Decision fatigue & another crazy language learner

Decision fatigue

Yesterday when I was finding more resources for Persian, I also spent some time reviewing and cleaning up my list of resources for other languages. I proceeded to do more German and Korean shadowing than I’ve done in a while, try out Mango Languages (on my todo list for a long time), and even watched an Iranian movie. I haven’t done this much in one evening since last summer when I was first getting into German and restarting my French.

Could it be that one obstacle to my keeping up with a regular practice is just having to remember what to do, and all I need to stay more productive is an occasional reminder about what to do? It’s true that when I most often waste time is when I feel too tired to think about starting a new project, and doing anything that’s not right in front of my feels like hard work. Too often I look at my phone, see I’ve already done all my Anki reps, note that I’ve forgotten to transfer any new podcasts to my phone, and then give up on language learning. It’s a sad, sad scene.

Aside from the obvious of remembering to transfer more podcasts, is there anything I can do to make it easier to keep going, even when I’m tired? I’ve been meaning to spend more time watching YouTube videos in the languages I’m learning, but usually this involves trawling through stale note files on my computer where I’ve pasted links and sifting through bookmarks tabs. What if I had one place where I always went for links to videos, convenient enough that opening it became almost a reflex, the way typing “f-a-[return]” in Chrome has become? For that matter, it could be a repository for all my videos, lessons, and podcasts — anything that’s on the web and doesn’t require a lot of effort to interact with.

Where should I put it, though? The best place I can think of is just the bookmarks tab in Chrome. I’ll keep thinking.

One year? Why not EIGHT years?

Yesterday I found an amazing blog by a New Yorker named Ellen Jovin, who has been doing this language thing for the past eight years and studied 21 different languages. She started out spending two months on each language, but seems to be staying with each one a little longer more recently. She studied Persian from May to November 2014.

One thing I like about Jovin’s blog is the personal diary-like format. Each short entry honestly conveys the joys and struggles she encounters along the way. Jovin makes it clear how closely connected her language journey is to her life and identity as a New Yorker, which makes it all the more meaningful.

Reading the first month of the first language — Russian — was like encountering myself back in August having just started German. Well, as much as it could be like that, given that Jovin is another individual with a different personality, probably different motivations, and her own approach to learning. Anyway, I can’t wait to read on and see how things progress for Jovin over the next eight (8!) years.

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