Thursday, July 11, 2013

Running out of Pimsleur

I have only 4 units left in my Pimsleur program and I already see that the linguistic heights I was planning to achieve with its help are going to be more like rolling hills than anything with a respectable peak. Looking at other resources I have, I have a feeling that the uncertainty how to pronounce words will be my main deterrent in vocabulary studies. I rely on Pimsleur for telling me how to say things, and not just what to say. What will I do when Pimsleur ends?

I ordered some materials from the library today - both language learning materials and literature that I know in English, in Norwegian translation. Bookstores I've visited proved disappointing when it comes to Norwegian learning books and CDs so I had to resort to getting library books, even though I won't be able to keep them forever and deface them according to my learning mission (I guess I should admit here that today I broke down and purchased my tiny yellow Langenscheidt Norwegian dictionary - but that was only because deep down I know that I don't have to wait till day 14 to commit to the language. Also, immediately after the purchase, I deposited it safely in a place I don't have a key to and it will stay there for 3 more days, until I really deserve it.)

Fiction-wise, I ordered Anne of Green Gables and one of my favorite books by Robertson Davies - What's Bread in the Bone. In Norwegian! Why am I embarking on literature despite my still very low level of the language knowledge? Well, I've been reading Polyglot. How I Learn Languages by Lomb Kató, a Hungarian polyglot whose attitude towards learning languages I find very compelling. Among other things she says that there is no such thing as talent when it comes to learning foreign languages, no matter how many. It's all about motivation, hard work and determination. For many years I thought that I had not much aptitude for languages - and even though it didn't stop me from trying to acquire as many of them as I could fit into my schedule, I always felt that it's not fair that some people have "it" and I don't. I'm very ready to believe the "it" doesn't exist (hard to do when one's husband and one's best friend are both seemingly effortless language learners). This book tells me that I can.

Lomb Kató learned her many languages in part by reading books way beyond her level and figuring them out for herself with or without the help of a dictionary. No reason I can't add that to my list of tricks.