Personal Update

September 16, 2017

It's been over three months since I've posted here! However, I do post regularly on the Frictionless Mastery Facebook page, so check that out. Here are some highlights and trends from the recent months.

I've prioritized my languages. I've consciously chosen to ignore Spanish, French, and Slovak for now because there are no immediate prospects to travel to these countries. Instead, I'm choosing to focus on one or two languages at a time in addition to my continual attention to Russian and Georgian, based on specific opportunities to use those languages in the foreseeable future.

1. Polish: now till my trip to Poland in mid-October. Then maintain in Georgia where there is a substantial Polish expat community and tons of Polish tourists. Maintenance will not be difficult since I find that Poles more than willing to speak Polish with me due to my Slavic pronunciation and feel for the language.

2. German: briefly this week (I'll be giving a mountain tour to kids from a local German school), then focusing more intently on the language as soon as I get back from Poland. German is occasionally used at conferences I interpret at, and I could potentially interpret from German to Russian. Also, I am toying with the idea of giving a talk in German at the next Polyglot Gathering. The opportunities for using German here in Georgia seem fairly substantial. I can also visit my friends in Germany at fairly low cost thanks to cheap flights from Georgia.

3. Ukrainian: low-level focus, with near-weekly one-hour meetings of the Ukrainian Club in Tbilisi. I'll be able (or required) to use my Ukrainian whenever I visit Ukraine next, which may be fairly soon.

I am in the process of making a breakthrough in Georgian. This has several components: 1) instead of chaotically switching between languages when we speak, my girlfriend and I are now alternating days between English, Georgian, and Russian. This is much better for both of us and allows me to really sink into the language on our Georgian days. 2) I recently had my first experience of hanging out the whole day with Georgian friends who were speaking Georgian among themselves and with me. Surprisingly, I hadn't really had this experience in my entire 5 years in Georgia. 3) I have been able to try my hand at interpreting from Georgian into Russian at recent conferences I've interpreted at, and my colleagues have encouraged me to continue trying. 4) I've done some internal work, analyzing some of my beliefs and experiences which have limited my use of and interest in Georgian.

I have started to give language learning webinars (mainly in Russian). I've done three so far through the Akintsev and Partners group. The experience has been valuable, and I've sold quite a few copies of the Russian version of my handbook.

I'm in the process of creating a podcast. It'll be in Russian and has nothing to do with language learning (which, contrary to popular belief, is not my primary interest). It'll feature live (no skype) interviews with knowledgeable and skilled individuals and will give me more excuses to travel around the post-Soviet region. I have been a huge consumer of podcasts myself for the past 7 years. This project has me very excited, and I expect to publish my first interviews in October.

I'm no longer posting actively on Quora. I guess I'm tired of answering the same old questions about language learning. Actually, in general I am spending less time on peripheral stuff like Quora, social media, etc. to concentrate on what I perceive to be more important things.

I've moved back to the city center. It just made more sense for my lifestyle and will offer me lots more opportunities.

I've been really busy this summer and took a much-needed break for a few weeks in August, traipsing around the mountains and seaside of western Georgia. Now it's time to get back to my writing and creating. 

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(c) 2016-2017 Richard DeLong.