Books and Code · A Miscellany

Update to In It For the Literature


Note: This was originally posted in the How to Learn Any Language forum

Well, it’s been almost three years since I wrote the above. I don’t post much on HTLAL anymore. Instead, the time I was spending here learning how to learn languages I now use for actually learning them. ;-) But I’m proud that I’ve earned more votes on the site than I have number of posts. Hopefully that means I’ve given back a little of the wisdom I’ve acquired here.

Here’s some of what I’ve accomplished since I began back on 2010 as a monolingual American:

Developed a reading proficiency in my top three languages: Greek, Latin, and Esperanto.

Greek: I’ve read the entire gospel of John and various excerpts from the New Testament, Septuagint, and several classical authors in Greek. I feel pretty comfortable now reading from the GNT, partly because I’m familiar with the contents so new vocab isn’t much of a hurdle.

Esperanto: I’ve read about a dozen books in Esperanto, half of which have been “native” books–that is, not didactic content, but intended for a fluent audience. Efforts to find a community of speakers nearby were unsuccessful, but I know I could activate this language pretty quickly given an immersion situation. Maybe someday I’ll attend a congress… Otherwise I don’t spend any time “studying” Esperanto, just reading in it for enjoyment when I get the urge.

Latin: The last year and a half I’ve spent on Latin. I took a two semester course using Wheelock, worked through Lingua Latina I, and have read some neo-Latin readers. Last summer I took a huge vacation in Italy and it was fun to use my Latin to read inscriptions, manuscript pages on display in museums, etc.

Italian: In preparation for the trip I also worked on some Italian, which was fun to use. I consider myself at tourist/simple-conversation level. Going forward, this will be my first attempt to attain a “traditional” level of fluency in a modern language, which is a very different goal than I had in the above three.

So, here’s the plan for the next 5 years:

Primary Goal: start tackling living languages, roughly following ProfArguelles’ outline for Spanish French Italian German, though swapping the order of Spanish and Italian. (1 hr daily min.)

Secondary Goal: continue to improve my Latin by “swimming back to it through the centuries” (30m daily min.)

Tertiary Goals: take a class on Philology (already lined up). Basic reading abilities in Old English and biblical Hebrew. (occasional)