Assimil German … again!

Sup all?

Writing a blog is like writing a diary except it is public (duh!) and there is a very effective search function.

Every know and then, I use the search function, and this demonstrates conclusively to me that I go around in circles when it comes to learning languages.

Admittedly, neither language learning nor Surface Languages is my day job (both are hobbies conducted on a sporadic basis), but it is still galling to be reminded of this so forcefully.

And so it is that I reached lesson 34 of  Assimil German and then started doing other things. The difficulty, as ever, is finding time to learn a new skill, in between everything else that I either do or have to do, both willingly and unwillingly.

And so, I have been experimenting with Slow language learning, and I am trying this with Assimil German. Instead of using Assimil as recommended (far too intense for me), I’m learning more or less all of it as I go along, but in chunks of ten words (or sentences) per day. No more. No less.

I work through each dialog, revision exercise and so on in the same way. Here is a (strange) example from the lesson I am on:

Vorsicht, das sind die Krabben. Careful, they are crabs.

I would break this down into:

Vorsicht careful

die Krabbe the crab

die Krabben the crabs

I add each word into the spaced repition app I am using, and over the day learn them. I haven’t added  sind (they are), as it has featured previously.

The above (including the entire sentence) would count as four entries. The process is slow, but I am making progress and am now on Lesson 14.

Happy days.



Well. This wasn’t part of the plan

Sup doods?

I recently moved Surface Languages onto a new server. I didn’t do this for fun, and it wasn’t.

As part of the process, I discovered that I had lost my old blog.

All gone.

WordPress has various backup, import and export options but after an hour or two or fruitless and needlessly irritating failure to re-install my previous pearls of wisdom, I thought …

… what are you doing?

What have you ever written that is so important is must be kept for ever?

It also occurred to me that having lost my old blog, I could conveniently forget about my objectives for this year.

Every cloud has a silver lining.

As this is a starting again, and a renewal of sorts, it seems apt to tell you, dear reader about what I wish to write:

languages and language learning.

the West Country (where I live).

sundry stuff and nonsense.

I will also reinvent myself as a more dynamic and driven individual and language learner;)

But then I slept on it, and realised that all I needed to do was wave a magic wand, and everything would be ok.

And, behold all my old posts have returned!!

But fear not, I will continue with the process of reinvention.

Besos and baci,


Au revoir le français and either Guten Morgan or Bună dimineaţa

Sup doods and doodesses?

I have said au revoir but not adieu to French for the moment. My yearly goals which continue to haunt me (as usual) stated that I would improve my spoken French to a good B1 or B2 during the year (2017), but also left some wriggle room to play with Romanian or German.

I don’t normally achieve these goals for all sorts of feeble reasons.

But …

… I have reached a B1 level in spoken French according to the unfortunate individual who was giving me regular lessons.

Although, I’ve reached this level, I don’t feel particulary comfortable speaking French, and I sound terrible but  I’ve scratched that particular itch, conquered my fear of speaking, and now don’t feel any urge to continue.

This is mainly because my plans for a longish trip through France have been shelved, and I need a reason to learn a language.

And so, I must say a la prochaine  to the French language, and Guten Morgen or Bună dimineaţa to either German or Romanian.

In my goals for 2017, I decided that I would complete Assimil German and Romanian. This was a stupid thing to say, as my past experience of Assimil courses is that they are good but require a lot of time to complete, and far more than I have available. Bear that in mind if you purchase an Assimil course. The thirty minutes a day needed to complete each lesson according to the blurb at the beginning of each course is laughable – unless you are some mega genius.

Message to self. SMART objectives. The A stands for achievable, and I know that with the time available, it will be difficult for me to complete all 100 lessons. Fifty would have been more sensible.

So which will it be? Romanian or German.

Romanian speaks to my heart, and German to my head. I have a reason to learn German, and potential victims to practise on, and yet I am loathe to abandon Romanian entirely.

My compromise up until now has been to play with both, and I have now completed ten lessons of Assimil in each language, which for those who are interested explains both the Guten Morgen and Bună dimineaţa.

I know this state of affairs can’t continue, as learning a language requires time (and effort) but above all time, and much as I’d like to learn both …

… I can’t.

I have a job, family, friends, language exchanges, this website, and so on and so forth.  In short, I lack time, and am slowly leaning towards German …

Besos, baci and so on.