Some time ago, I decided to learn Polish. There were a couple of reasons for this. I always liked Slavic languages, have some Polish connections, and it seemed like the most logical choice (Latin alphabet, pretty good resources for English speakers, and a fairly good amount of English cognates as far as Slavic languages are concerned). Well, I forgot how hard it was to be at a beginner level! From having reached a decent level in German, and not really “studying” the language anymore, it feels like a step back having to re-learn basic vocabulary.
Right now, part of the struggle is trying to make sure I don’t get too frustrated that I stop. Of course, nothing worth doing ever comes easily. But wow do I wish there were some quick fix solution. As much as I hate doing it, actual vocab lists are critical for me at this point. I can’t really access native material yet, because I’m such a new beginner, so it would be difficult for me to really learn through context. One good point though: it makes me realize just how far along I’ve come in my German.
In theory, I should become comfortable with Polish much sooner than I did with German. In German, it took months before I could listen and not have to translate immediately in my head. I never actually understood the concept of a case until years later, when I finally decided I was tired of speaking incorrectly. I had to actually sit down and write out translations literally before it finally “clicked.” I’m sure in the future I will write a post about my experience learning German. Hopefully, now that I have some language learning experience, it won’t require that much time with Polish. At least as far as cases are concerned, I’m one step further than I was. Just about every multilingual person I know, especially those who learned their languages as adults, all say that it is much easier the more you learn. So far that’s certainly true, although I still really don’t have a “method” to learning Polish. I’m still doing the same thing in following a textbook and listening to recordings. For me, this is familiar (and I actually do think it’s helpful), but I wonder if there is something more I should be thinking of to learn more quickly.