This post is part of my ongoing Journal on learning Burmese. You can read the whole Journal here.
June 4, 2015: Changing tack. Active study to date: 13.72 Hours.
Yep, so, as anticipated, it’s time for a change of tack. I was up to unit 5 and I was finding that I really felt like the stuff from the first couple of units wasn’t in my brain. I didn’t notice this going through unit 1, 2 and 3, because the content from 1 was repeated quite well in 2, and unit 3 was quite short. But 4 changed topic quite a bit and by the time I was up to the unit 5.1 review the unit 1, 2 and 3 stuff was getting pretty hazy. So, change of plan.
Right now I’m reading through the first few units, making sure I understand what’s going on, and making Anki cards for each of the new vocabulary items. Note, when I say ‘reading through’ what I actually mean is I basically just go to the relevant dialogues (or vocabulary lists) and looking at the english first, trying to recall the burmese, speak out what I think it is, then check my answer. As such, my eyes follow this pattern on the page, where I start by looking at the red box (see image above), talk out what I think the answer is, check it by looking left. Then look right to the next line down and read the english sentence, speak out what I think the Burmese is, then look left again to check.
For any sentences that I recall correctly, I pat myself on the back, for any sentences that I recall incorrectly, I add them to google notes as is pictured on the right. Then what I do when I have some free time is just scroll down the page, revealing english firs, saying it out in Burmese, then checking my answer.
So the basic summary of my current technique is as follows. Start a new lesson and 1: Listen through that lesson, pausing after every English prompt and trying to say the Burmese. 2: Read through the lesson (as outlined above) adding new vocabulary items to Anki (and ALWAYS making a mnemonic for each word) and adding any sentences that I didn’t get correct to my google notes. 3: Once I’m up to the unit review, do it 3 days in a row (twice on the first day, once for the second and third days) then put it onto my SRS schedule. Hopefully this will allow me to retain the info better.
ALSO, exciting news. Two days ago I got to use Burmese for the first time in context! A delegation from Phaung Daw Oo (The school that I’ll be teaching at at the end of the year) came to Melbourne to explore partnership opportunities with different organisations and we had the opportunity to meet them. I was able to say ‘How are you?’, ‘Take a photograph’, ‘Do you want to eat?’ and, ‘It’s very cold isn’t it’ at appropriate times! However, I learned that the way that I said ‘It’s very cold isn’t it’ – theik e’deh naw? – was actually the informal between friends version. What I should have said (to strangers) was ‘A-yan e’dah naw?’ (A-yan being the formal version of theik, meaning ‘very’). But the people I was speaking to, Moe and Caiq Su were very kind about it.