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Esperanto challenge & more!

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United Kingdom
Joined 5452 days ago

6 posts - 6 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Swedish, Japanese, French, Esperanto

 Message 1 of 8
04 May 2014 at 1:06am | IP Logged 
As a number of others have done, I decided to take part in this 6 week challenge with
Esperanto as my target language. I've done it a couple of times in the past with other
languages, but this is the first time I'm starting it as an absolute beginner, so I am
really intrigued to see where I end up after these six weeks. I made this account on
here a few years ago now and I often come by for the excellent advice many people give,
but this is the first time I've actually gotten around to posting...

I can't stick to just one language at a time so I am keeping up with my other languages
during the challenge. Swedish is my strongest foreign language at probably B2 level,
meaning that maintaining it is not too hard these days as long as I get a little
regular exposure to it. For French and Japanese I am at that kind of intermediate level
where I can read a decent amount, but I'm still aware of forgetting things if I take
too long away from it. I passed the JLPT N3 in the Dec 2012 exams, but took about a
year off since then, so I'm working at getting back to that point as soon as possible.
My listening comprehension for both needs a lot of practice, which was going to be my
next main goal until I decided to go for Esperanto... so for the next little while
it'll be mainly Duolingo and Anki to keep up the exposure. Aside from that I have spent
some time on both Dutch and Italian in the past, so I know some fragments from each but
I won't be working on either for some time.

So, to Esperanto! I started on May 1st for the 6WC, so now I am three days in. So far,
my main source has been the beginner courses on I originally started with
Bildoj kaj demandoj as recommended in their starters' guide, but it felt a little slow
for my liking at first. So my approach after the first few lessons has basically been
to jump around between all four beginner courses and do some lessons from whichever one
I feel like at the time - each one seems to suit a slightly different learning style,
and moving at will between them seems to be the best way to keep my focus for longer.
Alongside that, I have started watching Pasporto al la tuta mondo on Youtube, which is
good for a laugh, but also seems a good way to start listening right away without
jumping straight into radio streams etc. I've also begun going through the Esperanto
101 Anki deck - the same list is on memrise too but I prefer anki - plus the android
app Intense Esperanto for getting quick practice in at various times.

First impressions: I know it is specifically designed to be easy, but still the rate at
which you make progress in Esperanto is crazy. Japanese was the first foreign language
I tried learning (except for school) which of course took a lot of patience at the
beginning. Then when I moved on to Swedish, the speed of learning that in comparison
felt suspiciously quick. This is like that again, by another order of magnitude. I
really like how intuitive it all feels, and with a little knowledge of Romance
languages picking up the vocabulary is especially fast. At the moment, my brain wants
to keep reading it like Italian, but I'm hoping it won't take long to get accustomed to
the regular stress of Esperanto. The other point of confusion is that 'vi' and 'ni' in
Esperanto mean the opposite in Swedish, so I keep getting those the wrong way round so
far. But it is fun to already have various little sentences forming in my mind through
the day in Esperanto on only day 3, whereas it's more like month 3 in other languages
before that happens :D
1 person has voted this message useful

United Kingdom
Joined 5452 days ago

6 posts - 6 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Swedish, Japanese, French, Esperanto

 Message 2 of 8
07 May 2014 at 12:34am | IP Logged 
Day 4 & 5
For the most post I have continued to stick to the various beginner courses on lernu,
combined with Anki to build vocabulary. In the past I've often falling into the trap of
reading for ages about how to learn instead of actually getting around to the learning
itself, so I'm trying my best to avoid that now with Esperanto. I found myself spending
around an hour randomly clicking around the sizable Esperanto wikipedia, and it is a
lot of fun being able to actually make sense of a good chunk of it at such an early
stage :D I also want to make sure to get listening exposure early on, so I'm hoping to
start properly going through the Pasporto al la tuta mondo videos very soon. Still keep
getting vi & ni the wrong way round.

