September 13, 2009 | Arabic

Some Whining

I love studying this stuff, but I complain anyway.

My various Arabic books keep screaming at me, “Don’t lift your pen in the middle of a word! Don’t lift your pen!” It is both alarming and intimidating. However, the calligrapher shown on the Alif Baa DVD sometimes…

September 14, 2009 | Arabic

Arab American Association of New York

I visit an English class for Arabic speakers in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

Today I visited the Arab American Association of New York in Bay Ridge and sat in on an English class for women, taught by two dedicated recent college graduates. I have been trying to find a non-profit where I could…

September 15, 2009 | Arabic

Pimsleur Pricing and a Library Snafu

Good news: Pimsleur prices are dropping. Bad news: I learn about a bad mistake at the library.

Today I received an e-mail from a charming and helpful man, Kelly, at Simon & Schuster, which is the publisher of Pimsleur products. The e-mail came in response to my questions about Pimsleur prices, which seemed to have been dropping…

September 16, 2009 | Arabic

My First English Class, Arab American Association

I teach English in Brooklyn and learn some Arabic, too.

I’ve been noticing something cool about Arabic. Americans claim fluency very easily in other languages—Spanish or French, for example—when they really aren’t fluent. In Arabic, however, no one I’ve encountered so far, other than native…

September 19, 2009 | Arabic

I Don’t Like When Things Are Hard

I need to be more mature.

“Arabic is extremely hard,” I just announced to Brandt, without grace and with plenty of irritation. My problem (one of them) is that throughout my life, when I haven’t understood something, I have tended to develop an underlying irritation…

September 21, 2009 | Arabic

Arabic Vocabulary Crisis

VocabuLearn and Pimsleur problems, and not trivial ones either.

I did Arabic VocabuLearn in the shower today. I am recognizing more words. However, there are quite a few differences between VocabuLearn and what Pimsleur is teaching me, far more than there were between the Russian VocabuLearn and the Russian…

September 21, 2009 | Arabic

Back to the Drawing Board

I discover I will have to redo all of Pimsleur Level I. That's 30 lessons.

After looking into things further, I have determined that the new and improved Level II of Pimsleur Eastern Arabic is totally unrelated to the ancient Level I got from the library—the one I have spent the past three weeks…

September 23, 2009 | Arabic

Language Class Cons

Language classes are great, but usually not for me.

People keep encouraging me to take a class instead of doing this on my own. I don’t want to. One of the reasons I don’t want to is that classes go too slowly. Also, other people annoy me.…

September 23, 2009 | Arabic

Another English Class in Bay Ridge

More teaching at the Arab American Association of New York.

Today was my second English class at the Arab American Association of New York. I took the Brooklyn-bound N train, which goes over Manhattan Bridge and offers a spectacular and inspiring view of Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue…

September 24, 2009 | Arabic

A Pimsleur Kind of Day

Knocking around New York with Dr. P.

Today I did tons of Pimsleur errands. I walked all over Manhattan with my giant headsets on, learning Arabic everywhere I went. I learned Arabic as I walked through Central Park, twice, back and forth to a doctor’s appointment…