LTL REFLECTION: making word cards work 4

Progress Report:: Where’s the ‘choo-choo’?

It’s good being on the right track, but there has to be some ‘choo-choo’, too.

Upside, because there’s always an upside; I’m really good at making word association links with my new vocabulary, and although I am inconsistent with my word card work, I’ve got most of my 88 new words nailed down (about 10 of them are still not yet firmly fixed in my memory) and I’ve got 25 new words to learn over the next week. So after four weeks I’ll have over a hundred words at my disposal.

What’s wrong with that?

Basically, a hundred word a month means I will have six-hundred words at the end of six months, and one thousand two-hundred words at the end of a year. That is not enough vocabulary to swing a cat*, let alone chat with friends over a sheesha wa qahwah be haleeb**.

*The usual expression is “not enough room to swing a cat”. It means a very small room or area; a small space. / **Hookah and milk coffee.

I think my word choice is good. I’m learning my vocabulary in little related chunks. For example I learned the words ‘book’ and ‘read’ at the same time, so I made word cards with phrases as well as single words. Like this:

(Each word or phrase is on its own card, though it doesn’t necessarily look like it in this illustration)

Book My book New book
I like reading Read a book Take a book

It would be far too stressful and confusing to learn these different variations of ‘book’ and ‘read’ at the same time, so I learned the single words first, then added extra meanings with each new set of word cards I introduced. I also used words that I already recognised from other languages. So I haven’t learned 88 brand new words and phrases, but I have adapted a lot of what I already know to help me learn 88 new Arabic words and phrases.

At this rate, I’m a long way short of the fluency in six months model that Chris Lonsdale talks about in his TEDx presentation. I think I’m also falling behind FoxNomad’s efforts as well, and he’s learning to read and write, too!

 TEDx video HERE

FoxNomad’s blog HERE

Room for improvement:

I’m not too bothered about my slow rate of vocabulary acquisition because I think that as I learn more words, I will be filling gaps, rather than starting from scratch and it might not seem so daunting.  The real area for improvement is going to be USING the words I’m learning, and that’s something that’s not really happening yet; not with other actual people, at any rate.

I’m going to have to start speaking Arabic to someone soon, because I’ve got no idea how to read it!


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