|Get Ready.... Get Set...|
But this is steampunk! History with the benefits of the contemporary! With all of this internet at our fingertips, we can certainly learn about a culture's clothes and art, so why don't we study their languages too? There is actually a Learn a Foreign Language Month, but it's a little appreciated observance in December and I'm anxious to try out this experiment and see if others are on board. That's why Multiculturalism for Steampunk: The Steamer's Trunk declares February to be the Great Language Learning Challenge!
I know that it takes months of study to have a grasp of a language and years in order to achieve fluency. However, much like National Novel Writing Month this is meant to be an exercise in trying something new rather than mastering an extensive skill in a month. The first thing you need to learn a language is the interest and drive to do so, and the Challenge is meant to help start that.
1. No google translate, babelfish, or other translation websites for help. Not only is this cheating, but a lot of times the syntax is wrong and boy, will you look a fool.
2. You must learn correct (or as close as you can manage if you have difficulties) pronounciation- it's wonderful that you can say "C'est tres bon", but not so much if you say it "Kest tress bone".
3. You must learn 100 vocabulary words- please try to avoid cognates, those are easy!
4. You may not learn a variation on your own primary tongue- so no British English/American English. Yes, as different as European French and Quebecois is, the structure is still similar and gives you an advantage. The ONLY exception to this are official language variations of sign language. (For example, if you speak English and are American, you may learn American Sign Language and still be within the rules. My hat goes off to you- learning to sign is quite difficult, I've tried.)
5. I'm sorry geeks- but fantasy or science fiction constructed languages are not allowed within this event, this includes: Elvish (Sindarin AND Quenya), Klingon, Dwarvish, Naavi, or the Divine Language (.... Leeloo multipass?).
6. In the spirit of this blog however, Esperanto is completely allowed. For the unfamiliar: Esperanto was invented in the 1880s as an uncomplicated and non-violent language for everyone to learn which would, in hope, bring about peace and understanding. If there ever was a steampunk language, I suppose!
7. Your vocabulary can only include a maximum of two expletives and furthermore they have to be ones actually used in the language, not translated from your primary tongue. Sorry, all.
8. At the end of February, upload a video to youtube of you making the following introduction from memory- feel free to be creative and fun with your videos! Be sure to place a transcript of what you've said in the description, along with a translation if you so choose.
When you upload your video, make sure:
-It has the tags: multiculturalism, steampunk, and GLLC
-It has "My Great Language Learning Challenge" and then the language you learned as the title. (So mine would be: My Great Language Learning Challenge: Georgian.)
-There is a link back to this blog post in the description so people know what the hell you're on about.
-Greeting of your choice (in the plural, to be specific)
-My name is _____
-I have learned (language of choice). (Yes, we're bringing TENSES into this.)
-I am from (your city/town, state/province, and country of origin)
-I am a(n) (occupation)
-I like (list at least four hobbies, sports, or other things you enjoy)
-My favorite food is ______.
-My favorite book is ______.
-What was you favorite vocabulary word?
-Finally, answer this question- Are you going to learn more?
9. When viewing another participant's video, please be open-minded and courteous. People are putting themselves out there by learning a new language and unveiling the results for the world to see, so if their accent is off or they misconjugated slightly, be nice and helpful rather than derisive or negative. This month is meant to get people interested in learning and appreciating different languages, so let's be encouraging folks!
|A postcard (probably 1910s) extolling the peaceful virtues of Esperanto|
|Note: this hat was made by CW, but is the style of the prize hat.|
- Listen to native speakers. Whether in movies, music, or even videos on youtube, hearing a native speaker will often help you grasp the rhythm and sound of a language.
- Perhaps pick the language of an indigenous people, like Zulu, Quechua, or Ojibwemowin. Not only are they very fun to learn, but you can also aid in the preservation of a language that might be dying out.
- If you work in service, education, or business, perhaps take this as a jumpstart to learn a language that might give you an advantage in your working life. Some of the fastest growing languages right now are: Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, and Hindi-Urdu.
- Of course, knowing Spanish, French, or English aids a great deal in everyday life as well. If I had a nickel for every time I had to use my conversational French skills (living in Detroit, of all places!) I would be able to buy myself a nice dinner.
- Get to know and love your culture! Are you learning Thai? Go for dinner some night! What about Spanish? Try watching a film in Spanish! (I would recommend Cronos, directed by Guillermo del Toro. Not only is it deliciously dark, but the Cronos device looks very steampunk.)
- Get a friend to learn your language with you! Not only does it pull someone else in
Excited? I know I am! The Challenge officially begins February 1st, so pick your language, find some sourcebooks or programs, and get ready to dive in! Feel free to comment with your chosen language, you might find a study buddy.
If you're participating, feel free to join the official facebook event as well!