I haven’t been updating my blog for awhile. My job has been keeping me busy and I just haven’t really had time for any language stuff, except keeping up with podcasts, but that’s not really language learning, more like maintaining what I know. I did start learning Italian, which I will post about later, this is about my new project: Klingon.
I’ve been wanting to learn Klingon for awhile. I used to watch the original Star Treks with my grandmother in the 80s and I loved them. Later Star Trek series I only watched an episode here and there until the Discovery came. I’m definitely a fan. And I’m specifically a fan how they used the Klingon language. It always bugs me how many American shows and movies shows Germans or Russians discussing with each other in English, with a German or Russian accent. This is the proper way to do it! With subtitles (I’m a huge fan of subtitles)!
So, when the Discovery started and I realized I have an interest in Klingon, I bought the books by Marc Okrand:
However, these are not super approachable for a language learner. It’s a lot of grammar and word lists and that is what I don’t like. I also joined Klingon learners in Facebook and checked out the Klingon Language Institute Website, but still I didn’t seem to have time to spend on learning Klingon. I needed something more easily approachable. And then I remembered: there is a Klingon course on Duolingo!
Now, while I like the gaming aspect, I’m more of an analog learner. I like to write things down in my notebook. Previously I’ve used Duolingo for French and German. I deleted both of them from my list and also lost the points… They do warn you will lose the progress but I didn’t think I’d lose the points too! Well, my own fault for wanting to clear up my list of languages which is too long… In any case, for French and German I used Duolingo for only so long, because in both cases I had studied the languages before and while doing the Duolingo exercises I was living in France and in Germany, respectively, so I soon advanced further to a point where the courses weren’t that useful for me. But for a long time I’ve wanted to try a language I really don’t know in advance at all. So: enter Klingon.
I’ve tried a lot of apps and websites before and I never really stuck with them for long. I think I prefer a more traditional method and I definitely need to write things down. There are several languages, though, for which this is not really an option, such as Klingon. Well there are things, but they don’t seem that easily approachable for a casual learner. There might be a debate if I am indeed a casual learner, but for Klingon, I am.
I love the idea of Duolingo, especially in the sense that it’s offering all these languages that are hard to find good material in. And that it brings the language learning for everyone without a huge cost. Basically you can use Duolingo for free, there are no fees involved. If you want, you can purchase Duolingo plus. This has some additional features to the website and app. I think the major advantage of this is the possibility to download courses in your app, so you can use them even when there’s no network available. However, there is no need to pay if you can’t afford it or simply don’t want to. The website and app works great with the free account as well.
my experience so far
Now, I’m very much in the beginning of my Klingon journey, so I can only say what I think so far. I did pay for Duolingo plus, because I want this to be available for me independent of where I am. I don’t think it’s super useful for me on the go, though, because either you need to type, which is not really the thing to do on a drive or you need to listen and also repeat, which might be tough in public. So, I’m mainly using the app and website at home.
I see changes to when I was learning French (that’s the language I spent most time with previously in Duolingo). There are tips, which is basically grammar but also explains sayings and you find a bit of vocabulary here too. This is helpful for me, because I have a hard time just picking stuff up from the sentences. I wish I could see these also in the phone app, but so far I haven’t found a way. So far, I’ve done a few lessons (see picture above). It’s looking promising, but the scheduling from my part (not having had time to do a lesson each day) has been a problem. I tend to forget things easily. What I’m thinking is, that I should combine this with a traditional note taking. Write down in my notebook a summary of the tips and words/sentences I learn from the app. I think this would reinforce my learning.
I do find myself less frustrated with Klingon than with French. French was hard because there were themes (I remember animals…) that I couldn’t test out of because I was lacking that specific vocabulary, and then I had to keep doing those lessons, although they were otherwise kind of simple for me. I think the structure of the courses has definitely changed for the better. And also I see the point of using this for a language you just start learning, instead of something you’ve been learning somewhere else. So far my experience has been very positive. I think I will add some of my own things, definitely writing notes by hand. Somehow my brain just absorbs better when I write things down. And not just type them but actually using pen and paper. Biggest thing I think is trying to make the practice a constant behavior. The app is good at reminding, I’ve just had so much other stuff going on that I haven’t been taking the time. But in the end 5-10 minutes is not too much per day. Maybe I just need to find a routine time to do it, like with my morning coffee or something.
I will update my experience, when I get further with the language. I’m optimistic of having found a way to learn Klingon!