Posts

Showing posts from November, 2016

the capable form

With the Thanksgiving week behind me, I am feeling the pressure of the imminent end of the semester.

The Thanksgiving break was okay - I was able to keep up a minimal amount of Luganda activity over the holiday. I didn't completely ignore my Luganda commitments, but I didn't put in the effort I would over a normal week, either. That matched my expectation for myself, so I am fine with where I am.

However, as I look ahead to the final weeks, I think about all the progress I still want to make. For example, there are several tenses that I have wanted to practice more of, since I can produce them but not very quickly. The more written practice I give these forms, the easier it will be more for me to use them while speaking. For example, after practicing writing the "not yet," and "still" tenses, I am increasingly able to produce them in conversation. Over the summer, I learned a raft of tenses, but without dedicated practice on each one, I often get them mixed…

what a better week looks like

Last week I documented a bad week of Luganda study, in the hopes that this week would be better. And better it was! I more than reached my weekly point goal, earning 74 points total, and kept up with my studies even though I spent the weekend in Chicago visiting friends.

So, what does a better week look like?

Monday: 1 hour of exercise work, an hour and a half of listening to the radio, and Quizlet long-term learning. My mentor had to cancel our lesson today because he was having connection problems.

Tuesday: A half-hour of Luganda exercises, an hour of conversation with my language mentor, and Quizlet long-term learning.

Wednesday: Trying out a new activity using a physical copy of a newspaper, highlighting what I understand and adding new vocabulary from what is missing. Luganda radio and Quizlet long-term learning.

Thursday: Using the same method I tried the day before, the newspaper activity. A couple Whatsapps back and forth with a friend. Luganda long-term learning. Read two Bukedde…

what a bad week looks like

This past week was a fairly unproductive one for me - both for my Luganda study, and for my other work as well. I was on track to have a great week, planning to get a lot done, when the election came and completely disorganized me. While the fallout from the election is definitely a conversation for another time (and venue!) suffice it to say that it had a significant impact on the amount of work I was able to do, and my overall motivation to work at all.

In any case, I thought it was interesting how my understanding of what a "bad week" looks like has changed over time. In my earliest weeks of Luganda study (and grad school), I would struggle to reach 35 points total. But now a "bad week" is still a week with where Luganda plays a big role. After this most recent "bad week," I had earned 49 points.  Let's take a look at how this bad week played out:

Monday: 45 minutes of Luganda conversation with my mentor, over a terrible internet connection which dr…

tracking progress

I have settled on a pretty optimistic approach to my language learning over the past year of independent study. Last year, after some reflection, I realized that I am good at reframing things in a positive way. This positive attitude helps keep me motivated, and it helps me push aside negative thoughts that might otherwise slow me down. My optimism isn't limited to my own language study, but it sure does help it!

As I've been reflecting lately, I think the ability to track my progress is a critical element of what has helped keep me optimistic. In having multiple little indicators of how I'm doing, I can see evidence that I'm learning, which keeps me excited and motivated to learn even more.

When I step back and think about it, my ISP and my weekly practice is littered with these things. I track my Omuzanyo points every week, my Quizlet long-term learning gives me a snapshot on how I'm doing with my vocabulary acquisition, and I have a number of activities I come b…