Assimil German. Again. 1

Sup?

It’s time for an update on my ultra-slow Assimil German project.

As you may recall, I decided to spend ten minutes a day learning German using the Assimil German course, and see where it took me.

As you may also recall, I have also been spending a significant amount of time on painting, putting up fences (still to be done) and general maintaining of the fabric of the house. In my defence, there isn’t a lot else to do in the UK what with the pubs, bars, restaurants, cinemas and shops being closed and travel more or less impossible. In short, I have turned into a DIY bore which isn’t something that I ever anticipated.

Strangely perhaps, this has meant that the ultra slow language learning project has slowed further.

Slowed but not stopped.

The pleasing thing is that it turns out that this method of learning another language (and over learning a small amount of information) really suits me, and you can read about it here if you are so inclined.

Festina lente has for me never been so apt.

And finally the update which you have been waiting for :-

Words known. 93

Lesson reached. 8

Next time, I will tell you all about my Croatian progress …

Besos, baci and pax.

MF.

Posted in Assimil Diary. Slow German. | Leave a comment

Assimil German. Again. Day Zero

Sup?

Sometimes looking at the positives (instead of the many, many negatives) in any given situation helps …

So, on that note …

Pandemic life isn’t all bad. The weather has been OK. There has been an ensuing economic downturn (catastrophe might be a better word) leading me and many others to have more time.

The air is cleaner. The streets are more peaceful. You can hear the birdsong (even in the middle of a city).

My life is slower and more reflective.

I’m doing jobs that have been left for years – re-doing the kitchen, putting up a new fence in our (small) garden (not tomorrow as the forecast for the West Country is torrential rain). And then more rain …

I have more time …

I am thinking more. I hope that maybe the world can change for the better when lockdown ends. Do we need to use cars all the time? Can we buy local food more, and support local businesses more?

I’m optimistic.

This leads back to the world of language learning, where I was reflecting why in the past I’ve had so little success with further languages until I started learning Croatian.

The answer is …

… being in too much of a hurry.

Over the years, I have stopped and started with Assimil with varying degrees of success.

One of my past attempts (back in 2017 or thereabouts) was using Assimil German. I didn’t get very far, but during lockdown I have decided to give it a whirl for a second time.

You know the old saying “same approach, same results” meaning rather obviously that without changing your approach to something, your results will be the same.

This holds true for most things in life, whether it be exercise (kettle bells and callisthenics if you must know), work (sigh), relationships or language learning.

I now have a different approach for using Assimil.

If you cast a glance at my language goals for the year, you won’t see German on the list.

My primary focus is that amazingly chic language Croatian, and that isn’t changing anytime soon but I still have a hankering to learn a tad of something else.

It was going to be Polish but it turns out (which I already knew but didn’t consider) that there are  many similarities between Polish and Croatian. These were enough to confuse me, which wasn’t helping my Croatian, and once again Polish has been put on the back burner. For now. Sorry.

And so my thoughts turned towards Assimil German.

I mulled it over and thought ok, lets give this another go. but I need to set myself some learning parameters. I’ve danced this dance before with Assimil, and fallen foul of the volume of information contained in the courses.

Still, I’m older, wiser and have learned a lot about language learning over the previous 18 months with my Croatian passion.

One of the various suggestions made by Assimil is that each lesson can be completed in approximately thirty minutes.

Well, not by me sunshine, not by me.

So here is my plan or perhaps a better description would be Assimil experiment. This will kill two metaphorical birds with one stone. 

Firstly, the the itch to play with another language (metaphorical bird number 1) and secondly an experiment with ultra slow learning (metaphorical bird number 2).

Assimil requires conservatively thirty minutes per day per lesson, and more realistically in my experience over an hour per day per lesson. This my babbers is time that I don’t have.

Actually, it is time I *could* have currently due to the combination of lockdown and reduced working hours.

