April 02, 2012
In the Interim
A few new developments have cropped up along my Slovak learning path, however my blogging has failed to faithfully document them. They include:

1. Getting to know and regularly meeting with a tandem partner actually living in Slovakia a few times a month for about a year (we're presently on hiatus but may start tele-meeting regularly again later). She's currently busy teaching again (we started up while she was on maternity leave) and I'm busy gathering together the loose ends needed to wrap up my MA, but once things settle down again it'd be nice to do start the exchange again. I honestly forget exactly where we met but am fairly sure it was one of those language exchange web communities. Strangely, I've been helping her refresh not her English but her German (and feeling sometimes unqualified but I admit when I don't know the standard way of saying something).

2. Using this terrific beginners' level textbook, made for German speakers targeting Slovak. It supplements my English->Slovak materials nicely.

3. Starting to watch this Slovak soap opera semi-regularly. It's a fluff drama, sort of a lighter, cheaper, less invested version of Germany's Lindenstra├če but one can easily reinforce basic vocabulary and discover new words from context. Stock characters include annoying prankster children, their parents who are too tired/stressed for sex (a joke which never seems to get old), teenagers who do manage to have sex, a rugged bachelor, a charming older couple, the new girl on the block, the mean girl who plots against her, the new girl's various boyfriends and ex-boyfriends, a live-in mother-in-law, a lesbian, a bimbo-type secretary, a fat jovial fellow, and a token foreigner.

4. Discovering that some of my distant Slovak relatives are on Facebook, messaging them, and subsequently Facebook-friending them. We still don't really know each other or communicate much, but that is coming soon. I have a page-long list of phrases and vocabulary I want to master before blundering my way through a chat with them in Slovak. My tandem partner was a university educated language teacher with whom clarification on some point of confusion could take place in English. I have no idea what level of education my relatives have what their language skills in English or German might be (if any). One appears to be a hairdresser and while there are certainly polyglot hairdressers to be found in this world, my suspicion is that living in a small village in eastern Slovakia would not be conducive to cultivating foreign language skills. I want to be able to express at least basic introductory information and getting-to-know-you questions to engage with them in their language).
posted by B.D. at 2:10 AM | Permalink |