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Farsi In A Year 2013

Farsi Friday Week 26: Halfway to Persian fluency? (نیمه راه به تسلط به فارسی؟)

The video above was filmed on the 1st of July this year; six months to the day after I made a New Year’s Resolution to become fluent in Farsi in a year.

این فیلم اول ژوئیه ساخته شد، دقیقاً شش ماه بعد از اینکه قول دادم در مدت یک سال فارسی یاد بگیرم.

If you’ve read the original series of blog posts, you’ll remember that I was starting pretty much from scratch. I knew most of the alphabet and could get through a few basic greetings, but not much else.

اگر مقاله‌های اصلی مرا خوانده‌اید، یادتان خواهد آمد که تقریباً از ابتدایی داشتم شروع می‌کردم. تقریباً همه الفبا را می‌دانستم، و از بر چند جملۀ ساده می‌تونستم بر بیام، ولی بیشتر نه.

You’ll also remember that I am one of those people who have always claimed to be “crap at languages”, but that I felt it was time to stop ignoring the real reason I’d never mastered one: a deep fear of failure and ridicule. I could speak English perfectly well, after all — what was really stopping me?

همچنین یادتان خواهد آمد که من یکی از کس‌هایی هستم که همیشه می‌گویند «در زبان‌های خارجی بدم»، اما احساس کردم وقتش است به این فکر پایان بدم و قبول کنم که دلیل اصلی وارد نبودن من در یک زبان دیگر، ترس از شکست و مورد خنده قرار گرفتن است. در هر صورت در زبان خودم عالی بودم، پس واقعاً چه چیزی مرا باز می‌داشت؟

Through language learning I wanted to surmount this personal obstacle, which would also open up doors for my next journey. There’s no better way (other than being open and friendly) to get under the skin of the place you’re travelling through than knowing the local language.

از طریق زبان یاد گرفتن می‌خواستم به این مانع قلبه کنم، که همچنین دست یافتی برای سفر بعدی من می‌شد. بهترین طریق شناختن یک کشور جدید در زمان مسافرت، دانستن زبان محلی آنجاست.

If you are not familiar with the Persian language, it’s spoken by a hundred million people in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, as well as in parts of surrounding Central Asian nations, and of course in the substantial Iranian diaspora the world over.

اگر فارسی بهتان آشنا نیست، صد میلیون نفر در ایران، افغانستان و تاجیکستان فارسی صحبت می‌کنند، همچنین در بعضی از قسمت‌های کشور‌های همسایه، و در جماعت مهاجران ایرانی.

Why would I particularly want to learn Persian, though? Have a read of Week 1’s post, in which all is explained.

ولی چرا می‌خواهم فارسی یاد بگیرم؟ مقاله هفته اول مرا بخوانید، در آن توضیح داده شده است.

This video does not show me being fluent. It shows me as I was at the half-way mark of this mission, muddling through an unplanned 5‑minute conversation with my Iranian friend Saba. It’s full of mistakes and pauses, but it was a natural conversation nonetheless, and no struggle compared to my daily experience during the two months I spent in Iran earlier this year (trip report coming… one day… perhaps).

این فیلم نشان نمی‌دهد که من در فارسی روان هستم. نشان می‌دهد که من دقیقاٌ در وسط این تکلیف بودم، در حال مکالمۀ بدون برنامۀ پنج دقیقه‌ای و در هم و بر هم با دوست ایرانیم صبا. پر از غلط و وقفه است، ولی یک گقتگوی طبیعی بود، و اصلاٌ در مقایسه با تجربۀ روزانۀ من در دو ماه اول این سال که در ایران گذراندم، مشکل نبود.

Why am I posting a video that 99% of readers cannot understand? I confess that it is for utterly selfish reasons. You see, at the beginning of this year I made a public commitment to this language-learning mission. It would be a new chapter in the exploration of the art of journeymaking that runs through all of this blog.

چرا دارم یک فیلم که نود و نه در صد خواننده‌ها نمی‌توانند بفهمند منتشر می‌کنم؟ من اعتراف می‌کنم که کاملاً برای دلایل خودخواهانه است. در آغاز امسال عهد کردم که این زبان را یاد بگیرم. یک فصل جدید در داستان مسافرت‌های من خواهد بود.

