2022 Language Learning Goals
Let's say 2022 is going to be the year when I start to discover the languages of India. Hi There, Steve Kaufmann here and today, I'm going to talk about new year's resolutions, new year's goals. Remember if you enjoy my videos where I talk about language learning, please subscribe. If you listen to me on a podcast service, please leave a review.
So 2022, it's a new year. Uh, typically a new year is a time for us to assess what we have been doing. What we might do differently in the coming year. Um, so I'm going to divide the, the sort of language or my goals or my resolutions in two videos. One that I'll do today and then the next one that I'll do in a few days. Today, I'm going to talk about language goals, which languages, which languages am I going to focus on?
What are my plans? Um, and then the next time I'll talk about language learning activities and how I plan to change some of my language learning activities in the new year. First of all, I am by nature an optimist, and I think 2022 is going to be a good year. Uh, I think in many countries of the world, we've learned to live under very difficult circumstances.
We've learned the extent to which we have to help each other. Uh, we need solidarity within countries, within our cities, within wherever we live and internationally. We have to work together. And I think there will be a renewed feeling that all the minor things that cause us grief and conflict are, are minor.
And that the most important thing thing for us to think about is how can we all cooperate better? Uh, and I think people are going to realize that, and I think there's going to be this great sense of joy as we go back to living our lives normally, because I think there will be a number of changes. I think there'll be more medicines available to reduce the burden on the hospitals.
If we all... end up getting a cold, but we don't end up, you know, in the intensive care unit of hospitals, then, you know, this is just a condition that we're going to be able to live with and lead our lives normally, hopefully with a renewed sense of how important it is that we all support each other.
That's my hope at least. And I'm an optimist now in so far as languages are concerned. You may know that I have been concentrating on Arabic and Persian. I originally sought out to learn three middle Eastern languages: Turkish, Persian, and Arabic. Uh, I then discovered how difficult it is to get used to the sort of Arabic writing system.
So I said, I'll just focus on the two languages that use the Arabic writing system, namely Persian and Arabic, and I'll put Turkish on the back burner. Turkish is a different language system from, I mean, Farsi is an Indo-European language. Arabic is a Semitic language. Turkish is again a different language system, but it is written in the Latin alphabet.
And that makes it a lot easier, especially for someone like me who likes reading and listening as the main sort of activity for learning languages. So it's been Arabic and Persian. Along the way I come up, you know, I came up against the problem with Arabic that there is standard Arabic, there's Egyptian Arabic, there's Levantine Arabic, not to mention, you know, the Gulf Arabic and, and the, the sort of North African Arabic.
And so I ended up sort of saying, you know, I'm going to focus on standard Arabic, and I'm going to continue doing that because so much of political discussion and history books, and whatever's written down, uh, people on television and so forth speak standard Arabic. So I want to be able to access that.
So I need my standard Arabic, but I have put more and more effort into certainly Egyptian Arabic. Uh, I've had a couple of tutors from Egypt. Uh, we have more and more content in Egyptian Arabic, and I've been listening to these. We have the mini stories in Egyptian Arabic. Uh, and of course, part of the motivation is that there's so many movies in Egypt that if I want to understand them, I have to learn Egyptian Arabic, but I've also increased recently my attention to Arabic again, because first of all, there are movies from Lebanon, maybe predominantly from Lebanon.
I found a wonderful, uh, television station in Jordan called Donya Ya Donya , which puts out lots of videos on YouTube about everything from, you know, women losing weight to health issues to you name it, all great stuff for learning. And as I get into the different forms of Arabic, I'm more and more convinced that Arabic is just one, it's one language.
I'm very glad that I started with standard Arabic, and that gives me a base from which I can, you know, branch into, uh, other forms of Arabic. And the goal is to understand. So I don't have a tremendous amount of opportunity to use the language. Uh, and you know, if I were in Egypt or if I were in Lebanon or, or, uh, you know, Jordan, then I would probably try to speak more the way they do, but in a way it doesn't matter.
There's a fair amount of flexibility. Uh, and you can mix in, you know, standard Arabic, Egyptian Arabic, but from what I can gather, the Levantine Arabic, somehow the Arab speakers all managed to understand each other. Uh, and they use some kind of a mixture of different forms of Arabic and they, and they, they communicate.
So I feel I can do, I can learn to do the same, but I want to be able to understand the different forms of Arabic. So, first of all, with regards to Arabic, I will continue my activities. Uh, I'm going to increasingly use, you know, short segments of TV programs that I can find in YouTube. Uh, w what I tend to do is, uh, try to get ahold of the MP3s.
Uh, in order to transcribe it so that I can bring that into LingQ and pick up the words and phrases. The automatic transcription sometimes converts the sort of Levantine or Egyptian words into standard Arabic, but that's okay. I hear what they're saying. And then I see the equivalent in standard Arabic, but in some cases it actually does transcribe the sort of regional word, uh, you know, that that is in the actual audio itself.
So that's working fine and I'm enjoying it. So there's where I am with my Arabic. Uh, I may start speaking a little more often, but I don't have that much time to speak to my tutor. Um, so that's, uh, Arabic. Persian: I'll just continue. I'm enjoying what I'm doing. I'm learning about Persian food, Persian culture, Persian history.
And I would just continue doing that. But I think the big thing that I wanted to announce is that I am going to start into some other languages and the reason is, now that LingQ 5.0 is it's available on iOS. Uh, it will soon be available on the web version, the web browser version and Android. And we did promise that once we have LingQ 5.0 done, that we will be adding languages for which we have 60 mini stories done by volunteers.
