Theo Todman's Web Page - Notes Pages
Status: Languages (2021 - December)
(Text as at 03/01/2022 23:58:34)
(For earlier versions of this Note, see the table at the end)
Rationale for this Project
- I don’t claim to have any linguistic ability, and am usually too shy to utter anything in public in a language other than English – partly because of an obsession with accuracy, but also because of a lack of interest in the use of language for basic communication, leading to a lack of command of everyday speech.
- I’m interested in how languages function, and in particular how languages in related or unrelated groups compare as far as their grammar and vocabulary are concerned.
- I’m also interested in nativist theses about the innate hard-wiring of human brains for the acquisition of natural languages at critical phases of psychological development (see my BA Philosophy dissertation “Poverty of Stimulus Arguments for Innate Grammar1”).
- Anyway, at various times of my life I have made forays into various languages by formal or informal study.
- This used to involve listening on my iPod while walking to and from the station, when exercising down the gym, or in the car to and from music lessons. Now these opportunities have mostly gone. I’ve discovered the opportunity of using Ling Language Learning on my iPhone when walking Henry the dog, which has been quite transformative.
- Another problem is that, while initially progress seems rapid, after a while repeated listening to a very limited conversational CD doesn’t lead to any further progress in vocabulary and grammatical understanding – for this, reading and careful study is required.
- Other reasons for bothering with languages are that Classical Greek, Hebrew and maybe Syriac, Arabic and Latin should be of use in my theological studies, and Brazilian Portuguese, Turkish and Thai are important with family-members as native speakers.
- I did an on-line course – "van Oostendorp (Marc) - Miracles of Human Language: An Introduction to Linguistics" – mid-2016, which was interesting and deserves following up.
- This project has varied in priority over recent years, but is now mostly moth-balled. This is to provide focus for my major projects, but also reflects the fact that time spent on occasional forays into language-learning is effectively wasted.
- However, now Nat has arranged to work remotely in Thailand, and has married Fon – his Thai girlfriend – learning Thai has some relevance.
- Finally, a fellow mathematician in my year from King’s has developed the Unicode standards for Egyptian hieroglyphs, so I intend another foray in that direction someday, though not now.
Summary of Progress during October - December 2021
- I spent 71 hours in 21Q4 on this Project, or related work (71 hours YTD, where for "YTD" - Year to Date - I mean the (academic) year that commenced in October 2021). That's 78.3% of the planned effort (78.3% YTD). Overall, 10.3% of my Project effort in the Quarter was directed towards this project (making 10.3% YTD) - as against 10.9% planned (10.9% YTD).
- I might have comfortably met my time-allocation for the quarter but, as noted in my Summary Report, I was unwell for most of December, and was somewhat lacking in energy, so only achieved 78%.
- Further details follow:-
Languages (Total Hours = 71)
- Languages - Admin
- Languages - All (Total Hours = 1)
- Languages - Arabic (Total Hours = 4.25)
- Languages - Armenian (Total Hours = 3.25)
- Languages - Chinese
- Languages - Danish
- Languages - Dutch
- Languages - Egyptian
- Languages - French
- Languages - German
- Languages - Greek (Modern)
- Languages - Hebrew (Modern)
- Languages - Hindi (Total Hours = 2)
- Languages - Italian
- Languages - Japanese (Total Hours = 5.75)
- Languages - Korean
- Languages - Persian (Total Hours = 1.5)
- Languages - Portuguese
- Languages - Russian
- Languages - Spanish
- Languages - Swahili
- Languages - Swedish
- Languages - Syriac
- Languages - Thai
- Languages - Turkish
- Languages - Urdu (Total Hours = 2.75)
- As can be seen, I spent quite a lot of time on this project over the last Quarter. Most is otherwise “fallow” time when walking the dog, but progress has required some time in front of grammars.
- The main activity of the quarter revolved around Ling Language Learning, of which I’ve subscribed to the premium version. I’ve been cycling through 22 languages and recording my thoughts as Brief Thoughts on Language & Languages2.
- I also continued with Coptic, Egyptian and Syriac using the works noted above.
- I’m reading through the NT, OT and LXX in the original Greek and Hebrew. This is quite a time-commitment, but time is booked to my Philosophy of Religion3 Project.
- I’ve also looked into Arabic for the Qur’an.
- Otherwise, I’ve spent some time revising the various scripts I don’t have a mastery of.
- Progress (if any) in the current quarter can be obtained from the relevant section of my Summary Task List4, and YTD in the current & future “automatic” editions of this report.
Plans for the Near Future
Materials for Use
- Because of the need to focus on higher-priority projects, it ought not to be possible to schedule much time on this project, but I have put down 7 hours / week as part of an over-stretched budget. Most of this is spent using Ling on my iPhone while walking Henry the dog, though this can be difficult over the winter months as rain interferes with my phone.
