28 December 2013

The importance of resonance in language learning

I am enjoying Slovakia. The people are gentle and helpful, even if a little shy at times. The scenery is wonderful, although there is not enough snow for skiing. I enjoy the food even though it is a little heavy at times. I can understand a lot of Slovakian and Slovaks seem to understand me, but the problem I experience is a lack of resonance.

Bratislava, Slovakia

I have been studying Czech for over a year and a half. I have listened to hundreds and hundreds of hours of Czech. It is hard for me to get my spoken Czech going when I am not stimulated by  an environment which speaks that language. We feed off other people when we attempt to speak a new language. Patient and friendly people help us speak better. The better we understand what people are saying, the better we speak. We respond to this stimulus in an almost musical way, in my opinion. The Slovakian language which I hear around me, even when comprehensible, is not on the same wavelength, nor of the same musical resonance, as the Czech that I am used to, and which I need to in order to warm up to speaking the language.

At least that is what I think. We will see when I get to the Czech Republic in a few days.

Czech Republic

3 Comments

  1. Rick Jones
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Slovak has a different sound system. Therein lies the problem for Czech speakers. The vocabulary is about 90% the same and the grammar is quite similar. It takes a while to grow accustomed to the Slovak sounds. I have never studied Slovak but I have spent a lot of time in Bratislava in 2006 and 2007. Slovaks and Czechs generally understand each others language without too much trouble.

  2. Posted January 1, 2014 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    Slovak is very different to any other language. I don’t usually face difficulties in learning new languages, but I do have a major problem with learning Slovak. Native speakers of Slovak language, are very happy to hear that at least I am trying to speak. Still, whenever I’m aware of the fact that I’m about to severely butcher some grammar rules, I stop. And yes, I know, I should get over it, otherwise I will never learn.

  3. Posted January 16, 2014 at 3:01 am | Permalink

    Czech is similar to Slovak. I usually learn new language by listening to the songs in that new language. It helps me remembering new words. And watching films using subtitles is also helpful. But, most importantly you need to combine all methods of learning for maximum result.

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