However, it isn’t extra time that I want to spend on languages (kitchens, gardens etc take time). I haven’t even mentioned the curtain poles, light fittings and rendering …

I do most definitely have ten minutes.

I am now on the cusp of presenting to you my plan for ultra slow language learning in ten minutes a day.

My plan can be summed up as

Festina Lente

Literally meaning ‘haste with speed’ or more commonly ‘make haste slowly’. Apparently, according to the wiki, the Grand Duke of Tuscany used this as his motto along with a sail backed tortoise as illustration. Also, which I never knew, a dolphin entwined around an anchor is the most common representation of this motto.

And this is my POA (plan of action) which is a series of rules designed to keep me on track.

  • Each day I will add no more than three words to a German word list which I am overlearning.
  • The words will come from the current lesson.
  • I will only add words which are very common or useful to me particularly. So I would not include a word like Feder (feather) for example.
  • I will add the occasional sentence when it illustrates a grammatical point. The words contained must have been already added to the list.
  • I will spend the remaining ten minutes reading the grammar notes.

Overlearning. More on this later, but for now, for me and for Assimil German, it is learning and retaining a relatively small body of words, phrases and sentences which illustrate grammatical points.

What do I hope to achieve?

Like. Duh. A complete mastery of the German language;)

OK, as above, more on this later. In essence, I hope to remember 1000 words of German over the course of a year – and be able to recall them as required.

Strictly speaking, I should end up knowing slightly more with 365 multiplied by three coming in at 1095.

But assuming the economy ever recovers, I will presumably be working longer hours at some point, so days will be missed … occasionally.

Besos, baci et Pax.

MF

Posted in Assimil Diary. German, Assimil Diary. Slow German. | Leave a comment

Thoughts on learning Croatian

If you have perchance glanced at my blog, you might have noticed that for the last eighteen months or thereabouts, I have been learning Croatian.

I’ve just got to put it out there that I’ve been dipping into Samuel Pepys diary. Hence the ‘perchance’. Mr Pepys lived through the bubonic plague in London back in 1665, and I was reading his entries as a way to put context into Covid 19.

His language is, to the modern ear, flowery but I am deviating (as usual) from the purpose of this post.

Let me start writing again, and imagine that I spoke this quickly, in a rush, desperate to get the word out.

I am learning Croatian and my level is probably a high A2 

Having reached these dizzy heights, I have thoughts on how to learn Croatian efficiently, and maybe some concrete advice to offer.

Follow it at your peril.

Croatian is one of the slavic languages. These languages offer certain challenges for the English speaker: cases, word order, perfective and imperfective verbs and so on. You also need to have a basic understanding of grammatical terms: nouns, adjectives, cases and so on.

Does that appeal?

Not all is doom and gloom, the pronunciation is straightforward and the verbs relatively easy to conjugate. Nothing much else springs to mind as being a metaphorical walk in the park, and it isn’t for nothing that Slavic languages can be considered difficult to learn (for us English speakers).

But, of course there are ways and means to speed up your progress, and if you are sitting comfortably then I will as Mr Pepys might have said ‘go thither’.

I never meant for Croatian to become one of my languages, originally intending to learn a few pleasantries of the type found in this site, some numbers and so on prior to a visit.

Anyway, I fell hopelessly in love with the language and it has become one of the five or six that I would like to speak well – or at least to a good B1 level.

I am eighteen months into my Croatian journey. I have found learning Croatian (thus far) to be a slow and enjoyable process with numerous twists, turns and detours and frustrations.

It’s the frustrations that I could do without, and these few breadcrumbs might help you travel through the wood.

Making a sentence!

One of the challenges of Croatian and I imagine any other slavic language is the volume of information needed to construct a basic sentence – which is more or less grammatically correct.

Here is an illustration (from the Little Prince) just to give you an idea.

Kad im pričate o nekom novom prijatelju, nikad vas ne pitaju za najbitnije.

The meaning is:-

When you talk to them about some new friend, they never ask you …

All sorts of different cases are used in what is a simple Croatian sentence.

