October 2, 2009 | Arabic
An all-Pimsleur kind of day.
It is 10:24 p.m., and I have just completed a Pimsleur marathon—the most Pimsleur I’ve ever done in a day. I redid lessons 1 and 2 (Level II), which I had already done multiple times yesterday. Then I ran. I would have liked to take Pimsleur with me, but I left it behind, because the sentences I have to construct now are too long and complicated for me to be able to run, breathe, and respond to Pimsleur prompts.
I met a friend for lunch in midtown, then came home and immediately began doing Pimsleur again. I redid lesson 2, again, successfully this time, and then did lesson 3 satisfactorily, and lesson 4, less satisfactorily. Instead of stopping to redo 4, though, I just kept going. I did 5, 6, and 7, then tried to do 8 (which track was missing for some reason), then 9, then 10. It felt like a real immersion experience. Much of it I did in bed with the lights down. Without falling asleep, though.
In spite of the avalanche of information, I wasn’t actually doing all that badly until I got to lesson 10. Lesson 10 did not go well. Tomorrow I will go back to 4 and redo everything from there.
One thing that surprised me today: I am feeling as though Arabic is suddenly a lot easier than Russian. At least what I’ve been exposed to so far. The cases are so much easier, i.e., there don’t seem to be any. Maybe there are cases, I don’t know yet, but in places where they popped up in the Russian at this point, I haven’t seen any in Arabic. Everything is simple. Words seem to be reused for all kinds of purposes, even where in English or Russian different ones would have popped up. Patterns repeat in simple and obvious ways—the ak at the ends of nouns, for example, indicating possession by a masculine “you.” Things strike my brain as very logical.
There were constructs in Russian, on the other hand, that drove me nuts. All those noun and adjective cases made certain basic concepts very complicated. The words seem a lot shorter in Arabic, too. What confuses me is, how can they get enough meaning out of such short words? Will the words get longer? Since I am not doing much besides Pimsleur, I am not learning as much about the language from a second, complementary source as I did with Russian, where I had two solid sources, one oral and one written, that I used regularly.