July 30, 2017 | Review Period

Cool Croatian

I still manage to use language on a daily basis! But I am distracted from my studies by the American political situation.

Tonight I walked seven miles with Pimsleur in the park, for the first time in a while. I did five and a half Croatian lessons and loved them. Fireflies, my favorite bugs of all time, floated and flitted with me.

Trying a new Slavic language when you’ve studied other ones is heavenly, because you’re like the kid in class who knows all the answers.

Bookshelf with Some of My Current Reading

Bookshelf with Some of My Current Reading

It’s like, “Me me me! I know!!!!! Call on MEEEEEEE!!!”

I have done Pimsleur lessons for several languages this year, but overall I’ve dedicated much less time than usual to my linguistic pursuits, unless you count reading compulsively, in my case about what has gone wrong with American politics. Today we have in office a president of no honor and no morality. He presides over, even delights in, the vast yawning chasm of self-indulgent ignorance between his ears. I take no pleasure in saying so. It is bad for our culture, bad for our country, and bad for the world.

The things I value language for are of zero relevance to Trump. He cares nothing for knowledge of others, knowledge of the world, knowledge of history, knowledge of ideas. He is indifferent to anything that does not come with dollar signs attached.

And I am preoccupied with that, as I think Americans should be. I believe it is dangerous. I have been getting involved with my local community, making an effort to reach out to others who are similarly concerned, and am thinking about the road that led to this, and the road that might lead away from it to a more promising future.

Comments (7)

Jose Luiz • Posted on Wed, August 23, 2017 - 4:02 pm EST

Ellen, just for the sake of us who get to know the news (fake or otherwise) from afar, what would you say is the proportion of New Yorkers who would subscribe to your views? 30, 50, 70 per cent? And how many would utterly disagree?
Oh, and best wishes.

Jose Luiz Serafini • Posted on Tue, August 29, 2017 - 9:37 am EST

In 1994, as a tourist on a boat in The Thousand Islands, I overheard a gentleman saying it would be the ruin and shame of America if Mrs Clinton ever got to be President.

Though never an admirer of the Clintons, I was a bit startled at the harshness of the assertion.

That being true, it so happened that two decades later you Americans were faced with the choice between ugly and ugly.

There is the plain, coarse ugliness of Mr Nixon, and the ingrained, raffine ugliness of Mr Kennedy.

But ugly (almost) always wins, it has to.

We are ugly.

Jose Luiz • Posted on Wed, August 30, 2017 - 9:51 am EST

Incidentally, things political here in Brazil have a pretty more exciting pace. Last year, the impeachment of a clumsy President. Several politicians and big-shot entrepreneurs in jail, others awaiting their turn. Dozens of politicians indicted, others under judgement. Embezzlements in profusion. Bribery a-plenty. E la nave va…

Ellen Jovin • Posted on Sun, September 24, 2017 - 8:43 pm EST

Jose Luiz, the percentage who support Trump around here seems vanishingly small. Right around me, it is extremely hard to find Trump supporters. I can walk around my neighborhood and almost everyone I encounter despises Trump. He has supporters in some other parts of New York, however. Like in some neighborhoods of Queens, some neighborhoods in Brooklyn, and especially on Staten Island. Here’s a map from 2016.

Jose Luiz • Posted on Mon, October 02, 2017 - 11:51 pm EST

I feel ashamed for having inflicted upon you the chore of providing percentages or statistics, unduly diverting you from your Croatian escapade. Though in this case you had an easy job, 100% being such a nice round figure.

Josh • Posted on Tue, October 03, 2017 - 6:37 pm EST

Have you ever thought of learning Malay? Its built as a trading language and has no tenses nor tones nor bad food like at winthrop house.


Ellen Jovin • Posted on Sat, October 07, 2017 - 6:58 pm EST

Hi Josh! Fancy seeing you here. :) I haven’t thought of Malay specifically, but I certainly haven’t ruled it out. Thank you for the lingua-advertisement! Good to know.

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