Studying Yiddish: Year Two


 A weekly journal of Max Sparber's attempts to teach himself Yiddish.

YEAR ONE

51 weeks of Max's experience as a lone student of Yiddish. For most of the first year, Max was teaching himself in Omaha, Nebraska, a desert of the Yiddish language, but by the end of the year he had moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, which was merely a near-desert of Yiddish.

YEAR TWO


WEEK 1:  101 YIDDISH THINGS IN 1001 DAYS
Max makes an enormous, preposterous list of what he hopes to accomplish in the next two and a half years.

WEEK 2: THE WINTER HAT
It is very cold in Minneapolis, and Max has been learning grammar.

WEEK 3: SCHAECHTER
Max is working with a new dictionary, and it is so much fun that he risks forgetting to do anything else. But how can anyone resist a dictionary that includes the word "sex bomb"?

WEEK 4: THE LIST
Max is getting a lot done, but he is exhausted. Exhausted!

WEEK 5: THE SCHEDULE
Max's daily schedule, which includes playing a Simpsons video game, studying Yiddish, and listening to a lot more country music than you might expect.

WEEK 6: FORWARD
Max has discovered he can trick himself into continuing to study Yiddish by inventing unlikely and irrelevant goal for himself.

WEEK 7: EIGHT YEARS OF HEBREW
Max wonders what it will be like for him when he has studied Yiddish as long as he studied Hebrew.

WEEK 8: A CAT MAY ALSO LOOK AT A KING
Unsure of what to write about, Max writes about how hard it is to come up with things to write about.

WEEK 9: THE ROAD MAP
Max realizes that studying on his own has started to be like improvising a road map to an unknown destination.

WEEK 10: THAT GODDAMN WORD
A word Max has been trying to learn for a year just suddenly pops into his head, and he instantly goes from not knowing it to knowing it

WEEK 11: THE CHAOS
There's always chaos creeping at the edge of Max's world, threatening to take over. A tough week of Yiddish studies turned into an unhappy reminder of this.

WEEK 12: IT'S UP TP YOU NEW YORK
 Max prepares for a trip to New York, where there is a lot more Yiddish than Minneapolis.

WEEK 13: KISHKA AND TONGUE SANDWICH 
Max returns from New York and has some thoughts about the experience.

WEEK 14: THE FLIBBERTIGIBBET
Max starts getting distracted, because he is a flibbertigibbet.

WEEK 15: THE BURNOUT
Max experiences brief burnout in his studies and finds himself wondering if he wouldn't rather be a cowboy.

WEEK 16: 160,000 FLASHCARDS
Max buys a new iPod and dedicates his old one exclusively to Yiddish, so the new goal is however many flashcards it would take to fill the iPod. Answer: 160,000.

WEEK 17: DISCIPLINE
Some thoughts on the discipline of learning a foreign languages.

WEEK 18: THE BIRTHDAY
Max has one year before he turns 50, when he imagined himself competent enough in Yiddish to just sit in a deli and read a Yiddish newspaper.