Quid Novi? | 2018: Year in Review


Vanakkam. 

Namaste. 

Namaskar. 

And in Soruggon, 

Ikhtighar Furiit. 

Greetings, humans! It’s been long, long while since I’ve done a decent end-of-year piece on this site, so now that this blog has been around for some 10 years and two days, here it is. It’s been a busy year, with a lot going on. It’s the start in many ways of a new era. I’ve had to let go of things, and embraced both new insights and learned some amazing things along the way. I’ve met new people and parted ways with others. Best of all, my mental health over the past year has vastly improved as I’ve freed myself of what doesn’t work and kept at what does. This is the last post on this blog for 2018. I wish a happy and prosperous New Year for you and yours!

Blogs and Other Social Media: 

I’ve left Twitter, with both of the @Troythulu and @Mister_Eccles accounts deleted. I’ll not be returning in the foreseeable future.

I’ve deleted all but four of my blogs, leaving only two WordPress sites, my Blogger site, and my Tumblr site remaining. 

I’ve deleted two old and moribund FB pages: Mr Riccles and The Collect Call of Troythulu, the former for my cats, the latter for my blogs. 

Later in the year, I restored older blog pages on this site.  

Earlier in April, I began the first major cleanup of posts on my blogs in nine years, deleting low-impact posts and unused tags, setting up others as drafts for rewriting, updating, and reposting for better traction. 

Lifelong learning and Study: 

I’ve finished and reviewed remedial lessons in both of Algebras I & II 

I’ve completed part 1, Units 1-13 of Complete Bengali, began intermediate – level study in Part 2, units 14-26 with some interruptions. Not as much progress as I’d have liked, but no biggie. 

After a hiatus and reorganizing of my study schedule, I’ve resumed learning of Tamil and Hindi, and vastly expanded my subscription to podcasts in both of those languages and in Bengali.  

I began course in graphic design fundamentals. This will prove most useful. 

Home Affairs: 

Got a standing desk attachment for my workspace. 

Assisted with home renovations at my family’s place in the 2nd half of 2018,  

Writing and Publishing Goals Met: 

Self-published my fourth book, The Giant who Fell from the Dark beyond the Sky: And Other Collected Works.  

Throughout the year, made regular contributions to Miss Sharmishtha Basu’s PDF eZine, Agnishatdal (the lotus of fire). 

Started my own email PDF newsletter, The Pikatron Monthly, in June. If you’re interested in subscribing, email me at troythulu@gmail.com and I’ll add you to the list.

Began research on Tamil slang, history, and culture for an upcoming book to be self-published sometime in late 2019, early 2020. 

MetaCognitions | Language Hangups


Last evening’s Tamil language podcast listening was productive, and vastly more satisfying progress-wise once I got myself into the right headspace to immerse myself and process the dialogue and interviews.

Setup for that takes me about 15-20 minutes of quiet thought, and at the very least a full hour of immersion, whether to speak, read, write, or listen in any language I’m studying. I should work up to an entire day of immersion when family is away for extended periods.

There’s a bit of performance anxiety in that, stemming from previous study of both Japanese and Pilipino, the former in the early 90s and the latter just before the early 2000s.

Both taught me a lot, but in both cases I was not…well…at either time, and was to my eternal regret a bit of an idiot as a student even in my late 20s.

Without getting into personal details or drama, my experiences of both left me with a difficulty in switching between English and other languages quickly or in a public context, especially for interviews or social media posting, and dreading again making an idiot of myself as a learner, this time on the Internet for all to see.

There’s also a lack of patience on my part, as I must remind myself that even in formal study it takes several whole semesters for anybody to make progress at my age in any non-native language, even with an instructor and fellow students to interact with for feedback.

Hindi, Tamil, and Bangla are not easy languages to begin with, especially for non-native speakers like me!

All of my study to-date on the current languages, ALL of it, has been informal, but still marked by progress over time, even with my biases and impatience getting in the way of seeing that.

It helps to take, even in a passing moment of introspection, and actually immersing myself in the damn languages instead of whining, a long view, to see the forests of India’s Big Three languages over time for the trees of any given study period.

Maybe I’ll always be somewhat anxious about being the village idiot of students, but maybe too I can avoid that outcome, to keep up the long game toward what level of mastery I can achieve.

At my age, I’ll probably never reach native fluency in any of them, but that’s cool. I’m not trying to pass as a native speaker anyway, not perfect fluency, only to broaden my horizons and reduce my ignorance of the rest of humanity elsewhere in some small way, however imperfectly.

And d’you know what? I think that’s good enough.

Tf. Tk. Tts.