Saturday, May 30, 2020

Well, that was something

I started the L2-R2 in Croatian Harry Potter today. Talk about confused!

The audio starts with chapter 0. It's only a minute long, and even at my pathetic proficiency I understood that it was simply introducing the book, with the title, author, translator, speaker. Then chapter 1!

But the audio chapter 1 didn't jive with my physical book. Not even close. I searched around for where the speaker was in the first chapter, to no avail. I went on to chapter 2 and started the audio chapter 2. That wasn't it either. I understood some bit of it ("it was sunny" or something like that). I searched around for where I was and found the spot...several pages into chapter 2. What the heck?

I went back to chapter 1 and went ahead 6 or 7 minutes. I heard the part where Mr. Dursley is asking his wife Petunia if her sister's son's name is Howard. "No, Harry." I found that part in the physical book. Then went back by minutes till I got to the beginning of chapter 1. Yes, chapter 1 started 1 minute and 39 seconds into audio chapter 1. What?

I started audio chapter 1 all over again. Turns out, as far as I could tell, chapter 1 starts with a synopsis of the entire book.* Or, at least up to and including the part where Harry gets the letter inviting him to Hogwarts. I understood that much. 

I listened on till 31:00, when chapter 2 in the physical book starts. But the audio chapter 1 still has 11 minutes left. How strange!

Once I got it going, it was easy to follow along. I even understood some of it, mostly because I just read the book in English. Of course, that is the purpose of L-R. After I'm done with listening and reading in Croatian, I start all over but read the book in English while listening in Croatian. 

The audio total is a little less than 9 hours. I'll be listening at least 18 hours with the L2-R2 then L2-R1. I really should go through the audio four times so that'll be about 35 hours. Really looking forward to taking the ODA again after. Will my proficiency go up? 

*See my comment below!

Friday, May 29, 2020

Online Diagnostic for Serbian/Croatian Complete!

As I finished Harry Potter 1 today (in English), I went ahead and completed the Online Diagnostic Assessment (ODA) at DLI-FLC for Serbian/Croatian. As I figured, my proficiency has really taken a hit over the last two decades. To be expected of course. But damn.

I've mentioned it elsewhere, but to review: In late 2018 I took the DLPT5 in Serbian/Croatian, after a few weeks of review. I obviously didn't push hard enough because I ended up with a 0+ in reading. Didn't even take the listening! 

My best DLPT (a DLPT IV) in this language was in 1999 when I earned a 3 in listening and 2+ in reading. I kept taking the test and getting in the 2-2+ range for a few years after that, but I think my last ever was in the 2003-2004 range. 

That's a long time ago. Especially since this language I 'learned' in a short time. I went to Turbo-Serbo in 1997. Why is it called that? Well, the official DLI name for the course was Serbian/Croatian Conversion Course. You had to have a minimum of 2/2 in Russian or Czech to attend. The entire course lasted 16 weeks, that's it. I went to Turbo-Serbo with 2/2 in Russian and finished Turbo with a 2+/2+ on the DLPT and a 2 on the OPI! Not too bad for 16 weeks.

But what you learn quickly you lose quickly. I've gone actual years without using Russian, and then after reviewing the language for a month or so come back with at least a 2/2. That's because I learned Russian at the Russian Basic Course, 47 weeks long. And that was in 1986/7. So I've been doing the language a while. It 'stuck' more than Serbian/Croatian has. 

Now on to my L-R plan with Croatian. My ODA results, btw, are: less than 1 for listening and a solid 1 for reading. I'm still going to set my post L-R goal at 1+ for both listening and reading. We'll see!

Thursday, May 28, 2020

What is L-R?

A recent comment from a swimmy friend of mine brought to light the fact that not all my dear readers are language geeks. Thus, it is probably best if I explain what I'm talking about when I talk about L-R.

L-R, or Listening-Reading, is a language learning method brought up in language learning forums many years ago. Not sure if user siomotteikiru invented the method, adjusted an existing method, or just relayed this method to others. No matter.

What's important is what the L-R method does. In many instances, users have described incredible improvements in proficiency. A few have even used the method to learn an entirely new languages. It takes many hours of dedicated L-R'ing, but just might be worth it.

