Those of you who have followed this site regularly will have noticed that I haven't been writing much over the last 5 months. It's not a grand coincidence that I started a new job 6 months ago.
I will never be one to make the excuse that I don't have time. My first year on this blog — including almost six months of daily posts — was while I was working full-time. No, a job is not an excuse for not learning... if you are truly motivated to learn. Yes, I did start a new job, and for a period of time I was putting in far more hours than what was required of me. But that's not why I haven't written...
This summer I also met an amazing girl... someone I've come to care a great deal about. I spend a lot of time with her. But she knew from the start about my interest in languages, and because she's wonderful I know she would never get in the way of me doing what I love. So that's not the reason why I haven't written either...
So why haven't I written?
It's because I haven't been making any progress on Turkish. After six months, I still didn't have anyone with whom to speak Turkish. At the start of this year, I was really fascinated with the language, and I overestimated my own ability to find people to talk with.
I met some nice people at the Turkish festival here in Chicago this spring, but didn't make any lasting connections. This fall, I heard a girl on the bus speaking Turkish into her cell phone, but I didn't get a chance to talk to her. Throughout the year, I've placed ads for tutors and/or speaking partners but haven't gotten a single response.
Turkish music and movies just aren't enough for me. Reading web sites and twitter feeds isn't enough for me. The point of learning a language (for me, at least) is to communicate with other people, and after several months of not communicating with anyone, Turkish started to become too academic.
When I'm doing something I enjoy, motivation is easy. If I'm talking to new people, or learning new things, making new friends, whatever, then it's not hard to keep putting in the work to learn and improve. But if I'm not getting the opportunity to enjoy it, it all just becomes a chore.
I'm quite sure that it would be different if I were living in Turkey... or even if I just had some Turkish speakers around me here. But that isn't the case, and I've lost interest.
This is my karma for not following my own advice. I have consistently told others to choose the language they learn based on what they will actually use, rather than choosing what's interesting, or popular, or different. And yet this year I chose a language that was interesting and different, and which isn't spoken by anyone I know.
I still managed to learn a lot, and Turkish is still quite interesting to me, but I won't be focusing on it again unless I meet some Turkish speakers who I can spend time talking to.
A pessimist would say this year was a bust, but I'm an optimist. I still learned a lot of interesting things this year, and I'll talk about a few of those in coming posts.
Want to see my favorite language resources and courses?
I listed them here.