Refreshing my languages

So, as of late, I’ve been running through a few Assimil courses, refreshing my French and Russian. In regards to my language learning, for a long time, I would beat myself up over the fact that I’d go through spurts of activity followed by spurts of… well, lots of inactivity. At this point, I’ve just accepted it as normal (for me, anyway), and approach it as a routine thing: I let my languages go for a bit, and then need to do some tidying up with them, to get them to at least a respectable level. I’ve mentioned elsewhere on my blog Β that I was surprised to find that when going back to a language I had neglected, it wasn’t nearly as much work as I expected, to get back to where I was before. Dormant, yes; lost, no.

As usual, Russian is proving far trickier than any of my other languages. The vocabulary is as slippery as an eel. I learn it, I forget it. I relearn it, I think I’ve got it, and… then I forget it again.

C’est la vie du apprenant d’une langue, n’est-ce pas?

Elsewhere on the language map, I’m getting a serious craving to do a bit Italian. I’ve got the Assimil Italian course waiting for me. I blame this recent language lust on my having just finished playing through Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, starring Ezio Auditore da Firenze. Voice acted by an American, with (from what I’ve read) a less than stellar Italian accent, but still. Enough Italian present to make me want to learn a bit, and hey, Italian’s sexy.


By |2013-02-27T17:19:13+00:00February 27th, 2013|Language Learning|8 Comments


  1. msill February 28, 2013 at 9:09 am - Reply

    Good to hear (read). I don’t feel so alone now. I’ve been focused on Pimsleur and Michel Thomas but I can’t seem to wrap my head around the Assimil. (I guess I don’t know how to study with it since it’s so different. Any advice or link as to how to fix this would be greatly appreciated). But back to the topic … It was refreshing to read this. I’ve been feeling three steps forward .. two steps back. πŸ™

  2. Josh February 28, 2013 at 10:28 am - Reply

    My language studies have, for a very long time, been a case of three steps forward, two steps back; but ultimately, with that math, you’re still moving forward, and that’s the important thing, right?

    As for Assimil, there are many ways to use it – it often depends on the learner. One fellow, Luca, translates from target language to base language, and then back the other way. Professor Arguelles, famed polyglot on the HTLAL forums, does “shadowing,” followed by working through the course (mostly) as Assimil recommends. Assimil’s instructions are a good place to start, if you’re not quite ready to personalize your process. Here is a post that I wrote, which includes Assimil’s detailed instructions from their Dutch with Ease course. The instructions can be applied to any of the Assimil courses.

    Good luck!

  3. William Blake May 4, 2013 at 6:14 am - Reply

    Best of luck! learning such language is great thing

  4. Ray May 16, 2013 at 5:11 am - Reply

    As someone struggling to learn Turkish I can relate to that. Bon chance. Interesting you mention Italian. I drive through Italy 3 or 4 times a year. When I read the traffic signs or menus I get the general meaning. Overhearing conversations in Italian, again I get the general idea of what they are talking about. This leads me to think it should be relatively quick and easy to at least learn some basic Italian.

  5. Robin May 31, 2013 at 6:34 am - Reply

    I can empathize, trying desparately to brush up my Spanish ahead of a trip there in less than 2 weeks. It’s been 25 years since I last spoke the language, but I have to say it’s surprising how much you remember.

    • Josh July 5, 2013 at 9:21 am - Reply

      Hey Robin; apologies for the late reply. Yeah, whenever I go back to a language that I’ve not worked with for a long while, I’m surprised at just how much of it is hiding in my memory, waiting to be dusted off.

  6. Llyane @ June 12, 2013 at 4:31 pm - Reply

    I so crave to learn some Italian – or is it a “Love, Eat, Pray” after-taste? πŸ™‚
    I guess, for some reason, I reason myself out of it every time I could start it – or maybe I should just go to Rome, I have a feeling that she’ll convince me πŸ˜‰
    Thanks for this!

    • Josh July 5, 2013 at 9:22 am - Reply

      Llyane – what languages are you studying currently? I see you’re a French tutor on Skype? I say you go for Italian. πŸ™‚

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