May 4th, 2010

I didn’t get as much in today as I had hoped, but:

This morning, I spent around half an hour going through one page of the German translation of Stephen King’s The Gunslinger. King has quite a rich vocabulary, and it shows in trying to read a translation of his work: every sentence had something in it that I didn’t know. I found it somewhat humorous that I recently finished Tommy Jaud’s Voll Idiot (a book written originally in German by a native), and it didn’t give me as much trouble as King may. Among other things, I learned that die Kutsche means coach, carriage.

I listened to a French podcast while walking; it was an episode of 2000 ans d’Histoire, Le Climat. I will woefully admit that I understood very little of it; I simply don’t have the vocabulary for such a topic yet. I was able to pick out the occasional word or phrase that I knew, but it was mostly half an hour of “I know this is French, but I’ve no real idea what they’re talking about.”

I also listened to the first 8 lessons of Assimil Using French; I’ve read through the lessons in the past, but it’s been awhile. I’ll need to review them all in the book before moving forward.

I spent around 45 minutes practicing writing the Arabic letters I’ve learned so far: baa, taa, thaa, and nuun. I just learned nuun today. I practiced copying the words provided by Awde’s book for the letters I’ve learned so far. It’s quite rough looking, my writing, but I suppose that’s to be expected on one’s first go at it. Writing from right to left is in itself a weird sensation for me; it’s even more strange doing so in a wholly new script, in a language that is built on foundations that I’m unfamiliar with. (The consonantal root system seems pretty cool so far, at least what I know of it from the book.)

And, finally, I made a few flashcards covering the basic present tense conjugations of regular French verbs (-er, -ir, -re). I know the endings, but I can’t produce them as fast as I would like, and I figure the cards will help with that. They’re old fashioned paper cards, not Anki cards, which goes against my usual habits.

On the agenda for tomorrow: Russian (grammar, perhaps, but certainly some vocabulary); another page or two of intensive German reading with King; another letter or two in Arabic. If I’ve enough time, I would like to get in some other things as well, but I suppose that’s enough to get started on…

May 3rd, 2010

The whole morning was spent at the hospital with mom, as she was having a procedure done. I took along Assimil Spanish and Dutch, but mostly worked on the Dutch. I listened to 1-6 again, then read through all of the lessons carefully. All in all, probably spent an hour or so on it. I also grabbed the first video of an Arabic video course via iTunes U, and watched the bulk of it.

In the afternoon, I went to the library and checked out Awde’s The Arabic Alphabet: How to Read and Write It. I read for about an hour, and learned to recognize baa, taa, and thaa; I’ve not practiced writing them yet.

From left to right: thaa, taa, baa. Thaa is like th in three; taa is like English t; and baa is like English b.

Later, I listened to 3 Schlaflos in M√ľnchen podcasts, coming to around 45 minutes total. I’m not sure if it counted as an “epiphany” moment or if it was just due to the subject matter, but I understood a surprising amount, almost all of it. I usually struggle to keep up with Annik.

In the evening, I did the repititions for around 30 words (German). I still have a few lists floating around that need repetition attention, particularly the Russian list I did a few days ago.