In my Eastern Orthodox Church, Lent formally starts on Monday (February 27). In the West, it starts on Ash Wednesday (March 1).
I've decided, in addition to the other traditional observances, to announce a Lenten Challenge.
I intend to learn a new language during Lent. I intend to learn Russian.
Now, I'm a linguist and so I'm not naive about what can (and cannot) be accomplished between now and Easter/Pascha on April 16.
But I also know that, with regular study every single day between now and then, one can achieve a certain degree of conversational competence.
I have a very personal reason for wanting to do this. On January 8, 2017, I was ordained a deacon for service in the Russian Orthodox Church. My parish is primarily first generation Russian immigrants. They speak various levels of English, but I consider it my spiritual duty to be able to meet them halfway.
I'm announcing this publicly because it will help me stay focused on the goal. In other words, since I have now said this out loud, I need to follow through!
I invite you to join me, if you are so inclined. I would sure love some company on this journey!
Whatever language you would like to have even a limited conversational ability in, decide that you will add such study to your Lenten discipline and it will happen!
I successfully learned Arabic, Spanish, and Romanian, and along the way I developed a list of the most important vocabulary items to learn in five phases of study. I will be using my lists to create a Russian version. I'll use other resources and blog about my progress.
If you want to learn Arabic, Spanish, or Romanian, I offer my lists of those languages for free, with accompanying MP3 files to listen to. If you have another language you want to learn, I have a blank template of my word lists.
My goal is to memorize the vocabulary of one phase of my plan each week, as well as study the language from other sources.
If you join me, email me at keith [ at] keithmassey.com or connect with me on Twitter @keithamassey and I will be happy to encourage you as you also (please!) encourage me.
Let us begin...