01 August 2006

Learning More Languages

So, I want to learn Persian. There are more resources for Persian than Kyrgyz or Uzbek which makes things a little better, although there still isn't nearly as much as there is for Russian. If anyone has any suggestions of good books for learning Persian, I'd be most appreciative.

Persian is a handy Central Asian language to learn because it's spoken not only in Iran, but also in Tajikistan and a lot of Afghanistan. Persian and Dari are written in the Arabic script and Tajik in Cyrillic, but I'm comfortable with both alphabets now.

Here are my goals of where I'd like to be someday with languages:

1. Conversant in Arabic. This one's a little tricky because I know the Palestinian dialect, and it's nowhere near as formal as the religious Arabic most non-Arabic-speaking Muslims learn. I was conversant about 10 years ago, but as of this minute, I'm not. It was nice to feel somewhat comfortable when I spoke in Arabic.

2. Fluent reading and conversant in Russian. I'd say I'm at a survival level with speaking and reading right now. I'd like to be able to read the Russian-language scholarship on Central Asia and Siberia, and I'd like to be more comfortable with Russian instead of always feeling like I was just hanging on (although I learned enough Russian that I felt like I could handle most situations).

3. Conversant (or at least survival) in Uzbek/Uyghur and/or Kyrgyz/Kazakh. I'm only at a basic level now in Kyrgyz, and I'm still not sold that Kyrgyz is the best choice anyway. I think I may switch or Uzbek/Uyghur and just keep track of Kyrgyz, unless the stars align themselves so that we can go back to Bishkek soon.

4. Conversant (or survival) in Persian/Tajik/Dari. I have this book right now for starting on Persian. We shall see how it goes.

4 comments:

  1. you are a genius. why not learn suahili why you are at it ;) but in all seriousness, you can earn millions if you chose to work for cia down the road

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  2. I'd like to study Persian too. But first I'd like to get better at Arabic and Hebrew ... which makes me feel like I have a full plate.

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  3. There's a great tajik-persian-english dictionary available here in Dushanbe for 20$. The book's in both the cyrillic and the farsi scripts.
    I'm currently studying Tajik here with an eye on converting it to Persian later down the line. I envy you owning/finding a copy of the Whitlock book and would happily love to arrange a trade or a lend. My email is on the flickrpage.

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  4. I checked the Whitlock book out of the library or I'd be happy to mail it to you. If there's anything I missed in Central Asia, it was books.

    I wish I'd picked up an Kyrgyz-Russian-English dictionary while I was in Bishkek. But there weren't a lot of dictionaries there. We never even found a decent Uzbek-Russian one.

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