Week 38: Back in Business
Published on Monday, September 26, 2016 By Max Sparber
I have studied Yiddish for 255 days
I have studied Yiddish flashcards for a total of 147 hours
I have reviewed 2,991 individual flashcards
As I mentioned last week, I was struggling with lagging attention in my Yiddish studies, which I knew was going to happen sooner or later, because I just can't managed to keep my attention on any one thing for too oh look a squirrel.
I seem to have beaten this tendency, at least for the moment. As I planned, I pared back on memorizing longer sentences, started to learn individual words again, and added in a few fun things here and there, such as words that would be appropriate for Halloween (the Yiddish word for werewolf is volkulak, by the way.) I also switched my study time mostly from the evening to the morning, and I prefer that, as I seem to remember better in the morning and I prefer having my Yiddish studies behind me rather than before me.
It has worked out well. I am able to add 15 new cards per day, which was lagging, as I was having so much trouble with complete sentences that I did not want to add new cards. It's been a lot easier for me to study the cards, as I wake up two hours before I go to work and so have a decent amount of time to complete some chore or other. And it's a lot easier to add new words than entire phrases, so have managed to push ahead somewhat, adding in words I won't get to for a day or so; this is the first time I have been able to do this since the very beginning of this project, when I was just plugging in words from a word list. It's nice to have that buffer of new cards.
I know my interest will wane again in the future, and I've never really developed tools for addressing when this happens. I suppose I have always reckoned that I could get back to something when my interest came back, and that's mostly been true. But there are some things, like language studies, that you can't just take an indefinite break from. I studied Irish for about five months a couple of years ago and have now managed to forget how to read it and every word except thank you.
Beyond that, there is a lot in life that benefits from an approach other than that of an occasionally interested dilettante. The hardest lesson of my life is that worthwhile things often take far longer than you expect, far longer than you can imagine, just day in, day out of constant, frequently tedious or frustrating work. It takes an awful lot of discipline to accomplish anything, and part of that discipline is the discipline to work through dull or frustrating patches.
If I can develop that discipline due to this project, it will be a great benefit to me. I really do think I have suffered from it's absence.
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