19 September 2011

Should I start lesson six?

I was settling down to do lesson six today but it requires a full mastery of lesson five. I can’t claim that regardless of you define it so I think for now I’m pretty much stuck. On the one hand, I don’t want to be seen as not making progress or lacking interest, because I don’t feel that is true. On the other hand, there is no point completing the lessons unless I’m actually taking something away from them.

Chapter five introduced the correlatives which I found really easy to use - just so far, not that easy to remember. So I think I’m going to invest the time reviewing and consolidating these lessons. I’m going to email my tutor and see what he thinks. If he thinks I should keep going then I will, but we’ll have to wait and see :)

It’s not all bad though…

I’m still enjoying the course and I’m not disheartened. In the early hours of the morning I was creating flash cards for my phone. I spend an annoying amount of time waiting for trains, waiting on trains, getting off trains and waiting for lifts. All of this time is now being converted into Esperanto learning time. I reckon we could easily lose an hour a day to all those little waits we do. It’s like death by a thousand cuts. The only good thing is that if you utilise that time, suddenly you gain an hour of learning a day without having to make any changes to your lifestyle or change the time you go to or get up from bed. That’s a pretty sweet deal if you ask me.

So anyway, I was adding the words from lesson 1 to the pack and it wasn’t until after I’d done it that I realised I knew them all already. Admittedly there isn’t a great deal of words in that lesson, but still it’s quite a few and I can easily recall them. For me this is a lot better than my previous experiences with language where I would have remember perhaps one or two words if I was lucky. Moving up the levels there were a few I had missed, especially from the bumper vocabulary provided in lesson 4 ( thanks for that ).  I did add the correlatives from lesson 5 and those I am having trouble with - but that’s okay, that’s what this training is for ;)

Look mum, I can read!

I have also found that I can read Esperanto more fluently now. I’m not convinced I can pronounce it all because mostly I’m reading and writing, but I am able to read g _and _ĝ without having to think about it for instance. I can’t say I’ve picked up reading other writing systems this fast, even pinyin which is a very simple (and well designed) system.

Also, I was speaking to a friend yesterday in English when he suddenly switched to Esperanto. He apologized and said that whenever he thinks about Esperanto he automatically starts to use it. The interesting thing was, it wasn’t until I was reading his apology that I suddenly realized it was Esperanto. Funnily enough I got the gist of what he was saying though definitely not the precise details. But it wasn’t until after he mentioned it that I noticed he had used a different language. I’m putting that down to me not paying attention, but it’s still pretty interesting that my brain can do that on auto pilot. Again, I haven’t had that sort of experience before. I’m hoping it’s a good thing rather than a sign of me losing what’s left of my mind!

Esperanto course in Australia

There is an upcoming course in Australia that I would be really interested in attending. The two main issues are whether I can afford it and whether I can get the time off to actually spend two weeks there. If you’re interested you can find out more about it here.

I think it would be really beneficial for me to attend. First, it gives me a real chance to use the language and learn it in an environment where I’ll be using it a lot. I’ll get to actually meet people who use the language and get a glimpse into the culture.  This is really important for one of the things I’m planning to do in the not to distant future….

Hong Kong Esperanto Association (HKEA) remains elusive…

I have tried contacting several people over the last few days with very little success. One person responded immediately but sadly (at least for me!) he’s moved to Japan and hasn’t kept in touch with any Esperanto speakers in Hong Kong. However he took the time to wish me luck so that was appreciated.

For the rest though, I’ve had no replies. I’ve tried contacting the person who was last on the list as a contact point but she’s no longer at that University. I’ve tried emailing the admin staff for that department but again, no reply. The last known remaining member on the list has also not replied. I think it’s safe to conclude that Esperanto in Hong Kong is effectively dead. There may be some speakers out there but if there are I doubt they are actively using it and even then, they are operating solo.

The situation really sucks. It’s not like I expected hundreds or thousands of speakers to be here. Hell, I would have been happy with just one or two. The only one I have spoken to promised to send me some information the next day and that was nearly two weeks ago so I’m not holding my breath.

So what do I do now? I live in a place that’s effectively completely devoid of this language with no local infrastructure or support system in place to help me. I guess I have two choices. First I can just get on with it regardless and do the best I can. Or, I can build that support system so that the next person to follow me on this journey - and there will be a next person - will be able to find their way…



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