Week 44: Elliot Park
Published on Monday, November 07, 2016 By Max Sparber
I have studied Yiddish for 293 days
I have studied Yiddish flashcards for a total of 175 hours
I have reviewed 3,504 individual flashcards
My health finally did something that nothing else seemed capable of: It briefly stopped me from studying Yiddish. I didn't have an especially bad cold, but a bad enough cold as to make concentration impossible. So I took a break of a few days, maybe three days, and now am back to studying again.
This was probably the best week possible for ill health, however, if such a thing exists. It was a short work week, and I was able to leave early two of the four days I worked. This coming weekend, I take everything I own out of storage in my girlfriend's parent's house and movie it into a new apartment in my old neighborhood of Elliot Park, and you don't want to be sick for that. And I had some big tasks at the end of the last week, including opening a new bank account and getting a local ID, and was feeling well enough to get it all done.
I will be glad to be into my new apartment on Saturday. This transition happened both very quickly and has stretched itself out over a longer period than I expected: One day I was in Omaha, the next in Minneapolis, and had to adjust to a sudden change, but I have been living in a spare bedroom for a month, and have had to adjust to being in a long limbo, and both have been stressful. It has been impossible for me to develop anything like a routine, and study benefits from routine. Next week, I should start finding my rhythms again, and I am anxious to have this begin.
I went back and reread many of my earliest entries on this blog, back when I was obsessed with how many words I could memorize and how quickly I could do so. I hoped to learn 3,000 words by the end of my first year, profoundly underestimating how much I could learn. I am now 11 months into studying and have learned something in the area of 3,500 words, and should have learned more than 4,000 words by the anniversary of my first blog post, which my calendar tells me is January 6, eight weeks from now.
When I started this project, eight weeks of study seemed like a mammoth undertaking. Now it seems barely consequential, like I could just lie down to sleep and wake eight weeks later without noticing its passing. I shall try to wrap up several of my projects in the next two months, though, so I can think about what my second year of study will be like. I should have the following finished:
1. I have been working my way through a small English-Yiddish dictionary and am now up to the letter S. I should be done with this by then.
2. I have been writing down Yiddish curses. I should have about 40 by the end of the year and this seems like enough curses for the moment.
3. I have been learning from an audio course called "Yiddish Crash Course" taken from a Kaplan language program. I will be done with that.
That leaves one project to carry over into the new year: That of learning the entirety of "Say It in Yiddish,"which is slow going, as I only teahc myself a few phrases from the book per day, and, at the moment, the phrases all sound like this: "Did I leave my luggage at the airplane and will I need it for the customs officer?"
I know two projects I wish to begin in the coming years. Firstly, I plan to buy the massive "Comprehensive English-Yiddish Dictionary" and use that to continue learning vocabulary, as well as going back and building on vocabulary I already have. My current flash cards do not give the plural form of any word I use, because none of my resources have been very comprehensive about giving plurals, and so I must add that in on every flashcard for a noun that I have already created.
Secondly, I need to work my way through a really good Yiddish grammar book. I have been saying I must do this for 10 months now, so it will be time to stop saying it and start doing it.
I do not know what else I wish to accomplish in my second year of study and I suppose I will have to just make it up as I go along, as I have for my first year. I do feel strongly that my second year should include some creative projects, rather than these faux-academic projects I have been engaged in, but I don't know what those might be.
Well, I have two months to think about it, and I will be in a position to sit and really think about things on Sunday, the day after moving day, when I will no longer be in transit but instead settled in my Elliot Park home.
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