My Language Learning New Year's Resolutions
This is Steve Kaufman.
It's uh, just about New Year's Eve here in Vancouver.
I'm gonna talk today about my New Year's resolutions for
resolutions for the coming year.
By the time you see the video, we're probably in the new year.
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So today I'm gonna talk about what I intend to do as regards, you know,
language earning in the coming year.
But first, let me explain why I have my vyshyvanka on.
So I was getting ready to, uh, do my New Year's video, and I happened to
check my Twitter feed, and I see that Ukraine is once again being bombed.
The whole country is facing this evil, uh, I can only call it genocidal attack
from the Putin regime and I just, it just bothers me so much because it's
so unprovoked, unjustified, just the random evil destruction of cities, of
civil infrastructure, killing people.
Uh, and of course they have their, uh, occupation troops there, shelling towns.
For example, the town of Krasnohorivka, which I visited,
uh, has been under constant attack.
I think it's been largely destroyed, like so much of Ukraine.
I was there some years ago, visited with the people there.
It's very near the city of Donetsk, Donetsk, but it's on
the Ukrainian controlled side.
I just, I just find it's unbelievable that in this day and age, we are
tolerating the random slaughter that Putin has inflicted on Ukraine.
And so before I get into the subject of my language earning goals for the coming
year I just can't help but expressing sympathy for Ukraine and the wish that
in the new year, the rest of the world is able to prevent this ongoing massacre and,
and or that Ukraine is able to properly defeat Russia and get all the Russian
troops out of Ukraine, all of Ukraine, to respect Ukraine's territorial sovereignty.
Because if we don't, if the new world order is that big countries
can simply beat up on small countries or powerful countries have the right
to, uh, set their foreign, uh, policy agenda but smaller countries don't.
Uh, big countries have the right to decide who their neighbors are going
to be and who their neighbors are allied with, and small countries don't,
that's just not a formula for peace.
So I think the whole world has to unite behind supporting Ukraine.
I can't, you know, express strongly enough how I feel about that subject.
Now, my New Year's resolutions when it comes to language learning, we do have
challenges at LingQ where people are encouraged to maintain their streak or to,
you know, undertake a 30-day challenge, a 90-day challenge, which are sort of
ways of nudging people forward, keep them on task, give them short term goals.
Like I want to get, you know, read so many words today or save so many words.
So all of this is very valuable in getting people going and keeping them going,
however, you know, I've been at this learning of languages for a long time, and
in particular I've been with my Persian and Arabic and even a little bit of
Turkish a little more just recently too.
And so my New Year's resolution is that I, I want to follow my own advice and
find ways to enjoy the learning process as much as possible, so I'm not worrying
about how much improve in Persian or in Arabic, in Levantine Arabic or Standard
Arabic or Egyptian Arabic or in Turkish.
I just want to enjoy sort of in a dilettante way, sampling a little
bit of Persian here, a little bit of Arabic there and so forth.
Now I was thinking about my language learning when I was
out, uh, cross-country skiing.
So when you're cross-country skiing, there are times when you're gliding
of course, but there are times when you're going up the hill.
So when you start in a language, you're very much going up the hill because
it's, it's hard work, but you're certainly aware of getting up that hill.
And that's, I think, where, you know, having daily targets is very
important 'cause it keeps you going.
But when you're in that gliding period, you've also gotta be enjoying it.
You gotta take time to enjoy the scenery.
And if I think back to when I learned, uh, other languages like
Russian, Ukrainian or Italian.
I had wonderful, you know, audio books that I listened to.
I had wonderful material that was meaningful to me
that I enjoyed listening to.
And then I could go back and, and read it on LingQ and look up words and phrases.
And I can remember going through the words, listening to, uh,
you know, uh, ... in Russian.
You know, uh, Fathers and Sons or listening, you know, jogging and
listening to I promessi sposi I.
Pardon me 'cause I like 19th century literature.
Uh, so I'm gonna try to find, I'm gonna try to find something in Persian, uh,
because the danger, what I find myself doing now is I keep on going back and
reviewing the old stuff, and I always discover something new and I feel that
I'm reinforcing things and maybe I'm improving, but I'm not pushing myself
into new stuff and I haven't found that, sort of, novel, maybe 19th century
novel in Persian, if such a thing exists, from the Qajar Dynasty or...
I'm gonna speak to Sahra.
I'm gonna meet with her tomorrow morning online and see if we can't find
something that's sort of a, a story or 'cause a lot of what I'm doing is...
I have her material on the history of Iran.
I have a number of other things in our library, but I, sort of, an equivalent
of, uh, you know, a novel or something that I could listen to and where I
might be able to find the, uh, pdf or the digital text so that I can work...
maybe I'm dreaming, maybe that's not available, but
I'll have to find something.
I need to get something that pushes me beyond reviewing the content
that I've already, you know, done.
And of course the temptation in something like Persian and Arabic
is to stay with easy material because it's so hard to read for me.
Uh, and yet when I think back with with Chinese, which is also
difficult from a reading point of view, uh, I did push myself further.
So my New Year's resolution is not so much the sort of, uh, meeting
my daily targets or, um, you know, uh, maintaining my streak.
Uh, in a way it would be nice if at LingQ we gave you credit for maintaining,
you know, to being active in say, two or three different languages.
We only maintain the streak in one language and maybe the majority of people
only study one language, so it's perhaps not necessary to try to have a, a combined
streak, but it would be helpful for me 'casue whatever I choose to do, even
now, we've changed this sort of incentive from one of, uh, having to specifically,
you know, read so many words and save so many words, is combined in coins.
So as long as you maintain a certain level of coins, whether you're
listening or reading or speaking or whatever you're doing, uh, you're
getting credit for your activity.
You're not forced to have, you know, x amount of activity for, for reading
and x amount of activity for speaking.
You can do what you want.
It would be nice if we could combine that across three languages, but I don't
think many people are studying three languages, so it's difficult for me to
convince, uh, my son Mark, who runs LingQ, that we should invest time in coming up
with a combined, you know, coin number.
But in any case, that's what I'm gonna do.
I'm gonna continue sort of dilettante-like and trying to find ways to enjoy my
Persian, my Arabic, my Turkish, without worrying too much about how many words
I'm saving or reading, uh, without necessarily worrying about how much
progress I'm making, but rather making sure that I enjoy the process and if
we enjoy the process, we will improve.
We needn't worry.
So there you have it, my New Year's resolution and, uh, I hope the
New Year brings peace to Ukraine.
Uh, I hope the New Year brings language learning enjoyment to all of us.
All of you.
All of us.
And if it brings us enjoyment, it'll also bring us success.
Thank you for listening and all the best for 2023.
Bye for now.