So, in a nutshell, here's how you L-R a language you already have some knowledge of. This could mean you used to have good proficiency in the language, like my previous 3/2+ in BCS (Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian), or one you've just started and have a basic understanding of:

1) Pick a book you like and won't mind reading many times. Read the book in your native language (unless you already have and know it well).
2) Read the book in your target language while listening to it in your target language. 
3) Read the book in your native language while listening to it in your target language.
4) Repeat step 3 two more times. (This is why you have to like the book!)

The only difference if the language you want to learn is new I'll call step 0:
0) Grab a basic introductory textbook in your target language, one that includes audio passages as well as basic grammar explanations. Go through at least five lessons in this textbook before starting your L-R.

The point of step 0 is to at least have some idea how the language is structured, how it sounds, and basics that are usually introduced in the first few lessons of a text: gender of nouns, indefinite/definite articles (if your target language has them), personal and demonstrative pronouns, etc. 

As discussed in a previous post, some have used the L-R method to pick up additional languages related to one they already know. For instance, Yuurei's experiment with L-R'ing Italian based on her prior proficiency in Spanish. So if you already know, for example, German, you might try L-R from step 0 for Dutch or Norwegian. Or Russian from Ukrainian. 

I've started from step 1 for Croatian and am currently reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (HP1). I'd never read it in English and am finding some differences, however small, between the book and movie. I'll probably be done with it today or tomorrow then start step 2. 

An important question to answer before you get too far in your L-R plan is: Where do I get the book/ebook and audio?

For Russian I've managed to get many audiobooks and ebooks from either Audible or Russian ebook sites. Croatian was a bit more difficult. Apparently they don't really "do" audiobooks of translated books; folks in the Balkans prefer reading the physical book. I can attest that you can find all the Harry Potter (or Artemis Fowl, or Hunger Games, or Dan Brown) you want at bookstores in Croatia, and I took advantage of that when last there. But I guess audiobooks aren't a thing.

But I managed to find some, Harry Potter among them, with the help of some friends. (If you need Croatian specifically, comment on this post and I'll email you.) You may have to ask around on FB groups (which I did), or groups in your city that are connected with a country where your target language is spoken, if you can't find online ebook stores. 

But for some of the big languages, like German and Italian, you may luck out and find the audio and ebook on Amazon! HP1 in German is Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen, which is free in audio and nine euros at Amazon.de.

So that's it. L-R in a nutshell. Comment below if you're doing L-R or considering it, and we can compare notes!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Now on to Croatian

I'm done with Russian for the time being. I'm now reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. In English that is. The first step in doing L-R with a language is to know the book you're reading well. I've never read the first HP. It's a quick read, and there are differences from the movie, so I'm looking forward to step 2 in L-R.

Which is, reading the book in Croatian while listening to it in Croatian. I'll do that once I'm done with HP in English. After that, the difficult part: reading in English while listening in Croatian. Sounds simple, but it isn't. You really have to stop yourself from reading ahead in the English. I've learned that you really have to rein yourself in. 

Also, the language might not have the same syntax as English. You might find yourself following along from the beginning of the sentence to the end them back to the middle. You really can't do this with a brand new language, at least not a language that you're not familiar with or that you've got a related language to. 

Someone in the language forums followed the L-R plan with Italian, despite not knowing the language. She knows Spanish pretty well, so thought she could do well with Italian. And well she did. She did L-R in Italian with HP1 and HP2, ending up with a B1 in Italian listening and reading. And she had an A1 in listening and A2 in reading at the beginning. She did L-R for 38 hours and got to B1 in both listening and reading. That's an awesome result!

Thus my plan. As I've written elsewhere, I've had as high as 3/2+ in the DLPT IV in this language. But that was 20 years ago. My proficiency is crap now. I believe, however, that L-R'ing HP1 might bring my language back. I can still understand quite a bit of Croatian when I read it, despite my pathetic 0+ in the reading DLPT two years ago. We'll see.

Monday, May 25, 2020

A Perfect Spy by John LeCarre

I've got a thing for LeCarre books. Smiley or otherwise. This one, A Perfect Spy, was very interesting. Written quite oddly, took me a dozen or three pages before I caught the gist. Spoilers follow.


This is not a Smiley book. There's nothing wrong about that. This isn't the first non-Smiley book of his I've read. I just read a month or so ago A Small Town in Germany. Others include The Little Drummer Girl, The Looking Glass War, and the Honourable Schoolboy. All great. LDG took a bit to get going, but once it did, it flew. Same with this.

