Yup, I've stuck my toes into the water, and am having a little splash around with Lithuanian.
(Already I can see I'm going to need to learn how to use diacritics and stuff if I want to blog properly about this, because that 'u' in 'jus' should have a line above it. Help?)
I'm using a podcast series called Lithuanian Out Loud and I'm just going to go right ahead and compare it to Say Something In Welsh because - well, my opinons and comments about this series only make sense in the context of having done SSiW, I think.
Things I like about Lithuanian Out Loud
- the introduction to each lessons includes some cultural background about Lithuania. I think if you've never been to the country (I certainly haven't) and you're just starting to get into the language media, it's nice to see the language you're learning as part of some cultural context. I know the aim of SSiW is to get you speaking the language as soon as possible and time spent discussing the amber trade (or whatever equivalent) is time wasted on that objective - but, I do appreciate this about Lithuanian Out Loud
- (can I abbreviate it to LOL?)
- The lessons follow the more usual structure of starting with 'hi, how are you doing?' and so on. In some ways not the most useful thing to know because you only get to say it once to a person; but then I found with SSiW that I wasn't necessarily prepared to make all those pleasantries in conversation (even though I could then tell you very interesting things about what I was thinking or learning or reading)
- There are 'quick response' episodes every five lessons - nowhere near similar in scope to SSiWs all-quick-response-all-the-time approach, but at least LOL has something along those lines, so after I've finished lacadasically listening to the other lessons, I can do a quick assessment of what I know and what I need to practice
- I'm enjoying the extra focus on grammar (any focus on grammar is "extra" focus on grammar compared to SSiW :) ) because actually I just enjoy grammar. It's not going to help me speak, but it's interesting to learn
Things I don't like about Lithuanian Out Loud
- It's so slow!! Oh my gosh, I did an hour's worth of lessons this morning and by the end I knew how to conjugate the verb 'gyventi' (to live) - which doesn't even mean I can actually use those conjugations in speech. By the end of an hour of SSiW I'd be - well, I'd be unconscious, and then after I woke up I could tell you about twenty different things I'm doing right now.
- I mentioned I like the cultural background; but it also means I have to sit through that stuff again to get to the practice part of the lessons. (See: It's so slow!!)
- Even with the quick response episodes, there isn't much speaking practice. I'm learning - studying? - a language here, not acquiring it
I'm still going to use Lithuanian Out Loud as my base for learning Lithuanian - it's an extensive course that continues to have new lessons added, so that's pretty awesome. And because LOL follows a more common language course structure, I'm going to do it with a critical eye, see what I like, see what I don't like - that's good information there, I think, for teaching languages.
But I'm going to add some extra elements that I've found really helpful for learning Welsh (and which aren't actually part of SSiW either). I'm going to do my spaced repetition cards for practising vocab and stuff on the fly (because I just like them), and I'm going to tee up some conversational practise for Lithuanian much much sooner than I did for Welsh. I think it was seven or eight months before I had a real conversation yn Gymraeg, and it made such a difference. I might not go for the 'speak from day 1' approach exactly with Lithuanian - I still want some vocab and structures under my belt first - but definitely no more than two months, say?