Day 6
Decided to make a sort of handwritten quick reference guide today, for the
correlatives, affixes, prepositions, common adverbs etc. There are a bunch of decent
sources online for this already, but I generally find that writing stuff out by hand
helps to get it into the memory more easily, plus you can just leave the paper lying on
the desk and get a quick look at it through the day... Otherwise, I completed a couple
more lessons of the Ana Pana course, and watched the whole of the first Pasporto

1 person has voted this message useful

United Kingdom
Joined 5452 days ago

6 posts - 6 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Swedish, Japanese, French, Esperanto

 Message 3 of 8
12 May 2014 at 12:25am | IP Logged 
So it's about time I made another entry here.

I'm now 11 days into learning Esperanto, and in the last couple of days I've finished a
couple of the beginner Lernu courses. I feel like I have a good grasp on the basic
grammar at this stage, however it seems it will take quite a lot of exposure to get
used to using the accusative properly & the correlatives may take a while to get fully
lodged in my head. Esperanto may be easier than most, but it does still have a few
tricky points to get accustomed to.

Vocabulary has been sticking well for me, and the fact that with a bit of logic you can
often guess an unknown word obviously helps, plus I think having some French knowledge
is a big advantage. I have also noticed that there are a huge amount of Esperanto
sentences on Tatoeba - I tend to prefer full sentences in Anki than just vocab
flashcards so this helps a lot. Alongside that I've started to watch one Pasporto al la
tuta mondo each day, which is actually quite entertaining, and encouraging in that it
lets you just watch 30 minutes of Esperanto and be able to understand everything

Progress so far (mainly on Lernu):
Bildoj kaj demandoj + Ana Pana Completed
La puzlo esperanto 26/40
Mi estas komencanto 2/11 (I looked at this early on, might return to it now while
moving on to intermediate Lernu stuff)
Pasporto al la tuta mondo 4/16
+ about halfway through the Esperanto 101 Anki deck
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Senior Member
ChinaRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 5596 days ago

1622 posts - 2299 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, Mandarin, Esperanto
Studies: Basque

 Message 4 of 8
13 May 2014 at 12:25am | IP Logged 
If you can find it, i highly recommend the Jen Nia Mondo course, i thought it was great! Whenever i (try to) speak Esperanto now, i have a strange urge to toss in "mia kara" everywhere. ;)
2 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 4314 days ago

689 posts - 1119 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Esperanto
Studies: Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian

 Message 5 of 8
13 May 2014 at 3:55pm | IP Logged 
Crush wrote:
If you can find it, i highly recommend the Jen Nia Mondo course, i thought it was great! Whenever i (try to) speak Esperanto now, i have a strange urge to toss in "mia kara" everywhere. ;)

I've never used the Jen Nia Mondo course but have heard lots of people say good things about it, although it is quite an old one so may be a bit dated now.

There are plenty still in stock at Esperanto Association of Britain, though they seem a bit expensive to me.

Good luck with your learning, Sycamore!
1 person has voted this message useful

United Kingdom
Joined 5452 days ago

6 posts - 6 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Swedish, Japanese, French, Esperanto

 Message 6 of 8
24 May 2014 at 11:11pm | IP Logged 
@Crush I know the feeling, I keep thinking of 'dekoble, centoble, miloble ve!' thanks
to Pasporto al la tuta mondo... probably a little too dramatic for most situations
though :D

@Radioclare thanks for the link, looks like they have a pretty good range, it would be
nice to have something physical in Esperanto

So... It has been a lot longer than I wanted since my last update, in part due to also
having to work on a master's thesis lately. This has meant little time (willpower) to
study other languages for now, but nevertheless I've kept going with Esperanto. At this
stage I am 24 days in, so just over half of the 6 week challenge. As far as progress,
I'm now working on the intermediate courses at Lernu - nearly finished Jen nia IJK and
today started Gerda Malaperis, both of which are in a similar style, i.e. here are some
new words, now listen to some dialogues & answer some questions. I do quite like them
however, as I tend to find that it is listening practice that I require most in
language learning.