In A Perfect Spy, we learn that Pym is committing espionage against his own country, the UK. But the way we learn it is through Pym himself writing down his life history, variably changing from first person singular, to third person, addressing his son then his mentor.

We are occasionally brought back to the present with narrative on his mentor trying to find him, as our man Pym, nom de guerre in hiding Canterbury, has disappeared himself, to give him enough time to write his memoir. You see, he wants to explain to his son and sometimes his mentor (but not his second wife, whom he married for work purposes, not love) the reasons for his treason.

Blame of course on his father. Granted, his father was a shit. But, Pym had opportunities to escape his final ruin. At the very start he could have, and maybe not even get caught. But Pym was weak, and went with what he knew and what was easy, and for him, probably, he missed.

By the end, last 20-25%, I was screaming through the book, dying to learn what all he did with Axel, the German, or Czech. (Depends upon if you trust what Axel is telling Pym.)  Of course, we learn that all along Axel had been running Pym, not the other way around.

In the end, Pym kills himself (I warned you about spoilers), not paying for his crimes, the bastard.

The book is wonderfully full of spy tradecraft and wonderful British wit and turn of phrase. For the language lover in me, lots of that, as well. Meaning, Pym was adept at languages and we get a nice little history of him studying languages at Oxford for his first or honours or whatever the hell the Brits call their bachelors degrees. Yes, that was enough to keep me interested in the beginning.

I think the next LeCarre book I'm gonna read, who knows when, will be Smiley's People, also procured at our local library book sale for a buck, just like A Perfect Spy.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Esperanto as lingua franca for minority languages

A good blog post at the European Studies blog of the British Library, discussing the use of Esperanto as a language of translation for minority languages, like Provencal, in the case of this blog post.

Esperanto is one of my languages. I'm not too bad at it, as far as reading goes. C1 is along the lines of 3 on the DLPT. I took the KER exam in Moscow back in 2017. The skriba ekzameno covers the modalities of reading and writing. The Moscow Esperanto club didn't offer the parola; in order to do that, the club must agree to pay the travel and lodging of two Esperanto speakers/testers. No matter. I probably wouldn't have taken the C1 parola exam. B2 would have been more at my speaking/listening level in 2017.

I love the language. So many opportunities to read stories in languages I'd never learn or have the time to learn. That is one of the best parts of Esperanto.

The European Studies blog, which I stumbled upon years ago but just went back to today, writes about translations from Provencal, Mireio by Federic Mistral, specifically. Paul Champion and Eugene Noel translated it in 1909 into Esperanto.

The important part of all this is that Esperanto is being used to translate endangered languages, like Provencal. Provencal is endangered, among many other languages in the world. And authors are translating the works of these languages into Esperanto. Sure, not many people speak Esperanto, but perhaps more understand Esperanto than know Provencal, Occitan, Basque and Sorbian.

My point is, Esperanto is a handy language into which to translate these rare works so that more people can read and learn about these peoples, these endangered languages. Before they are lost.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Russian class complete; Russian study, not so much

I had to stop my Russian class prematurely, for professional reasons. More on that in a month or so.

But that doesn't mean I've stopped studying Russian. I'm continuing my L-R of Пробуждение Левиафана/Leviathan Wakes, by James SA Corey. I love this book, and the tv series (The Expanse). As is necessary for L-R study, I know the first book well. I've read it in English. I've listened while reading to it in Russian. Now I'm listening in Russian while reading in English. This is the first real step in L-R. And it is interesting.


It is difficult. Mostly because I read English faster than I "hear" Russian. So I have to stop myself from reading ahead. Additionally, the Russian audiobook doesn't necessarily jive always with the book. I've had complete sentences missing in the Russian. Also, weird translations. For instance, one of the characters, a detective (Miller, if you've read the book or watched the series), has been working for 30 years. But in the Russian translation, it is only 16 years. For those who don't know Russian: No, 16 and 30 don't sound similar in any way. No idea.

But other issues come up. And if I didn't know Russian as well, I'd wonder. Russian doesn't have to follow English syntax rules, so quite often I have to dart around a sentence in the eBook to find what the Russian audio is telling me. No issue. Again, my Russian isn't half bad (2+).

