June 4, 2010 | Greek

Spanish Test Results In!

I am a little sad about my Spanish results, but Greek cheered me up.

Today I got my Spanish test results from ALTA Language Testing. I received a score of 9, described as “advanced,” on both the oral and written exams. The highest possible score is 12. 

I have to say I was disappointed with my 9’s. I was spoiled by my freaky Italian results of 10 on the oral exam and 11 on the written exam, received after only three months of study. Now that I have scored 9’s for Spanish—a language I have studied off and on over quite a few years—those Italian results seem even weirder.

Truly, I did think I would do better than 9’s. I wish I had done better than 9’s. But there’s a lot I still can’t say in Spanish, that’s for sure. I don’t know any sex- or sex-organ-related words at all, and that’s always a sure sign that you are not fluent.

Many, Many Pimsleur Lessons Fit on the Shuffle (Left)

After mourning my test results, I returned to Greek. I needed to work out, and I needed to study. Since my heels are still hurting from running, I decided to pick a cross-training activity that wouldn’t put so much stress on my feet. I settled on biking at the gym I just joined, and took my Pimsleur Greek lessons with me. I pressed the Alpine setting, level 10, one hour, and off I went.

First I redid lesson 4. No problem. Then I went on to lesson 5.

About 25 feet from me, a really annoying guy on an elliptical machine talked loud and long on his cell phone with his wife. He tortured me by appearing to be about to hang up, and then thinking of something else to tell her, and then talking to her for several more minutes, and then repeating the cycle all over again. I turned my Greek way up, but I could still hear him.

I almost called out to him to hang up the damned phone, but I realized my own position, as someone who had been muttering Greek phrases for 40 minutes from a glass house atop an exercise bike, was a precarious one, and that I would do well to keep my mouth shut about his noisemaking.

Eventually he gave up on the elliptical (phone-happy people at the gym never seem to work out for very long), and I kept riding through the Alps with my Pimsleur. The biking went pretty well, until my behind started to hurt and I was in the midst of a climb up a very steep Alpine slope and the audio recording cheerfully asked me how to say, “Where is Sophocles Avenue?”

Translating that was too much for me and my soaring heartrate, so at that point I conceded defeat and switched to music.

I Used to Pass This on My Way to the Arab American Association in Bay Ridge

Back at home I did about an hour and a half of Rosetta Stone. I am still getting used to it, but I continue to find it fun and interesting. I keep saying to myself as I go through the lessons, “This looks like Russian.” I had no idea. I think the lessons would be a lot harder for me if I hadn’t done some Russian along the way. Nothing else in my language studies would have been helpful.

Well, except maybe for the gazillions of Greek words in English.

One thing I do like about Rosetta Stone: it is really nice to have a way to reinforce the writing system. In an enjoyable, interactive way, I am getting practice reading and even writing. Teaching myself alphabets on my own has been a real challenge. I wouldn’t want to skip the work I do myself—e.g., copying letters over just as I did with English back in first grade—but Rosetta Stone gives a lot of practice in recognizing letters, words, and sentences.

I am feeling very optimistic about my prospects for Greek if I keep doing both the Pimsleur and the Rosetta Stone, and if I also make use of some of the other materials I already have or that are on their way. I really do like using different sources so that the information is coming at me from all different directions and perspectives.

Comments (2)

Rick • Posted on Mon, June 07, 2010 - 1:57 am EST

Privet Ellen/ wow/ how I can relate to both your learning and gym experiences. Our gym in Portland actually bans cell phone usage on certain machines/ and a big NO NO in locker rooms. Still, like u said/ some don’t get it. Enjoy reading your blog as always/ bueno suerte con todo/ Rick.

Ellen Jovin • Posted on Mon, June 07, 2010 - 9:46 am EST

Rick, wow, one posting, three languages—I like it! Muchas gracias por el mensaje. I’m pretty sure we have bans everywhere in the gym on phone use. Now, if he’d been speaking in Greek, I might have been more tolerant.

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