There’s a whole genre of “How to Learn a Language in X Days” webpages out there, and they’re surprisingly entertaining.
Not useful, mind you, but entertaining. Something about the juxtaposition of phrases like “it’s easy!” and “you can too!” with advice like “practice with a tutor for at least four hours a day” and “travel to a country where this is the majority language” just tickles me.
Like…yeah, absolutely. Anyone can learn a new language, if they don’t have to work, and can travel at leisure. I could do a lot of things if I had that kind of time and money.
So like most people, I ignore the scammy and/or over-enthusiastic webpages out there, and just bumble along with some language software and recorded lessons, which does well enough for an unpaid hobby.
And I’ve noticed something over time: no matter what the language is, or how I’m learning it, there are always a handful of words that just will not stick, no matter what I do.
I’m trying to pin down the rhyme and reason. I am deeply curious to know what combination of sounds, parts of speech, and god knows what other factors it is that makes a few specific things constantly impossible to memorize.
Or maybe it’s just psychological: my most recent bugbear has been the Dari word for “friend.” I can remember everything else I’ve learned since I started, just about, but that one is always a gaping hole in my memory whenever I reach for it. Says something about my subconscious priorities, doesn’t it?