31 October 2014

Learning a language is like learning to play the piano

As I face only 24 more weeks of language study before my test (and presumably/hopefully before I have functional use of Arabic  إن شاء اللة ), I have sought out guidance from every corner of the language study world to aid me.
Thankfully, the language consultation service at FSI is excellent and they host seminars on proven effective study techniques regularly. It's been quite a learning experience just hearing about all the work that is being done around how adults learn, retain, and employ new languages.
Last week, the session was called "On the Tip of your Tongue: Speaking Strategies for Fluency". Being far from fluency myself, my interest was more on tips and tricks to get my tongue to sync up with my brain - to start actually using the knowledge that I have about grammar and verb conjugations and have it come out of my mouth correctly!

We talked about how learning a language is more like learning to play an instrument than learning a subject like science, mathematics, or history.
Right now, I need to focus on the basics – learning to read, identifying differences between the notes, and beginning to connect them like chords.

I have nothing complex, my best sentences are:
My name is Rose, but in Arabic my name is Werda. I work at the foreign ministry and study at the foreign service institute. (editor’s note – my Arabic keyboard isn’t working well right now, I will try to insert later.)
And anything more complicated tends to be memorized rather than impromptu.
I am developing an ear for the sounds and the rhythm. But most importantly, I am beginning to love it.

My instrument is piano and I love how the piano sounds, even if, perhaps even more, if I am not currently capable of producing that sound.
I began learning to play piano when I was 7 or 8 – I never became a professional pianist (or even close to that!) but I know enough to enjoy playing, accompany myself when I sing, and play Christmas carols for my family.
If I can get that far with Arabic in the next 24 weeks, I will be delighted.

1 comment:

Emilio Fernandez said...

Good morning, how are you?

My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because through them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately, it is impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are very small countries with very few population, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

For all this, I would ask you one small favor:
Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Albania? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Albania in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

Emilio Fernandez Esteban
Avenida Juan de la Cierva, 44
28902 Getafe (Madrid)

If you wish, you can visit my blog www.cartasenmibuzon.blogspot.com where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

Finally, I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

Yours Sincerely

Emilio Fernandez