O is a preposition meaning about and has to be followed using the locative case. In Croatian, adjectives and nouns change depending on the case required so novi (new) becomes novom, prijatelj (friend) becomes prijatelju and so on.

The word order is different from English. Kad im pričate (when they say to you) is literally ‘when to you they say’, and to make matters worse im (to you) also changes depending on the meaning required.

OK. Looking at that you might wonder how anyone manages to say anything at all in Croatian? It also begs the questions as to where to start as a beginner?

Clearly there is too much information to retain to be able start making sensible sentences of your own (other than in some limited circumstance).

At the beginning, it is more or less impossible to see the wood for the trees, so the first piece of advice is don’t worry. Chill. Relax. Chillax,

You will not be able to understand how Croatian sentences hang together at the beginning, so don’t worry about it. Unless you have a brain the size of a planet, and frankly if you do then why probably don’t need to read these words.

So, to counteract the feeling of helplessness that this fosters, I present to you dear friend and reader the second piece of advice which is to learn a few well chosen complete sentences.

Try and pick simple and short sentences which are useful (to you), and where possible which illustrate a part of Croatian grammar (which makes sense to you).

Here is an example:

Učio sam gramatiku (I have learned grammar)

It reminds me (personally) of the past tense, and it reminds me that Croatian feminine nouns change endings from a to u in the accusative.

It is useful for me, but probably not for you which is the point.

You have to make your own lists.

The third piece of advice is that you have to learn Croatian grammar but you can learn it slowly (korak po korak) without worrying about it. It might not be trendy and might not be cool to some, but absolutely ignore grammar at your peril.

I enjoy playing with Latin, and parsing Latin sentences for fun so it’s no great hardship for me. If you don’t like grammar, and find it boring release your inner geek and revel in words like pluperfect, apposition, attributive and transitive.

No? Not grabbing you? Maybe for starters, just least learn what nominative, accusative, genitive, dative and locative are about.

You don’t need to worry about ablative in Croatian 😉

The most important piece of advice (I think) for you to speak Croatian (as opposed to understand Croatian) is overlearning of a small part of the language.

I’m going to elaborate on this in a later post (as it is important) but for now small part means:

  • Sentences which are useful or illustrate some essential part of Croatian grammar.
  • Sentences which are useful to you personally.
  • Language chunks. For example, ‘last week’, ‘I went to’, ‘every day’ and so on.
  • Common words which are useful. For example, ‘animal’ might go in the list but ‘dog’ and ‘cat’ would not, or ‘black’ and ‘white’ might be included but ‘cyan’ would not.

The key to the above list is over learning. I think it is really, really important and also why Assimil can be so good if used well.

The aim is to know the words instinctively and be able to recall them without thinking.

I will elaborate on this, but for now, my suggestion would be don’t add more than three or four words a day to the list if you are using spaced repitition.

I know that sounds like heresy, but make haste slowly. I’ll explain l8r.

For what it is worth, my goal is to be at a consistent B1 or above with languages that I learn, and I think that in particular this over learning is hugely important regarding speaking at that level (and not forgetting everything).

It is also perfectly achievable with 30 minutes a day over time.

Besos, Baci and hand washing in the time of the Pandemic.

MF.

Posted in Croatian | Leave a comment

Let’s parse some Latin:) Part. 2

Sup?

I just know that you want to parse :

In principio creavit Deus caelum et terram

In these days of Covid, I hope you are all keeping all staying safe and finding ways to amuse yourselves, and what better way than playing with Latin?

And it will also help you with your Croatian;)

“In principio creavit Deus caelum et terram” is the first sentence, of the first paragraph of the first page of the Vulgate (St Jeromes translation of the bible), and basically kicks off the Old Testament. Genesis. 1. 1. to be precise.

It is also great to parse as it is simple and illustrates all sort of cool things about Latin.

