Confessions in April 2011

Updated April 10, 2011

Still here

For the last month or so, I've worked on quite a bit, including language, but life has been busy and I haven't gotten around to writing much.

Since I last wrote, I have finished the first Assimil experiment, with Alsatian. I have also, finally, acquired the CDs for the program. Rather than listening systematically, I've put them on my iPod, where I play them on shuffle. I find I understand between 80 and 100% depending on the lesson and its content. And I've been pleased to find that my pronunciation wasn't as far off as I'd feared. I have also given myself my final test, skimming articles in the Alsatian Wikipedia. Some are clear, others harder, but it's a resource I can make at least limited use of now.

So, concluding the first Assimil experiment, do I think this is a way to learn a language? Yes and no. I definitely think it's a way to get started in a language. And after listening to the CDs and reading, I realize it's brought me further than I realized. I'm not chattering away, but the language has become a part of me and I can connect with it. If there is a language you have always wanted to learn, but you don't have time to study an hour a day, this is a great tool to get acquainted with the language and culture. You won't be proficient when you're done, but you'll have the background to become proficient by engaging speakers of the language and other resources for it. This still puts Assimil heads and shoulders above other beginner courses.

I will be continuing with Assimil's CDs, will work on learning the vocabulary as given in the back and will move on to TalkNow's Alasatian to get everyday words like toothbrush and hamburger that didn't come up in the course. But the experiment is done.

What's next? In my last post, forever ago, I mentioned my renewed interest in mathematics and sciences. I'm stumbling through Morris Kline's Calculus course, having done the For Dummies course as a refresher of my sophomore year in college. And I've been reading bits and pieces about basic physics and about special relativity.

On the language side, my new challenge is another Assimil experiment. This time, I'm doing Turkish. I'll be using Le Turc sans peine, but this time, I've got the audio to use from the start. I had planned to work on Breton or German, but I realize that I will learn them at some point anyway. On the other hand, doing these "experiments" and posting what I'm doing on a language log has kept me somewhat more on task, so I decided to use the opportunity to do something I've wanted to do but have never quite gotten around to.

A final note: While I haven't had much to say here, the Assimil experiment, now in a new phase, continues and is linked at right.