May 9, 2010 | Spanish

An Italian Tea Party, Then Back to Spanish

An afternoon tea tests my Italian recall.

On Friday, I woke up and continued my intensive Italian review, in preparation for our 3 p.m. tea with the Italian relative of a relative. Specifically, this is the mother of my husband’s sister’s husband. Got that?  …

May 10, 2010 | Spanish

Beyond Monolingualism

Errands, appointments, and language encounters around town.

Last night Brandt and I saw the closing night of the play Enron. It opened just two weeks ago, on April 27. Perhaps after a long recession, people don’t want to see a play about corporate greed and crime on…

May 11, 2010 | Spanish

Library Crisis, Language Crisis

A huge cut in funding for the New York Public Library.

Today, amid my Spanish studies, I was forwarded an e-mail announcing sad news for this city’s libraries. The message began as follows: “The New York Public Library is facing a potential $37 million cut in City funding. This…

May 13, 2010 | Spanish

Extreme Polylingualism; Also, Williamsburg

I talk to impressively multilingual people and visit a Brooklyn melting pot.

I studied Spanish on subways today. I am using a new book that I am pretty happy with: Advanced Spanish Grammar by Rogelio Alonso Vallecillos. In it he goes into detail about some subtler language issues that have been confusing…

May 14, 2010 | Spanish

El Diario

In which I read a newspaper.

I never thought I would write these words, but I am getting a little sick of Spanish grammar exercises. I decided I needed some variety in my language-learning life, so this afternoon I went and bought myself a copy of…

May 15, 2010 | Spanish

Eyeball Obstacles

Studying is harder when the words are blurry.

I bought the local Spanish-language newspaper, El Diario, again today. I started to read it. But there was a problem. My eyes were killing me. My vision has really declined since the start of this project—too much squinting at…

May 16, 2010 | Spanish

A VocabuLearn Excursion

I study Spanish vocabulary in Central Park.

This afternoon I did some grammar exercises, but my eyes were still bothering me, so I had to stop after less than an hour. I switched to reading El Diario, which I thought might be less straining, but after about…

May 18, 2010 | Spanish

Urgent: More Grammar Needed

Grammar matters, for foreign-language study and for life.

Today I passed by John Jay College of Criminal Justice, at 59th and 10th, where I taught for several years in the early 1990s. I was an adjunct there, a part-time instructor in the English department, as well as…

May 19, 2010 | Spanish

Vision Restored!

Now that I can see well again, studying has suddenly become much easier.

To my great relief (and comfort), I can see properly again. My eye doctor saw me two days early, on Monday, and gave me a new vision prescription.  Now studying is a million times easier, not to mention actually…

May 26, 2010 | Spanish

Just Six More Days of Spanish

A flashcard-studying, Spanish-news-watching kind of day.

I have mostly abandoned the grammar books. Not entirely, but the focus of my Spanish work in the past week has been studying flashcards, watching Spanish-language television, and reading El Diario, the Spanish-language newspaper here. Most of my news these…