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May 27, 2018

Spring Awakening

In which my thoughts turn to studying Chinese, Arabic, and Russian.

Last week I thought to myself, it would be cool to learn some Chinese characters right around now. Even though I spent a little time on Chinese some years back, I focused on spoken skills and pinyin and never learned…

Reviews
Visit Their Website for French Advice (in French)

French, Organizations

In countries not the United States, it is not unusual to find an organized body of language experts who weigh in on questions relating to their national language. You know, like a Council on American Grammar and Usage—except we…

Pimsleur Portuguese: Great for Developing Speaking Skills

5 Portuguese, Audio Lessons

I loved Pimsleur Brazilian Portuguese. A Pimsleur lesson is a roughly 30-minute, highly interactive audio experience focusing on the development of oral skills, and there are a total of 90 lessons for Portuguese.  The pacing is good. I mention this…

Oxford Essential Polish Dictionary: I Really Like This One!

5 Polish, Books, Dictionaries

The Oxford Essential Polish Dictionary is extremely usable and useful. I am picky about dictionaries. I like the aesthetics of this one: the readability of the print, the weight of the book (light), and its dimensions (small-purse…

Block Where Alwan for the Arts Resides

4 Arabic, Museums/Cultural

In downtown Manhattan, you can visit Alwan for the Arts for cultural events in the realms of music, dance, film, books, and more. An event I went to there in 2009 was enticingly called “Leyya Tawil’s Dance Elixir,” with clarinetist…

For All Your Pinyin Needs

3-5 Mandarin, Audio Lessons, Websites

I read about this pronunciation table in Yong Ho’s book Beginner’s Chinese. Mandarin has amazingly few sound combinations—only around 400 different syllables, versus many multiples of that in English—so they can all be stuck in…

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