The Vulgate was written to be understood, and the Latin wasn’t horribly complicated. This means it’s a great way to practice. Digressing a bit, but when I learnt Latin (back in the dark ages), we had to learn all sort or rules by heart. The idea was that this would help us to learn Latin.

Latin has nouns which fit into groups (declensions) which have similar endings, an example being Bellum.

This is an example of a second declension neuter noun) and declines like so :- bellum, bellum, bellum, belli, bello, bello in the singular. The plural is different.

Well, this kind of activity certainly kept me busy but didn’t encourage any kind of appreciation of Latin or languages for that matter.

But, we can analyse, look at and parse a small sentence such as “In principio creavit Deus caelum et terram” and start to understand why Latin is cool.

I’ve saved you the bother of looking the words up. It gave me something to do in these days of lock-down. As is traditional with Latin (and indeed with other similar languages), I’ve listed them in the nominative singular.

principium Beginning. Second declension. Neuter.

Deus. Divine being. God. Second declension. Masculine.

Caelum. Heaven. Sky. Second declension. Neuter.

Terra. Earth. First declension. Feminine.

Et. And. Conjunction.

In. In when followed by the ablative case.

Creo, are. To create

And now onto the parsing.

In principio. The Latin word ‘in‘ followed by a noun in the ablative ‘principio‘ means somewhat anticlimactically ‘in’, giving us ‘in the beginning’.

The case matters as if it was followed by a noun in the accusative, it would mean ‘to’.

Creavit. This is a verb and the ending ‘it‘ tells us it mean ‘he created’.

The subject normally does the creating, and must be in the nominative case. The only noun which fits the bill is Deus.

The object is the ‘thing’ which was created, and in this snippet we have two objects ‘caelum et terram‘.

But, I hear you wonder (petulantly if you are anything like I was), how do we know that either caelum et terram is an object?

We know because they are both in the accusative case (reserved in general for objects).

Remember my example of bellum?

Well, caelum declines in the same way, giving us caelum, caelum, caelum, caeli, caelo, caelo.

caelum is both the nominative and accusative, but it fits as an object and makes sense in the context of the sentence.

terram is the accusative of terra. I will leave this as an exercise for the interested;) reader to decline.

This gives us literally :-

In the beginning created God heaven and earth.

Latin word order is flexible and not entirely similar to English so a better translation is obviously :-

In the beginning God created heaven and earth.

BTW I’m doing this from memory so fell free to correct me (politely) in the comments if I have erred.

Remember to wash you hands …

Pax, besos and baci.

MF

Posted in Latin, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Language learning goals. 2020

Sup doods and doodesses,

I hope you are all good, or failing that at least well.

I’ve just got back from a walk which depending on your perspective was dark, cold and unpleasant , or bracing, invigorating and full of interesting smells. 

My dog enjoyed it, and I on returning home did my Kettle Bells, which have been described as ‘an ancient russian weapon against weakness’ in Simple but Sinister (by Pavel Tsatsouline).

Kettle bells (in particular the swing) are in my opinion (combined with body weights) the ultimate workout. 

Not everyone agrees. 

Anyway, while walking and swinging my kettles (one arm obvs), I decided on my language objectives for 2020, so lets give you a clue with :- Happy New Year, Sretna Nova Godina x.

And now, while listening to Uptown Top Ranking (Althea and Donna), 54-46 Was My Number (Toots & the Maytals) and so on, I’m putting my language objectives for 2020 out there, sharing them with y’all dear readers.

Sretna Nova Godina is Happy New Year in Croatian, that most chic of languages will continue to be my primary focus during 2020. I reached some sort of A2 level last year and want to improve to some sort of B1 level before a hoped for holiday later in 2020.

By the way, my levels are an approximation and I’m only interested in speaking and aural comprehension. I  have been formally tested in Spanish and have a feel for the CEFR levels, although I freely admit that I could be way out.

I can more or less understand this in Croatian if this helps  anyone.

