I'm learning Vietnamese for 6 months so far, to make myself ready to communicate with Vietnamese people right at my first trip to Hanoi. 17 days ahead.

It's very thrilling to challenge some foreign language with limited time, with no real person around. I was obsessed by the idea of "Language Hacking" and I thought I could do it.

I downloaded lots of free apps and contents with my smart-phones and it's very clear that I need to train my ears first, because the Vietnamese sound is quite weird. Almost 2 months was spent only for capturing the phonetic understanding of the Vietnamese. It was my first hurdle. After my ears were accustomed with that strange sounds, I could start my real learning of the language.

Too much un-ordered, free contents are available in the Internet, and the disordered chaos pushed me to buy real books. Those small language guide books for foreigners found at the tourism corner at the bookstore. Quite embarrassingly, the amount of the contents of those little cute tourists guide is very large, and the first round studying a book took more than 2 months. Still I haven't studied the second book from cover to cover. Studying books doesn't quite tell anything about communicability.

All learning should be focused on practical usage at my short trip, and I need to train ears and mouth in most of my time, but my daily work (stressed typically in notorious Korean long-work environment) and my other project (piano playing) always pulled me down. Mechanical problem with my smart-phone and earphone was annoying sometimes. Low battery capacity was always my enemy.

At the beginning of this month, I had evaluated my status - how much I had come and how much I need to go further before my trip. Depressed, knowing that I was still far far away from the least required level.

My goal was way up high that could be called 'fluent', but now I have to confess that isn't possible at my first trip. My evaluation of my current status:

   - My ears barely distinguish sounds apart in a faster (normal speed) speech.
   - My mouth is more in trouble. Because of my problem at my throat, I couldn't practice loudly.
   - My brain doesn't have much Vietnamese words in long-term memory.
   - My eyes still find a lot of exotic syllables.
   - I can hardly communicate.

My self-assessment is enough to convince myself that I need to change the goal of my trip - "communicate anyway", without any grammar/sentence structure in consideration. Broken expression is quite welcome if it works anyway. 

No English is allowed during my Vietnamese adventure - communicate anyway, anyhow. Don't give up communicating with them. Be an active-speaking (talkative?) tourist in Vietnamese in non-Esperanto situation.

To reach the very basic level, infinite repetition is required to engrave basic words into my brain, ears and mouth. Traditional tools - pencil, paper and dictionary - seem to be effective to do that.

Here's my plan for the remaining two weeks.

    - Give up grammar, sentence structure. Just focus on the core words conveying the meaning.
    - More focus on the mouth practice. Loud practice is absolutely required.
    - Confirmed absorption with salutation/questioning/thanks/asking favors
    - Train me ready to talk something about me, my family, my job, Esperanto, and my trip to Hanoi, any time any where without any hesitation.
    - Firm grasp of basic words around hotel, taxi, asking way, at a restaurant, and at a shop.
    - Don't bother with mood, exotic 'you' problem, passive sentence, or any grammar things.
    - Don't bother with some situations found in tourists book - in the airplane, at the bus/train/ships, at the post office, at a police office, at a drugstore, and many more situations. Those situations wouldn't happen in this trip, and I can safely remove 1/2 of the book away from my learning this time.
    - Find some 'generic/general way of asking back'.

Posted by nomota multilingual

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