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Dr-David-Banner

Learning Exotic Languages

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Dr-David-Banner

Very weird! Just been watching a group of Russians being taught Hindi..The teacher is Dmitriy Petrov on YouTube. I have to admit the students seemed very interested and keen to learn. For me it was strange as I am being taught Hindi through a Russian teacher and class. I have friends who speak Hindi and another friend who speaks Urdu but the teacher explains Hindi is derived from Sanskrit. Funny though. I was almost feeling kind of guilty as all these educated neurotypical students clearly set such a positive example. It's just that for me normally being taught in a class is harder because you are listening to a teacher, and my outward attention is often poor. I could discuss this in length. Learning a language is a social activity so for NTs it all leads to face to face communication. My way is more visual and structural and IT helps me a lot as I can process my sentences. It is odd though that had I been in Petrov's Hindi class, I could have followed it and paid attention. Kind of weird for me. It's as being taught through a none native language acthally helps me pay attention. 

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Peridot

Japanese seems like a cool one to learn. I've been learning French off and on for a few years though it's not necessarily exotic.

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Willow

Though not really exotic, I was trying to learn Swedish, and like you I'm not great at listening to someone and being able to take it in. I initially was listening to the Pimsleur audio courses, which have an interesting way of getting you to retain as much as possible, and it did work to an extent. But on a more casual level, I use the app 'Memrise', which I find quite good.

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Dr-David-Banner

It seems you can speak Swedish in Finland as well. One tip I can share is some DVD films may sometimes have a Swedish audio play plus subtitles. This can be depressing at first but you tend to get better. I am disappointed Russian is so rarely on a disk. Only one DVD I got has Russian and I thought the translation sounded better than the English. Far more common are Dutch, Spanish, Norwegian, Italian. Japanese I am told is not so hard to speak but the writing system is tough. It's good to pick a language that is different to the norm. When you are able to watch and follow a film it's uplifting. It takes a while but can develop eventually. There is also a big space for students of dead languages because no normal person has the patience to work so hard with little prospect of earnings. However learning a dead language helps focus the mind to displace depression or anxiety. And there is stuff still untranslated. 

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Dr-David-Banner

Just looked up the video I had found with Dmitriy Petrov. He apparently teaches a whole load of languages, from English to Italian.

I used to teach languages myself but never realised, at the time, the extent to which I was self taught (as opposed to learning language the normal way, through social interaction). I do feel though my attention span is much better than in the past. When I relax and just switch off, I can follow the particular language as a matter of course. So, here, if I relax I can just follow Petrov as he teaches the very basics of Hindi.

In the past I guess I was never really aware of the fact the average student isn't going to learn languages the same way I do. This is why I guess my students didn't particularly warm to my classes (although I found some children to be more enthusiastic and imaginative).

Something to think about is how do autistics fit in with linguistics? If a person is held back by poor social awareness and problems with interaction, how do languages fit in with that? Do we tend to use the language more for translation at a non personal level or do we try to interpret? Or can we teach the same as NT's can teach groups.

Personally I think I could indeed teach Dimitriy Petrov's students as they seem so eager and pleasant. Maybe I am more aware now not to act too outlandish in a class where they expect teachers to be sort of orthodox.
https://16polyglot.ru/hindi/lesson-1

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Dr-David-Banner

Correction. As I persisted in the YouTube polyglot Hindi course, it seems the Russian students performed considerably better. I got lost when the teacher asked students to make simple sentences. True, they are being taught in their native language but for me that wasn't the issue. I just can't learn as quickly and take in information verbally at that pace. I would need to write it all down and run it through my head in quiet. Had I actually been in that class I'd have been the only student to make a total f--k up. It would be fair to assume autistics are not fast learners but many of us will work hard and results tend to come over time. I would say speed is the factor. Having said that I think the Hindi teacher was very clear and keen.

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Nesf
On 7/2/2018 at 6:21 PM, Dr-David-Banner said:

Something to think about is how do autistics fit in with linguistics? If a person is held back by poor social awareness and problems with interaction, how do languages fit in with that? Do we tend to use the language more for translation at a non personal level or do we try to interpret? Or can we teach the same as NT's can teach groups.

Learning a language is only a social activity in a social context - one can learn alone by listening to recordings, learn vocabulary and translate, or write, or even communicate with others, without it being social. Having poor or impaired social awareness doesn't mean that one is not able to learn a language, although it can mean that the motivation is lacking. Autistic people are often very good at learning languages because they have a good long term memory and pattern recognition. Also, being autisitic doesn't automatically mean that one doesn't want to be social or communicate with others - forums and chat rooms for people on the spectrum are evidence of this.

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Dr-David-Banner

Lately people discuss complexity of a language. Did you know Russian only has 4 past tense verb forms? Он читал, она читала, они читали. He read, she read and they read. Spanish or Latin have lei, leiste, leo and so on. Plus past continuous and past definite. Russian gets round this by perfective verbs so он читал он прочитал, he read and he read and finished (the page). So hard to say. For me Russian is much harder than Spanish but English borrows a lot from Latin so Spanish is closer. For a Russian maybe Spanish would seem really hard. Latin I think was exaggerated in difficulty as the writers were elite scribes and played around with oratory. 

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Dr-David-Banner

Sadly, when I speak to most Russians I tend to get stranger looks than even local people give me. They look at me like I dropped out of the sky. One way or another  there is a reaction. Somehow they seem to detect I'm wired differently and strange looks unsettle me. So yes I use recordings, books and media. 

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Dr-David-Banner

I still wonder about learning Hindi as my friend is Indian but she speaks Punjabee too. 

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Dr-David-Banner

Just been reading an Estonian course in St Petersburg proved to be popular despite political tensions. I am told it is close to Finnish. It has more cases than Russian but a Latin alphabet. Someone told me Finnish is harder than Estonian. 

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