Week 20: It's week 20?

The stats:

I have studied Yiddish for 141 days
I have studied Yiddish flashcards for a total of 72 hours
I have reviewed 1,926 individual flashcards
Correct learning: 66.32%
Correct young: 69.98%
Correct mature: 82.33%

Regular visitors will notice that I have updated my website. I have a new template, as well as my own web address, brityiddish.com. While updating, I discovered that months ago I made an error on this site, counting the same week twice. As a result, today, which I thought was my 19th week, is actually my 20th, and so the end of my fifth month of studying Yiddish.

I am also very close to completing two goals: I am just about done with the list of 1,000 Yiddish words I mentioned two weeks ago, and I have almost studied 2,000 individual flashcards. As those of you who have been following the blog know, I've decided to gamifying the process of learning Yiddish, and, me being me, I am doing it in as twee a way as I can: merit badges.

I do not yet have a boy scout-style sash, but have ordered one. I do, however, have a gold pin with the numeral 1,000 on it to represent the completion of this 1,000 word list. I also want to represent how many additional cards I have studied beyond 1,000, and have decided to do this with little metal star pins, which I have also ordered. Every thousand words gets a silver star, and every 5,000 gets a gold star, which feels at once military and very grade school, and I am amenable to either aesthetic.

I suppose after five months I should make a note of how it's all going. I have sort of locked into a groove of studying, so I am not as obsessed with progress as I once was, but I know what sort of progress I am making and where I have stalled. I continue to learn new vocabulary words apace, and my comprehension grows as a result, but at the moment I judge my comprehension exclusively by headlines from the Yiddish Forward. I do not read the articles themselves, and perhaps it is time I started. From this week onward, every time I read a headline in the Forward, I will also click through and work my way through the forst paragraph, and we'll see how I feel about my comprehension then.

I've also completely abandoned grammar, and know I shouldn't. I will start working my way back toward it soon by memorizing useful sentences -- I'm doing some of that now, but will really dedicate myself to it soon. I haven't figured out precisely what this sentence memorization project will be, but once I have a satisfactory number of sentences under my belt I shall return to the grammar book.

At the moment, my lack of grammar is really constraining me. There is a moment where memorizing individual words, no matter how entertaining those words might be, becomes useless when you can't use them in a sentence, and that moment is "immediately." This hasn't bothered me much, as I have nobody to speak Yiddish with at the moment, and have mostly been doing this for my own entertainment, and have been entertained enough by building an increasingly massive collection of Yiddish words. But I will get to the point where I actually want to use those words in sentences, and so I know I will have to work on that soon.

I had reached a point where I was learning new words quite easily, and now that has reversed itself, mostly because the last few pages of my 1,000 word list seemed entirely made up of words that sounded like this: antshuldikfirn. There were about 50 words that, I swear, just seemed variations on those letters, and weren't words built out of words I already knew. So my study sessions, which are usually a half hour long, have been 45 minutes to an hour as I desperately try to come up with mnemonic devices for words that all look and sound exactly alike. It's always fun knowing the words that you will have trouble with for the rest of your life, and especially to get so many all it once.