spanish

All posts tagged spanish

So when I started my project of paying myself to study my languages, I started a spreadsheet to track my earnings. I have columns for the CDs and shares of stock I’ve bought and for the interest they’re earning and projecting when I’ll be able to buy my next CD or share of stock, as appropriate. I spend about 50% of my language earnings on stock. I’ve been buying three CDs at $100 each and then a share of stock at $250. However, I really should be buying three CDs at $100 each and then a share of stock for about $250, then two CDs at $100 each and then a share of stock. Right now I have 10 CDs and three shares of stock. So I guess that a share of stock is next.

However, my spreadsheet is now really unwieldy, with 51 columns. I didn’t notice at the time, but my version of Microsoft Office doesn’t have Access in it. Adding Access to this version would cost me $130. Should I just upgrade to another version that has it, suck it up and pay the $130, or find a freeware database to hold me until I can come up with enough to upgrade Office?

I have good financial news regarding this project, though. I’ve wanted to go to grad school for my target language but there doesn’t seem to be a way to test into the ability to go to grad school. You need a certain number of undergraduate credits. I’ve recently found out that a lot of states will let people over retirement age take college courses — for credit — for free, so long as the credits aren’t going towards a degree. So, my new plan is to save up for another 13 years and once I’m 65, I can start taking the undergraduate classes I’ll need for free. Then once I have them, I can find a graduate school.

Now I just have to start working on choosing a language for that degree. Spanish is my best language, but am I really that passionate about it? I think I’m more passionate about Italian, but Italian is the lowest-paying of the languages. Chinese pays better and I’m more passionate about Chinese, but do I want to go to St. Louis? Or Honolulu (why can’t the University of Hawaii’s Chinese graduate program be at their Hilo campus?). I would love to go to graduate school in Berkeley if I can afford it, but could I even aspire to attending there? Or should I wait and see what the future holds? Maybe I’ll fall in love with a different high-paying language that is being taught somewhere that I want to be and that I can afford.

Oh, and I’ve added another language, maybe. 50% of my ancestry is Czech and I’ve always wanted to learn Czech, so I’m going to take a stab at it on Duolingo. I’ll let you know how it works out.

Now for a Gratuitous Amazon Link. This time it’s something I’m considering buying for myself but haven’t bought yet: Pimsleur Czech Conversational Course. The only time I’ve Pimsleured (?), it was when I first started learning Chinese. I checked Pimsleur Mandarin out of the library and it went so fast that it hurt my brain. I then took a step back and went with ChinesePod (speaking of which I need to get back to downloading those so that I can listen to them in the car again). But I’m starting with Duolingo Czech and so maybe I can Pimsleur in Czech. And if I can do it, maybe I can get my dad to take a stab at it as well. . . .

No, I haven’t forgotten about this blog. But I’ve been really exhausted after work and have been using the energy that I do have on my language-learning project (maybe I’ll start a topic for that . . .), so I haven’t had the time or energy to spend on reading magazines. Except for Vanity Fair, because I am one of that magazine’s tens of thousands of new subscribers. I’m considering subscribing to Teen Vogue, as well, for their political reporting. There’s apparently also a project going where people are subscribing Republican politicians to Teen Vogue as well (a subscription is only $5 per year).

As for the language-learning project, as of yesterday I have hit the $90 mark, and as of today I’ve finished Level 1 of Rosetta Stone Vietnamese. As far as Spanish goes, I’m apparently somewhere in the midst of heading towards CEFR* Level B1. B1 is a high intermediate/low advanced level, so I can live with that, I think (for now, at least). The only thing stopping me from being at a higher level is vocabulary, so I’m considering adding vocabulary flash cards to my regimen. One of the things that bugs me about Duolingo is that the gold circles (indicating that you’ve completed that exercise) stop being gold after a while (as a prompt to make you practice more). I wish Duolingo would let me specify that I use Spanish nearly daily in my job, so that the circles take longer to stop being gold. Having to do the same lessons over and over because Duolingo assumes that I don’t use the language enough to keep the vocabulary fresh can be kind of frustrating.

I’ve also discovered a new tool, Language Zen, which I’m trying out. So far they only have Spanish for English speakers (and their second plan is for English for Spanish speakers), but if the site takes off, they’ll be adding more languages later. It’s a little translation-heavy (they give you sentences in English and you have to write the Spanish for them), which doesn’t do so much to prepare you to speak the language, but it’s hopefully going to broaden my vocabulary.  There’s an odd “less than (number) words need practice” thing in the corner that I haven’t quite been able to figure out yet. I had 60 words at one time, then worked my way down to ten, and now I’m at 255. I can’t wait to figure out what that means. As I worked on this post, I was working on that site and I’m down to 245. Still don’t know 245 words until what, exactly.

There’s also been a change in plans for our bigger 2017 trip. Alex has a friend in California that he wants to meet in person, so we’re going to be going to Southern California for the week. I have been there four times before (and Alex went once as a baby), but, again, the now-ex (who still doesn’t have a pseudonym) has most of our photos from those trips. So I’ll be taking new pictures of those places to replace the ones that I no longer have. I also hope to make it to a few new places (the Queen Mary and Catalina Island, specifically).

*Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.