Week 19: Slash Fiction Set in the Star Trek Universe

The stats:

I have studied Yiddish for 134 days
I have studied Yiddish flashcards for a total of 66 hours
I have reviewed 1,849 individual flashcards
Correct learning: 67.55%
Correct young: 71.42%
Correct mature: 82.75%

I have reached a moment when my earliest flashcards, now three or more months old, have started appearing again. These were the first I learned and the first to become "mature" cards, pushed to the back of the deck in the Anki system, and then pushed further and further back until they disappeared for months. So I have forgotten then, until I see the answer, and then I immediately remember and kick myself for not remembering.

I suppose this is the process of learning, and one must learn to be sanguine about the fact that it involves forgetting and being reminded, and then forgetting and being reminded again, but it's a wee bit frustrating. However, sometimes I feel like all I do is complain about the frustrations of learning a language, and not the pleasures, so I will focus on pleasures for the rest of this post.

Firstly, it is getting easier to memorize sentences. This has been the hardest part of the process, because I will learn individual words quite well but get lost trying to remember how to assemble them. But a certain logic to the construction of sentences has started to click into place in my head. They aren't very sophisticated sentences, but sophisticated sentences are built out of simpler ones.

Similarly, the construction of individual words has started to make sense. When I started learning, words were just words, and I had to memorize the whole thing. But Yiddish, like English, makes use of a handful of prefixes and suffixes, and has a few ways it is made plural and past tense and future tense, and it's getting easy to recognize these. A single word can be made into other words through clever use of morphology, and it tends to sort of make sense. As an example, "look" in Yiddish is kukn, while "gaze" is ankukn, and "pay attention" is tzukukn zikh. It makes it a lot easier to learn a word when you discover it contains a word you already know.

I'm about two weeks away from having studied 2,000 individual flashcards. I have nothing more to say about that, except that it is extraordinarily satisfying to approach my second thousand.

I can just sort of name a lot of things in Yiddish. I know what most of the objects in my apartment are, I know what most things I wear are, I know the months, the days of the week, the seasons, how to count, different sorts of weather, etc. Weather words are tremendously funny, by the way, because they sound vaguely dirty. "Cloudy," as an example, is volcandik, which sounds like slash fiction set in the Star Trek universe. "Foggy" is neppledik. Humid is douchne.

I still experience these weird data dumps in my brain, where all of a sudden I'll just find myself cycling through words -- they just repeat themselves in my head, feeling like they are somehow locking into place. They are often words I have a hard time with -- for instance, I had the devil of a time with "gloves," which is hentchkes, and then, out of the blue, my brain just cycled through about 15 words, including that one, and now I just know it. I don't like to think of my brain as a computer that just has its own processes that it will do all at once without warning me, but obviously my brain doesn't care what I think of it and will just act like a computer when it feels like it. Weird though this may be, I'm happy to suddenly know words I have struggled with.