156 Days

If you’ve been following my blog and the videos I’ve posted I have several interests. With priorities I have limited time for some interests. I also have to make time for several interests in order to accomplish goals.

I have several goals I’ll cover. The first is getting down to a specific weight by the time next years language symposium comes around. This is a personal goal. I’d like to get down between 180 and 200 pounds. That’s a lofty goal. I’d be happy with 220. My next goal, also for the symposium is to be conversational in Cherokee. I’ve been working with the dictionary for 6 years and I have picked up a lot of words through that project. I’ve picked up more information writing the transliteration engine and conjugation engine the dictionary site uses. However, I have no listening comprehension or reading comprehension and I certainly cannot speak. I sound like an angry sushi chef instead of a Cherokee speaker. The parallel goal is to be able to produce blog content and vlog content in Cherokee. That content I’ll verify with other speakers before publishing which will also help improve fluency.

The symposium is coming around about 156 days from now. I was listening to a video by Judith Meyer who says you need about 600 hours to become fluent in a language. My plan is to spend about 4 hours a day working with Cherokee to understand it better which comes out to 150 days. So, plenty of time.

I have a life to attend outside of these goals so I am structuring my studies to be consolidated. That means while I ride my stationary bike I’ll be listening to stories, listening to vocabulary, and working through my own “course.” While I’m working out with strength training I’ll be listening to stories and listening to vocabulary. I will also translate English to Cherokee and Cherokee to other languages including English then ask for corrections. I’ll also be an active participant in the language in my daily life. So, I’ll attempt to describe my food, name items around the house, have faux conversations in my head, work with other learners, practitioners, professors, and fluent speakers to improve my conversational skills and personal courses. This will include some interpretation work – so I’ll listen to audio in English and attempt to interpret it to Cherokee.

I have spent 4 years working on aggregating material into a binder. I have already split the material up into chapters by topic so that I could have a grasp when I decided to work on my own material again. I approached this the way I’ve learned every other language I know and I’ve outlined that above. Almost all of this work will be handwritten and eventually transcribed to a digital format – however, I work faster with a notepad and paper when it comes to languages so to begin with this is how it’s going to be.

I started with three steno pads. Each side contains a different language – Cherokee, Arabic, Russian, Japanese, German, and Spanish. I then have notebook paper with the English translation and popup grammar for Cherokee only. If I have grammar notes for the other languages I write them in the margins; such as Arabic /kaif hal/ (m) [-ak] (f) [-ik]. In this way, I am focusing on Cherokee and retaining information about the other languages. I have a lot of experience in those languages listening, reading, writing, and speaking so minor grammar notes are ok. If I need something more substantive that is different in Cherokee then I write dialog related to the differences. For example, all of the other languages have ways to say /Good Morning/, /Good Afternoon/, /Good Evening/, and /Good Night/. Those are separate phrases. In Cherokee there is only one way to say all of those /Osiyo/ or shortened to /Siyo/. So my stories will contain those differences in a more amusing (read: interesting) way.

I will be documenting my journey. I’ve needed something to vlog about and I really know a lot about languages. I am not a master of languages. I am a linguaphile. So, I know languages, maybe not linguist level understanding, enough that I can get by. And my translations to other languages may be wrong in nuance – they are what I’m going to use and document. So, if, for instance, I mistakenly learn that /kaif halik/ is for males (which it is not) then that’s what i’m going to use. Through the process of translation and interpretation I’ll eventually learn the proper way. Another instance is Russian has all parts must agree with the case whether Nominative, Accusative, etc. I’ve been told I speak Russian like a Georgian where I don’t conjugate all of the parts of a sentence just verbs. I’ll be improving that, however, that’s not my focus so some of that will be incorrect.

Finally, there are two dialects of Cherokee; Giduwah (EBCI) and Otali (Oklahoma). I am most familiar with and believe that I have more reference material in Otali including the Durbin Feeling Grammar from his dictionary. The professors and native speakers I’ll be talking with will be EBCI or from North Carolina. So, I’ll annotate the differences between the two languages as I encounter them, but my dialect will be a mix of both while I attempt to focus on one dialect. As such, I know I’ll have a weird way of reading and speaking the language. As I said, though, I’m going to attempt to document those differences. Sources I use to read and listen are from the Cherokee Phoenix website which is one dialect. I may end up with a hodgepodge of dialectical speaking and writing. That’s neither here nor there in context of the goals.

So, that is all I can think of at this moment. While I’m working on these goals I’ll also be producing videos about Burn Notice transitions and how to better enhance your vlogs with tips and tricks about filming and setup. There may be some videos about refurbishing the house, however, my content will primarily be about the language, vlogging, etc.

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