August 23, 2009 | Russian

Pimsleur in the Closet

I study in a small, dark closet.

Brandt and I are on a week-long vacation in Maine with my family. Today when I woke up, even before coffee, I did Pimsleur lesson 22 (Level III) in the closet. Literally, in our bedroom closet. Brandt was still asleep. The closet is small, and I had to bend my knees to fit, and there was no light. The real challenge wasn’t the space, though; it was doing all this pre-coffee. The thing is, I was pretty sure if I went downstairs to get myself some coffee, I would probably run into other awake relatives, and wouldn’t end up getting any Pimsleur done, and I just really wanted to get in this one lesson before the day officially began.

This marks the first time in my life that I have studied in a closet. I found it enjoyable.

I haven’t really been having to redo individual Pimsleur lessons for a while now. Instead I have a new approach: when I don’t hear or get something the first time, I just stop the recording and rewind. That way I don’t get hung up on some stupid detail and then remain confused/distracted for the rest of the lesson. I try not to do this a lot, however, because it definitely interferes with the fluidity and the rhythm of the lesson. But when I don’t know how to say something right away and really want a shot at it before the Pimsleur guy or gal starts speaking, I pause the lesson. Maybe it’s bad Pimsleur technique, but I like it. I seem to be retaining things at about the same rate as before, when I was having to redo quite a few of the lessons, so I hope it’s okay.

As of a couple of weeks ago, I started thinking more about language retention and decided I would make an effort to maintain languages already undertaken as I start each new language. So this won’t be the end of Russian. I’ll have a maintenance program, though it will have to be minimal, of course, or I’ll get distracted from whatever the current language happens to be.

One Pimsleur gripe: I feel these lessons are still spending too much time on things I don’t immediately need, like hotel reservations, area codes, and the different cases of cities and regions in Russia (yes, even names of places change depending on their grammatical role  in a sentence!). However, I still love the overall approach.

I am a fan.

I have only a couple of units left in the grammar book, and the same goes for Pimsleur. The end of Russian is nigh.

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