I am learning Kyrgyz faster than I thought possible.
Every morning I have breakfast with my host family and then walk the four blocks to the neighbor’s home where my small language class has Kyrgyz lessons. Our language tutor, Bakyt Kurmanakunov, is one of, if not the best Kyrgyz-English language teacher in the country. He literally wrote the textbook on the subject and it’s become my Bible and life preserver here. The pages of my copy of Bakyt’s English-Kyrgyz Dictionary is guaranteed to be frayed by the time I’m done with it.
Whether because of Bakyt’s teaching methods, the language resources available, the immersion, my own extra motivation to learn, or some combination, there is noticeable progress every day.
In addition to Kyrgyz being an extremely interesting language, it is also very close to the other Turkic languages. In my own experience I’ve found that Spanish is far enough away from English that not much can be understood between speakers of one exclusively, but apparently Kyrgyz, Kazakh, Uzbek, and Turkish are close enough to be understood between speakers of one or the others. More like the difference between Spanish and Italian maybe? In any case, killing four or more birds with one stone sounds pretty good to me.