Theoretically, I'd listen to the Russian and read the English again two more times, but that's not gonna happen. On or about 1 June, I'll start my L-R Croatian experiment with Harry Potter. I'm about 30% done with the Expanse book now. Here's hoping I'll be completely done by 31 May!

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Book review: How to Learn Any Language by Barry Farber

How to Learn Any Language: Quickly, Easily and on your own, by Barry Farber.


This book pops up often on language blogs and forums, thought I'd finally read it. Especially since I found a good copy for less than three bucks. This version is a bit dated (cassette tape courses), but the info is still worth it.

I've been following a multi-track approach for some time now (hat tip: Ron H), incorporating native materials in my language learning. This book advocates this approach as well. Pretty much this is how I took on Italian. Started with an actual class, which turned out to be too slow, so worked my way through a beginner text. Then dove in on Italian newspaper twitter accounts and even an actual Italian book (Dino Buzzati's Sessanta Racconti), albeit just the first story. Worked well enough to get me a 2 on the DLPT Reading test!

If you find this book cheap, or at the library, I would recommend leafing through it. His use of mnemonics to remember words is interesting, as is his "language biography," which, frankly, was the most interesting of the book; the man sure had done a lot in his life (he died recently, I believe).

I read Fluent Forever a few years ago, which was good. I'm not much of a groupie for polyglots, wasting hours watching their Youtube channels. Not that I don't think they have good things to say for those learning languages. I just don't want to spend the time. I'd rather spend that time on my hobbies. As for languages, I've been studying them seriously since 1986's Russian Basic Course at DLI (I don't count the wasted three years 8th-10th grade of Spanish) so I think I know how language studying works best for me. I only grabbed Farber's book because it came up recently, and with libraries closed due to this craziness, thought I'd buy a copy. I'll gift my copy to my language-loving daughter.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Coptic lesson one, but week three

This week in the Coptic course we have to turn in the first 10 questions for lesson one. So far, I think, so good.

ϩⲓ ⲧⲉϩⲓⲏ  on the road
ϩⲓ ⲡⲧⲟⲟⲩ  on the mountain
ϩⲛ̅ ⲧⲉϩⲓⲏ  in the path
ϩⲙ̅ ⲡⲏⲓ  in the house, etc.

I'll turn my answers in in a few days; they're due Sunday and I want to review them and actually re-do them a couple times between now and then.

The course is going to be loooong, with 3-4 weeks per lesson for 30 lessons, with some breaks I think every 5 lessons. But it will be fun to be able to speak/read the last vestiges of the ancient Egyptian language.

Someone in the Glyphstudy group shared a Youtuber who speaks Coptic, so I listened to it last night. Sounds very cool, and different from how I'd been imagining it, based on the Lambdin text's explanation of the sounds. Always helpful to hear what the language you're studying sounds like!

Monday, May 18, 2020

20 Books of Summer

I'm at about 33 books for the year so far. My speed has improved over the years, pages-per-hour that is. But I just saw a challenge come up on some of the book blogs, the 20 Books of Summer. Can I read 20 books from 1 June to 1 September? Hmm...


One can "just" read 10 or 15 books, and can change their challenge through the challenge, so maybe I'll only read 15. We'll see.

As for what books I'm going to read? These are definite:


Harry Potter i kamen mudraca, the first Harry Potter in Croatian.


Death of a Dissident, because Russia Soviet Union.


The Girl on the Boat, because I somehow have two copies of this. I'll read one and donate it, keeping the other in my Collector's Wodehouse shelf.


The Makioka Sisters, because this was a March read-along among the book blogs, and I had it on reserve at our library for weeks. Then COVID happened and I never got to read it. I believe our library will open soon, so when I get this book I'm gonna read it. #MakiokaSistersRead2020


Utopia Avenue, because I like David Mitchell (all but his last one).


Wheat that Springeth Green, because I just read his Morte D'Urban and loved it. Want to try another of his.

Other than that, I'm up for anything. Probably will read the Sword of Hono(u)r trilogy of Evelyn Waugh because it's been a few years and I love it. Also might be able to fit in the second Harry Potter in Croatian during the summer, who knows.

#20booksofsummer20

Economics

My Russian teacher has me doing work on the subject of economics, not one of my favs. But, this subject is a favorite of DLPT writers, thus, I gotta get my vocab down.

