Esperanto, Anki, and San Francisco
I returned to San Francisco about a week ago and started working on Esperanto again. After my intensive German course I was too busy to work on German much. My job was in English. Since I’m no longer in Austria and will probably not use German much in the future, I’ve switched back to Esperanto.
Esperanto and the Memory Town Method
I loaded two decks of Esperanto flashcards into Anki and have been working through them. I’m using a very loose version of the memory town method. I’m not dividing the memory towns into as precise sections as before, because I find that it slows me down enough to make it less fun. I’m basically using the vocabulary technique that Harry Lorayne mentions in his books, while also adding an element of location by placing different languages in separate towns.
Since Esperanto grammar is very simple, I’m only separating the mnemonic images into different parts of the town based on loose associations.
For example, there are a lot of words like ankaŭ, ankoraŭ, antaŭ, preskaŭ, baldaŭ, anstataŭ, kvazaŭ, and almenaŭ. I put the mnemonic images for these words in a field together. Here are some of the images in that field:
Ankaŭ — too
“On cow”. The sound “an” is Arnold Schwarzenegger in my phonetic system. He is on a cow and holding a swan (2 = too).
Ankoraŭ — still
“On core”. An apple core is floating upright on a still puddle of water.
Preskaŭ — almost
Pressing on the back of a cow to make almonds shoot out of its mouth. Almonds = almost.
Baldaŭ — soon
Baldur with a football uniform (Sooners).
Almenaŭ — At least
Allemande is a type of dance in early European music. “Least” becomes leash — an early German dance with the dancers on leashes.
Most of the other words go in the parking lot of a shopping center.
One of the most helpful things that I’ve been doing is listening to Esperanto podcasts. I got a podcasting app for my phone and downloaded some episodes of Radio Verda. I play the same segments over and over, repeating the words after the speakers even if I don’t understand the meaning.
After about two weeks of Anki and the podcasts, my Esperanto comprehension has increased dramatically. I’ve seen all of the 1,700 flashcards, and probably have a vocabulary of about 1,000 words, not including ones that I can figure out based on the roots, prefixes, and suffixes.
An example of an Esperanto word that I don’t include in my known vocabulary, but that can be easily understood based on the rules of Esperanto, is malzorge, because if you know that zorgi means “to take care”, then malzorge probably means “carelessly”.
I already had a vocabulary in Esperanto, so the 1,000 number is not the number of words that I’ve learned recently, but just a rough estimate of my current level.
My next step is to try reading an Esperanto book with the help of a dictionary. I read bits of La Aventuroj de Alicio en Mirlando on my phone, but am thinking of trying to read La Hobito or La Mastro de l’ Ringoj instead, if I can find them. J. R. R. Tolkien was a supporter of Esperanto…