But I am in need of a proper kick up the backside. I’ve been procrastinating badly, having reached a plateau at an intermediate level of Persian, and my learning efforts have dropped off over the summer. But being held to account externally is one of the best motivators there is. And so this is a public renewal of those original vows I made on January 1st.

ولی یک کم کمک لازم دارم. دارم وقت می‌گذرانم. فارسیم هنوز در حالت متوسط است، و در تابستان کم آموخته ام. ولی انتضار مردم از من برای انگیزه گرفتن عالی است. پس این تجدید دوبارۀ وعدۀ من است، همانطور که در اول ژانویه دادم.

Cycle path Esfahan

Motivation to accomplish something daunting is created very effectively by introducing accountability. You don’t need a blog like mine to do it; you could just tell everyone you know what you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it by, and you have immediately gathered a crowd who will hold you to account. It’s scary. But it’s extremely effective.

اگر در انجام کاری ترس دارید، می‌توانید انگیزه بگیرید با جوابگو بودن نه فقط به خودتان. بلاگ مثل من لازم ندارید؛ فقط به همه بگویید چه کار می‌کنید و تا کی، و بلافاصله جمعیتی کافی خواهید داشت که بهشان جوابگو باشید. ترسناک است، ولی بسیار مؤثر.

It was in the summer of 2006 that I told my friends and family that I was going to cycle round the world, and on June 17th 2007 I set off on the ride that changed my life. The public commitment got me over all of the hurdles between the original idea and the all-important starting line — even though what happened next was entirely different to what I’d planned.

در تابستان ۲۰۰۶ بود که به همه دوستان و خانواده‌ام گفتم که دور دنیا دوچرخه سواری خواهم کرد، و در هفدهم ژوئیه ۲۰۰۷ به راه افتادم که زندگی مرا تغییر داد. تعهد من به مردم باعث شروع سفرم شد، حتی اگر اتفاقات بعدی کاملاً با برنامه‌هایم متفاوت بود.

We all have hurdles to leap between where we are and where we want to be. What’s yours? Could you create accountability for yourself by going public with your plans?

در ضمن… فارسیم چطوره؟

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Farsi In A Year 2013 Photography

Why My Blog’s Been Quiet Recently (Photographic Evidence Provided)

As you’ll know if you’re a regular reader, my goal for 2013 is to become fluent in Farsi (Persian) by the end of the year.

A big part of this attempt, I previously wrote, would be done by totally immersing myself in the language on trips to Iran, a country to which this footloose Brit now has strong personal ties (watch the film to find out exactly how this happened).

I’m now coming to the end of my first journey in Iran, and there’ll be plenty of stories appearing on this blog over the next few weeks, as well some interesting and unexpected observations that have come out of my experiments in learning a foreign language through travel itself.

But in the meantime, allow me to whet your appetite with a handful of pictures that may hint at the kind of escapades I’ve been up to…

Saeed and me

Irony

Crossing the bridge

Farmland pano

Lost

Welcome

Bushwhacking

Zayanderud

Starscape

Riverbank walking

Packrafting preparation

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Farsi In A Year 2013 Philosophy Of Travel

Farsi Friday Week 9: Overcoming childhood fears

Burney Fell, South Lakes (Panorama)

I leave for Iran next week. This is frightening. I am afraid.

Last summer I spent an enjoyable afternoon wandering around London’s South Bank, stopping random passers-by and asking politely if they wouldn’t mind sharing their impression of Iran with my video camera. I was shooting some vox pops for a film about my journey in Iran. I expected responses along the lines of ‘dangerous nuclear-fixated fundamentalists’, thus setting the stakes for a film which would prove them wrong.

But I’d underestimated the nuances of people’s views.

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Farsi In A Year 2013

Farsi Friday Week 6: Trashy TV Shows & Other Learning Aids

You might have noticed that Week 4 and 5 of my series on learning Persian did not appear. You might also have noticed that this corresponded with my first big book launch. Unsurprisingly, there is a connection here!

Categories
Farsi In A Year 2013

Farsi Friday Week 3: Free language resources that work, and the theory of learning

I know, I know, it’s a Sunday. On Friday I was at the London Bike Show, where I did my first ever public talk about my travels (a first tiny step towards curing my phobia of public speaking).

And because the UK’s train drivers treat a flurry of snow as a reason to stay in bed for the day, the nice four-hour train journey home — on which I’d planned to write the update — did not happen.

Enough with the excuses. Onto the week’s developments…