20 September 2011

Learning any language requires effort. Esperanto is significantly easier than most (trust me on that) but it’s not English. In other words you don’t get Esperanto for free you’re going to have to do some work.

I think this is one potential problem for the correspondence courses. The goal for each lesson is to complete the exercises to send to your tutor. However it’s too easy to focus on those exercises and miss the key topics.

Can’t see the wood for the trees…

Yesterday when I was reading back through the lessons to find the vocabulary I needed to add to my flash cards, I noticed one of the examples showing how different types of words could be made from the same root word. That is the same root can make adjectives, adverbs, nouns and verbs. Now I suppose I knew that or at least it wasn’t a complete surprise, but that rather key and important fact simply hadn’t twigged until I saw it again in the table.

I am now wondering how many other gems and useful bits of information have been missed simply because I was focusing on the exercises rather than the lessons? I doubt I’m the only one to do this as I’ve been reliably informed that people get to lesson five (the one with the correlatives) and run for the hills never to return.

Not as easy as previous lessons

I think the reason why people have trouble with this lesson is that the words you need to learn have no relationship to other languages. They’re short words and even though they are logical in their design, unlike all the previous lessons, there’s no crutch to lean on here. You simply have to learn it by rote and that takes effort.

In all honesty I don’t think it’s that hard to do and I reckon I’ll have nailed it in a couple of hours study. But I can see why someone who has breezed through the first lessons would freak out when they see this. It’s not because it’s hard, it’s because it is harder than what the previous lessons have led them to believe is the norm. In many ways this lesson is the first time the student has to actually do anything completely new and let’s be honest, actually do some hard work. Relatively speaking at least, lesson five is many times harder than the previous lessons.

So my advice for this lesson is just to stick with it. It will make sense, you’ve just got to commit these words to memory. There’s 45 of them in total (5 initials and 9 finals) and each one follows the rules and makes sense. This is the first time the course actually asks for some real commitment. You’ve come this far, you owe it to yourself to continue ;)

After 10 lessons you still don’t feel confident?

I can see how this can happen to if you focus on speed and getting through the course rather than on quality. Anyone can answer the questions by referring to the previous lessons and vocabulary. In theory by the end of the course you should know all of the words taught and how to use all the correlatives to build sentences. In fact you should be pretty much good to go as far as communication is concerned.

However if you went for brute speed, chances are you are feeling a bit cheated. You did all ten lessons and sure you remember some words and concepts but your Esperanto sucks. I guess it’s not an easy language after all and you really are bad at languages…

Far from it! You just moved too damn fast for your own good. Take your time with the lessons, go through them more than once. If you don’t remember all the words, just take another look. Who cares if someone can flip through them all in a day? Everyone is different and as long as you put the effort in, you will get your reward.

You will be able to speak Esperanto.

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