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December 30, 2011 | Hebrew

Language Games on KLM Airplanes

On seatbacks, you can compete in Hindi, Japanese, Greek, and many other languages.

Yesterday Brandt and I returned to New York from Genoa. I studied hours and hours on the way home, trying to get back into the Hebrew groove.

Bus from Genoa to Milan. No Flash, Because I Didn't Think That Would Be Well Received by Fellow Passengers.

Bus from Genoa to Milan. No Flash, Because I Didn’t Think That Would Be Well Received by Fellow Passengers.

In the pre-dawn hours, I did Pimsleur lessons on a bus from Genoa to the Milan airport.

I did Pimsleur lessons while we waited for our flight in Milan.

I studied from Milan to Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, working my way as quickly as I could through Modern Hebrew: An Essential Grammar by Lewis Glinert.

This grammar is published by Routledge and last month was totally inaccessible to me. For it to make any sense I needed to know some Hebrew.

Now I can do okay with it, even though it is still too advanced, I would say. I had one of this series for Polish, too, and it is just not my favorite series—not for my purposes. These are responsible and careful books, and I like the design, but there are few exercises and much explanation.

It’s all about the exercise-to-explanation ratio! I need a really big one!

Seeing Hudson News in Milan Amused Me

Seeing Hudson News in Milan Amused Me

Therefore, I am still without a Hebrew grammar and exercise book I like. Which is significantly impeding my progress.

By the way, I find Pimsleur impossible on airplanes. The noise of the engines makes me have to turn up the volume so high that I get headaches—which is why I stick to grammar books when I am flying.

At Schiphol I dedicated myself to eating rather than studying.

On my KLM airplane from Schiphol to JFK, I kept reading Glinert’s book, for hours, until I needed a break, at which point I discovered Berlitz games on the back of the seat in front of me.

I tried some basic games in Greek, Japanese, Russian, Hindi, Arabic, and I think Korean. The technology is pretty low-rent, but it was entertaining nonetheless.

Berlitz Word Traveler

Berlitz Word Traveler

Russian Dialogue Game

Russian Dialogue Game

My Hindi Is Hopeless

My Hindi Is Hopeless

Reading Greek Again Was Fun

Reading Greek Again Was Fun

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