kulikayo (welcome back)

Kulikayo ssetendekero! (Welcome back to university!) Feel free to read this blog post while listening to this little ditty, titled Kulikayo mwami (Welcome back husband).

After taking a nice step away from schoolwork over the break, I was energized last week to dive back into what will be my final semester of coursework (yay!). Of course, "normal" for me is also chaotic and inconsistent, and last week was no different. After two normal days on Tuesday and Wednesday, I flew to Atlanta Thursday for a conference.

I knew that the conference would put a wrench in my study schedule, especially at the beginning of the semester before I'd reassessed my goals and plans for the semester. In light of this, I decided to have the goal of simply doing some Luganda every day of the week, allowing me time to plan as well as to focus on my conference attendance.

I was successful in that goal - I managed to do at least a little something every single day.
Tuesday: Planning, watched news program Ssawa Emu
Wednesday: Quizlet
Thursday: Watched two video clips from Ssawa Emu
Friday: Texting, read Bukedde article
Saturday: Read Bukedde article
Sunday: Planning, Quizlet

The time spent planning in the last week has been very productive for me. I love the feeling of reinvention and intention setting that is a part of working on my ISP every semester. This time around I felt that even more strongly, since I am trying to really be thoughtful about my activities and what will enable me to reach superior proficiency. I want to keep Omuzannyo, because I find that it really motivates me to work every day. But I also want to figure out some ways to focus my activities at a higher level, since the Omuzannyo method appears to be allowing me to plateau at the advanced-intermediate level.

One part of my new approach is to do grammatical work out of a book each week. I've avoided this to date, because I found the books to be dry and pretty uninspiring. However, I think that I'm at a point now where perfecting grammatical concepts is important, and some of these old Luganda grammar books might be a good tool for doing that. The books that I selected to use this semester can go into some fairly detailed explanations and also point out exceptions and other irregularities. They also include exercises with each chapter, so I'll be able to practice and check my work.

In addition to a focus on grammar, I plan to spend the semester ahead really drilling down on vocabulary. A lack of sophisticated vocabulary is one thing likely holding me back from reaching these upper proficiency levels. I've found that when I emphasize vocab practice in my studies, I see real results, and I think the time is right to do another big push.

Finally, I plan to start to put my Luganda skills into use for my research. I have set a couple of goals for myself which will force me to begin to put the pieces in place for my research in Luganda, including writing a summary of my proposal in Luganda, working on a draft of some basic interview questions, and creating a podcast of me explaining some of the basics about my topic. I think that designing my semester this way will really help take my language skills to the next level, and will also help me start to learn vocabulary around my dissertation topic area. I have been inspired by many members of our class in this area, especially Angeline's podcast and Kaden and Danya's work on their own dissertation projects. I am really excited about this new direction and hope that it's just what I need to push my proficiency to the next level!

As I settle back in this week, I'm looking forward to seeing how the new plan starts to play out. Wish me luck!

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