Thursday, May 03, 2012

What I'm reading, aka how to keep up with 7 languages

Well English is easy to keep up with, so I'm doing okay there.

Latin. At the moment I'm reading three items, the first is 1 (3) Kings, which is actually more exciting in Latin. I don't know why that is, and I'm only in chapter 2 or 3, but there's a lot of drama and tension in the Biblical narrative and the Latin is quite enjoyable. Secondly, I'm (re-)reading the Second book of Hans Ørberg's Lingua Latina course, Roma Aeterna, which I have traditionally struggled a little with. I'm finding straight reading quite okay this time round, which is a positive sign. I plan to finish it off and move on to several of the readers. Thirdly I'm reading and translating William of Rubruck's travelogue of his journey to Mongolia in 1253-5. In due course I'll read and annotate Hilary of Poitier's De Trinitate.

Greek. I'm good with Koine, I'm just reading continuous portions of the New Testament each morning. I should add some LXX in there too. I'm also reading and translating Herodotus' Histories book 1. It's more challenging, but I'm using Steadman's excellent edition. Finally I'm doing some work on English to Greek translation exercises and working slowly on my conversational Greek materials. In due course I need to read and annotate Basil's contra Eunomium.

Gaelic. For the last 30 weeks or so I've had the great privilege to be part of an online class each week with the Atlantic Gaelic Academy. This has given me more speaking practice than I've ever had. I've also started reading the new translation of John's gospel, and that is going well. Apart from this I'm listening and reading Litir Bheag, and over the Northern summer am going back through Cothrom Ionnsachaidh.

German. I was fortunate enough to get a beta place on duolingo. I definitely don't 100% agree with the acquisition philosophy behind duolingo, but the combination of very short units, reinforcement, instantaneous feedback, and online learning, all mean that I am doing a little German each day. Plus, my German goals are less ambitious than any others and so I'm not in any hurry to get anywhere beyond a reading skill.

Mongolian. Well, I have 3 hrs of class, 5 days a week, and that is most of my learning. I do a little homework, and some vocab work, and I do live in Mongolia. After 5.5 weeks of class I think things are going well. If Mongol was the only language I was doing, and the only study I was doing, I'd spend the other half of my days doing both individual study, and seeking out conversation, but I'm busy enough to neglect the former, and not sociable enough to prioritise the latter.

Hebrew. A real struggle. I shouldn't have stopped after 3 years at seminary. Nonetheless I refuse to surrender, since the majority portion of the Scriptures are in this language. I was trying to read Scripture portions, but my skills are not up to it. So I'm hitting up Randal Buth's materials, which are the best, and refreshing what I know, and also doing flashcards, and I think in a few months I'll try reading Scripture portions again. Never surrender on the Hebrew front.

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