I do love Peppa Pig;)

In terms of time, I will spend a minimum of 30 minutes a day five days and an iTalki lesson lasting an hour on  Croatian. This works out at somewhere over 160 hours over the year, and I easily managed more than this consistently throughout 2019.

What else?

I will maintain my Spanish and Italian which I do through reading, language exchanges, music  and so on. If you do speak Italian and are interested in cooking check out Fatto in Casa da Benedetta

And …

… well this might be a little controversial considering the dismal ending previously but I’m going to spend a little time with Polish.

I attempted and failed entirely to learn any Polish over several years, in part because I lacked focus and in part because I hadn’t understood how to learn a slavic language.

Despite an active interest in languages, I don’t have a huge amount of time to spend on them (problem), and unless I am effective with the time I have, don’t make progress.

How then, you wonder, can I with previous form of being distracted, and limited time learn two languages at the same time?

Easy.

Firstly. Croatian always comes first (so no distractions). If I haven’t done my Croatian study, there is no Polish 🙁

Natch.

Secondly. I have a very precise objective with Polish.

This is too learn one Assimil lesson every two weeks. The lessons are not new too me, as I have (sort of) been through this process previously, so this should be possible.

I’m  going to learn the dialogs …

… by heart.

… two a month.

In other words, I’m going to totally over-learn the Assimil dialogs – which if nothing else should pass the time and stave off dementia in my dotage.

I’m interested in discovering whether over-learning a relatively small corpus of the language will enable me to communicate at all.

I will report back on this towards the end of the year.

Baci, Besos et Pax.

MF.

Posted in Language Goals, Learning Croatian, Learning Polish | 4 Comments

Donde quedamos a comer?

Sup?

OK. Call me stupid, and I can really offer no excuses, but I stared at this for ages, wondering what it meant.

And, yes, for all you Spanish speakers, I am well aware of the multiple uses of quedar and quedarse, but for some reason I had a complete mental block when staring at this.

Finally, the penny dropped, and I realised that it means, where shall we meet/go to eat?

And, you could, I suppose answer ‘donde quieras’.

So, and just to cement this in my memory “Donde quedamos a comer? Donde quieras tu”, and in English “Where shall we meet/arrange/go to eat’ followed by the answer “wherever you want”.

And, just to be pedantic (in case any pedant reads this), I am totes aware that ‘donde’ means ‘where’ and not ‘wherever’, but have taken a liberty on account of the subjunctive following.

As an aside, there is a programa sobre gastronomía with the title quedamos a correr.

Baci and Pax,

MF

Posted in Spanish | Leave a comment

Why learn a language to B1?

Sup?

How y’all doing?

I’m lying on the floor, listening to the torrential rain currently drenching my part of the west country while Max Gazze plays Sotto Casa in the background.

My evening has been for want of a better turn off phrase, well spent, firstly by watching Vintage Tran, secondly by cooking a mushroom risotto and thirdly by learning some Croatian.

And before continuing, I have to tell you that my risotto was cooked properly, with none of that pouring in all the stock onto the rice in one go rubbish. Believe it or not, some people in these ungodly times ACTUALLY do that.

Sigh.

Anyway, that’s enough about me.

How are you?

Are you sitting comfortably listening to the torrential rain somewhere? Or maybe sitting in the sun?

Are you also listening to Max Gazze? Statistically someone else should be.

Anyway, I digress, I wanted to remind myself (and you dear reader lying oh so comfortably on the floor), as to why I am attempting to learn five or six languages to a B1 level.

If you have followed by periodic ramblings you will know by now, that I have (had in the past) a woeful tendency to flit from language to language and learn more or less nothing.

This was becoming tiresome.

And so I made a change to my mindset (or chip as the Spanish sometimes say), and this was to reach a level of B1 in a language before moving on.

Why B1?

Why not say A2 or maybe to reach the dizzy heights of B2 or gasp C1/C2?

In essence, the time required.

