I apologize for not posting lately, but the past few months have been busy and stressful. My mother passed away last month in her sleep at the age of 89. She had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease seven years previously, so her death was expected. However, her house had a reverse mortgage, so the house reverted to the bank after her death, and my relatives and I will have to move out very soon. We’ve lived in that house for 35 years and accumulated a lot of material possessions that we’re now decluttering and packing. This has left me with little time for language learning or participation in social media.
The Add1Challenge for German was an overall success. I don’t recall ever improving so much in one language in such a short amount of time (3 months). I think it was because I combined studying (Michel Thomas, which worked great for me), conversation practice (with italki tutors), and listening practice (“Nicos Weg” videos via Yabla and “Deutsch, Warum Nicht?” podcasts on Deutsche Welle). My speaking skills didn’t improve as much as I had hoped, but after 90 days I was able to converse about both language learning and a little bit about technology/computers (general questions like, “What apps do you use?”, “Do you think you spend too much time on social media?” and “Have you ever gone without a cell phone for a few days?”).
After the A1C, I spent a couple of months on ancient Greek and learning to read the New Testament of the Bible in it. I can now read 1-3 John and half of James (having to look up some words that I have a hard time remembering, especially in James).
I attended my college reunion but didn’t speak any German there, very little French, and just a few minutes of Spanish. I spent a lot of time with the French department, which showed me a lot of hospitality. (I got my BA in French in 1989.) It turns out that the Spanish club speaks almost entirely in Spanish but the French club speaks almost entirely in English. Thinking back, I don’t remember speaking enough French when I was a student, so that must have been the case when I was a student there, too. I met the Chinese teacher but didn’t meet any teachers or students of German. Maybe I should have done my Add1Challenge in Spanish and spent more time in the Spanish department. (There was a blizzard during the reunion weekend. See photo.)
Leading up to and following Mom’s death, I was stressed and only wanted to read, so I read a lot of French first and now Japanese. I read my first Star Trek novel in French! So my French reading skills are improving. Reading is about all I’m doing now.
I have more posts in mind for this blog, but they’ll have to wait–probably until early next year.
3 thoughts on “An update”
So sorry for the loss of your mother, and your home. It’s impressive you were still able to keep up some language learning. I hope next year is better for you and your family.
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I am sorry for your less. I hope the next months will be easier for you.
It sounds first a little strange that the French club is speaking so much more English than the Spanish one. Probably, people of the US have just more opportunities to speak Spanish than French in daily life so the students in the Spanish club feel more confident.
That’s part of it, but I think it’s also because we perceive Spanish as easier than French. For example, when I was a student, I was embarrassed to speak French because of my poor pronunciation (especially of the “R”).
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