It has been a long time between drinks; or trips to the well; or – OK that’s enough rubbish.
Momentum has not been my friend this year. When I began the Babel Project, I wanted this to be something pleasant to do at the end of the work-day. Or during lunch. Unfortunately, work has expanded to the point where it began to suffocate all else.
Five months ago, I stopped Arabic and Mandarin classes. My Polish software, with its time- and date-stamps mocks me for the massive gap since the most recently completed Unit. Hindu and Korean are ghosts of their former selves.
But five weeks ago, I decided to try and get back. I am taking a slightly different approach, as befits resurrection, rather than introduction. To allow for the realities of my busy life, I am attempting to dedicate my train commute to one language per week, taking a book along with me and reading one target language at a time.
To keep things manageable, I decided to alphabetise, starting with Arabic and ending up with my Polish grammar book. Luckily, I’m enough of a math/grammar nerd, that a grammar book is OK. It has even filled in one or two points of confusion from the Polish software: why do some verbs not have a Present tense? (because they’re Perfective).
I’m being realistic now – I don’t expect to make giant strides forward. I’m just seeing if I can retain the little but that I had learned, a few phrases in Mandarin, reading skills in Arabic, Korean and Hindi.
One thing I have (re-)discovered is the power of momentum. My jagged timing – a week of this followed by a week of that is not ideal. Nevertheless, the simple act of reaching into the work bag to pull out a language book (rather than the mental snacking on Twitter) has value. It means that the atrophy of neglect is slowed, it means that if I ever find myself an opportunity to speak, that I may have something to say.
And in the immortal words – “it’s better than nothing.”
And it’s an excuse for me to link in one of my favourite bands.
Happy learning everyone – I’m glad to be back with you.