Obstacles to learning

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Obstacles to learning

Post by maybay » Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:34 am

Tibetan is a difficult language to learn. Hindi is easier for me, but the script is still a challenge. 4 D's and 4 T's...come on.
Then with Tibetan one stacks together letters that have little to do with pronunciation. Even without using Wylie its an 'expensive' language in terms of brush strokes. Not only must I struggle with pronunciation but also with writing. Lots of input and no output makes Jack a dull boy.

Then there's the lack of people to practice with and the fact that scriptural Tibetan is quite different from spoken. If that weren't enough, so much has been translated into English already it seems like a waste to go to the trouble of learning it - unless you plan on making it a profession (or a very serious practice).

What to do?

I'm a visual person. I touch-type and I spend most of my time on a computer where its warm and comfortable. Fonts and input methods are readily available for Tibetan. Typing saves me enormous efforts in writing and gives me a sense of achievement even if I don't know what I've written. I think we need to have a creative outlet to learn effectively.

I use an operating system called Ubuntu. I have the free equivalent of Microsoft Office: LibreOffice. When I want to change the input language I just press shift+CapsLock. This is system wide, not limited to a specific application. When I change the language the font changes magically in LibreOffice. Because each key is programmed with a letter of the script I don't have to think so hard about the writing. Things go faster.

There is also language learning program called Anki (its all free). It works with flash cards you or anyone creates. There are none for Tibetan yet.

One of the problems with typing flash cards into a someone elses program is that you'll end up with your data stuck in some propriety format. If you ever want to move it or change it its an absolute nightmare. The Tibetans I know input masses of text into WordPerfect files. I'm an IT expert and I couldn't even extract them from that old format.

Propriety software is like a bank and language is like music. Language is not money. You wouldn't keep your music in a bank - to be charged every time you want to do something with it. So why keep your information in the jail of propriety software?

Ubuntu and other Linux distributions are very easy on hardware. If you have an old PC or laptop why not try creating a setup for language learning.
Just some thoughts.
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People will know nothing and everything
Remember nothing and everything
Think nothing and everything
Do nothing and everything
- Machig Labdron

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