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Self study: Money meet mouth

January 2, 2013

My wife and I just booked a trip to Turkey for mid-February. Neither of us speak a lick of Turkish, and now we have six weeks to gain some degree of proficiency. Clearly it’s time for some self study. As I wade into this I realize that I am suffering from one of the consequences of age, my memories of ignorance and struggle aren’t as fresh as they once were. I spend so much time in my comfort zone these days (I teach what I breathe, physics and fitness) that I worry the struggle of learning has become remote. I have two key hopes for this experiment in teaching myself Turkish. 1) To learn enough Turkish to get by in Turkey and b) to reopen my eyes to the struggles of self study.

I land in Turkey in 47 days. I know three words of Turkish. Tool gathering has begun.

The Talent Code for tips, guidance and advice. The main lessons I’ve pulled from this blog are to tackle the hard parts, avoid my comfort zones, and stick to bite sized chunks.

Tim Ferriss on meeting a new language.

Memrise The folks over at Memrise have what looks to be a great program for shoving facts into one’s brain. I’m using it to jump start vocabulary which has always been a weak spot for me with language. Back when I was taking French and Japanese I rarely struggled with grammar or pronunciation, but keeping vocabulary in my head was tough. I don’t see ads when I’m practicing on the site, nor did I pay a fee, so I’m not clear on what their business model is. Am I product or consumer? /shrug. For now I’m just a happy little learner.

I picked up an intro Pimsleur Turkish program to hold my hand. My hope/goal is to knock out the sixteen lessons in eight days and use that foundation to expand with daily practice and exploration.

Google Translate I’m sure it’s crummy at best, but the fact that an at the fingertips conjugation guide and dictionary is available anywhere with internet access is amazing. We live in the future.

I’m missing some basic Turkish language stories or comics, that’ll come next…Surely I’m missing other things too, I wonder what they are.

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