I spent a short while going through The Esperanto Teacher book a few days ago, a
grammar guide now available in the public domain. However, I found it pretty boring
just reading it & translating the exercises in order, so I intend to leave it for now,
then come back to it later for specific grammar points that aren't sticking by
themselves. At the moment, that would probably refer to e.g. getting used to the
participles, and properly understanding the iĝ and ig suffixes. For the latter, it has
helped me to think of how the causative & passive work in Japanese; or rather, having
never really learned that properly, the fairly simple Esperanto version is helping me
understand the similar Japanese grammar, which is a nice bonus.

By now, reading feels quite comfortable, especially on the lernu forums where you can
click on words to get a definition. I think the next stage is probably to start writing
some things in Esperanto e.g. by doing the Ana Renkontas lernu course, and on lang-8 if
it has a decent Esperanto presence. And I must get to the end of Pasporto al la tuta
mondo, I kinda need to know how the story goes now...
1 person has voted this message useful

United Kingdom
Joined 5452 days ago

6 posts - 6 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Swedish, Japanese, French, Esperanto

 Message 7 of 8
24 June 2014 at 12:03am | IP Logged 
(I didn't remember to actually post it here, but I originally wrote this on June 1)

A month into this now, and over the last day or two I've gotten back up to my 90-120
minutes per day after 3 days or so without studying. The first of those was due to
being busy, but I had a dip in motivation for a while afterwards. In a sense this is
quite normal for me - some days it just feels way too hard to get going with it - and
although I was hoping I'd make it through the 6 weeks without a day off, it hasn't been
too difficult to get back into it after the short break. A planned break is good, but
an unplanned break is frustrating.

BUT, back to business now, and the last couple of days have been spent working on Gerda
Malaperis. I like this as it provides good listening practice, and they are the first
lessons I've done where the length of each piece goes beyond 60 seconds or so - i.e.
challenging enough so that it takes a few listens to get each piece before moving on.
Hopefully now with a little under 2 weeks left I can make it to the end of the
challenge without any more days away!
1 person has voted this message useful

United Kingdom
Joined 5452 days ago

6 posts - 6 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Swedish, Japanese, French, Esperanto

 Message 8 of 8
24 June 2014 at 12:09am | IP Logged 
(written June 14)

New update time, now that 6 weeks have passed... First, what I've actually been up to for the last week or two. As before, Lernu has been a large part of the study time, working through (nearly all of) Ana Renkontas + Gerda Malaperis. I also came across another GM course here that has
a lot more exercises attached to each chapter, so I have been & will be using that for
revision & more practice. I even discovered Gerda
Malaperis: The Film
the other day - there's not much out
there in terms of Esperanto-language video so I'll probably be watching that soon. My
other discovery lately has been the Bazaj Radikoj, a list of
the most common words with brief Esperanto-language explanations. I spent a little
while making this into an Anki deck, and hopefully having a unilingual resource like
this will help with 1) increasing vocabulary and 2) getting into the habit of thinking
about Esperanto in Esperanto.

Overall the first 6 weeks have been a pretty interesting experience. It is seems
obvious to say but you really can learn the basic stuff very quickly; beyond this it is
a matter of just building up the vocabulary base (pretty quick due to many recognisable
roots, especially if you are familiar with Latin or Romance languages), and then trying
to gain enough exposure to begin internalising the language. Perhaps the latter is
where the challenge lies with Esperanto, though if you look around a bit some
opportunities can be found. As far as general utility of the language, well honestly I
think I need to stick with it for more time to really experience that. I'm sure that
learning a conlang isn't for everyone, but at this point I can certainly see how, if
nothing else, Esperanto can be especially helpful in learning how to learn languages,
or doing so better if you've already picked up one or two of them. I will continue with
Esperanto beyond the six weeks now, although I suppose with a little less intensity.
After all it's relatively low effort, fun to learn, and it's another language that just
over 6 weeks ago I didn't even know I was going to learn...

Edited by Sycamore on 24 June 2014 at 12:11am

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