07 June 2013

Party Poopers and Productivity

I'm trying to learn Cantonese. I mention it because if you've ever dived into a new language, you know how tricky it can be. Cantonese is the most radically different language from English I've tried to learn. (I took French throughout grade school and high school; Latin was my language of choice in University.)

As tricky as it is to pick up tones and basic grammar of a language far removed from English, I can only imagine how hard it is to learn English, the ultimate mongrel tongue.

Exhibit A:

Unrelated: this article on productivity at Brain Pickings is making me rethink my previous thoughts on plodding vs. slumping. Although I write just about every day, I'm thinking it might be time to increase the frequency and duration. Work, Muse! Work!


Andrew Leon said...

I am not a language person. I had years of French in elementary school, and I think I'm down to being able to count to three.

Mark K said...

Kudos for learning such a difficult language!
As for your muse, ever considered the possibility that they will only work to a maximum set of hours? Even go on strike if forced to work over said hours? Oh, what if they have a Muse Union?


Mina Lobo said...

I repeatedly see native speakers of English completely murderize the language, so what hope can anyone hold of mastering it, really?

Best wishes for the Cantonese. Planning a trip in the near-ish future?
Some Dark Romantic

Elizabeth Twist said...

@Andrew: it's a use it or lose it proposition.

@Mark: Yes. My Muse is part of a powerful collective bargaining unit.

@Mina: True true. Nope, I'm not currently planning a trip, though who knows what could happen? As part of my training under a Taoist monk, I was taught Taoist chanting. For non-Cantonese speakers, my temple of origin had phonetic transcriptions of the chants. It is impossible to pronounce words accurately from a straight phonetic transcription (mostly because of tones, but that's not the only reason). My main goal is to be able to pronounce more accurately. (Won't be hard to improve, since I'm way off the mark now.)

I'm also hoping to be less of a monolinguistic rube.