get fluent in it as well. They learn the languages they didn’t know before that are distant to them and so will I. Moreover, I will have this as a side project on the blog and not even quit doing the rest of the stuff I am doing. If you want to know how I plan to do this and what language I will be learning, read on.
These two guys have their own ways. One does go to the country where the language is spoken and stays there for his whole period of 3 months. Another stays in his own country and finds ways to practice. I am going to go the middle way: I will spend the first three months at home and then the next three in the country where the language is spoken. One likes to learn by using the language and only sometimes referring to tutorials, books and resources online while the other one does seem to use them more often when learning. Well, again, I am going to do both. I will first study the language without getting much exposure from non-study related material and then try to put it into practice. Just like them, I am going to be transparent about the things I use and the lessons I learn and blog about them in the category fluent in 6 months on this site (you can get the RSS of this category or the RSS of this whole blog).
But what language am I going to be learning? Let’s look at the languages they are learning first. After all, Benny has learned Czech, Thai (both of which where unknown to him) and worked on improving his Portuguese while Randy has learned Russian in a year (which was also foreign to him) and now learns Italian (which he doesn’t know either). Both of them had to learn foreign alphabets as well (Russian and Thai). The language has to be distant enough, yet it does not have to be completely out-of-this-planet (neither Italian nor Portuguese is). It has to be challenging to learn in the period, yet possible. It also has to be fair: no previous knowledge. Also it must be the official language of some country (Italian, Russian, Thai, Portuguese, and Czech all are) and lastly, it must have an interesting culture behind it, so that one could not only learn the language but also get more into the culture where that language is spoken. This pertains to things like discovering the Brazilian lifestyle, getting to visit the sunny beaches in Thailand, learning to understand Italian songs and opera or opening up the immense archives of literature of Russian writers such as Dostoevsky, Bulgakov and others.
Well, my language fits all of the above. It is a language I have never learned, never seriously considering learning, yet it was there all the time and, along with the culture where the language is spoken, made a big impact on a lot of other languages and cultures (very probably also yours and mine). The language shared its words with other European and often non-European languages and gave names to a lot of things that we still refer to today (and perhaps sometimes more often than ever). The language also has a great civilization behind it and a lot of cultural legacy. One could probably say that the Ancient civilization that used the Ancient version of this language were the cradle of Europe. Because… I will be learning Greek.
I will be learning modern Greek and not Ancient, mind you. However, they both use exactly the same alphabet and are still partly mutually-understandable (I will probably write about this more once I get to know the language better). As I have already stated, my learning of Greek with include a three month stay in Greece after the first three months of studying it at home. I will be there and hopefully will be able to practice it with the natives. What makes it even more difficult is that I will not do study my language full time and I will still continue learning other languages and working on this site, as well as doing my other duties, such as managing to pass my exams, learning interesting things, meeting people and doing whatever other stuff I do. I have already done something similar where I learned Portuguese in 5 months but then I did not blog about what I do. Moreover, at the first glance, Greek seems to be a lot more difficult than Portuguese! To make it worse… I will probably have less easy chances to practice the language than I did with Portuguese. I still think it is possible to do.
You will be able to see how I make progress, find out what things work for me (and thus could work for you!) and get a lot of tips coming from me for your own language learning! We will also be able to make a comparison of two different language learning strategies: learning at home and going to the country where the language is spoken. We will see which one renders better results and have ideas whether it is impossible or not to learn the language while at home. I have created a new category called Fluent in 6 Months on this site (get the RSS feed of this category here to be getting the updates) and I will soon explain my goals, methods, motivations, timing and talk about things related with the challenge. Stay tuned and keep checking for new updates to find out how I will be learning Modern Greek in 6 months!
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- How I Learned Portuguese in 5 Months