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Chatty Crochet With Me #16: Learning Languages and Duolingo


Hello all my buddies, this is Carmen, and welcome to another Chatty Crochet With Me!

If you haven’t been here before, I will be crocheting a project and chatting with you as if we were crocheting together, maybe on different projects, maybe the same, I don’t know, I’m not your supervisor! This is not a crochet tutorial, so be sure to check out all the other amazing crochet tutorial channels out there.

Alright, first things first, I moved! My fiancé and I are living together now. We’re definitely still settling in, and there’s some more things I want to get, but all in all, It has been about two weeks and it’s been great! But yeah, that’s why you see a new background behind me.

On to business! I finished my February blanket really early to prep for the moving, so I don’t have it with me at the moment, but here it is on screen. To remind you, my February blanket was the Yarnspirations Faux Braid blanket, but instead of going by that pattern, I used Naztazia’s Jacob’s Ladder tutorial instead to make the braids. I really like how this came out, but I miscalculated and had to adjust the size so that I used up all my yarn and didn’t need to buy more. My fault, obviously, I need to pay attention to the yardage and not the number of skeins. (Did I say this last time too? Yikes, I’m not good at this…)

Now, moving on to the blanket for March: the Granny stripes blanket! I started this mid-February, and worked on it in-between all the packing I had to do, so it’s only got a couple of stripes.

I’m using Red Heart Super Saver for the white (my favorite white) and Knit Picks Brava Worsted in colors Cornflower, Freesia, Alfalfa, Tranquil, and Coral. Honestly, kinda disappointed in the coral color, it’s so dark in person! Also, I’m not sure if you can see on screen, but in person, Cornflower and Tranquil look really similar, even though Cornflower is more of a sky blue and Tranquil is more of a light green blue, kinda mint. I think if you put the skeins next to each other, you can see that they are different, but if you put them apart, they look too similar. Oh well!

I am using my trusty 10mm N hook and doubling up on worsted weight yarn to mimic a bulky weight yarn. I’m afraid I’m going to have to buy more white…so I’m probably gonna pick up another color so that the two colors are far enough apart.

Now, while I’m crocheting this blanket, I want to talk about one of the hobbies (it is a hobby though?) I (re)started during the pandemic: learning languages!

I started my Duolingo account way back in 2013 but didn’t pick it up again until about 5 months ago (157 day streak, with a streak freeze every couple of weeks or so!). Every day I go through a lesson of Japanese, French and Mandarin (which Duolingo simply calls Chinese, but that’s not today’s topic of discussion).

So actually I took all these classes in school. I took French in high school, and did Mandarin and Japanese in college.

I took French in high school because we were only given three choices: Spanish, French, and German. Of the three, I wanted to learn French because it was the ~romance~ language and that is the only reason. I really liked my first French teacher, but she retired after my first year and was replaced by a teacher who I felt was not as warm and friendly. So I quit after my second year. To prep for college, I was also in French club for a year; cannot tell you anything we did, except I do remember we went to a nursing home to sing French carols to the residents and that was fun.

Similar to what seems like 90% of people who take up the language, I watched a lot of Japanese anime growing up, and wanted to learn Japanese. My family line is mostly Cantonese, so my mom insisted that I learn Cantonese or Mandarin before Japanese, so in college, I took Mandarin. My Mandarin professor was really great and friendly; his aura was like this big teddy bear. I enjoyed taking the class a lot, and took it for multiple years. Of course, I don’t really remember any of it, but the one thing I do remember is, to practice my characters, I would write them on Post-Its and stick them up on the walls in my room. This really amused my mom when she came to visit me one Thanksgiving.

After a year of Mandarin, I decided to finally take up Japanese. My professor was this wonderful, spunky woman who felt like she was your friend when she was teaching you. It was great learning the language I’ve always wanted to learn, but I will admit that the downside was that two of my most memorable classmates were completely irritating. One girl, who claimed she took Japanese in elementary school, was surprised to learn that the word for every country name was not just the same (English) in every language; for example, the English word for the country “Korea” is not the same in Korean or Japanese as it is in English. Like, she really thought Koreans called their country Korea. It remains one of the dumbest things I’ve ever hear in person. And of course, one guy was the epitome of a Japanophile (cough WEEB cough), who wore a “I Want A Japanese Girlfriend” shirt to class. My teacher laughed at the shirt, but I can’t be the only one who cringed at it.

Since English is my primary language, I think French is the easiest for me because it’s a Latin-based language. It’s easy for me to guess how the word sounds from just looking at it. Mandarin is the second easiest, because I understand how the tones should sound, even if I can’t replicate it. And Japanese is the hardest, hands down, because you have to learn three different character sets. I’m still having trouble with Katakana because some of those characters only have the slightest difference and you really have to be looking (at least that’s how I feel). And even though kanji shares ties with Chinese characters, I definitely only pay attention to the simplified Chinese characters, so when kanji has the older, traditional characters, it is really hard to decipher.

Are you guys taking any Duolingo courses? Did you take language courses in school? Did you start up in COVID-19 times, or did you start up before? Are the Duolingo courses the same as the ones you took in school?

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[…] I made it huge and it is costing me so much time and money. I frogged this one twice as well! In my Chatty Crochet With Me #16, where I am working on it, this is actually the first iteration of the blanket. I filmed that back […]