18 January 2005


So I did my Pimsleur at the gym. Pro: now I have time to do my Rosetta Stone at home in the evening. Con: I feel like a big dork and I can't hear my voice very well because of all the gym noise.

I can't believe how much new vocab Pimsleur introduces in each lesson. Can anyone learn it in just one listen? It says that you can repeat the lesson during the day until you have it about 80% down pat. It takes me about two times to get it about 80%.

I am still translating my email vocab. "Spam" is a cognate!

If only I could fit in my flash card time.

I have decided that this has to be an obsession in order to get it learned in a decent amount of time. In that book, Learn Any Language, the guy talks about learning several languages at one time. I can't understand how you would have enough time and brain power to accomplish that unless it was your full-time occupation. In that link below where the guy describes his progression to French fluency, it seems that it was an all-encomposing endeavor for one year. I saw another website where the guy says that it takes two strong years of learning to reach fleuncy in Russian. I can't imagine being able to achieve a true conversational fluency in two years. Maybe I could do it if I were studying it each day and living in a Russian speaking country.

Write up on learning French as an L2

How I Learned French in One Year

17 January 2005

Total Obsession

I have become totally obsessed with my Russian lessons. I think about them all day!
I started Pimsleur lesson 6, then realized that I was way out of my league, so I repeated lesson 5. (The lesson that I had completed while folding the laundry. Hmmm.... maybe I CAN'T fold laundry and do Pimsleur at the same time.)

I have printed out my russian email Inbox and Compose new mail screens so that I can translate all the words on the pages. I thought that I had been sending new mail all this time, but it turns out that all my messages were in my Drafts folder. Oops. It makes a difference which button you click!

I am going to bring my Pimsleur cassette to the gym tomorrow with my walkman (I feel so '80s) and headphones. I will have to deal with people staring at me and thinking that I have escaped from the Looney-house because I am exercising and talking aloud to myself in Russian: "где - Красная площадь? Красная площадь - там. Не хотите ли вы что-нибудь поесть? нет. Я хотел бы что-нибудь попить."
Can I handle the embarassment?

16 January 2005

Pimsleur Lesson 5

Wow, there was a lot of new vocabulary in this lesson. I need to try to repeat it, but I don't know if I will have time in the next 24 hours to do so. I feel like I need to go on with the next lesson. It would be really convenient if I could do these lessons at the gym. My mind wanders will I am there on the eliptical machine anyway, I might as well take advantage of the brain's down time and do a lesson. Do I have the courage to talk out loud to myself in Russian at the gym? Hmmm. That's a tough one. I don't think that the lessons will work unless you say everything out loud. I will have to give it some thought. I could kill two birds with one stone, then still have time at night to do the Rosetta Stone lesson.

Why do I feel so pushed for time? I spent a lot of time this past weekend just surfing, so why can't I be more productive with my Russian lessons?

I think that I forgot to mention that I recently bought a second Russian translation dictionary. This one is for my office so that I have one at home and one at work. This one is a Pocket Oxford Russian Dictionary and my other one is a Harper-Collins. I wonder which one I will like better and what the differences are.

My Pimsleur cassettes are due back to the library on Saturday. It is stupid that it is a 30-lesson pack, but they only give you 14 days to check it out.

15 January 2005

Rosetta Stone Level 1 Unit 4 Lesson 1

Rosetta Stone, Level 1 Unit 4, Lesson 1

Well, I haven't done the Rosetta Stone in over a week, so I had expected to have forgotten a lot since that is what usually happens when I stop doing it for a day. Surprisingly, I haven't really forgotten much! It must be because I have been working on the Pimsleur each day.
And because I have been working on the Pimsleur lately, I cannot resist repeating after the Rosetta Stone speaker even though I am practicing the reading and listening lessons.

Pimsleur Lesson 4

this is an audio post - click to play
You wouldn't believe how many times I had to call in to AudioBlogger to get this recorded. I kept accidentally pressing the pound key and hanging up. My cellphone is not convenient for recording my Pimsleur lessons by phone!

14 January 2005

Pimsleur doesn't work during lunch

I can multitask at the office. I learned today, however, that I cannot multitask with Pimsleur during lunch. My phone was ringing, people were coming in my closed-door office, my email was dinging, I could hear people in the hallway talking. I had the attention span of a gnat.

I did realize that some of the vocabulary in the Pimsleur is now starting to overlap with the vocabulary that I have been learning in Rosetta Stone. To recognize some words immediately was great!

