July 19, 2009 | Russian

Crazy Lady Talking to Herself

A good language-learning strategy: having no shame.

I can’t believe it: first-person present-tense verbs in Russian show gender. In other words, the verb form accompanying “I” is different if a man is speaking than it would be if a woman were speaking. That concept is utterly…

July 21, 2009 | Russian

Pimsleur Overdose

In which I discover there is perhaps such a thing as too much Pimsleur.

My brain is not all there. Or here, either. I’m tired. I haven’t been sleeping enough, and today it caught up to me. I will probably need to redo Pimsleur lesson 19 (Level I), yet again, tomorrow, and the…

July 22, 2009 | Russian

The Burden of Expectations

In which I get crabby.

I am getting super frustrated with lesson 20 of Pimsleur (Level I). That happens to me. It feels as though they are adding way too much at once, without adequate explanation or clear enunciation. Then I get indignant, and irritable, and…

July 23, 2009 | Russian

Instinct Versus Intellect

You have to trust your instincts when you are learning languages.

I just did more Pimsleur, this time lesson 21 (Level I). I did okay, but I am going to have to repeat it. Once again, I don’t know how people do these just once. All this studying is making…

July 24, 2009 | Russian

Memory Loss

The role of memory in language-learning.

In general, my memory is nothing special these days. When I was a child, it was like glue. I can still remember a huge amount of what happened before I went to college, especially from the ages of five to 11.…

July 25, 2009 | Russian

On Faith, Dr. Pimsleur, and the Joys of Multitasking

To learn a language on your own, you have to be able to talk yourself down from those high places.

Studying languages, particularly on one’s own, requires faith. I have never been good at the faith thing. As an example: last night when I did Pimsleur lesson 24, I felt it was impossible, that there was no way I would…

July 26, 2009 | Russian

Russian Rapping

First thing in the morning: Dr. Pimsleur.

Today I tried a new thing: when I got up, instead of watching a few minutes of Russian television, I went straight to Pimsleur. Before I even drank my coffee. I mean, I did bring my cup with me and…

July 27, 2009 | Russian

Dr. Pimsleur Is Dead

I am sad to discover that Dr. Pimsleur is no longer with us.

Today I learned that Dr. Pimsleur is dead. And in fact has been dead for a long time. He died in 1976 of a heart attack while visiting France, when he was only 49. I was very sad to learn that, because…

July 29, 2009 | Russian

Come On, Everybody, Do Your Exercise!

Exercise helps with memory. The proof is in the Pimsleur.

Today I finished Pimsleur Level I and was promoted to intermediate Pimsleur: Level II. I feel as though I have graduated. However, I am mourning the loss of the lady on the Level I tracks. She had such a lovely…

July 30, 2009 | Russian

The Limits of Pimsleur Multitasking

There are certain things one shouldn't attempt while doing Pimsleur.

I have learned two things about Pimsleur since yesterday afternoon: I cannot run with Pimsleur. It is too hard physically, and I don’t do well mentally. Half-assedly repeating vocabulary words with VocabuLearn is very different from trying to construct…