I love reading and I have always done so. I am an excellent reader as I can comprehend pretty much anything in English regardless of subject or complexity and I will do it pretty quickly too. People are quite frequently amazed at how quickly I can accomplish reading anything and that I not only understand it but can reiterate what it said too. Now for a person so versed in the ways of the English language you think I would know all about the different ways and methods of learning to read etc but I’m always finding out new things about my abilities that I didn’t know before like the differences between intensive reading which is reading for quality and making sure that you know the meaning of each and every word that you come across and extensive reading. Extensive reading is for quantity and your skim reading an article to get the gist of it but you don’t fully understand the meaning that is contained in the sentences. Both kinds can be for pleasure although the former is more like the style I use and the latter is a more dyslexic style but is also useful in studying. I have found to help my learning style in Greek that I need to practice more extensive reading as its too difficult to intensively read at my current level. I’m not progressing as well as I would like which is disheartening considering the amount of time that I devote to my Greek studies. I have found a new source of reading material the Gutenberg website which was a previous issue as I couldn’t find anywhere to get any literature but there are lots out there. You just have to find out where its located as it’s not easily accessible if you don’t know what you are looking for. I would like to thank Steve Kaufmann for bringing this to my attention but also Kato Lomb as it was her that first advocated this approach of reading to acquire sufficient knowledge in a foreign language to be able to communicate in it.
It’s been a very long time since I have written on this. Too long in fact but a lot of progress has happened in my Greek language learning ability. I have recently undertaken the 3-month challenge that is espoused by Benny the Irish polyglot in his fluent in 3 months scheme. While I don’t think that is a realistic goal anymore then when I was jokingly challenged to become fluent in Greek in 2 weeks; I have improved tremendously and there is a lot more to learning a language than just being a walking dictionary which is my usual not particularly helpful approach. The most useful thing I have found is that LingQ have started doing Greek mini stories and this is good for me as I like reading and this is mainly how I pick things up. I like watching all of Steve Kaufmann’s videos about how he learns languages and his progress in the Greek language. Listening and reading are so very important in order to be able to understand the material that you come across because if you don’t have comprehension then you are not going to get anywhere. There is quite a lack of reading material online if you a) want something free and b) something that doesn’t cover dry boring topics like politics or the economy. If for example, I wanted to read a story book that wasn’t to teach children how to read, I have had to buy some books off Amazon. I choose the series that everyone uses but its difficult to find especially if you have no idea what you are looking for due to the fact they are Greek so don’t normally come up in search results. https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/3190053170/ref=s9u_cartx_gw_i4?ie=UTF8&fpl=fresh&pd_rd_i=3190053170&pd_rd_r=PYCMWVBH0G92X8HNBFP1&pd_rd_w=lnVbP&pd_rd_wg=W9RQv&pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=&pf_rd_r=JNCC6DCKTMX38GPBKVXA&pf_rd_t=36701&pf_rd_p=16f14aeb-bd11-4e9e-8c26-9ca0139074ee&pf_rd_i=desktop
The best state to be in order to maximise your learning potential is a relaxed, calm and happy one as your not stressed, with minimal distractions and demands on your time and resources. This is what makes the holiday period ideal but also any holiday period.
I find that I can remember and recall things best at these times as I bet most people will. I am sometimes amazed at how much my brain has processed and stored away that I am not even aware of. I have recently been attempting to improve my Greek knowledge by learning verbs and pronouns so quite difficult grammatical concepts and I have been presented with words that are at times quite random and I’m recognising them even written in the Greek language. If I don’t think too much about it I find I’m better than if I use my concious working memory so it just goes to show how phenomenal the unconscious brain is. I don’t even listen to tapes at night but when I get a feeling for language learning I do it. There is a lot to be said for using love, lust and desire to motivate you to learn a language but the catharsis that is present when your drinking/after sex is extremely useful too.
Learning how you learn best (metalearning) is crucial as it allows you to create an environment that is conducive to the task at hand and after all when you set your mind to anything, you want to achieve it as quickly as possible don’t you as then you can move onto the next item on the agenda.
The fact that we need to learn how to learn is odd as you would think that we would all have the innate ability to do this but it just goes to show how diverse the human race is by requiring so many different methods to arrive at the same goal.
I love learning, knowledge and words in general so I have studied this area in detail at various levels of my education and now just for fun as researching facts makes me happy. It helps me to make sense of the world as it is forever changing and when we think we understand it switches on us so we are forever playing catch up but that is part of the appeal, the fact we can never know everything in the entire world but we can attempt it. (Yes I’ve tried but not even Kim Peek does.)
At the moment my mind is making me remember the French I learnt at school which is something that I haven’t really needed to use in about 15 years. It’s possibly because tourists are always in Canterbury or it could be because I’m learning Greek using Memrise which is a brilliant app for a visual learner and I’m remembering what the same questions are etc. They say the best way to learn a language is to piggyback it off another making steps and connections between the two.
French was difficult to learn as it was in a classroom, by rote and there never seemed to be any use for it outside the classroom as it was purely academic. Greek is because I would like to speak it, I hear it all the time when I’m over there and I would like to have a conversation in it despite my shyness/social awkwardness/bad accents/inability to speak loudly/distinctly enough. So completely different reasons and environments.
Greek is also quite phonetic so it seems quite easy to pick it up as long as you can hear it. That seems to be the key as my retention is improved dramatically if I can listen to the words as well as looking at them. I’m learning to spell, read and recognize too so total immersion except practising speaking. Check out my youtube channel if you want to see me practise words like these and more.
The questions I’m certainly thinking of are the basic ones in all languages.
Hello (Bon jour, Yias sou),
How are you? (Sava?, Te can nis?),
I’m very well thankyou, (Tres bien, mer ci?, Poli kal la, e fal a stow?),
and you? (Et toi? Kai sou or just sou),
What is your name? (Com mon tu t’appelles?, Por se lene?),
My name is Angela (Je m’appelle Angele, Me lene Angeliki),
I am 30 years old (Je suis trent e ans, trianta, eimai trianda chronos )
I live in England, (Je hab bite Ang le terre, zou apo tin Anglia)
I would like a ham and cheese sandwich please (Je vou drais en jam bon et fro mage sandwich mer ci, The lo kai ty ri para kal lo),
How much is it? (C’est com bi en? Poso kano?)
What time is it? (Te or in ne?)
Where is Tim? (Po e say Tim mo the us?)
Do you speak french/english? (Parle en francais/anglais?, milao gal li ki/ang li ka)
Yes a little, (Oui en peu, Nai ligo),
No (Non, Oxi!),
Excuse me I don’t understand, slowly (Excuse m’ moi je n’pas Sig nom mie, then cat a la me ra si gar si gar),
OK (En dax i),
I don’t know (Thank seroh!),
Why? (pour quoi?, y ati),
That’s life (C’est la vie, Te can e mai),
and Goodbye (Au re voir, A di o).
Apologies if I’ve spelt things wrong but spell checker even seems to work in French as it was correcting my spelling as I was going and possibly even in Greek too as it doesn’t seem to disagree with what I have written. There are a couple of gaps but I’m sure they will be filled in soon.