I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, and I’m starting today. Having my upcoming trip to Czech Republic in mind, I’m going to spend ~7 hours studying Czech, and see where it gets me. To describe the challenge, this post will be in a Q&A style.
Short answer – curiosity.
Longer answer – I have two questions I’d like to get an answer to:
(1) How much can I learn?
I’ve been learning Linguistics lately, growing interest in languages learning. I read a book and numerous blog posts about it, and I’ve seen videos of people speaking a language after learning it for only a few hours. I would like to find out how much I can really learn in such a short amount of time.
(2) How will it affect my trip?
Maybe coming to Czech Republic speaking some Czech will make things better. Perhaps it will be easier for me to get around, perhaps I’ll be able to talk to locals who can’t speak English. Perhaps it won’t make any change it all, making it less cost-effective for next trips.
I don’t already have answers to these questions. Perhaps I’ll see that I learn very little and it doesn’t affect my trip at all. But anyway, I’ll get to answer my questions 🙂
Is it possible to learn a language so quickly?
No, and yes… I guess.
I don’t believe it’s possible to be fluent or reach adequate level in a new language in such a short time.
But I do believe I will be able to (very) basically communicate – ask simple questions in Czech, ask for directions, say greetings (thanks, excuse me, please…), answer a few questions about myself etc.
How will you study?
I plan to describe my progress in future posts. But in short, I purchased a Czech Phrasebook from lonely planet. I plan to create a short script about myself, and learn the very basics that I would like to be able to use in Czech Republic. I will avoid studying things that won’t be immediately necessary (eg grammar), and focus on essentials.
Oh, and I will do it mainly on the road, as I’m traveling to Austria tonight. But more on that on a different post.
I consider it an experiment. At least, I think it will be fun 🙂