Language Log #2: My Russian Fling

Who knows how long the passion will last, or when the honeymoon phase is over, but right now I’m completely in love with Russian.

I’m treating Russian as a new project. I’m a few weeks in and so far it’s an interesting experiment. It’s the first language I am learning completely from scratch. I have literally zero previous experience in it. Before I started, I hadn’t even consumed much (if any) Russian media, not even in translation (well, with the exception of Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We).

So why on earth would I go through the trouble of learning it? Short answer: travel. Russian is by far the most useful language for my upcoming travel plans, as it’s either the official language, the second official language, or an unofficial language of many countries that are very high on my bucket list. There are apparently over 260 million native and L2 speakers of Russian, so that’s another added bonus! And frankly, the more I immerse myself in Russian, the more excited I get about almost everything – cinema, tv series, music, literature, memes (just kidding, but apparently Russian memes are pretty hardcore and now I’m curious).

My initial plan was to study Russian completely on my own, without the help of classes. I’ve reconsidered, and have now signed up for classes starting in September (the same type of classes I’ve taken for Mandarin and Korean). At this early stage feedback is going to be very welcome! And it’s also very much a social thing for me.

My short-term goal is survival-Russian. I want to get to CEFR A2.1 in about a year, which means a year of classes and a lot of self-study on the side. After that, we’ll see.

For now I’m using:

And I’m exploring Russian cinema and tv series… which is an adventure on its own! To be continued…

Running for your life

Well over a year ago I started running. The reason behind it is still a bit of a mystery to me. For years I’ve proclaimed that I absolutely refuse to run. Even though I love exercise and being outside, for a long time I still stubbornly refused to run. I believed running was one of those things that was just not suitable for me, that I just wouldn’t like it, and wouldn’t be good at it, and… However, I think it’s that same stubbornness that got me running in the end. Because what do you mean I can’t do the thing?! I will prove to you that I can do the thing.

After two false starts (a running related knee injury and an unrelated ankle injury) I finally got to a decent level of running, thanks to the Couch25K program. There are a lot of apps out there for different operating systems that help you get from zero to running 5k straight in a couple of months. Couch25K got me from a complete non-runner to running 35 minutes/6K non-stop in about three months (technically the program is 8 weeks, but running three times a week was incompatible with my schedule soooo…).

These days I’m running anywhere from 8k-10k twice a week (apparently anything is possible). Still, my attention span for anything is… short, at best. I have this newfound love for running, but how on earth am I going to stay interested?

Apparently the answer is: getting chased by zombies.
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Language Log #1: Contemplating languages

I am a linguaphile. I am completely intrigued by languages. I love looking at the links between different languages, similarities and differences, language jokes and memes, and yes, I love learning languages.

What I am most definitely not: a talented polyglot.

There are many things that get in the way of learning languages properly, but they can mostly be summarised: I have a terribly short attention span, lose interest quickly, and have very little discipline. As a result I end up doing most things half-assed. Case in point: learning languages. I always envy polyglots who work at languages systematically and end up being very decent, if not fluent at them (although everyone has a different definition of fluency and that’s a topic for another time). Me? I’m decent at best, and at worst completely hopeless.

I want to learn all the languages and I want to be really, really good at them.

But at some point the reality of the situation dawned on me:

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Aaaaaand it’s back!

Hello everyone! Well, looks like I am reviving this blog!

I’ve taken some time to rework the lay-out and am quite satisfied with it (click here if you’re reading from an RSS reader!)

Content-wise I’ve decided to keep most book related posts – the reviews and reading challenges and such.

I am branching out however! I realised I don’t necessarily want to stop talking about books, but I do want to start talking about all the other things I love. More about language learning, more about all kinds of pop culture, more about the trazillion other (mostly geeky) things and projects that I occupy myself with on a daily basis.

Don’t expect too many posts too often. I am going the Slow Blogging way! I just really want to share the things I am excited about with you, and see where that leads me. In the near future I will also be working on making all content more easy to find, as well as making this blog more accessible.

Last but not least, I will be taking requests again. Anything you want me to try out and talk about? Be it books, podcasts, apps, etc etc. If you think I’ll be interested, give it a shot and contact me!

Quitting

Hi all. I think the time has come to do the inevitable, and that is… quitting.

I am still a voracious reader. I still love books. But frankly I lost interest in book blogging a long time ago (when many of my favourite book bloggers quit) and probably should have stopped much sooner.

I’ve moved all my book reviews to my Goodreads profile. By all means come follow me there!

I’m now looking into which other content I want to keep and then I’m pulling the plug. It’s time for a new project (although god knows what that’s going to be) and this blog will eventually be re-purposed 😉