October 6, 2013 | Review Period

Routledge Has Oodles Upon Oodles of Language Books

Their website literally makes me drool. This is a correct use of "literally."

The books shown in the picture below arrived three days ago from Routledge, launching me into a state of linguistic euphoria.

A Magnificent Pile of Routledge Language Books

A Magnificent Pile of Routledge Language Books

I’ve used Routledge books for a number of languages, but mostly for less broadly studied ones such as Irish and Yiddish. I believe this will be my first foray into German, French, Spanish, and Italian with them. Though the foray will probably be deferred until next month at least, because of my current backlog.

Routledge’s website is kind of confusing. If you aren’t a particular combination of persistent and lucky, you might not end up on my favorite page listing seemingly endless language options.

I can’t give you a direct link to it (there isn’t one, which is a big problem in my opinion), so I need to give you instructions. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get on their site at all today, so I will post the information in a comment at the bottom of this page once it goes back up.

Italian Made Simple: I'm Checking This Out Now

Italian Made Simple: I’m Checking This Out Now

In non-Routledge news, I not long ago acquired four books from Three Rivers Press—for German, French, Spanish, and Italian—that I am going to be trying out. I don’t know whether any of you have used these Made Simple books before, but I had never ever seen them until my recent exhaustive searches through every publishing website I could think of. I have just begun the Italian one and will report more shortly. It’s a fairly substantial book!

Since streamlining my study process 3.5 days ago, I have done 39 Pimsleur lessons in French, Portuguese, and Italian. Most were repeats from days gone by; some were new.

Now I feel nauseated. While I can’t be sure that the nausea is a direct consequence of the Pimsleur, I think it might be. You are in a state of constant dramatic tension while doing these lessons. It’s like playing ping pong all day, waiting for that little ball to fly back at you, except the little balls are Pimsleur prompts. (It’s a good thing I am not a litigious type, Pimsleur people, because I did not see a dosage warning on your labels!)

I used to play too much ping pong when I was little, and I remember that after a while I would get all weird in the head and hypnotized.

Cascade in French: Learn While You Load the Dishwasher

Cascade in French: Learn While You Load the Dishwasher

To squeeze in more lessons per day, because I have so much language-learning to do, I am multitasking like crazy. Particularly over the past two days, Pimsleur has been my constant companion. To get coffee, to get groceries, to clean, to get the mail, to mail the mail, to go to the bank, to run, to walk, to fall asleep. 

I noticed while simultaneously doing a French Pimsleur lesson and washing dishes that even our Cascade helpfully offered a little French on the front of the box. Merci beaucoup, Cascade!

By the end of the month I am trying to get as much relearned across five languages as I can. It’s silly, but I want to sound as literate as possible while helping runners in the New York City marathon next month. I know it doesn’t matter and that this is an arbitrary short-term deadline in what is my own kind of marathon. I know I could muddle through and make myself useful in my current somewhat confused state, but the problem is, I don’t enjoy muddled states as much as I enjoy non-muddled states. 

My two chief tasks are to restore lost grammar and vocabulary knowledge while also building better walls between languages to avoid language confusion. Prepositions and plurals and articles are running amuck! Prepositions are language-hopping in displays of complete linguistic lawlessness! Portuguese plurals are sneaking out late at night with Italian articles!

I happen to have much more fun when my plural noun endings are correct, when I pick the correct translation of “to,” when I remember whether “bank” is banque or banco or banca, whether computers are masculine or feminine, and so on. It would be easier if I didn’t care, but I think caring about grammar is hardwired into me. 

Philosophically, I strongly believe that language learners should just forge bravely ahead and forget about errors, but it is advice I sometimes have trouble following myself.

Comments (3)

Ellen Jovin • Posted on Mon, October 07, 2013 - 12:53 pm EST

Okay, the Routledge website is back up. Here are some instructions for the language section:

1. First go here:

2. Now click the “Languages” button to the right of the word “Feature” and admire the list of languages. (This page does not have its own URL, unfortunately, so you can’t bookmark it.)

3. If you go to a particular language, make sure you click across all five buttons available there (i.e., “Textbooks,” “Colloquials,” “Grammars,” “Dictionaries,” and “Reference.” Otherwise you might miss a product. (These five categories do not have their own URLs either, so navigation around the site is tricky; stay strong.)

Kris L. • Posted on Fri, October 11, 2013 - 6:28 pm EST

First thanks for the link.  I will check it out!

Also, I totally agree with the ping pong metaphor! the anxiety I feel as the prompt is building up, to either the happiness of being able to hit it or the puzzleness of not, and then it starts all over again with the next volley!


Kris L. • Posted on Fri, October 11, 2013 - 6:31 pm EST

Okay, took a look at the Spanish section…OMG, there are so many different books…going to wait to see what you recommend!


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