(not) The End

It's kind of crazy to me that I'm actually at this point: my last (class-related) blogpost, my last assessment, the end of three years of class-assisted independent language learning. But of course, as much as this is the end of something big, it's also the beginning of a new phase, of truly and completely independent language learning. After all this time, and all of this practice, I feel ready to do just that. When I first started this class, that thought intimidated the heck out of me. But now, it feels easy, exciting even, to think of continuing my language study outside of the 671 construct. I am excited about the next chapter in continuing my relationship with Luganda. I just got off of Skype with Simon, where we discussed my proficiency and went over elements of my final exam. Disappointingly, I seem to still be performing at an advanced-mid level. When Simon shared his analysis with me, I tried to not to sound too disappointed. I must have failed because Simon

springtime blues

This week I found it strangely a little difficult to motivate myself. It was one of those weeks where having Omuzannyo was actually exactly what I needed - if I hadn't had my goal of 80, I have a feeling I would've done a lot  less work. But thankfully that little number pushed me on and I put in the time. (Incidentally, I have no idea why my motivation slumped this week - I think it's something about being tired after Day in Africa and the realization of a whole bunch of other things I need to do before the end of the semester. That, plus a little bit of wanting to be outside when possible, equates to the kind of springtime blues I feel is pretty typical within a university setting!) Here's the outline of the week: Monday : Lesson with Simon, 100 Quizlet words Tuesday : 15 minutes watching news videos, 30 minutes lesson work Wednesday : 100 Quizlet words, 30 minutes lesson work Thursday : 15 minutes deep listening, 1 newspaper translation, 100 Quizlet words Fr

on not feeling guilty

This past week was, as expected, by far my worst week for my Luganda studies. I reached 32 points total, well below my weekly goal. I knew that it would be a tough week for me, but I hadn't expected it to be quite  so bad. A couple of factors contributed to this outcome: 1) Day in Africa prep definitely took over my life and took up most of my waking hours, as expected; 2) Simon had to cancel one of our meetings last-minute and we were unable to reschedule; and 3) post-Day in Africa I was emotionally pretty tired. Despite this - a week which could definitely be categorized as a Failure with a capital F - I don't feel guilty. I know I did the best I could under the circumstances. I know that this poor showing doesn't represent my commitment to learning the language. And I know that this was just one week of the 52 that make up my year as an independent learner. So: I'm not spending any of my emotional energy on guilt. I'm noting the week for what it was and moving

ebirowoozo bingi! (many thoughts!)

To express stress in Luganda, you say, "Nina ebirowoozo bingi" which literally translates to, "I have many thoughts." This week that seems like a particularly apt description for me - I'm stressed for sure, and that stress is connected to the sheer number of things I'm trying to keep track of. Day in Africa is a big one but there's a whole lot else on my mind right now and I'm definitely feeling the pressure of it all. (Just ask Kaden who happened to see me on Friday as I was kind of tearing my hair out!) This week, I managed my Luganda pretty well in spite of all the the stress/thoughts/things to do. Yet I still fell a bit short of my Omuzannyo goal, with 70 points. This week gave me the chance to practice a lot of my favorite little tips and tricks for getting stuff done during busy times and when traveling. I tried to mentally frame Luganda as a welcome diversion from other work rather than another item on my to-do list. I listened to Luganda on

nose to the grindstone

This past week didn't feel exemplary to me, just another week of trying to keep focused on getting high-quality Luganda practice in. This task was made a bit harder because Simon was unavailable for our normal Monday meeting (he got stuck in the village post-Easter because of bad rain), and I had to cancel on Friday for the African Studies Conference. So, unfortunately, last week included no conversation practice. I spent time on a number of other activities to make up for it. I put particular emphasis on getting through lesson work, since I was a week behind according to my ISP. I also tried to work really hard on my vocabulary practice, since I have a ways to go to meet my goal for the semester in terms of the number of words that I "Know Well." My time is increasingly precious in these next couple weeks, between the African Studies event I'm organizing for 350ish high school students (ahhh!) and other important work I need to finish for classes, so it's goi

spring break

Yet another spring break week has come and gone and I scarcely understand how it's possible it happened so quickly. (I'm willing to bet that I am not alone on this!) My goal for spring break was simply to touch some amount of Luganda every day. The first half of the week I spent in Madison, working on a smattering of papers and projects and African Studies Program related work, and the second half I spent in Chicago visiting friends and helping out after the birth of a new baby (who found himself in the hospital for several extra days and caused a bit of stress for all of us... but he is doing better and should be released tomorrow!). Given all of that, I mostly just hoped to do a little bit of work every day. And I easily achieved this goal! On Monday, I actually met with Simon for our regularly-scheduled lesson, which was nice. We worked on a couple more proverbs, which I'm happy to add to my mix and which I've been studying ever since. The rest of the week, I d


This was a fairly typical week for my language studies. I managed to reach my Omuzannyo point goal and spent a good amount of time working through the translation exercises in the Luganda grammar book that I'm using. I'm starting to get to chapters that deal with some of the more nuanced grammatical points, and so I'm trying to go slowly, pay careful attention, and aim for accuracy as I practice. An example of this type of grammar would be the use of  nga. Nga is used in a whole bunch of different ways and in service of different meanings, and it pretty much has always thrown me into a panic when I've come across it while listening or reading. When nga  is used before a noun it has one meaning, used before a verb it has a different meaning. When used with a prefix, yet another meaning, and used alongside the word bwe (which translates to when ), another. The list goes on. In sharpening my use of grammar like nga , I am inching ever closer to the superior proficienc