Getting back to Basics

Language blooms in the right conditions
I’m afraid I missed eltchat last week because I was away from home and had limited Internet access, which, although I hate to say it, was possibly no bad thing… Just for a while, at least, because I was quite pleasantly surprised to see that actually, although I love my virtual, online world, I can get on perfectly well in the real world too. I was in Slovenia, soaking up the sea, wellness culture and the gorgeous green landscape of Istria, a three hour drive from my home in Verona. What is also great, about coming here is that I was surrounded by a new language too.

Soaking up a new language

My extremely limited recollections of Russian helped me up to a point but so much of Slovenian is new, so I listened to it on the TV ( or read it as subtitles to TV series in other languages, which is a very good way of discovering new vocabulary, new language “chunks” or “patterns” ) I suppose it’s a type of Rosetta Stone approach to language acquisition, using trchnology ( of course) to do so. I can then listen to the radio in the car, or in various bars etc. where the new language I’ve seen on TV is reinforced,, plus you get the pronunciation patterns too. I find listening to the news very useful, as there are often stories that I already know something about, so you can very easily listen for gist even as a beginner.

The third really useful thing is reading, reading whatever turns up, whether it a menu, products at the supermarket, or even the adverts on billboards along the street. So many products are the same brands these days that it is easy to inderstand exactly what they are advertising, and notices here tend to be in Slovenian and Italian as well, so that helps. Oh, and of course, then you can pr actise the language with the people here, even if it’s only to say Good Morning etc. This can give you a great sense of achievement.None of this is particularly earth shattering. These are all things I know very well, but every time I go to a country with a language I do not know well, it hits me forcibly again just how important these things are. Things that are perhaps not so fashionable but things that good language learners automatically tend to do. So, in a nutshell, the key elements are:

1) A sense of curiosity

2) translation

3) ability to make use of whatever you can find

4) the ability to see patterns

5) the ability to transfer elements of one language to another

6) a love of communicating

7) a love of playing with new sounds, rolling them round on your tongue

8) not being afraid of looking a fool

9) a willingness to let it all roll over you, around you so that you can soak it up

Of course, perhaps the most important one of all is motivation. You have to want to absorb these new things. If you have other priorities well, it probably

Soaking up the atmosphere in Istria

just won’t happen, but me, I’m fascianted by language and its patterns and forms so, excuse me if I go back outside to soak up some more new language. Hvala 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s