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Tag Archives: Pimsleur

I am learning two foreign languages at the same time. Well, not exactly at the same time. I started with Afrikaans over seven months ago, and I’m using Pimsleur Russian just this month. The Russian is coming along very slowly. Not because it’s particularly difficult, just because I’m lazy. The Pimsleur comes in about 25 minute doses, which is just compact enough to tackle per sitting. I should but I don’t study it daily.

The Pimsleur site says that if I know about 80% of the material in the current lesson, it’s okay to move onto the next lesson. Otherwise review this lesson again. I was stuck on Lesson 1 thinking I had to master it, but I forged into Lesson 2, which repeats much of Lesson 1. Then it was onto Lesson Three and Four. It’s like eating chips. I could not stop.

For a day, I sidetracked at looking into Cyrillic , so that I might read the words I was pronouncing. Once I got used to seeing the different types of letters, it didn’t seem too hard to read, but the writing of the letters is intimidating.

Afrikaans is relatively easy, given the relationship of English to Dutch. Russian is as far a language as I can imagine and is for me, rote memorization. But Pimsleur makes it amazingly painless. This is an excellent system of interval teaching. The first few lessons were straightforward, “excuse me, do you speak English.”

Then there’s a bit that had me cracking up, toward Lesson Three. The narrator says “tell her you understand Russian”. I say it in Russian. The Narrator says “but you’d better add ‘just a little.” I say that too, in Russian. Finally he says “and ‘not very well.'”. I don’t know why this made me laugh, but it seemed like a twist of humor they inadvertently injected in what was otherwise a dry dialogue.

Also, at this point, I was getting a touch of mental fatigue, and instead of Russian, I answered back automatically in Afrikaans. “but you’d better add ‘just a little'” To which I answered “net ‘n bietjie.” The mind is a terrrible thing to waste.

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The stars are in alignment now.

1) The transfer to the Linux server worked, within hours, without a hitch.

Okay, there were three minutes of frigid horror. When I first invoked the index.html, the whole site was black. I mean nada, nothing but the favicon icon at the top. Okay, that means at least that part of the html file executed. What happened to my swf?

I do not know how the left field solution came to me so fast. I was just lucky that I’d been reading articles about jumping from Windows to Linux servers. In a forum, someone was asking about a broken script, and the reply was that “you never know with Linux, it could anything from a case sensitive file name to…” Somehow that little bit of information stuck in my head, and popped out at the right time.

I checked the file names in my index file, and lo, there was a subdirectory that has one uppercase letter. The directory name in my root was in all lowercase, so it wasn’t picking up the .js file. I just thank whatever inspiration brought me to zero in on that minute detail, but I changed the directory name, and bingo, it worked like a charm. Saved me a heap of headaches having to really figure that one out.

And no, there is no logical reason for filenames to be case sensitive in any OS, no matter how Linux lovers justify it. Variables named XYz should always equal variables named xYz. Computers may see it as different, but we are humans, not computers.

2) I was not able to do the redirect through the “content – Site Redirects” because I could not for the life of me tell what parameters they wanted. So I just created the .htaccess file, uploaded it to my root, et voila!

Useful site for redirection: http://www.javascriptkit.com/howto/htaccess.shtml

3) My preloader for my little swf files is working. The traced bytecount was wrong, and preloader graphic kept showing up when the actual movie was running. I deleted the preloader graphic from frame 2, but it also disappeared from frame 1. I fixed it with a little sledgehammering and addiition of a keyframe.

Three solutions in a row. I should retire while I’m ahead.

A few words on the Afrikaans training. How many months has it been now? Six, I think. I can write like a second grader, and read at the third grade level. I’m not trying too hard, but it’s become a daily habit to read, listen to or watch something in Afrikaans.

When reading Dieburger, I look up twenty words or more, which, oddly is an improvement over looking up every other word. I can easily understand articles written in a conversational tone.

The sounds and audio flow is no longer foreign to my ears. I can pick out individual words and look them up. I have to actively listen when hooked into Radio Sonder Grense. http://www.Rsg.co.za. Radio announcers are the easiest to understand because of their enunciation.

Writing long sentences is still hard, and the spoken, hopefully, will come when I catch onto the written.

To add another level of difficulty to my task, I’m at the beginning of learning spoken Russian through the Pimsleur method. Now, instead of English, I’m starting to substitute Afrikaans words, when I can’t remember the Russian words. If I get too confused I’ll just drop the Russian, to learn later.

I must be going through a mid-life language crisis — so many languages, so little time! [insert eyeroll here]