Learning Something New…Again

A few months ago, senior Rebecca Chapman started teaching herself American Sign Language. However, her views have since shifted.

Motivation to learn, for me at least, tends to come in periodic bursts. Something has to happen to kick it off and usually, it comes as a class requirement, like a vocabulary test (that is coming soon and I neglected to study for, so now I have to cram).

In reality, though, I’m a huge nerd, so I found studying on Quizlet to actually be pretty fun once I got the hang of the words. I now try to pepper my vocabulary words into daily speech like “surreptitious” or “ignominious.”

Of course, my peers considered this to be rather pretentious, but I’ve got to learn these words somehow. My aim was not to impress.

The last time I had a burst of motivational energy I did my best to learn a new language, unable to decide between American Sign Language and Mandarin.

Mandarin proved to be supremely difficult, so my motivation slowly seeped away and when classes started up again for the second semester, the time I had for learning seeped away as well. My energy lasted about two weeks.

Now my energy has been replenished and I’m ready to teach myself something again. Japanese happens to be rather similar to Mandarin, so maybe if I can learn Japanese, my knowledge of that language could be a gateway to Mandarin. The numbers, at least, are very similar.

Duolingo, as I’ve mentioned in other blogs, is a fantastic way to learn a new language and it’s free! It has reward systems and is much like a phone game, though I hear Rosetta Stone is a superior (and more expensive) language learning company.

Learning characters is as easy as learning words in your own language; each one has a sound. For example, “な” is the sound “na”. “おはよう” is o-ha-yo-u (or good morning).

I now find myself using my free time to teach myself. Learning the characters is fun because, as an artist, the curve of the characters are pleasant to draw. Every now and then something will come up on my social media and I’ll recognize characters in a comic. It’s extremely satisfying!