13 January 2005

So I met a guy from Moscow...

this evening named Yuri. He is someone that I will probably have to communicate with every now and again. I was not impressed. He was arrogant and tried to tell me that I should be doing things his way. He also wouldn't shake my acquaintance's hand because she's a woman. I didn't even bother trying to shake his because he conveniently held a drink in his hand the whole time I spoke to him. I told him that I had started studying Russian recently and he asked me to say something in Russian. So I jokingly told him до свидания! (bye!) and he starts in with, "Is that all you know? You aren't studying Russian! Is that it? Everybody knows до свидания!" OK, so the humor thing needs some work. I still think he's a jerk.

12 January 2005

Pimsleur Lesson 3

Today I was reminded of how much concentration the Pimsleur method takes. I was having trouble concentrating, and any time that I lost my concentration for even 5 seconds, I was lost! Today's lesson seemed mostly like a review, but we did learn some masculine/feminine adjective differences.
I still haven't made the time for Rosetta Stone. I have great intentions....

11 January 2005

Pimsleur Lesson 2

Today I completed Pimsleur lesson 2. I was relieved to discover that the first half of the lesson was a repeat of lesson 1. After reviewing lesson 1, they moved on to introduce a little bit more vocabulary that fit in with the words that I had already learned. At the end of the lesson, the speaker asks you questions and you have to answer them truthfully... and believe it or not, I did it correctly! Wow, that's instant results.
I also figured out today that the Instant Conversation version of Pimsleur is the same as the first ten lessons of the Comprehensive Level 1. The entire comprehensive level has 30 lessons and two readings.
I am going to try to do some Rosetta Stone before going to bed tonight.
I am still doing very badly about reviewing my flash cards. I can't seem to find time to do it. Am I that busy? It doesn't seem like I should be, but by the end of the day, I never seem to have time. I think that I need to make some time for myself so that I can get that task accomplished.

09 January 2005

More email vocabulary

Входящие = Inbox
удалить = Delete

I forgot to mention that I have put Cyrillic keyboard stickers on my keyboard. Now I don't have to guess about which letters are where. My Russian typing is a little quicker than when I first started. I guess that I will have to learn to spell better before I can type much faster.
Russify Your Computer

Sunday, January 9 :: Pimsleur Lesson 1

Today I have gone through the Pimsleur Lesson 1 from the Instant Conversation package. I was surprised at how much concentration it takes to go through the lesson. I was thinking that I could record the lessons on a MP3 player and do them at the gym, but after doing this first lesson, I no longer think that will be possible. It takes too much concentration. I can hardly fold the laundry and do the lesson at the same time. I am curious to see if I can remember any of what I am learning in two or three months. People do attest to this method, so we will see. I am including an audio clip of a few seconds of my lesson.

this is an audio post - click to play

08 January 2005

Saturday, January 8 :: Pimsleur CDs

I went to the public library yesterday to check out the Pimsleur Russian CDs. It turns out that someone has had the 10 disc set checked out for 7 months! Thief! Since the CDs weren't available, I checked out the cassettes for Comprehensive level 1. I only have one cassette player, so I am limited with where I can listen to it, but I suppose that's OK.

06 January 2005

Thursday, January 6 :: Russian email

One of my colleagues has recently met someone who is a native speaker of a language other than English. I know you are asking yourself, "Can this be possible? Someone who does not speak English natively?" Well, on very rare occasions, it can happen.
At any rate, my colleague is very excited about it. He plans to take advantage of this chance meeting by learning his new friend's language by communicating through email. It's a very good idea. I suggested to him that he should write in English and his friend should write in respective native language. In this way you see the foreign language as it should be. I believe that he is not taking my well-intentioned advice because he plans to try to write in his second language and accompany it with the English translation.

Translation is not the goal of second language acquisition. Fluency is the goal. Fluency means comprehension without translation.

So, if he would not take my (educated) advice, then I decided that I should take it myself. Therefore I have set up a new email account from a Russian mail server. This way, I have to learn how to navigate a web-based email account in Russian. Just to set up the account with my username, password, mother's maiden name, birthday, etc. was much more difficult than I had imagined it would be! I will use my new Russian email account for this blog. One of the first things that I have learned from this experience is what the OK and Cancel buttons look like in Russian:

And here is Current Password: Текущий пароль

I also have a friend who is a native speaker of Russian, so I will ask her to write me a few lines in Russian so that I can learn some email-speak in Russian.

Thursday, January 6 :: Unit 3 Review

Over the Christmas holiday, I have reviewed all of Unit 3 in Rosetta Stone. I did fine on the review, but I don't feel like I am really retaining all of the vocabulary as I should. While I move on to Unit 4, I know that I really need to review my flash cards, seriously.
I also plan to visit the public library this weekend and check out the Pimsleur Russian CDs. If they look like a good learning tool, then I will buy the full sets.