Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Like a comfy pair of shoes

Jimmy's big brain bonanza is officially restarted: After a few weeks of flailing around and crazy house stuff, I'm finally back on the language addict bandwagon. Part of the kick in the pants was reading The Four Hour Workweek, where the author almost casually mentions he is a language addict and has 6 languages in his rotation.

I was trying the podcast-only thing for two weeks - Jpod and Cpod only, but you know, without sitting down and working the worksheets too, I find that the 10 minute lessons just go in one ear and out the other: I need two forms. The only Audio-Only that has truly persisted for me is Pimsleur. But both my Chinese and my Japanese are 4 weeks stale on Pimsleur and I'm going to need to do some "on the couch with nothing else around me" work to get back into that groove. So what can I do with my current commute? Refresh a dead language.

As I mentioned before, I have 2 years of college Russian under my belt. But that was almost 20 years ago now, and all I truly have left are about 10 words. So I've started Pimsleur Russian to bring it all back: It's fun because so far 6 lessons in, I'm remembering a LOT, and even better, it's forcing me to work on an accent, which I never did back in College (where for some reason, speaking with an exaggerated accent seemed frowned upon - like "faking" or something?)

I'm also hoping that the rules of Russian filter back into my head and I can relate them to German, which also has many many rules... sort of turbocharge my language rules engine.

But now I'm getting to the point where phonemes are confusing: "Ya" means "I" in Russian, "Yes" in German, "already" in Spanish, and "there are" in French (concatenating "y a" in "il y a").... while "Ni (knee), means "Not" in Russian, "Never" in German, "Nor" in French, "You" in Chinese.... It gets crazy.

So bottom line, look for more updates on a more regular basis now that my work has cleared up and I've stopped flailing around. Thenkyouveddymuch. PS - obviously things are lighter - this is a mid-morning post!!!!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

In case you're wondering

Just as I had teased Coffee Break Spanish for taking off for a few weeks while a "day job" deadline loomed, I must plead exactly the same for why this blog has gone "dark". This weekend we're finally doing the big upgrade I've been working for the past 7 months to deliver, and while I can't say I've been pulling 60 hour weeks or anything, I have been very short on free "brain cycles" to devote to language.

I expect that this will clear up in the coming weeks as I get back to just one client, and the golive dies down.

By the way - Coffee Break Spanish came back from their break with a huge surprise: A crazy theme song. It's just a riot. Add that to ChinesePod's revelatory theme song to their "news and features" podcast, and I think that the silly has been loosed upon the international language fanclub.

That's it for now. More when my head clears a bit!