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 fearful speaker, and needed any comfort I could get when practicing the language.

In any case, I found myself thinking back on this exchange last week. I was scurrying through campus with my cell phone in one hand, Whatsapping a friend in Luganda between classes. Earlier, I'd been listening to Luganda talk radio on the bus. And later that night, I'd find myself scrolling through Facebook and clicking through to a Bukedde article to get the latest news on the constitutional amendment. In other words: my Luganda now goes everywhere with me.

It's cool that I've grown in that way, and not necessarily on purpose. But Luganda truly does creep into my life multiple times a day even if I don't seek it out; it's way outgrown its initial presence in my life.

This was an okay week for Luganda - not the best, but I did manage to reach my goal of 80 points this week. Perhaps through pure Sunday night stubbornness, but nonetheless I did it.

Monday: 1 hour session with mentor, 1 hour listening to the radio, created crossword puzzle, texted friends
Tuesday: Texted friends, 1 hour of translation homework
Wednesday: Simon had to skip our session for the day due to a death in the family. I spent some time on Quizlet long-term learning, listened to the radio for an hour, and texted friends.
Thursday: 20 minutes of listening to talk radio
Friday: 1 hour session with Simon, 30 minutes of listening to talk radio
Saturday: 10 minutes of listening to talk radio
Sunday: 1.5 hours of homework, 2 hours of radio, translation out of a children's book, texting friends, 10 minutes translating facebook, watched one 5 minute video.

Finally, I want to take note of a couple of new things I did this week and will incorporate for the future.

First, I found a new, more reliable, app to listen to the radio on my phone. It also has more radio stations than previous apps I've used. I discovered the station Akaboozi (translates to something like a "little voice"), which is primarily talk radio. As I listened while on the bus this week, I realized that I should make a distinction in my points system between listening to music/background noise vs. listening deeply to something. My next ISP will include a new value for "deep listening." And I plan to do a lot more of this - it's really useful for me to keep working on my listening skills, and easy enough to do on my commute back and forth from school.

Secondly, I started marking my dictionary when I look up words, as Katrina had suggested last week in class. I really like this concept because I often struggle with which words to add to my Quizlet deck. It can be really hard to guess how useful a word will or won't be, and I like that this is somewhat empirical.

This coming week, I'm looking forward to my first joint-lesson over Skype with my friend Kevin. I'm curious to see where it leads us!


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