I don’t have a lot of free time, but it is quite possible to learn a language to a B1 standard over two years (or so I believe), with quite a modest time investment – let’s say about half an hour a day of active learning.

Oh. Did I hear that?

Are you telling me that with my current rate of progress of learning Croatian I will need more than another year?

I don’t think so.

But you might be correct. It might take me two and a half years to reach a B1 level in Croatian (instead of two). So? Does that make a material difference?

I think not.

Half an hour? It’s not much is it? If this was one of those self blogs, I’d now write:

“now read on and discover how to free up half an hour each and every day …”

But it’s not.

How you find the extra time is up to you, but I’d suggest turning of the TV/Youtube/stop reading the news and so on and so forth.

So now you have the half an hour a day spend on learning a new language. Brilliant.

But …

… you don’t want to forget those other languages that you have already learnt (to B1) do you now?

You need to maintain a them – in your free time!

My Spanish and Italian is considerably higher than B1 and I don’t want to forget these, so I do language exchanges to maintain (and improve) them.

I like talking and I like getting to know people so this works for me. I also listen to audio books or music in French/Spanish/Italian on the way to and from work. I don’t maintain my spoken French, but will book a *lot* of iTalki lessons before my next visit.

The point I am getting at, is that maintenance can fit into your daily life. i.e. you don’t need to set aside extra time for it.

Thirty minutes a day (plus a bit of listening and chatting) is enough for me to scratch the language itch, make progress and generally feel more sophis and European.

I can say sacre bleu, boh, mama mia and joder with aplomb and dare I say it with panache and elan;)

I can also bust out a few handy Croatian phrases such as pada kiša as and when required.

I am, as we say in English (or rather as we used to say in the twenties in some specific cirlces) on the road to becoming an all round good egg in a chic multilingual european sort of way.

And thirty minutes is just not very long.

Thirty minutes doesn’t require a massive lifestyle change.

And so, you too, who I envisage lying on the floor listening to Max Gazze and the rain can do the same.

Besos and baci.

Pax,

MF

Posted in Language Goals, Language Learning | 2 Comments

Websites n Stuff

Sup?

You may or may not have noticed some disruption to Surface languages over the past two days.

I run the site on a Debian linux server rather than the more usual managed wordpress site.

I do this because it give me more freedom.

However, it also means that periodically I have to upgrade everything. I had been rather tardy doing this (previously using Debian 6) instead of the more up-to-date Debian 10.

The upgrade was a massive headache.

Substitute any word you want for headache.

I had to :-

Move from Debian 6 to 10

Reinstall Apache

Harden the server against naughty people.

Reinstall wordpress.

Reinstall php.

And the list goes on.

And on.

And on.

Finally, a new and improved, Surface languages is back and all is working as it should.

The massive benefit for me is that I can start working on the Polyglot People (currently non-functioning) part of the site.

You see the older versions of PHP (which I use as the backend language of SL), are lacking in some core functionality regarding encryption.

And I will need to encrypt passwords for PP.

But it was only when I started working on this that I realised that the older version of PHP that was installed on SL didn’t encrypt passwords to a decent standard.

Like DUH!

What was I thinking?

Meanwhile and back in the language world …

Let me tell you my news …

I have restarted my Italian language exchange. It had stopped for reasons which are various and distressing and that have no place on this blog. But rest assured that all is now well.

I have bought an audiobook of My Little Prince (il piccolo principe) to pass the time on the drive to work. I’l probably read it as well. Ditto with French.

I am continuing with my Croatian. Progress is slow but steady.

I am spending about 30 minutes concentrated study on Croatian six times a week, and most weeks have an iTalki  lesson.

Il piccolo principe is worth reading in any language, and I will at some point read it in Croatian. This will naturally be helped by the fact that I know the story well.

I love it.

And for you who are interested, here is a link to Croatian audio of the Mali Princ. 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PdILMwq24hM

Besos, baci and pax.

