One of my main loves in ancient history and archaeology is the learning of ancient languages. This post is in response to one of my followers who is currently trying to teach herself Mayan glyphs. But I know there are many of you out there who have struggled to teach yourself languages or would like to be able to in the future. So here are a number of tips and ideas for you to help you out on that journey.
These preliminary tips can be used for any language either ancient or modern and can be used in combination with the language resources I supply in the menu bar for certain languages. If you have looked at my ancient Greek resources as well you can use these techniques to help you remember them or languages you are learning at university or elsewhere already.
- Use social media and friends to discover the best books and sources to use
- It is worth while finding them to save you time and to teach you better
- Research the texts and their reviews
- Avoid generic internet programs – they generally use methods that are more in touch with teaching basics to children rather than adults. Remember that the adult brain learns differently to a child’s
- The best sources are usually in book or cd form from reputable suppliers
- It is a good idea to see what universities use to teach language basics – this information can usually be found in course descriptions and handbooks which are generally available online
- You generally want to learn as quickly as possible and often get over enthusiastic
- Try and avoid this and slow yourself down and don’t skip ahead
- This way you will learn properly and take in more
- Take to doing one lesson or hour a day
- Stick with one source book so you are following a program
- Before each lesson review the day before and any exercises the sources set
- Without looking at the answers from the previous day’s exercises, do all or some of them again and some from previous lessons even further back so you keep them in mind
- Run through the whole lesson for the day before you undertake new exercises so you have the complete context for what you have to do
- Literally do it every day, if you miss a lesson then at least take 15 minutes to go over an exercise from a previous day
Tips for memorising information
- Write out the stuff you find difficult and stick it around the house where you are going to see it regularly or at work, for example:
- Behind the bathroom door
- Above the sink
- In the kitchen
- On the ceiling above your bed
- Beside your computer
- Another little used technique which works ridiculously especially for grammatical concepts well is a walk about memory exercise:
- Make a list of what you want to remember
- Pick a room in your house
- Start at one corner of the room and move around the room allocating an object in the room to each thing on your list
- Then find a link between each object and each idea
- Ie. A participle – a chair – a chair is used for sitting – sitting is a participle
- No matter how abstract the connection is the memory of it will help you remember concepts through physical associations
- For vocab literally stick labels on things in your house
- Or make up songs or rhymes – it is amazing how your mind works
Tips for if you can’t find one particular source for a language
- Look at sources for another language. Ie. Latin
- Make a note of how the lessons are set out and how grammar is taught
- Then use what sources you do have and apply the information into that format
- Grammar is the basis for all language and stays the same in ideas throughout the majority
- By applying an accepted and working format from another language you can help yourself learn another.
- If lesson one is on the alphabet and then verbs, then look up the alphabet and common verbs in your array of sources for the language you want to learn, ie. Mayan glyphs.
- Sometimes this will take longer because there are varying lengths of alphabet for instance but readjust the time you spend on it to suit.
- If you have the sense and desire to teach yourself a language then you should be able to work it out
Remember to be patient with yourself and the material
These things are not learnt over night
- Macquarie Ancient Languages School – Winter Session (graecomuse.wordpress.com)
- Ancient Greek Learning Resources
This entry was posted in Language and tagged Ancient Greek, Ancient Languages, Education, greek resources, Historical linguistics, Language, language basics, Latin, Learning, Linguistics, mayan glyphs, Social Sciences.