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Showing posts from October, 2017

practicing pronunciation

I distinctly remember the feeling of horror that rushed through me when a classmate last year told the class that she recorded her language lessons so that she could go back and listen to what she had done. I did not have the guts to put myself through that. It's bad enough hearing my own voice in English, I thought. No way could I suffer through listening to myself in Luganda.

I am here to tell you that I was (sort of) wrong.

Well, I was wrong in that it turns out I am capable of doing such an activity. I'm not wrong to say it can be a bit painful, though!

When I recorded a snippet of my conversation with Simon a couple weeks ago and was horrified about how it sounded, I resolved to dedicate some extra effort to pronunciation. Given my slightly more relaxed week/weekend (compared to the last three), I thought it would be the best time for me to try out some new activities and think more deeply about my pronunciation.

First, I happened to find a book in the library titled Afri…

pride goeth...

I had a sense that my feelings of excitement and accomplishment from last week might haunt me this week. After writing last week's post while airborne, things quickly started going downhill. We didn't end up getting home til 2:00 AM and so I realized pretty quickly that my 8:00 AM lesson was probably not going to happen. I texted Simon and we cancelled for Monday and planned to just meet on Wednesday instead.

I tried to make up for the lack of a lesson as best I could throughout the week, and certainly made my best attempt. But between missing out on a lesson and my weekend spent hosting people, it was not my best week. BUT - not my worst either! I still managed to get a decent amount done, when I look over my week's activities. Not enough to meet my Omuzannyo goal, though.
I did manage to do some Luganda every day, even while hosting guests. I have learned the art of doing Quizlet Long-Term Learning in the morning before I'm out of my bedroom. It's a great way to …

on the move & still studying

As I write this, I’m 30-some-thousand feet above Utah (it’s beautiful from up here), a bit tired but happy after a weekend in San Francisco. I am happy not just because I had a great time exploring SF and celebrating a joyous wedding, but also because I’m coming back to Madison without stress. After all this time it seems I’ve finally started to learn how to better get things done while on the road.

One of the keys to my success this weekend is a central tenet of language learning in general: the importance of preparation. In the past, I’d often assume I would get work done on the plane but would forget that I wouldn’t have access to the internet while on the flight. Since many of my materials are online, I’d find myself with not much to do. I’ve learned now to bring a book or to download work to do from Simon in advance so that I can make better use of my time. I am also less reliant on dictionaries now, and can get a good amount done without having to rely on a dictionary which hel…

old trials, new trials

This week, my Luganda studies were a blend of old and new. I revisited some places of challenge from my past and also ventured into new territory.
old trials This is the first week this school year that I had a day where I didn't touch Luganda at all. This weekend I was away at my college reunion, and got pretty swept up visiting with old friends and reliving the glory days. Though I did manage to get some Luganda despite being really busy on both Friday and Sunday, Saturday was a loss. Especially with my increased Omuzannyo point goal, losing a whole day like that really sets me back! And is reminiscent of a challenge I faced at the beginning of my studies, when I had a really hard time ensuring that I did daily work on Luganda. I've worked really hard to normalize daily study, so now when I miss a day, I feel pretty guilty about it.
I'm about to have two more really busy weekends in a row, as I'm wont to do, so I need to actively work to not let this happen again in th…

Luganda everywhere

Earlier in my Luganda career, I wrote a post about how the act of setting up my space in the right way was really important to my language studies. I relied on having my physical space a certain way in order to get in the right zone for Luganda, and if I didn't have that space - or my materials close at hand - I felt I wasn't as effective as a learner.

Boy has that changed.

I remember the week after I wrote that post that Katrina asked me in class, with only a hint of concern in her voice, how this need for a consistent physical space might be a constraint. Obviously, language use in the real world is rarely confined to the controlled space of an office, and we don't get to carry around our notebooks and dictionaries with us everywhere we go. We need to use the language despite this. I remember being caught off guard with this line of questioning, because at the time I felt like paying careful attention to my learning set-up was a good thing. And, I was still a bit of a fe…