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2 comments on “Motivation for the lazy language learner

John Budding

I am also a very lazy language learner. In my case, I have not studied any one language consistently over time and so I am content to progress more slowly in exchange for more enjoyment and variety in my language studies. I’m sure I could progress faster by focusing on only one thing but I enjoy the variety and novelty of learning a little about a lot of different languages. Since I am learning for only my own personal enjoyment, I am okay with that and why shouldn’t I be, since it is my time and my hobby. My professional life is fast paced and high stress and I find that a half an hour of practicing writing kanji, or a half hour of listening to a Dutch murder mystery on my iPod while walking the dog, or watching a Spanish language movie can all be very entertaining and relaxing! I enjoy meeting with my Japanese tutor every Sunday morning and I am under no pressure to speak Japanese if I don’t feel like it. I am 56 years old and I have no deadlines and certainly do not expect fluency in 3 months, yet I continue to slowly improve, year after year! Thanks for the encouragement and positive reinforcement.


I wanted to email you this question, but the contact page wasn’t working, so I’ll just post it here in hopes that you get some sort of notification:

I’ve been learning Latin for several years in the conventional way, and started Japanese a few months ago, and I want to move on to Ancient Greek sometime the beginning of next year. How would you recomend applying your imput-heavy method of language learning to something like Classical Greek, where there aren’t any real spoken resources (as it’s a dead language), and all the written resources are excessively complicated? By excessively complicated, I’m mostly talking about them being too complicated for someone who is starting out. Jumping straight into Classical Greek writings would be like trying to jump straight into Dogen or the Man’yogana for learning Japanese–several of them, especially the things I eventually want to read, like Aristotle, I can hardly understand in English translation.

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