September 21, 2013 | Review Period
I am in heaven.
Every night lately I’ve been dreaming about foreign language. Two nights ago I dreamt that I was in line to pick up my dog from a dogsitter kind of business. I don’t have a dog, but my sleeping subconscious did not care.
One of the Books I Plan to Review
Anyway, in the dream there was an irritable woman behind a counter, and a line for dog pickup, and when you got to the front of the line, you would be handed your dog’s leash (with the dog on the end of it) and then, strangely, your book on dog training and care. Along with a dog, each person had, it seemed, dropped off whatever dog book they happened to be reading in order to learn how to be a better dog owner.
Everyone had a different book, suggesting there was no dog bestseller dominating the market. Most of the books were rather thick.
Soon I reached the front of the line and was handed the end of my dog’s leash and my dog book.
The sourpuss woman behind the counter looked at my dog book as she handed it to me, and her face softened. It was a slim volume in Portuguese rather than the plain old boring overstuffed English dog books all the other dog owners had had.
“Muito bem,” she told me. I was proud.
Right before going to bed that night, I had been on the Adams Media website. This is the publishing company that makes one of my German books, but as I have mentioned, they also have a book on German shepherds in the same series, and I had seen that one online right before I went to bed. That explains the mysterious canine infusions in my dream, I think.
This Dog Book Infiltrated My Dreams!
I have all this month been in a heightened state of joy. I am running from one product to the next, one language to the next, and spending a large portion of each day trying out materials.
I calculated this morning that I am probably partway through 50 different products right now. I feel like a rat, a very happy one, scurrying from one delightful bit of food to the next. The experience is overwhelming but euphoric.
Reading/testing 50 things at once means it is taking me a little longer than usual to actually finish a product, but I am now starting to reach the ends of things and have begun more actively reviewing products again on this site.
During a given day, I might flip from German flashcards to a French grammar to a Spanish Pimsleur lesson (I’m going through their new Level 4 lessons for several languages) to a Portuguese vocabulary book. If I get tired of one language, I go to another. If I get tired of a particular medium (grammar book), there are always, say, audio lessons in the form of VocabuLearn. Or another still-unopened box of flashcards from which to remove the plastic shrinkwrapping.
German Words from BarCharts
Essential French Grammar, from Dover
Italian for Dummies from Wiley
German Verbs from Visual Education
Hide This French Book, APA Publications
Beginner’s Brazilian Portuguese, Hippocrene
I am aware of having to devote a substantial amount of time to shoring up the differences among the four Romance languages I have studied. Language confusion was an issue the last time I studied them at the same time, and it remains one now as well.
Yesterday I tried going from one language to the next with Pimsleur lessons, all in a row. First Portuguese, then Spanish, then French, then Italian. I think it was a very good idea. Doing that challenges the brain to switch around quickly, but also gives you half an hour at a time—the length of each lesson—to remind yourself of differences in vowels and word patterns and simple things like “or” and “no,” which are so similar but just slightly different from language to language and can easily get messed up when you are not paying attention.
I woke up this morning with much-improved French pronunciation (I tested it over my espresso) and am glad. I hate listening to myself pronounce French badly.