Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I'd be totally useless in another country. Well, moreso.

The idea of being able to speak more than one language has always appealed to me, but it's never been my strong suit. Mostly, it took me a very long time to understand the difference between speaking another language and translating everything from English. For some reason, I never really wanted to try in my Spanish classes in high school (and as a result speak no Spanish) but minored in German and took one French course (in preparation for being in Paris later that semester, which worked until I got to a door and realized I hadn't learned the words for "push" or "pull." So I only really ever knew the barest minimum French and my German has become lousy because I stopped reading it and don't have anyone to speak with. My plan had been to listen to Deutsche Welle, but it's difficult to jump back into a language when you've forgotten most of the grammar. I've got enough grammar and vocabulary books for German that I should probably try to get back to understanding it enough to be able to get something out of German radio broadcasts.

I don't have enough time or money to take another class, but I think I'm going to try something to supplement that. I've already mentioned, really recently, that I'm a big podcast listener, and I'm not sure this is the right mode of action for precisely that reason (because I tend to get behind in listening) but I'm going to give it a shot. Deutsche Welle has a series of language instruction podcasts Warum nicht? which I'm giving a shot (I'm not sure what I should think of the "invisible ex" thing in the introduction paragraph there, but I'm just going to ignore it for now.

I'm also going to try a beginners podcast in a language I don't know at all to see if I pick anything up. I've been intending to give Russian a crack for a while, have a few grammar books and while I'm sure this is probably the least effective way to go about learning it, I'm going to give Spoonful of Russian a listen. I'm glad some of the entries are videos, because one of the reasons I picked Russian as a language I'd like to learn is that every language I've attempted thus far uses the Latin alphabet and Cyrillic seems similar enough that I'd not run away screaming, but different enough to be a challenge.

As I said, I'll probably not succeed in either of these endeavors, but I don't really see any harm in giving it a shot. If you have any ideas how I should go about brushing up on my German or trying to learn a new language, leave me some advice in the comments. If you have advice that's not going to cost me any money, even better.

Update: "Invisible ex" refers to an invisible elf who accompanies the protagonist of the series and is named "Ex". Whatever. It reminded me how to form pronouns in the dative, and therefore is awesome.

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