- It’s difficult to know where to go from here. I’ve decided to plough on with the ‘easy’ languages – namely Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French and German – on Ling: I’m about to complete lesson 20, which brings me to 40% through, and about to start the ‘Upper Intermediate section’. However, I’m rather stuck on the other languages on Ling, and have been revising lessons 1-5 on each, just to keep them ticking over.
- Otherwise, I’ve decided to try to ‘nail’ the various scripts that I’m still somewhat uncomfortable with (other than Japanese and Chinese, which are a life-time’s work).
→ Brief Thoughts on Language & Languages5
- Scripts: Thoroughly get to grips with:-
→ Armenian: "Andonian (Hagop) - Beginner's Armenian",
→ Hindi: "Snell (Rupert) - Beginner's Hindi Script",
→ Korean: "Go (Billy) - Korean Made Simple: A beginner's guide to learning the Korean language: 1",
→ Persian: "Farzad (Narguess) - Complete Modern Persian",
→ Thai: "Becker (Benjawan Poomsan) - Thai for Beginners",
→ Urdu: "Delacy (Richard) - Read and Write Urdu Script".
- Brush up on Biblical Hebrew and Greek:-
→ "Dobson (John H.) - Learn Biblical Hebrew", and
→ "Dobson (John H.) - Learn New Testament Greek"
→ "Halcomb (T. Michael W.) - Introducing Amharic: An Interactive Workbook",
→ "Ling - Learn Amharic"
→ "Jones (Alan), Qur'an - Arabic Through the Qur'an",
→ "Ling - Learn Arabic"
→ "Schumann (Johannes) - Armenian for beginners"
→ "Ling - Learn Armenian"
→ "Ling - Learn Chinese"
→ "Layton (Bentley) - Coptic in 20 Lessons: Introduction to Sahidic Coptic with Exercises and Vocabularies"
→ "Koefoed (H.A.) - Teach Yourself Danish"
→ "Ling - Learn Danish"
→ "Shetter (William) - Introduction to Dutch - A Practical Grammar"
→ "Ling - Learn Dutch"
→ "Collier (Mark) & Manley (Bill) - How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs: A Step-by-step Guide to Teach Yourself Hieroglyphs"
→ "Tenberg (Reinhard) & Ainslie (Susan) - Deutsch Plus"
→ "Ling - Learn German"
- Greek (Modern):
→ "Matsukas (Aristarhos) - Complete Greek Course"
→ "Ling - Learn Greek"
- Hebrew (Modern):
→ "Raizen (Esther) - Modern Hebrew for Beginners: A Multimedia Program for Students at the Beginning and Intermediate Levels"
→ "Ling - Learn Hebrew"
→ "Ling - Learn Hindi"
→ "Freeth (Mariolina) & Checketts (Giuliana) - Contatti 1: A First Course in Italian"
→ "Ling - Learn Italian"
→ "Lammers (W.P.) - Japanese the Manga Way: An Illustrated Guide to Grammar and Structure"
→ "Ling - Learn Japanese"
→ "ToFuGu - Learn Hiragana: The Ultimate Guide" (revision)
→ "ToFuGu - Learn Katakana: The Ultimate Guide" (revision)
→ "Ling - Learn Korean"
→ "Duolingo - Duolingo Latin"
→ "Ling - Learn Persian"
→ "Whitlam (John) - Modern Brazilian Portuguese Grammar: A Practical Guide"
→ "Ling - Learn Portuguese"
→ "West (Daphne) - Russian"
→ "Ling - Learn Russian"
→ "Gordon (Ronni L.) & Stillman (David M.) - The Ultimate Spanish Review and Practice"
→ "Ling - Learn Spanish"
→ "Wood (Laurence) & Shadrack (Jaba Tumaini) - Learn Swahili Quickly and Easily: The theory made simple"
→ "Ling - Learn Swahili"
→ "McClean (R.J.) - Swedish: A Grammar of the Modern Language"
→ "Ling - Learn Swedish"
→ "Robinson (Theodore) - Paradigms and Exercises in Syriac Grammar"
→ "Ling - Learn Thai",
→ "Celen-Pollard (Asuman) & Pollard (David) - Turkish (Teach Yourself Complete Courses)"
→ "Ling - Learn Turkish"
→ "Ling - Learn Urdu"
These can be followed up here6. The document needs a review, but not a major update.
Table of the Previous 12 Versions of this Note: (of 59)
Summary of Note Links from this Page
To access information, click on one of the links in the table above.
Summary of Note Links to this Page
To access information, click on one of the links in the table above.
Authors, Books & Papers Citing this Note
||Brief Thoughts on Language & Languages
Text Colour Conventions
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2022