Afrikaans Update – Week 3

I started my Afrikaans 6-week challenge on October 7, if I’m not mistaken, so I am starting my fourth week of this challenge. Here are some more of my impressions, both about the language and my language learning experience in general.

I love Afrikaans…

But not as much as I love Russian. It’s sad, but true. I have had a lot of trouble motivating myself this past week. In fact, I’ve found myself listening to quite a bit of Russian radio and podcasts (is it bad that I really enjoy the Kremlin-backed Voice of Russia?), but less Afrikaans material. I also have not reviewed my flashcards in about a week, which isn’t good!

Russian helps with Afrikaans

Surprisingly enough, my Russian knowledge has helped with figuring out some new words in Afrikaans. While on one of the websites that has podcasts in Afrikaans, I saw a flashing banner at the top that contained the word “reklame.” This is remarkably similar to the Russian реклама [reklama], which means “advertisement.” Apparently, Afrikaans and Russian share a German root for this word (it’s “reklame” in German and “reclame” in Dutch, at least according to Google Translate).

A bad time for a 6-week challenge

Ultimately, I think this may have been a bad time to take on a language challenge. I have a lot of other stuff going on (National Novel Writing Month is coming up and I’m doing some online coursework) and have had trouble dedicating time to Afrikaans.

(Though the same thing happened when I was learning Russian: I was enrolled in four other classes every semester, some of which required long problem sets, lab preparation, or extensive reading and research papers, yet I managed to learn Russian pretty well. The difference was first-year Russian was over the course of two semesters, not six weeks. Plus, I had my intense, native-speaker professor giving homework every night and an exam every few weeks. Bottom line: someone grading your work and therefore holding you accountable is a powerful motivator.)

What’s next?

I still have three weeks left in the challenge and I hope to learn some more Afrikaans. (Whether this will happen remains to be seen, especially in light of my upcoming novel writing.)

And it’s also time to admit something: though I like foreign languages in general, no matter how many other languages I learn, Russian will always have an incredibly special place in my heart. Вот и все.

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