finncullen: (Default)
 I mentioned in an earlier post here that I was trying to learn another language.  The original book I was using was good, but didn't inspire me a great deal, consisting mainly of sample dialogues and long lists of verb forms and so on.  Workable but hard-workable.   From time to time in the past I'd heard of the Michel Thomas method of language learning and noticed that my local bookshop had some examples of his product for a variety of different languages.

The hyperbole on the packaging has to be seen to be believed.  It claims to give you an understanding of the language in question, and a working knowledge of structure and grammar within twelve hours of audio lessons with no need for note taking or rote learning.

Pah.  Finn is not easily fooled by such marketing nonsense.  But the Michel Thomas website does have a wide range of free downloads covering the first hour of the course for most of the languages available ( and so I tried out the Dutch one.

By the end of that I was convinced enough to give the course a try.

Read on... )

finncullen: (Default)
It has been an odd weekend even by Finn's usual standards.

I spent some time in an open air cafe where, in the space of ten minutes I was approached by six complete strangers.  They each asked me directions to some public building, one after the other.  I then spent some time buying a range of groceries, most of which I would have no use for, from some astonishingly formal shopkeepers.  For a change I then spent a little time serving groceries to people.

I have admitted to being American, English, French and German, and admitted that while my French is excellent, my Spanish is average at best. 

I have realised that people spend a huge amount of time asking complete strangers what sort of house they live in, and that those strangers are not only happy to answer but they also freely give a room by room breakdown of how their living space is organised.  I personally live in a three bedroom house with a shower and, naturally, a kitchen.  And in a one bedroom flat with my girlfriend.   And in a two bedroom apartment with my husband and child (a son of five).

People also seem very curious about the town I live in, how long I have lived there and what I do for a living.   Oddly if I choose to ask them the same questions they happily go into great detail without asking what I want from the information.

And just before I got to work I spent some time helping my wife choose a new pair of shoes.   And then I complimented my boyfriend on the nice new tie he had bought.

Learning a new language gives you a very varied lifestyle...


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