Sad Things (7) Language Courses

Language Courses that have barely been used. Or not used at all.

language courses

I believe millions of homes around the world are full of similar displays of short-lived motivation.

One of my problems, apart from time and laziness, is that I constantly move around. When I am in a country for 6 months, I find it hard to motivate myself to start learning the language because I know I will have left before I can count to ten. That’s one reason why I decided to learn Russian, because on my trips across Eastern Europe I noticed that it is the lingua franca around here, at least among people who don’t speak English. At the moment, I am still struggling with the Cyrillic alphabet.


About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a journalist, a spy or a hobo.
This entry was posted in Books, Education, Language and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Sad Things (7) Language Courses

  1. RADIUS says:

    Hi Andreas, after trying to get a visum for Iran without much success, we have decided to travel to Tadshikistan next year with a fried who studied there. Tadshikistan has the convenient situation that the language is virtually Persian (what I’d like to learn), but it is written in kyrillic lettern (what I already know quite well).
    I saw that you have an ASSIMIL guide for Russian. I learned Spanish many years agao with an pre-war ASSIMIL book. I remember they had a nice concept, by learning the language from everyday situations and a lot of conversation, examples from daily newspapers and poetry. They tried very successfully to lower the barriers to a new language, and ignite the interest and love for the entire country. But honestly, I think this is a hard job considering present day Russia.
    greetings, Michael

    • It’s the first time I am trying this ASSIMIL course after it has been recommended to me by several people. I’ll see how it goes.
      Tajikistan and the other countries of Central Asia are an area where I would love to spend some time. That’s another reason for learning Russian, because it seems more useful to me than learning Tajik, Uzbek, Kazakh and so on.

  2. Oh, I can help if you want.

  3. Matt says:

    Russian is not difficult and you can pick up the alphabet quite fast by using a book “Russian in 20 Minutes a Day”. I agree in Eastern Europe, better to know Russian and German than go local like Czech/Slovak/Bulgarian etc. You have already nailed one. Passion drives a person to learn at our age and not force feeding. A goal or future need will secure you in opening your mind to learn and not just a passing few months somewhere.

  4. Hello Andreas, I think the question is, whether for you it’s good enough just to have an idea about a language or whether you really want to enter deeper into a language/culture/literature. I may be wrong, but I think this is not only true with languages ecc. but also with relationships in general. Tanti saluti Martina

  5. You are definitely right, there is this motivation to learn but also there is this laziness that inhibit the motivation. Thank you for writing this post.

  6. Danielle says:

    I have Spanish, French, Korean, and Russian study books, as well as assorted literature (I once tried to apply the “Suzuki Method” to language learning), poetry, and newspapers. I tried various online sites, Rosetta Stone (I hate CDROMs and the cheesy music that comes with CD tracks), and Pimsleur. In the end, the best method I’ve found is language exchanges and picking apart realia sentence by sentence, word by word.

  7. Kavita Joshi says:

    I can imagine what you mean..but I thought you are smart enough to count to ten in few months…lol..just joking..but I am determined to learn Spanish before I travel there…

    • Spanish is of course much easier than Lithuanian or Persian or Russian. I should also rather move to Central or South America.
      When will you be in Spain?

    • Kavita Joshi says:

      I wud be there any time I quit my job really…I so want to live there for some time and live the soul…next year sometime for sure ..but if some magic happens then may be earlier :) I am going to LA and Miami this year so that might be my only international presence in near future i think

    • The good thing about Los Angeles and Miami is that you can already speak Spanish there.

    • Kavita Joshi says:

      really that’s good to know but I still prefer English I must say as I am only good at

  8. Bon courage! Yes, I know what you mean. Before we went for a 5 day trip to Italy back in 2005, I learned Italian from the day I knew we were going (about 8 months). Afterwards, I have no need of it and, although I love the language and would like to be able to speak and understand it well, I know I won’t really get serious with it until a need arises again (I hope!).

    My husband was recently at an academic conference in Romania and spent some time over the preceding 2-3 months learning Romanian from a Teach Yourself course from the library. Whilst he was there, he saw a course that looked good and was tempted to buy it, but, as there was no call for it, he didn’t.

    Having said that, our trips were only 5 days each time. Had we been going for 6 months then, yes, I think we would have both got as well stuck in as we could.=) Only wish we had the chance these days….=)

    • Yes, moving to a country is the best thing, although in my example even that hasn’t helped too much because I was too busy with other projects and because I have so far picked countries where I knew I wouldn’t ‘need’ the language again anywhere else. Very sad. And very lazy of me.
      I’d like to move to an Italian, French or Spanish speaking country next, so that I would have a reason to properly (re)learn one of these languages.

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