Week 27: The pile up

The stats:

I have studied Yiddish for 188 days
I have studied Yiddish flashcards for a total of 106 hours
I have reviewed 2,586 individual flashcards

Have I ever explained the reason I started this blog? It's because when I started studying Yiddish on my own, I searched the web for other blogs about the experience of learning Yiddish, because I wanted to know what to expect. I figured there are people out there in the world, somewhere, probably far from Omaha, and they are studying Yiddish and must be blogging about it.

I think I thought that because I have not yet realized it is no longer 2001 and so not everybody in the world blogs about everything anymore. But it is not 2001, and so I did not find such a blog, and I would not know where else to look. So here I am, sharing my experiences.

I decided to post every single week, whether I had anything new to say or not, just so that if anyone else wants to try to tackle Yiddish in the way I am, they will at least have my expediences to refer to. It might be week after week of me ineptly doing mathematics to figure out how many words I will need to memorize to be able to tell a dirty joke in Yiddish, it might be full of weird digressions and little experiments that nobody is likely to repeat (my Boy Scout-style sash, as an example), but it will be as complete a map as I can offer.

Well, readers, if you make it to week 27, you're going to crash. It might happen sooner, it might happen later, but eventually all the words you have trouble with are going to catch up with you, and all the phrases that you've tried to learn but failed will reappear at once, and words you memorized six months ago and forgot will show up, and you will have a week of total chaos, as I did.

I have repeatedly had hour-long study sessions, and, at the end of that hour, there were still 30 or 40 words or phrases that I failed to remember that got pushed back to the following day. The backlog just getting larger and larger, and it was making it impossible for me to learn new words, because I was having to cycle through this endless stream of words I can't remember, and, by the time I got to the new words, I had forgotten them too.

So on Friday, I did the unthinkable: I stopped adding new words and phrases to my flashcards. I don't like to do this, because I just want to keep shoving Yiddish into my head, as much and as quickly as possible. But there just comes a point where you have to take a break and catch up.

So I spent the weekend pushing though the flashcards that were giving me trouble. You can see from above that yesterday I reviewed 538 cards and it took 81 minutes, and that's about how it went the whole weekend.

So that's all I have to say today. But heed my warning, fellow travelers. One day you too will be happily studying Yiddish and you will hit this wall. It is real, and it is terrifying.