Theo Todman's Web Page - Notes Pages
Status: Languages (2022 - September)
(Text as at 10/10/2022 22:32:10)
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.
- A problem with this approach is that it doesn’t lead to much 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 took 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. However, now Nat has arranged to work remotely in Thailand, and has married Fon – his Thai girlfriend – learning Thai has some relevance.
- The latest incentive is the war in Ukraine. We’ve signed up (along with 200,000 others) to host a Ukrainian family, so I’ve been taking a look at Ukrainian. I’ve set things up so I can compare it with Russian, but this isn’t really happening and I’ve down-prioritised it doing so.
Summary of Progress during July - September 2022
- I spent 47.25 hours in 22Q3 on this Project, or related work (272 hours YTD, where for "YTD" - Year to Date - I mean the (academic) year that commenced in October 2021). That's 51.8% of the planned effort (74.5% YTD). Overall, 7.3% of my Project effort in the Quarter was directed towards this project (making 10% YTD) - as against 11.7% planned (11.5% YTD).
- As can be seen, I spent only about half the allocated time on this project over the last Quarter. Most time spent is otherwise “fallow” time when out walking. Unfortunately, Henry – my beloved Tibetan Terrier – took sick and had to be put down at the beginning of September, so there was much less walking than usual in the last quarter.
- Further details follow:-
Languages (Total Hours = 47.25)
- Languages - Admin (Total Hours = 2.25)
- Languages - All (Total Hours = 3.25)
- Languages - French
- Languages - German
- Languages - Greek (Classical)
- Languages - Greek (Modern)
- Languages - Italian
- Languages - Japanese (Total Hours = 5.25)
- Languages - Portuguese
- Languages - Spanish
- Languages - Thai (Total Hours = 18.5)
- Languages - Ukrainian
- The main activity continues to revolve around Ling Language Learning, of which I’ve subscribed to the premium version. I’ve been cycling through 23 languages and recording my thoughts as Brief Thoughts on Language & Languages2.
- 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.
- 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, and for the coming quarter I’ve reduced it to 2 hours / week. While we’ve taken ownership of a lovely Tibetan Terrier puppy – called Bertie – he’s much too lively and inquisitive to be left to his own devices when out walking, so Ling will be on hold for the coming Quarter, I expect.
- In any case, 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, German and Modern Greek – on Ling: I’ve completed up to lesson 27 for all these, which brings me over 50% through the course, and also 70% through the ‘Upper Intermediate section’. However, I’m rather stuck on the other languages on Ling, and have been occasionally revising lessons 1-5 on each, just to keep them ticking over. I’ve now divided them into 3 priorities, as listed in my Brief Thoughts on Language & Languages5, with the bottom priority ones unlikely to get much of a look-in.
- As noted above, Ukrainian is now a major focus: I got up to the end of Lesson 20 on Ling, but need to start again. I’ve also set up a comparative database between Ukrainian and Russian on my Languages on Ling: Comparative Database Summary Page6. Reading "Bekh (Olena) & Dingley (James) - Complete Ukrainian Beginner to Intermediate Course" on Kindle is also a help, though I’ve been skimming to get a feel, and didn’t look at it in the last quarter.
- 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 & Languages7
- Scripts: Thoroughly get to grips with:-
→ Armenian: "Andonian (Hagop) - Beginner's Armenian",
→ Hindi: "Snell (Rupert) - Beginner's Hindi Script",
→ Japanese Kana (revision): "ToFuGu - Learn Hiragana: The Ultimate Guide" & "ToFuGu - Learn Katakana: The Ultimate Guide"
→ Korean: "Go (Billy) - Korean Made Simple: A beginner's guide to learning the Korean language: 1",
→ Persian: "Farzad (Narguess) - Complete Modern Persian",
→ Thai: "Juyaso (Arthit) - Read Thai in 10 Days" & ThaiPod101 - Learn ALL Thai Alphabet in 50 minutes/hour - How to Write and Read Thai
→ 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"
- Priority 1
→ "Ling - Learn French"
→ "Tenberg (Reinhard) & Ainslie (Susan) - Deutsch Plus",
→ "Ling - Learn German"
- Greek (Modern):
→ "Matsukas (Aristarhos) - Complete Greek Course",
→ "Ling - Learn Greek"
→ "Freeth (Mariolina) & Checketts (Giuliana) - Contatti 1: A First Course in Italian",
→ "Ling - Learn Italian"
→ "Whitlam (John) - Modern Brazilian Portuguese Grammar: A Practical Guide",
→ "Ling - Learn Portuguese"
→ "Gordon (Ronni L.) & Stillman (David M.) - The Ultimate Spanish Review and Practice",
→ "Ling - Learn Spanish"
→ "Ling - Learn Thai",
→ "Becker (Benjawan Poomsan) - Thai for Beginners",
→ "Bekh (Olena) & Dingley (James) - Complete Ukrainian Beginner to Intermediate Course",
→ "Lonely Planet, Pavlyshyn (Marko) - Lonely Planet Ukrainian Phrasebook & Dictionary",
→ "Ling - Learn Ukrainian",
→ "Wikipedia - Ukrainian Alphabet",
→ "Wikipedia - Ukrainian Language"
- Priority 2
→ "Jones (Alan), Qur'an - Arabic Through the Qur'an",
→ "Ling - Learn Arabic"
→ "Ling - Learn Chinese"
- 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"
→ "Lammers (W.P.) - Japanese the Manga Way: An Illustrated Guide to Grammar and Structure",
→ "Ling - Learn Japanese"
→ "Celen-Pollard (Asuman) & Pollard (David) - Turkish (Teach Yourself Complete Courses)",
→ "Ling - Learn Turkish"
→ "Ling - Learn Urdu"
- Priority 3
→ "Halcomb (T. Michael W.) - Introducing Amharic: An Interactive Workbook",
→ "Ling - Learn Amharic"
→ "Schumann (Johannes) - Armenian for beginners",
→ "Ling - Learn Armenian"
→ "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"
→ "Ling - Learn Korean"
→ "Duolingo - Duolingo Latin"
→ "Ling - Learn Persian"
→ "West (Daphne) - Russian",
→ "Ling - Learn Russian"
→ "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"
These can be followed up here8. The document needs a review, but not a major update.
Table of the Previous 12 Versions of this Note: (of 62)
Summary of Notes Referenced by This Note
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Summary of Notes Citing This Note
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||Brief Thoughts on Language & Languages
Text Colour Conventions
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2022