Natalie asked about my progress in Slovak, so I thought I’d write an entire post about it, as it has caused me a fair amount of musing and wondering - not Natalie’s comment, but the whole learning Slovak thing. I would like to say that the question is very useful for me as I get to analyse how far I’ve come in about a year.
So. How is my Slovak coming along? Ako je môj slovenský? Ďakujem za opýtanie!
- Understanding spoken Slovak is no big deal – depending on the person speaking. This might sound funny, but sometimes I understand 95% of the things people are saying, but at other times the level of my understanding is about zero. Wow, good job! Written Slovak is not so difficult but it requires a lot of concentration. Grammatical constructions etc. are not a big deal, but it takes time to become familiar with some of the letters and new vocab.
- Communicating in Slovak goes so and so. I survive in most places; I can buy food, wine and get myself out of trouble. In some cases my Slovak is not as perfect as it could be (i.e. there are lots of Polish words thrown in), but in general people seem to understand what I want to say. I have not done much to learn writing in Slovak, though. Shame on me!
- So what have I been doing in order to (not) learn Slovak? I have not gone to classes, mainly because I think it’s difficult to find someone who shares my vision of how to learn foreign languages. Further, my schedule has been übercrazy as always. I have had some language exchange, which has been helpful. However, my main tool for learning the language has been the method of translation and comparison. I have translated some poems, some articles on current affairs, etc. while simultaneously comparing the language to those I know – Polish and Russian. In the hope of getting some great grasp of the language, I have decided to jump over the beginning steps (such as learning how to complain about a sore throat ).
Čo som mohla urobiť lepšie? What could I do better?
- Time, time and more time. This is the main requirement for learning any language. Time is a scarce resource in my world. Combine this with the knowledge that I don’t really need to know Slovak for any purpose, and the disaster is almost unavoidable. However, there is the will to at least translate stuff. Translating is fun and it gives one the opportunity to dig deeper into the essential being of a language.
Fortunately, the status of my Slovak is not as bad as for the pharmacy on our street:
Closed due to technical reasons