January 21st, 2020

children of dune - leto 1

duolingo - continuing hindi adventures

So I finished Letters 1 through 4 and Basics 1, passed the checkpoint, finished Basics 2, and now am at Plurals, Level 3. This is going eerily well.

I cannot say enough how utterly weird it is that I have no active memory of Hindi before, but it seems about fifty times easier. It also helps that my letter recognition is much better, as I am Very Phonics and it's so much easier to remember and learn when I can sound it out. This is likely because schools were in Fun With Phonics learning and whole word didn't kick in until about third grade when we were grounded in sound-it-out. I mean, I actually have no idea how to Whole Word anything; my brain creates a working pronunciation during the reading process. Which is why there are vast tracks of vocabulary landscape I've never heard and never spoken whose associated pronunciation is guesswork and should someone use that word in my presence, I would probably not recognize.

The translating from audio is also working online.

(And--in retrospect--it probably helps that this time around, I'm not trying to use the keyboard early and navigate a Hindi language keyboard while learning the basics.)

Additionally: I found and downloaded a ton of kindergarten-level Hindi writing practice sheets, very flashback to childhood, downloaded, categorized, and started working on those. My brain is still working on transitioning 'cool shapes that represent sounds' to 'letters', which are two very different things even though technically, they're synonymous.

A representation of the process:
Shape: आ
Brain: Shape!
Brain: Familiar shape!
Brain: Represents a sound!
Brain: Shape + sound = letter!
Shape: आ
Brain: This is a letter!
Brain: I know the sound for this letter!
Brain: *thinks sound*
Brain: *repeat for each letter through end of word*

Word: आदमी
Brain: This is a word!
Word: आदमी
Brain: I know this word!
Me: ...do we really need to go through this every time?
Word: आदमी
Brain: That is 'man'!
Me: Yes. Yes it is, thanks.
Brain: Shape Sound Letter Word = Language!
Me: Yep.
Brain: This is a language!
Me: You don't say.
Word: आदमी
Me: I know.

Repeat from start to create a sentence when my brain makes the shocking discovery the concept of grammar exists here, too.

Yes, the process is now super fast--give it credit, my brain zips through with minimal '...what are we doing again? What is this? Why are shapes?'--but it's basically rediscovering the existence of the Hindi language via logic chain every time. And I just want to grab it, drag it to a diagram of the human brain and point 'HERE IS THE LANGUAGE CENTER. CREATE A HINDI SECTION RIGHT HERE. NO NOT IN THE BRAIN AREA FOR INTERESTING SOUND SHAPE THINGS AND WHY DO I HAVE ONE OF THESE WHAT DO YOU PUT IN HERE? NO, THIS GOES IN THE LANGUAGE CENTER. HERE. RIGHT HERE.'

(Look, I have an entire brain section devoted to memorizing and storing lyrics to songs that I cannot consciously access unless I'm listening to the song and start singing. 'Interesting Sound Shape Things' is not exactly a surprise, but seriously, what's in there?)

I'm not saying I know better than people who study this shit, but I'm wondering if it's really 'childhood elastic brain whatever' or more the brain going 'I just did this with a language so I know how its done bring it', whereas later, your brain has completely forgotten there was ever a pre-language time and doesn't really believe it. It has no memory of anything like that and it would know, so stop lying, we have always spoken English.

Worse, when it does realize that hey, maybe there was something like that, denial sets in. Yeah, part of it is 'I will not admit it because it's embarrassing' but I suspect quite a bit is 'I have no fucking clue how I did this, kinda assumed it was witchcraft. This is some fine work here, though: beautiful adjective section, and here, we see how all those spelling competitions paid off. The written language section is unreal, did you know half of it isn't even preloaded into the speech centers? Audio reports we have never heard these spoken, but pronunciations are in order over here, go me. How do I make another one of these, though? Is that even possible? Do other brains know about this? This can't be normal.'

Like that.

I feel my brain is in the denial stage and I keep wanting to find it like, some kind of brain youtube vid it can watch when I'm sleeping, where other brains demonstrate stuff like 'how to create naturalistic mappings in the language centers' or maybe a book of some kind, like 'How to Build Your Second Language Structure for Dummies' by a polygot brain, give it some confidence.

However, this is improvement. Last time, imagine the above processes, but like this.

Shape: आ
Brain: Shape!
Me: Do you know it?
Brain: No...yes. Maybe.
Brain: Okay, it's familiar.
Me: Great! Sound?
Brain: Shapes have sound?

Imagine getting through a sentence like that.

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