Friday, June 24, 2005

Making slow progress

Oh my, it's nearly the end of June and I'm still struggling with learning to read. Maybe it's the weather - in this +40C heat most times I feel like drinking frappe on the balcony, not pouring over textbooks in the presence of my tutor.

The good news is that I've made some progress with the vocabulary. And Kazakh does not seem to interfere so much with my Kyrgyz anymore. And yes, I've recorded some things for the Kyrgyz Wiki, so it's just a matter of formatting and uploading the text. Maybe next week?

Today we read a text about a Kyrgyz family to work on my pronunciation. Then we wrote a similar story about my own family. I found this very helpful for a number of reasons. The text has many repetitions, which are bound to make me remember useful expressions like "My (father/mother/brother) is ... years old". Another good thing about this is that by making the text more relevant to me I seem to remember it better. And I can use these sentences in actual conversations.

An interesting thing about Kyrgyz is that it has one pronoun, ал, that stands for "he", "she", and "it". As far as I understand, there's no grammatical gender whatsoever. That may make things easier... The difficult thing is to get used to having a string of affixes follow a one- or two-syllable root, containing a wealth of information. In the beginning this really feels like you have to learn to think backwards.

Oh yes, and I finally memorized what I am called in Kyrgyz. Котормочу. :)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just discovered your blog yesterday and, although I see no entries in about a month, I hope you'll keep it up.

I don't know what other languages you know, but since you described yourself as a translator, I assume that you may likely know at least some French. If so, there's a relatively recent book on Kyrgyz that may be of interest to you: "Parlons Kirghiz", for which there's an accompanying cassette, which can be ordered via the usual French online bookstores such as Amazon France, or Alapage.

Here's a webpage from the publisher describing it:


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Further to my earlier comment noting the book "Parlons Kirghiz", I've found another source: the manual the US Peace Corps uses/used for teaching Kyrgyz to Peace Corps Volunteers. It's available as a PDF file from the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC), and is written by expert Turkologist Ilse Laude Cirtautas.

You can just go to the ERIC site at and type "Kirghiz" into the search box. (They also have the Peace Corps manuals for Kazakh and Turkmen if you just search under those languages.) Hope you find my notes useful. Good luck!


Blogger MK said...

Sorry about taking it so long reply - I was out of the country on vacation. Then the school year started in August, and life has been crazy since then.

Thanks a lot for your valuable comments. I do speak some French, and it is nice to hear that there's now a Kyrgyz textbook in French. I am sure that other blog visitors will find this link helpful.

It is also good news that the Peace Corps book is now available online. I mentioned the book in one of my earlier posts (Books) and I use it extensively in my studies.

Thanks again and hope you come back to check out the new posts soon.



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