April 21, 2010 | Spanish

New York City: Language Central

A city of many languages, on the streets and in the theater, too.

One of the great things about this city is that I barely have to go anywhere to hear other languages. I don’t document all my linguistic encounters, because after a while it would just get ridiculous, but on Monday,…

April 23, 2010 | Spanish

I Finally Tried Rosetta Stone!

I take a Pimsleur competitor on a test drive.

For the past several days I have continued studying grammar, mostly in the same McGraw-Hill book I mentioned previously, Spanish Verb Tenses by Dorothy Richmond. So far I have made my way through a review of the present tense, reflexive…

April 27, 2010 | Spanish

300 Days of Language Learning, One DNF

I haven't missed a day of studying since July 1.

Yesterday was my 300th consecutive day of studying languages. I haven’t missed a day since I began this whole thing back on July 1. I mean, I certainly don’t think it would be a tragedy if I had; it’…

April 28, 2010 | Spanish

Subjunctive Speculations

I consider some urgent grammatical issues.

I have been pondering some subjunctive issues and questions in Spanish—and also in English. For native speakers of English, subjunctive is a tricky thing. Although in Englishes of the past, subjunctive was more common, its relevance for modern English…

April 29, 2010 | Spanish

Grammar vs. Sugar, and Grammar Wins

I must like grammar even more than I thought.

Yesterday I woke up too early, 5:30 a.m., and found myself lying in bed trying to remember how to say “she” in Italian. Not a good sign for my Italian. I did finally come up with the word (lei), but…

May 1, 2010 | Spanish

iPod Fantasies

I try to win an iPod to play my Pimsleur lessons on.

I need an iPod for future Pimsleur lessons. I think I am one of the few adults in New York City without one. I have an iPod Shuffle, but it is old and doesn’t really have enough room on…

May 3, 2010 | Spanish

On Verb Tenses and Pizza Joints

I discuss epic poetry and proper Spanish at an Upper West Side pizza place.

Today was a very productive Monday. I got up and got right to studying. In the past couple of days I have finished two grammar books and begun a new one focusing on subjunctive. I find subjunctive enjoyable. The right…

May 4, 2010 | Spanish

In Praise of Grammar Books

On language-learning techniques, islands, and loud garbage trucks.

In New York City, it is a pretty common thing to be awoken in the wee hours by garbage trucks. Our apartment is in a quiet, non-street-facing part of our building, so it doesn’t happen to us very often,…

May 5, 2010 | Spanish

On Cinco de Mayo, Some Italian

A field trip to Loisaida, and Pimsleur in Central Park.

Today was Cinco de Mayo. I tried to find a good local Cinco de Mayo celebration to go to, but I had trouble and gave up after some failed Google searches. I think most of these events were probably held…

May 6, 2010 | Spanish

An Italian Detour, Continued

How much Italian can I remember by teatime tomorrow?

It is late afternoon as I write this, and throughout the day I have continued my brief but intensive Italian detour in preparation for our Italian guest tomorrow. I have now been working on Italian since shortly after I…