June 10, 2004

Ever try learning a language by yourself?

I am trying to fill in a gap, one of many gaps, in my education by teaching myself Latin. I have a textbook, Wheelock's, and am trying to make my way through it. This is really the first time I've ever tried to teach myself a another language. I speak French fluently. In fact, I had a very nice conversation in French last week on the train with a French woman who was surprised to learn that I was an American. I offer that as proof that I can actually parlez-vous, so to speak. I can also speak Norwegian, probably to any three year old in Norway. I learned Norwegian from my wife, from classes at the Norwegian Seaman's Church, and from language immersion weekends. Those were easy compared to Latin.

I think part of the problem is that I have no teacher to push me. I have to be totally self-motivated. That is both good and bad. Good in the sense that I am in no hurry and can take my time. Bad in the sense that I have no one to schedule how fast I should be learning or to explain the more difficult material (almost everything, by the way!). Also, I have time problems. I figure that I can get maybe an hour a day to myself. This time is spent on the train. Not optimal for learning -- hard to spread out when all you can occupy is one seat and hard to write when the train is moving. Also, I am usually pretty beat when the time comes to hit the train and lately I have been sleeping on the way home. That cuts my time, too.

Have any of you studied Latin? Can you offer any encouragement? Or suggestions?

Posted by Random Penseur at June 10, 2004 07:59 AM
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