Day OneOctober 1, 2010
Learning German


I make a smooth transition from Hindi to German.

Since German and I already have a long history, I will spend one month on it rather than the usual two. Today was the first day of my review month, but I didn’t have time to start right away,…

October 2, 2010 | German

When German Grammar Attacks

German can come across as a little scary.

I woke up and promptly started in on Pimsleur again. The Level II lessons that I am doing are for the most part too basic for me, but I need the practice in pronunciation as well as noun and adjective…

October 4, 2010 | German

The Death of Little Germany

A century ago, a German community in Manhattan was shattered.

In 1912, the Titanic was heading to New York City from England when it sank and more than 1,500 passengers and crew died. It would be hard to find people in this city who haven’t heard of the Titanic. By contrast,…

October 6, 2010 | German

The Capricious German “The”

Definite articles stymie students of German.

One of the great gifts of the English language is the word “the.” No matter what, the definite article is “the.” Subject? The. Object? The. Plural? The. Gender? Irrelevant. The the the the the. Head over to German, however, and…

October 8, 2010 | German

Appointment at the Goethe-Institut

The Goethe-Institut offers a window into German culture. Plus it's cool.

Last night at 11:00 (being able to shop around midnight is one of the reasons I love New York City), I went to Barnes & Noble and bought some McGraw-Hill German books as well as some SparkNotes flashcards. I love flashcards.…

October 11, 2010 | German

I Can’t Take Care of Myself in German

My German vocabulary tends towards the abstract rather than the practical.

The reading glasses that became necessary after I began this project—which involves a lot of squinting at unfamiliar alphabets—recently broke, yet again. The New York City Subway: A Great Place to Cross Paths with German Speakers Well, “broke”…

October 13, 2010 | German

A Good Day

Today was a good day for German and other things.

Today’s Journal Exciting news for “Words and Worlds of New York”: today an article about the project appeared in the Wall Street Journal.  The response of family, friends, and even strangers has been positive and encouraging,…

October 14, 2010 | German

German Music Lessons

In which I go to Carnegie Hall.

Yesterday evening I attended a performance of Brahms’s A German Requiem at Carnegie Hall. Performing alongside the soloists was the Collegiate Chorale, of which my sister Rebecca is a member. It was beautiful. This is not the…

October 15, 2010 | German

I Think I’m Improving

I speak German for two hours straight and my head doesn't explode.

Today I went for a second time to the Goethe-Institut, where I enjoyed a lovely couple of hours chatting with Joanna, the German university student and Goethe-Institut intern I mentioned last week. SoHo Traffic on the Way to the Goethe-Institut …

October 18, 2010 | German

A Pimsleur PR

I shatter my previous Pimsleur record.

Yesterday I achieved a new Pimsleur PR. PR means “personal record”; in running, it is your best time for a given distance. Speaking of which, I haven’t talked much about running lately because (1) although I am obsessed with…