MF

Posted in PHP, Uncategorized, Website Design, Websites n stuff, Wordpress | 2 Comments

Ten months of Croatian

Sup Doods and doodesses?

Today it’s time to sit back, take stock and give  all of you an update on my Croatian after ten months, and if you are sitting comfortably, then I’ll begin.

Before the update, let me set the scene:-

I had as an aim the intention of learning  Croatian to a low B1 level from scratch this year (ready for a holiday to Croatia).

I naively thought that this would be achievable by spending around an hour a day on focused study, a lesson a week (carried out almost entirely in Croatian) and listening to Croatian audio while commuting to work.

I haven’t managed this and my realistic level is somewhere within the A2 range (currently).

In other words, I have put in a fair amount of effort to be able to string together some basic sentences.

The reason I am mentioning this, isn’t to discourage potential Croatian learners but rather to encourage them.

I’m writing this as an antidote to the language learning apps and blogs that promise fast results.

In my experience, the brain takes time to absorb new words and structures and it is not a quick process.

You may be different but I doubt it.

I am an average language learner, and you probably are too (by definition), and therefore our experiences are likely to be similar. I’d say it’s important to forget the geniuses and outliers for the purposes of this argument or you are likely to be disappointed by your slow progress and give up.

The internet is chock full of ‘fast learning strategies’ for languages and anything else that you can imagine,  but in my experience (I have several degrees and post graduate qualifations) learning anything to a decent standard takes time.

There are strategies that can help improve progress and obvious ones (as I am talking about language learning) are:-

Memorise responses to common questions (which is not a bad approach). This will help initial conversations (but you won’t understand the responses).

Learn common phrases that are relevant to you (but you won’t understand the responses).

Learn frequently used vocabulary which is relevant to you.

So, there are things that you can do which help initially and definitely help with motivation, but I am not convinced that these make much difference in the longer term.

You can also have a conversation of sorts quite rapidly (with a willing victim such as I am doing in my lessons), but this doesn’t equate in my mind to having  much of a grasp of the language.

The fundamental point is that learning anything (including languages) takes time, and by way of illustration let’s look at a Croatian words grad ‘city’, zena ‘woman’ and selo ‘village’.

Croatian has three genders, masculine, feminine and neuter and these three words are masculine, feminine and neuter respectively.

In English, we form the plural by adding an ‘s’ to a word (I know that there are exceptions), but in Croatian we have the following possibilities depending on the gender of the word and it’s function in the sentence:-

gradovi, gradove, gradova, gradovima, zene, zene, zenama, zena, sela, selima

I’m not saying this to put you off, as I think Croatian is a cool, chic and generally awesome language, but as a reality check.

It takes time to internalise grammatical structures.

You (if you are like me) are not going to do this quickly.

It takes time.

Your brain needs time to do this. I don’t know why or how this is the case, but it does.

As the somewhat cliched phrase tells us, it’s the journey not the arrival that matters, which is lucky in this case, as the journey will be a long one. If you carry on putting one foot in front of the other eventually you will get to where you want to go (if you are aiming in the right direction).

So, what about me and my Croatian?

I have already decided :-

hrvatski jezik je šik i nastavit ću ga učiti!!!

Baci and besos.

MF

Posted in Croatian, Learning Croatian | 2 Comments

Polyglot people

Sup All?

I briefly created a site called Polyglot People to scratch a coding itch, and to experiment with a ‘different look’ and a more ‘mobile first’ style of design.

I then decided that it was pointless having a separate site for what was essentially a new front end to the sentences on Surface languages.

After all, there is no rule telling us that a website should be identical on every page, and there is a certain homogeneity about many wordpress sites that makes the internet a less interesting place.

So, warts and all, Surface languages, continues to be at the forefront of the anti style movement, and will over time proudly embrace its idiosyncrasies.

And with that justification out of the way, I’ve given Polyglot People a new home here on Surface languages itself.

Currently it doesn’t work, but I will fix this soon (ish).

Baci & Besos,

MF

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