lundi 11 janvier 2010

shopping and the first day at work

Did some shopping on the weekend. Picked up a Dutch-as-second-language dictionary with example sentences for each of the words. My Dutch isn't good enough yet to actually use it, but I've looked up a couple words and they helped me confirm a guess or at least get a rough idea of what the word meant.


My new office is very international. I was surrounded by people speaking a number of different languages, not just the obvious Dutch. I installed my work computer in French which confused our sysadmin when he needed to fix something. Luckily Macs have lots of pretty icons.

One of my new coworkers (who googled my name and found this blog) sent me an email in Dutch that I was able to get the gist of. I responded with a two sentence email IN DUTCH saying basically "Thank you for you email but I was unable to understand it." Two small errors (a verb conjugation and a gender error) were corrected by another coworker, who also validated my interpretation of the email. So, that was pretty cool. Another Good Dutch Day as they say.

My commute at the moment is about an hour. Certainly obnoxious and longer than I was expecting from previous sample trips, but basically it'll give me a good chunk of time to listen to dialogs.

I pass a couple of used bookstores on my way to work, so I should be able to find a copy of HP1 and "De Hobbit" without any trouble. I doubt I'd be able to read them yet (the audiobooks are still mostly incomprehensible), but you 1) have to have goals and 2) need to be reading things you're interested in. Granted, I'm still at the level where I have to read materials written for beginners, but you have to reach high.

I'm still not sure how my chapter notes would work. Possibly just some vocab notes and other random "work". I can't see myself using anki and sentence mining, 'cause as much as I want to believe otherwise, flash cards are Just Not My Thing.

Part of my keeps being pulled to Anki, though. "Maybe this time wil be different."
It's a bit like when I was stuck at Intermediate with French and kept thinking to myself "Surely the lack of this one book is what's preventing me from becoming fluent." I never actually feel into that trap (well, maybe once) but I was at least aware that that was the underlying cause of my desire to purchase these books. I felt I was so close to fluency I was just missing some vocab, or some slang, or some idioms, or whatever. I always stepped back, but it was very frustrating to have been tempted like that in the first place. I have a bit of an idea in my head that using flash cards is similar -- a silver bullet that will magically improve my Dutch. Yes, I could mine my courses for sentences (since they're all dialog based), but I highly doubt I could get into the routine. Maybe it's worth another shot? There certainly have been enough upheavals recently (pretty much everything associated with the move) that it doesn't seem unreasonable that I could make it work? I'll keep you posted.


As for courses, at the moment I'm up to 28 in Assimil. I'm still batching them in groups of 7 trying to listen to them all together for about a weeks. I sliced up the Linguaphone audio lessons from a single giant mp3 into lesson-sized records so that should make studying lessons 5-10 easier. I haven't progressed any further on Living Language but I want to try to at least understand the dialog up to lesson 4 or 5 by the end of the week. I haven't done any of the written work for them yet.

Well, it's kind of late here now. I'm going to go listen to some Assimil (22-27) and Living Language (2-3).

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