Hi dear readers,
It’s been a while, as usual. This time, I have been actually really very busy. As I stated in some previous post (or did I at all?), I have taken some 5 grad courses, I have research to do and then I have a part time job for which I have to pull all-nighters twice a week. So, I am pretty busy. I have been unable to keep up with new anime even. However, I do find time to go to anime club every week. I have missed only twice this semester. I have been to quite a few movies as well and meet friends not from my department at least bi-weekly. Now that I have written it down, I realize I am really enjoying this sem. And then, I have joined these free language classes which will be the main focus of this post.
One of my Chinese friends knew how interested I was in languages (she herself is a big fan of Big Bang and hence is interested in learning Korean) and she took me to these free language classes that are held in Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (by volunteers I think, not sure). I have joined Korean, which is held every Saturday, Japanese which happens every other Monday and the Russian which happens every alternate Thursday. There are options for Chinese, French, German and Spanish as well. I wanted to join Spanish but had already missed number of classes so gave up on it.
First of all, let me review Korean classes. I joined Korean classes when they had already done 8 weeks of work, out of which 4 weeks were spent in learning the alphabet supposedly. Thank God for that. The best part about these classes is that there is structure, there is review and there are buddies to practice with. We have learnt the general stuff in Korean till now: Where do you go?, Your family, What do you like?, making verbs out of nouns etc. etc. This time, the grammar sticks! Because we’re continuously using it in practice. We form pairs and try to talk. The teacher is really helpful and cute as well. And since she is not actually a teacher, we get to learn from a commoner’s perspective: the commoner’s language. I have been to 2-3 classes and enjoyed them thoroughly. This is the most fun class out of three.
For Japanese, since it happens once in two weeks, I have gone to only 2 classes. They were teaching very basic stuff: What do you like, time etc. I was planning on dropping this class because I thought my level was definitely above than that. However, yesterday, when I got to know that minutes in Japanese are ‘ふん’ and not ‘ぶん’ which I had thought was the case all along (for like 5 years! Gosh!), I realized I have never really paid attention to the details. I was also struggling with numbers greater than 10 somehow (THESE ARE SUCH ELEMENTARY THINGS!! No wonder I don’t pass my JLPT exams ;-;). Well, it gave a huge blow to my confidence but after the practice session, I did get a little bit of it back. So now I am planning to go through it till the end. And if I end up interning in summers in CMU only, then I’ll have access to the new semester of classes, so I can join Spanish and French and second level classes for the ones I am learning already.
Third is Russian. The first class for me was a disaster. Not because the classes were bad, but because I had missed more classes than I had thought I had. I joined them in probably 5th class and though the class was small (like 8 people) all of them were proficient with the alphabet. I had learnt their alphabet 2 years ago, so obviously I didn’t remember anything. But the teacher was quite patient with me and let me attend the classes. I promised her to learn the alphabet before next class and I did well with reading in the next class (a small yay!). I have no clue what happened in the classes I missed though. The one I attended, we talked about family, pronouns and gender. I have also started with duolingo for Russian. Russian is totally alien to me except one song I hear in Ukrainian which is distantly related to Russian language including similar alphabet. But I am enjoying learning it thus far because the teacher is interesting as well.
Here is a link for if you’re in Pittsburgh and interested in attending the free classes: Pittsburgh Free Language Classes
They will start new ‘semester’ of classes in summer, May I think. Check their website for more info.
So, this is what I am doing apart from all the academic stuff. I would have loved to post pics of worksheets but it might be copyright violation so I won’t do that. I’ll post the song I talked about above.