Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Separation: Tips For Studying Multiple Languages at Once

My tips to avoid language confusion when studying multiple new languages.

Greeting cards inspired by henna designs and Indian culture by Felicia Follum Art+. They will be up on ETSY soon.

1. Stagger languages - practice one language for a few months then add another one in.

For me I confused Hindi with Spanish because neither language was at a good enough level to add more. I also confused Spanish and Portuguese at first. Once my Portuguese became stronger it began to hold its own.

2. Separate place, time, people, activity, etc so your brain will associate these things with that language.
For example practice Hindi in the evenings through texting and Portuguese in the mornings. Watch movies in Hindi and use Duolingo for Portuguese. I've also told friends that I can only practice one language with them at a time.

More of my art inspired by language learning and Indian culture.
3. Don't practice mixing both new languages.

Ex don't try to speak in a mix of Hindi and Spanish at first. It will hurt you in the long run. Form a sentence in one and force yourself to  use only that language. Resist the urge to have conversations in a mix of two incomplete languages even when you find others who mix the same to unrelated languages.

4. Learn Languages that are different from one another.

This will help keep language confusion to a minimum. Some people will argue that working on similar languages is helpful because the work off one another. Though helpful, I found that my precious knowledge of Spanish was more of a hindrance than it was helpful. However learning only Urdu or Hindi would be a challenge.

5. Learn one difficult and one easy language.

I realize this is subjective. One strategy is to pick a language similar to one you already know and one that is very different. One strategy would be to focus maybe 60% or 70% of your time on the more difficult language and the rest on the easy language. I typically prefer to practice the language that I am excited about at a given time.
These are just the things that helped and are helping me the most. I am aware that there are more ideas and would love to hear some of yours. What tips have helped you? Did mine work for you? Do you struggle with mixing languages?
Let me know below...

Monday, November 10, 2014

5 People 4 Languages 1 Meal Together

We never thought that cooking Indian food in brazil would be such a challenge. At least not for the reasons it was going to be challenging.

Our group at the Klien Hosten in Foz do Iguassu was a bit of a hodge podge mix of people...

But first let me explain the environment. Out of the entire 6 days I was there I was the only American. It was during the World Cup so there were people from all over the world. I was there by myself so every morning I woke up I never knew if anybody else spoke English. If I wanted to talk to people I usually started off by asking what languages they spoke and sometimes I had to stumble through asking in more than oone language.

There was a group of us one night. We consisted of a French girl who had been living in Brazil, her boyfriend who was visiting her from France, a Brazilian, an Indian who had been living in Canada but was really just traveling the world, and myself.

We decided to cook Indian food one night. So we walked to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients. 

Little did I know this was going to be the most complicated shopping trip I have ever taken part in...We had to somehow get from Hinglish (though our Hindusthani friend spoke English) to Portuguese.

Since I was familiar with the ingredients and my brain was still in Hindi mode, the Indian man told me the ingredients he couldn't find. So I explained them in English to the boyfriend. He translated from English to French. France, the girl from France translated from French to Portuguese and the Brazilian asked the man at the register.

We were not able to track down all of the spices is this small grocery store, but we did get a whole bunch of a couple.

After this we went back to the hostel and cooked the hindusthani meal.

I must say cooking in foreign languages was a blast and it is a great wat to learn language and new cooking skills

...so is joining a dance group...but that's another story. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

1 Year 4 Months: November Hindi Goals

Ok my goals for November (and possibly December if I don't change them) are

1. To practice speaking when ever I get a chance,

2. And to think in Hindi as much as possible (when I'm not thinking in Portuguese),

To achieve the first part I will use Hindi when I am around Hindi speakers, which is not really planned too often as I don't know many.

And to achieve the second one I will continue to watch Hindi movies...i would ideally like to pause them and summarize what I just saw Hindi men.

When I work I will listen to Hindi music, and maybe Pimsleur if I can find them again.

Jan update: so these didn't happen :p

Henna drawing

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Enjoy the Journey

Relax and enjoy the ride...

Seriously this is one of the most significant factors I've noticed making a positive impact on my ability to recall words and think in a language.

When I get tired and really begin to relax is when foreign languages really flow. I remember late nights playing Uno and between 1pm and 4 I understood wayyy more Hindi than normal.

In Brazil mornings were rough but by the time i sat down to dinner with the families I was able to converse quite nicely.

Enjoying the process has helped me to relax. I'm not perfect or even good, but I am much farther than I was a year ago and in 5 years I will be significantly farther than I am now.

I am where I am and that is a beautiful spot to be.