Now, it's not gonna happen right away. Because obviously, although we've had QA people testing LingQ 5.0, once we open it up to everybody, we will find bugs. Our users will find bugs. And so we'll will be spending some time before we get the... LingQ 5.0 to sort of settle down. But once we do, we'll be adding these languages.
So first of all, I'll tell you which languages are available to upload. Once we get around to doing it, we won't do them all at once. And then I'll tell you which ones I'm going to try and why. All right. So first of all, these are the languages for which 60 mini stories have been done. Khmer, Which I may not... We'll see.
Punjabi, Welsh, Armenian, Icelandic, Jordan, Lithuanian, Georgian rather, Lithuanian, and Tagalog. All of those have 60 mini stories done. Now for Luxembourgish, we have 45 stories. For Vietnamese, we have 25. For Swahili we have 20. For Thai we have 20. For Urdu we have 20 and for Latvian we have 10. So obviously until those other languages, until we get up to 60 mini stories, we won't be contemplating adding them to LingQ.
Uh, if we are able to find volunteers for these other languages to bring it up to 60, then we will add them. And if we have volunteers for other languages and we can bring it up to 60, we will also add. Now, of the list where we have 60 many stories done here are the ones that I'm interested in. I'm interested in Punjabi because, uh, just as it's so enjoyable here in Vancouver, uh, checking out of a grocery store or whatever store to speak Persian. And my, my doctor is from Iran. My barber is from Iran, Iranians everywhere. So I have a lot of opportunity to use Persian. Well, we also have a lot of people from the Punjab, uh, primarily Sikhs living here in Vancouver. And I think it would be a lot of fun to surprise some of those people, by speaking to them in Punjabi.
Now I may not go into great depth here, like with Persian and Arabic, I'm so committed to getting sort of to a B2 level there. I don't want to abandon those. So I think if I do the mini stories in Punjabi and a few other things, I'll get to the point where I have, perhaps have a short conversation with someone, uh, give them the impression that I speak the language when I don't.
And that gives me a certain amount of, uh, sense of achievement. So that would be for Punjabi. So Khmer, Welsh I don't think I'm going to tackle. Uh, Armenian, Icelandic, Georgian. Uh, I don't see an opportunity to use them here. On the other hand with Georgian, you know, my wife and I, you know, I bought this book, uh, Iranian cooking book, but it had Kurdish food, Georgian food, all kinds of different food from that part of the world. And it's not impossible in the future that we might go to Turkey and Georgia and Iran. And if that were the case, then I would at least do the mini stories in Georgia, but that's not on my plan for, in my plan for the year 2022.
Uh, Lithuanian as well. I don't see myself doing that. I might poke around, but I won't commit much time to it. Tagalog on the other hand is of interest because we have a lot of people from the Philippines here and you run into them at the, you know, for example, the lab where I do my blood test or you see a lot of people in different professions from the Philippines.
Uh, in fact, we had some work done in our kitchen and our, our contractor was, uh, they were a couple from the Philippines. And a lot of the, I wouldn't say a lot, but some of the trades that they brought in were also from the Philippines. So there's an opportunity to use Tagalog. So Tagalog and Punjabi would be two languages where I'm quite motivated to do the mini stories so that I can get to some kind of a basic conversational level maybe.
Uh, but the main focus... oh, and one other thing, if we ever get or do, if we get the 20 story, mini stories up to 60, then I would also do Urdu. And we already have Gujarati uh, and we also have a lot of Israelis in Canada, so I might just, once I do the Punjabi, which would be the initial motivation, then I might just poke around the Gujarati because I do come across,
I know I have some friends who are Ismaili and just to throw some things at them in Gujarati , I don't know what level of difficulty is involved. Uh, I don't know how they're different. I don't know how different the writing systems are. Uh, but let's say 2022 is going to be the year when I start to discover the languages of India.
And if we end up eventually with Hindi, I may also do something in Hindi, just as in Arabic, I'm exploring, you know, Levantine Arabic, Egyptian, Arabic, as well as standard Arabic. Then who knows where my exploration of the languages of the Indian sub-continent, uh, will take me, but that's going to be a major, uh, focus of 2022, uh, along with, uh, just dabbling in, in Tagalog so that, uh, you know, I can surprise some of the, uh, recent immigrants from the Philippines that I might come across here in Vancouver.
So those are my sort of language goals, sort of stick with Arabic, get to a better level of comprehension in, in, uh, uh, standard Arabic, Egyptian Arabic, and Levantine Arabic continue with my Persian and one thing about goals is I don't want to feel that I'm obligated to do anything. Uh, pressure is bad. I mean, if you, if you want to make sure you can't remember something, just put pressure on yourself to remember it.
Pressure is bad. So it's an open-ended goal. Just I want to improve. I want to continue enjoying these languages and I want to improve. If I discover that the Punjabi is too difficult or Tagalog, then I will have no hesitation in abandoning those things. There's no pressure on me. Uh, I think I previously said that I wanted to get to a level in, in Arabic where I can understand podcasts and I'll just hear it.
I'm still not there. Okay. And I got, you know, diverted by the way, I do want to get back to Turkish. So no firm commitments and Turkish is still out. Uh, particularly if at some point my wife and I plan to travel to that part of the world, but more immediately, as I say, Punjabi, explore Punjabi, export that dialogue and continue working on improving my Arabic and Persian.
Those are my language goals. The next video I do will be about some of the different approaches I'm going to take to my language learning activities. And, uh, I'll leave you with a couple of videos where I talk about how to get ourselves going in language learning. Thank you for listening. Bye for now.