What are you teaching yourself?

A question for all the autodidacts on the board. What are you currently teaching yourself? What strategies and resources have you used? Any advice for other self learners?

Currently I’m teaching myself some electronics for my ongoing project of building a modular analog synthesizer. So far it’s mostly been sourcing and assembling components for pre-made PCBs that I buy. I estimate I’ve gone through about eleven miles of solder at this point. My next project will be building a bipolar power supply circuit so I no longer have to use my benchtop PSU for testing. That one is simple enough that I think I can do it straight from the schematic on protoboard. Which reminds me that I have to order a wall wart and some voltage regulators.

German. I’m supposed to visit near Frankfurt this winter. With someone who is fluent, but still I want to know as much as I can.

Tried doing that a few years ago with Rosetta Stone for a Germany trip. I really don’t have a thing for languages. But it helped, and we had a GREAT time.

Banjo. Turns out I don’t have a thing for music either :frowning: Oh well, it’s fun.

I have mentioned this in other threads: I am teaching myself a new way to play guitar. I used a pick for 35 years, then played Hybrid (pick + middle and ring fingers) and am now playing with no pick.

No other way but to strip it back to basics and rebuild my strums so they can be done with fingers only. Been interesting to go back to basic exercises I haven’t accessed for decades.


For a trip we’re planning, just a few handy phrases and some numbers, would be nice.

It’s tough going though. However, I have several months, so I have expectations!

German as well. Though I know from past experience that most Germans speak some English, This is a fun project for my wife and I. For anyone interested, I’m using both Babel and Duolingo. Duolingo is free, but it is primarily a vocabulary builder with lots of esoteric words. Babel costs like $60 a year, but is more HOW to speak German–syntax, grammar, little hints on nuances.

Recently I’ve been pondering the whole process and practice of teaching oneself something, and its implications as a study in cognition. The topic has come up in this
TED Radio broadcast, but it’s particularly interesting with regard to language, because I believe that there is an indispensable social dimension to language acquisition, so I always wonder what the best ways are to learn a language on one’s own.

How novel. It’s focused on how to speak the language. :slight_smile:
What do you think so far of Babel? (I’ve looked at Duolingo, and know it’s pretty useless.)

CNC machining, I just busted the milling spindle so I guess I still have some way to go…

And DL has some weird nonsense sentences. Although who knows? Maybe I’ll need to tell someone that der Mantel is auf dem Dach.

I’ll check out Babel.

Latin. I don’t really want to actually speak it, I want to learn how to read it, so audio lessons are out for me. I started with some basic text books and have progressed to reading side by side Latin/English texts. This is just a hobby, so I’m not in a hurry. I do have to say that I have been happily surprised by how quickly I’m picking it up, though.


Flower identification. Difficult because some flowers hybridize and I think they do it to spite me.

Learning Irish on Duolingo. I love the goofy sentences. One of my favorites is, “The lion eats the children.” Another great one is, “Do we have protection?” That one made me go :eek:!

I too am using Duolingo, but for French. I’m not trying to learn how to speak French, only how to read it. Seems like it’s helped me a lot, but I’m a novice at foreign languages, so what do I know?

I have French For Reading on the way via Ebay.

It would be nice if Duolingo had classical languages that are mainly studied for reading comprehension; e.g Latin, classical and Koine Greek, biblical Hebrew, maybe a smattering of Aramaic.

Web programming.

I guess you could almost call it applied archeology. I’m working on reinventing some basic jewelry making techniques that were used to kill time by soldiers and clergy during the 1750s.


For the past 50+ years.

That sounds pretty awesome.

Classical music, with the help of lots of CDs and some Great Courses CDs. It’s going slowly. Being tone deaf doesn’t help.

As soon as I retire I’m teaching myself Javascript, since I have a fun application for it.