April 16, 2006

Memorizing Words

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:00 am by dgcombs

Over the last decade (yeah, really!) I’ve been lucky enough to spend a little time in several different countries. Not long stays mind you, just sufficient time to get terribly lost on the local train system! During those stays, I was able to use a smattering of Dutch (or Flemish if I was in Belgium), German, Danish, French and of course, English (the variety spoken in the British Isles, not the kind spoken here in Georgia).

So now I’m here in my own country and what did I discover? Yeah! Spanish! My neighbors across the street are originally from the Dominican Republic. The neighbors behind us are from Columbia. Down the block in either direction you can hear the lilting sounds of Spanish in several dialects.

There is now an all Spanish FM radio station here in Atlanta. I even get to hear Spanish at work.

Last week, I was trying to get the janitorial service at work to take away a bunch of old boxes and packing materials that had been piling up in the hallway for about two weeks. I wrote “”TRASH”” on it. It stayed put. So I wrote “”TRASH TRASH TRASH TRASH”” on it. You know, Americans think if you yell loud enough in English – people will understand. On Thursday, I wrote “”BASURA”” on it… Spanish for “”sweepings.”” Friday morning it was gone.

So now I’m learning a new language – Spanish. I’ve already got that one word down pat. The problem is I only have about ten minutes a day. So I found the perfect book for it. Spanish in 10 Minutes a Day. It’s working for me. Using the slow replacement of palabras (words) one at a time, makes it easy to start thinking in Spanish – little by little.

If you need more help (like my old gray cells), there is a website specializing in reviewing flash card language memorization software. I highly recommend it. The software I like best (having looked at a number of them) is Pauker. It’s Free. It is written in Java (which is also Free). It uses a really good methodology for assessing your progress. It has a slick interface – allowing me to import flash cards from something like Excel.

Just a few more 10 minute sessions and I’ll be speaking to the neighbors a little more than the “”Ola! Como esta Usted!”” I do now.

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