Tag Archives: resolutions

Learning A New Language

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I’m getting a headstart on my new year’s goal of learning Estonian. There’s a couple different resources I’m using, and I thought to share them here, for anyone else who might be curious as to how one goes about learning a language (be it Estonian or another). *

  1. Set yourself reasonable goals. 30 minutes of study a day is a lot better than an hour every few days–and you also get the bonus of finding out 365 (366, as next is a leap year!) is 182 hours of studying. If I can’t absorb something in all that continual practice, then surely it’s not meant to be.
  2. I’m using LiveMocha for my basic learning. I’m pretty pleased with it so far, though I wish there were a few more exercises for really really beginners. That’s ok, though, because actually getting feedback on my written and verbal assignments is incredible.
  3. Have a textbook like thing for reference. Something that spells out the grammar is incredibly handy when you just aren’t getting something through context. (This is especially true in Estonian, with a somewhat daunting 14 cases). I had quite the lucky find to get both the book and audio cds to Teach Yourself Estonian for $7 at my local used bookstore. I wasn’t aware that this was such an expensive item, and mine is in great condition!
  4. Find a couple of news sites that air broadcasts online, or will put up videos of the big stories. It’s good to hear the language being natively spoken, and it’s a delight to recognize a word occasionally.  For the fellow Estonian learner, I highly recommend ETV1 and 2 and Raadioteater . No, I don’t understand hardly anything, but I did pick up the word Tiger, and Raadioteater has Snow White in the archives. One day I’ll be able to understand!
  5. Start a practice blog, where you can write samples. Try to update it whenever you learn new vocabulary, and do some writing exercises. (Live Mocha gets grammar feedback, but it’s nice to have a blog in the wild blue). I did this when I was learning Russian, and it was perhaps one of my favourite things. I was not a fluent or very good Russian writer, but by golly, it let me practice, and I had fun with it! I’ve just started a blog for my Estonian practice, and if you want, you can read it. I’d love if anyone who knows Estonian drops by! It’s called Kudimise Keel. (It supposedly means Knitting Language)
  6. Have fun! Don’t be too hard on yourself. Learning a new language IS hard. You’ve been learning and perfecting your native language for how many years now? Of course picking up a new one will be a bit of a challenge, but with some work and not hating on yourself, you’ll get there. 🙂

I suppose the big question is probably why Estonian. I think the language is pretty, mostly, but also because my favourite style of lace knitting and much pretty colourwork were derived in the country. One day, I’d like to visit Haapsalu and be able to speak to the knitters there without a translator. Maybe I will never make it, but I will certainly be prepared! Some of it is to give myself some encouragement–I’ve been feeling a bit down lately, and have been lacking faith in myself. Learning a new language, and well, is something that will probably help give me back some of the verve and make it so I can’t really get down on a lack of direction.

Are any of my readers thinking of big learning things for the new year?

 

(Don’t worry, there will be some knitting resolutions to come :P)

*I didn’t pull these tips out of thin air. I’ve studied Chinese, Russian, German, and Japanese; one of those I’m actually kind of ok at. (Not good. Just passable. I wouldn’t drown in the country. Much) I love language, and I love trying to learn them. I figure it’s time I finally got around to it, even if I’ve picked one with only about a million native speakers.

Resolutions

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I’m not usually the resolution type. It’s too easy to set myself up for failure, but this year I’ve thought of a few, and I don’t know why I shouldn’t. It’s worth trying at least, right? These are all fibery related.

1. Knit myself more socks. I always knit socks for others, but by golly, my feet deserve warmth too.

2. Spin one fleece. I’ve been eyeballing my Romney.

3. Spin more often. I may make another KnitMeter, only use it to count the yardage I’ve spun.

4. Aim to knit more than 6 miles (how much more, doesn’t matter, just try and top myself after last year).

Do you have any fibery goals for the new year?

To add to number 3, I’ve started working on the two ounces of Mint Julep I got during a cyber monday sale from By Jesh.

It’s a drum carded batt, 50% merino, 30% Wensleydale, 20% alpaca, and when I saw it, I knew it had to be mine. It’s that perfect blend of greens and golds, and I’m looking forward to spinning it.

Let’s see if I can’t get a solid ply on it.

Thoughts on Resolutions

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I’ve never been a huge fan of making resolutions for a new year–it just seems like a waste of time. I can never think of a good goal beforehand, and I don’t want to give myself something I know I’m not vested in.

But, halfway through January, I finally thought of a handful of knitting ones that I wouldn’t mind listing out to see if I get them done by next year.

1. Publish a few more designs. Even if it’s just a combination of here and ravelry, I enjoyed writing up the instructions for the socks, and I equally enjoy the design process.

2. Get at least 15 projects finished this year. I was really quite jealous of all the knitters who could post collages of what they had done during 2009. I’d really like to be able to have one that isn’t too shabby myself. Fifteen doesn’t seem unreasonable–already this year I’ve finished a pair of socks, a hat, some armwarmers that need to be mailed…. And I know there are some other things that I’ll need to finish. 15 seems both reasonable without being push-over easy.

3. Blog more. I don’t really blog that often at the moment (though over the break I have). I don’t see why. Even if it’s just pictures of what I’ve got cast on, or random musings, it would be better than nothing. I’ve got books I haven’t given a proper review of, needles I should, a fantastic dyer I should review, and so on.

I don’t know if I’ve really got anything else I particularly want to strive for.

At the moment, my Cauchy socks from Sock Innovation are coming along well. Just over halfway done with the first, leaving just the second. I’ll get some pictures up and talk a bit more about the design changes I made once I’ve got my camera again. For now, I’m just lazing away the evening, waiting to get on a plane.