November 29, 2009 | Italian

Flashcard Ambitions

How much vocabulary can a person learn in two months?

At about 6:00 this morning, I received my first spam e-mail in Italian. Instead of being irritated, I was thrilled, because I could read a lot of it.

When one is truly excited about something, even bad things can seem good.

Today turned out to be a day of multitasking, with studying being the main task. I did a bunch of grammar at Café Margot, then did a bunch of VocabuLearn while cleaning, then went to see the Bauhaus exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art, doing Pimsleur en route.

I found myself wondering this afternoon whether it would be worthwhile to see if I could learn all the VocabuLearn words and terms by the end of my Italian segment. I mean all of them, for all three levels available for Italian. I don’t know how many words there are per level, but it’s a lot.

If I make flashcards, there is hope. If not, there isn’t. With each VocabuLearn level you get a little manual that lists all the vocabulary on the CDs, which means you can make flashcards quite easily.

Inside the Time Warner Center

On the way home from the MOMA exhibit, I stopped by the Time Warner Center to check out the Borders language-learning section once again. Borders is on the second floor, right next to a Rosetta Stone kiosk, so I popped in there first. The Rosetta Stone salesman told me they were just now launching a new five-level Italian course. The release is scheduled for December, and the price is, gulp, $699.

I kind of want it. Not badly enough to spend $699, though.

Borders didn’t have anything I wanted, so I stopped at the Barnes & Noble near Lincoln Center, where I found some blank SparkNotes flashcards. They are only about $5 per box of cards, and the boxes are very convenient.

Blank Flashcards, with Convenient Storage Box

During my Russian studies, I tried using index cards as my flashcards, but then those kept floating around my desk randomly, until they finally just floated away altogether. It was too hard to keep them organized. The SparkNotes boxes by themselves justify the $5 price.

When I got home, I did many more grammar exercises, especially in my Italian Grammar Drills book. I like it. I am jumping around randomly in it, doing what I feel is my particular weakness at a particular moment on a particular day.

I have begun to consider whether I can sneak in an extra month of Italian. Because I really love this language and don’t want to cut it short.

It is now 1:57 a.m., and I think I will wind down by making myself a few flashcards.

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