Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Drinkin', Readin' ...and Learnin' ???

I made a deal with myself: I put SURVIVAL KOREAN on the floor by the bed. I told myself that it had to stay there, and I didn't have to look at it unless I wanted to, but it would remain on the floor in that spot.

So it lay there all of Monday night, then all day Tuesday. Finally, on Tuesday night, I fell onto the bed after finishing teaching classes at 10:15 p.m. I finished the novel I was reading, CRAZY IN LOVE (very Laurie Colwin-ish, and I mean that in a positive way), and sipped some plum liquor from a blue plastic tumbler.

About the time I finished the novel, I also finished what was in the glass and I was feeling warm and plummy and sweetly and gently accepting of what life had to throw in my direction, so I picked up SURVIVAL KOREAN and turned to the first lesson, and read it carefully. Memorized the characters for g/k, m, d, and r/l. Then I looked at the vowels. They're going to be more of a challenge. For example, it's hard for me to distinguish between the ai sound as in 'air' and the e sound as in 'edible'.

Of course, at some point in the lesson, one is supposed to READ the book and LISTEN to the accompanying tape. Did I do that? Hell, no! I was too comfortable/lazy/tipsy to get out of bed, plug in the CD/tape player, and get the tape out of the package and into the player. I'll have to set it up in advance next time & have the tape player in easy reach of the bed.

One of my Korean-English dictionaries, the Berlitz, was in easy reach, so I grabbed that when I got hung up on pronouncing the words I could make with my first consonants and vowels. That dictionary is confusing! They need to stick with the basics and quit throwing in so much extra stuff! I'll use the other dictionary next time. It's more meat-and-potatoes. To continue my food metaphor, Berlitz is a casserole made from all the leftovers in the fridge & now it's cooking in the oven & the contents are messily running over the sides which means the oven is a mess, too.

I seem to remember that I read a paper in grad school about drinking and language learning. It was what you'd expect; a drink or two lowers the affective filter and lets the student relax enough to pick up some L2 learning, and anything over that impedes L2 learning. I wisely stuck with a drink or two, but it was at the end of the day. I think it's an experiment that bears repeating though, because obviously, my affective filter is putting a whipping on me. I still am not sure why.

No comments: