September 25, 2009 | Arabic

Alwan for the Arts, Plus Arabic Grammar

I take a field trip to an arts organization.

I have been doing a lot of work on oral skills. For example, for the past few days I’ve been listening to VocabuLearn in the shower. (I mean not that I have been taking a shower for the past…

September 27, 2009 | Arabic

Daniel Tammet

Daniel Tammet learned Icelandic in a week; relatively, I suck.

This is a good day. I feel great. I have done a bunch of Pimsleur, though I need to work more on my writing skills, since they are deteriorating. I just watched a remarkable video on YouTube about Daniel Tammet.…

September 28, 2009 | Arabic

Backtracking, Plus Technical Challenges

I pay a price for rushing through Pimsleur.

This morning I woke up late and began doing Pimsleur. I started with lesson 28 (from the new and improved Level I), and I was doing okay, but I got discouraged and thought, this is not how I want it to…

September 29, 2009 | Arabic

Pimsleur Content: Some Suggestions

I don't care about understanding directions in Arabic; I can't follow them in English.

As was also the case with the Russian series, I feel Pimsleur spends too much time on giving and getting directions for travel (take this route, go left, go straight, etc.). If your Arabic is shaky, you are not generally…

September 30, 2009 | Arabic

More Teaching in Bay Ridge

I spend time with one of my favorite students.

Today I taught again at the Arab American Association of New York. Out of several possible students—I have been taking the advanced ones—only one person showed this time. I’ll call her Fatima, though that’s not her…

October 1, 2009 | Arabic

Russian and Arabic: Showdown in My Brain

A conversation in Russian temporarily makes me forget Arabic.

I have to watch Arabic TV. I just assumed, stupidly, that I wouldn’t be able to understand anything, but I had it on this morning, and I could definitely pick out words, more or less as I could at…

October 2, 2009 | Arabic

Pimsleur Marathon

An all-Pimsleur kind of day.

It is 10:24 p.m., and I have just completed a Pimsleur marathon—the most Pimsleur I’ve ever done in a day. I redid lessons 1 and 2 (Level II), which I had already done multiple times yesterday. Then I ran. I…

October 3, 2009 | Arabic

SNL in Arabic?

A rainy day with Dr. Pimsleur concludes with a strange late-night television experience.

I was too tired to run today, so I decided to do a Pimsleur walk instead. As I left home for Central Park, rain was a distinct possibility, but I looked at the sky hopefully, deciding that if it didn’…

October 4, 2009 | Arabic

A Five-Language Day

I did a lot of talking today.

Today I spoke French, Spanish, Arabic, and Russian. Oh, and English. Not well, mind you, except possibly for the English. But still—it was a five-language day! There were two French incidents. The first came this morning as I was…

October 7, 2009 | Arabic

Back to Bay Ridge

I enjoy a boisterous English class in Bay Ridge.

Today I went to Brooklyn to teach my weekly class at the Arab American Association. At first no one was there, and I was just sitting by myself in my small, not overwhelmingly clean classroom, with chairs in need of…