This is my very first week studying Czech "seriously." It is not my first exposure to a language with marked case. But Arabic has three cases only, and it is mainly in the written form, which was really never my forté, to be honest. I was always light years ahead of my peers in spoken ammiya. Why? It was still just as difficult, if not more.
Because it was fun.
I know myself pretty well. I am an auditory learner. I like communicating with real human beings. My brain shuts off when it sees tables and charts of case endings and grammatical structures. The problem with cases is the "100 screens" problem.
With the internet, I have the world's largest library at my fingertips. I also have several physical Czech language textbooks. Still, rote repetition of three word sentences like, "To je matka," or, "Dáme si maso," or, "Díváme na fotku," - these are certainly necessary, but they are also really mind-numbingly boring, in any language, and even more so with the temptation of interesting, exciting, beautiful, real, authentic language.
When I was in 5th grade, during spelling tests I wrote the spelling words on one piece of paper, and on another piece of paper I drew an ongoing comic strip representing each of the spelling words in each new frame. It was a creative challenge to try to imagine a story connecting July, control, practice, naughty, straight, comet, statement, meteor, galaxy, ethnicity, commercial, financial etc. It was a hilarious game, even if I was the only one laughing.
My point is that it is really necessary for me to enjoy the language learning experience, or I will quickly become discouraged and lose interest.
This cannot happen for me with Czech. I must learn it.
What motivates me:
people, relationships, ideas, laughter/jokes
seeing my progress over time
feeling good about myself
How do I like to consume language?
talking/joking with friends in person
writing back and forth with friends, especially via social media
listening to people pontificate (like my brother. It's not a conversation, but I like his monologues anyway, haha)
listening to the radio
listening to audiobooks
reading (good) novels
In general, top-down learning is more fun for me than bottom-up learning.
If I can
Vlog or blog a Czech grammar concept.
Texting with a native speaker.
Speaking with a native speaker over skype or something. I would love to do this so much.
I really enjoy highlighting new, interesting words, putting them into a flashcard generator, practicing the flashcards, and creating interesting sentences for my blog.
Listening to the radio and explain what I think it was about.
Listening to a song.
Watching a movie.
Listening to a story, fairy tale, or article and reading along with a text in real time.
Reading an article and explaining what I think it was about.
Reading a text out loud.
Here is how I did in week 1:
Well, I figured out what the heck třeba means in at least two cases.
I had some texting/emailing conversations. It was really difficult. I felt really stupid. So I went ahead and started helping some random guy in India with his English, until he wanted to start sexting, which was highly disturbing and sad/enraging to me on many different levels. It makes me distrust the entire male species.
Well, it looks like that is the biggest omission which I shall have to try to fill later this evening.
I wrote a lot of example sentences and made a lot of errors, some of which were hilarious. It was fun and interesting, and gives me some perspective on what works and what doesn't work.
I wrote a dictée that I did not completely fail on every word. So there's that.
I watched Beauty and the Beast in Czech and loved it. Like, really loved it.
I started doing this with the radio stories, and keeping track of what I understand. It's interesting.
I listened to and read out loud that fairy tale, "hrnečku vař!" and yes, I am totally fully aware that it is 150 year old Czech. But it is also really fun and interesting.