The Trials and Travails of A Language Learner

November 1, 2020 4 of 8

Okay, today’s language learning hurdle wasn’t actually too bad from a global standpoint, but it did set my savings back a bit.

As I may have mentioned before, I’m attempting to focus on specific languages for a couple of months at a time. June and July were Spanish, August and September were German, October and November are Chinese, etc.

One of the thing that I’ve been doing is attempting to understand my phone games in each of these languages. Only, when I made my list of languages: Spanish, German, Mandarin, Italian, and Czech, I realized that my games aren’t available in Czech. So I decided to stack Mandarin in my games and Pimsleur Czech in the car and Duolingo Czech.

I put Pimsleur Czech on hold from my library and checked out Pimsleur Lithuanian (because I may qualify for Lithuanian citizenship and so why not?)

Only when I attempted to listen to Pimsleur Lithuanian using my old cell phone and my bluetooth speaker, I missed whole syllables. So eventually I figured out how to get it to come out right, I realized that this is too challenging for something I was doing just to fill in time while I waited for a different challenging language to become available.

So I switched to Pimsleur German and, aside from it being really strangely formal — I mean, they’re inviting each other to their homes for drinks and still calling each other “Sie”? — it mostly just awakened stuff that was already in there somewhere.

After a few days, I checked in on Czech and discovered that I’d missed it. They let me get back in line right behind the person who had it out then and I went back to German and checked in until the other day, when it finally became available again. I tried to listen to it this morning and, remember what happened when I first downloaded Lithuanian? Where I was missing syllables? It’s happening with Czech.

So now I’m racking my brain trying to remember what I did to make Lithuanian work way back a month ago. Hopefully I’ll figure it out pretty soon, because one Pimsleur lesson is $0.60. That’ll go a long way towards bolstering my savings for my modern languages degree.

Well, if all else fails, I can always turn the volume on my phone way, way up and also close my windows. I would very much prefer to get my bluetooth speaker to work, though.

It’s 11 pm now and I need to think about getting to bed. Time change is really not my friend this month. I didn’t get my eight posts in, but just maybe I’ve made my 1,600 word count goal, though. We’ll see once I post my Gratuitous Amazon Link.

The Gratuitous Amazon Link for this post is a goodie — A Deadly Education, by Naomi Novik. It’s a fantasy story about a wizarding school in a world that’s overrun by little evil critters. It’s the first in a series, but it’s also a standalone story all by itself. I’m reading it as part of Jenny Lawson’s Fantastic Strangelings Book Club, and I think it’s my favorite so far.

Writers’ Block

November 1, 2020 3 of 8

So I just had a long conversation with Evelyn and came up with a number of things to write about. And now I can’t remember one of them.

So here’s my list of topics:

  1. travel
  2. writing
  3. reading
  4. crafts
  5. “content creators” (i.e. YouTubers, podcasts, etc.)
  6. medicine (I’m a medical librarian, after all).
  7. adventures in cooking
  8. walking
  9. pets
  10. games
  11. languages
  12. childhood trauma (because why not)

This looks like a good place to start. I can pick eight of these every day (I don’t know if I’m going to really go into my childhood demons or not here in public. But God knows it’d be a fertile topic. I could ramble about that for pages.

This list is just off the top of my head. In future posts I may take this list and rank them from most to least useful. Or maybe I’ll just randomly choose one based on my mood. We’ll see what happens as the month progresses.

Gratuitous Amazon Link time! Using my latest idea, to go in reverse chronological order through my Goodreads list, next up is The Tower of Nero, the most recent book in the series (is there a term for a series of series?) that Rick Riordan started with The Lightning Thief. I’m never sure if I should do this as a Kindle edition or hard copy. I opted for Kindle this time. If I ever get a critical mass of readers who do buy these books, I’ll crunch the numbers and see which goes over better then edit as necessary.