20 Endangered Languages in 2020

20 Endangered Languages in 2020: Progress Report #09

20 langs in 2020 progress 09 mi

Two updates in one day (!) but now I’ll finally be back on track. Anyway, read on to find out how I’m doing, twelve days into learning te reo! 

It’s been an interesting six days. After mostly focusing on uTalk and Tipu (both apps) for the first six days, I thought it might be time to introduce other resources. It’s only taken me… uh… six languages to work out that this might be a good strategy, but we’ll see if it pans out here.

I started using Drops again! I kind of forgot that I’d put it on a list for when I started Māori, and after not finding it that useful for Ainu, I was a little hesitant to try it again. But, I’ve done some work on the Food and Drink topic on uTalk, so the food topic on Drops has been kind of useful for reinforcing some vocabulary.

I spent a little bit of time searching through Amazon previews of Māori textbooks to see if anything useful came up. Not having a grammar resource is proving a little tricky, now, even though I’m only a few days in.

Ah, grammar.

Let me just get one thing straight: I enjoy grammar, but I’m not married to using it immediately. I think there’s a lot to be said for learning structures without really understanding what changes when, especially if you’re trying to be communicative within a really short time frame.

However, that becomes difficult when the language I’m learning is so different from any other I’ve learnt before.

For example, if I started learning Romanian tomorrow—a language I’ve never learnt before—then I would expect to pick up grammar patterns quickly. It’s a Romance language and I know some Spanish and some French and some Italian, and my brain can therefore spot the patterns and guess that, well, if this whole sentence means ‘I’m hungry’, then this word is probably ‘I’ and this one is ‘hungry’ and blah blah blah. It works.

I don’t have this frame of reference for Māori and it’s also not as close to English and so, not knowing any grammar points is making it difficult for me to adapt what I know to be useful. Using uTalk, for example, I can learn these sentences:

Kei te hikai au. – I’m hungry.

Kei te hiainu au. – I’m thirsty.

E riri ana au. – I’m angry.

Kei te hiamoe au. – I’m tired.

So, this is all useful. It’s pretty clear which are the words for ‘hungry’, ‘thirsty’, and ‘tired.’ But what about angry? Why isn’t the sentence, ‘Kei te angry au.’? What, exactly, does ‘kei te ___ au’ mean? Does ‘kei te’ mean ‘I am’ or is ‘kei te’ ‘I’ or ‘au’ ‘am’ or what?

It’s really not clear. And to use those sentences to talk about anything other than myself, I’m going to have to hunt for a resource that can help me out a little. So, that’s why I had a look through the Amazon previews, as well as an old (old) textbook here—First Lessons in Māori (1930). This was okay, but very dry and very grammar heavy, so I only looked at it for about fifteen minutes before abandoning it.

Hopefully, I’ll find some resource to help me out in the next six days!

Anyway, here’s my stats:

In my second six days, I spent 184 minutes (3.06 hours) studying Māori. That averages out to 31 minutes per day; overall I’m at 377 minutes (6.28 hours), which is still around 31 minutes per day.

I’ve learnt 31 words on Memrise (across two different decks) and have 2,546 points on uTalk, across thirteen topics that I’ve learnt to various stages.

Here’s my breakdown:

chart (2)

Obviously, there’s a lot more going on this time compared to last and I do expect the proportion of this chart showing uTalk to drop in the next six days again, too, as I spend time with other resources.

For now, I’m off—it’s late—and I’ll return at the end of the week with my wrap-up of how learning Māori has been!

Hei konā!


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