конъюнктура на рынке: market conditions
активы: assets
котировка: quotation
сделка: deal
отскок: rebound
ратовать: to advocate
сырьевые цены: commodity prices

Good words, all. Already some of these from my first reading have popped up in the second reading assigned. (She's a great teacher!)

I'm currently with family though, celebrating a couple university graduations and an engagement, so have had very little time to study. More than likely I'll ask my teacher today to simply give me some аудирование (listening passages) to do during class today, and save the two readings and listenings on economics for this coming Friday. I'll be home tomorrow, so that'll give me plenty of time to cram for the class. Then after that I believe there is only one class left, the 29th, as next Monday is a holiday. I'm sure she'll slam me with a bunch of work since it'll be a week between meetings. Oy!

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Polyglot Fitness Challenge 2020

Besides languages, I have a few other hobbies. Dear reader(s) know that I also love reading. But in addition to that, I'm really into swimming. Not in a crazy, thought-I'd-make-the-Olympics kinda way. No, not even close.

I never really was a swimmer, not in the way most people think. When I was younger, around 10-ish, my best friend and I at about the same point each took a different road. He signed up for a swim team. I signed up for Scouting.

My dad used to joke about us, the two Mikes: When we were both in the 10-12 year old range, he couldn't tell which one of us was walking down the street as we were both about the same height and size. Later, it was easy to tell: Other Mike started to get swimmer's shoulders and back while I remained the skinny Mike.

I came to swimming much later. Now don't get me wrong, I could always swim. I lifeguarded for a few years; I earned the Mile Swim badge every year at summer camp; I did a couple triathlons when I was in high school. But I was never a "real" swimmer.

In 2002, I decided to change that. My running had gotten hurtful; my right knee just couldn't take it anymore. So swimming became my cardio. And I heard about open water swimming in 2009 and thought, How great! No flip-turns!

Fast forward to today and I've completed a bunch of open water swims to include a few marathons (10K or longer). Still slow as balls, but I can go longer now.

In Feb 2017, I made a commitment to go to the gym with my wife 3 days a week to lift. I'd lifted before, but never consistently. My wife has been a lifelong lifter. She really is incredible.

I'm glad I made the commitment. I started noticing improvements. For one, my swimming improved. In a few instances (10K in National Harbor, MD; swim attempt around Manhattan), my lower back was my weak link. After lifting for a while, that wasn't a problem anymore.

And it became fun to lift heavy (for me). When I did 325lbs deadlift I was over the moon! Hell, when I did 3 sets of 5 at 225lbs for squat, I was so happy (that is incredibly light for someone of my build/weight). But my gym closed mid-March; so much for consistency.

So, like in my swimming, I had to have goals for lifting, too. Thus my invention of the Polyglot Fitness Challenge (PFC). In this year's PFC, pre-COVID, here were my goals:

Language I: I was so happy to get great scores in Russian in 2019; thank you Peter for the 365 challenge! I'd like to keep those scores, so goal of 2+/2+/2+ on Russian DLPT and OPI. Aim for late April tests.
Language II: So, the Esperanto world's Universala Kongreso (UK) will be in Montreal this year, and I'm going! It's 1-8 August. At some point during that week+ they will hold the KER exams. I've taken the KER skriba (reading and writing) exam already, in Moscow in 2017, passing the C1 exam. Not sure I can pass the C1 in the parola (listening and speaking), but perhaps the B2? Therefore, I'll set a goal of passing the B2 KER parola exam at the UK in August. I'll use the time after the Russian DLPT/OPI to work on my Esperanto again, maybe attending one of those weekly meetings they have here.
Language III: At one point (1999?) I was a 3/2+ in the DLPT and a 2 in the OPI in BCS. I'd love to get even some of that back as I simply love the language. Therefore, next goal will be 1/1/1 on BCS DLPT and OPI. I'll start working BCS after the Esperanto UK in August, so I'll aim for late November/early December tests.

Fitness I: I'd like to hit 200 miles swum in 2020.
Fitness II: I really want to be able to lift, one time, 135lbs in strict overhead press.


COVID, frankly, has changed everything in my life. Thank God not for the worst as everyone in my family is healthy and hale. But, it has changed my professional life and, for the purposes of this blog, my personal life.

Therefore, here are my adjusted PFC 2020 goals, with comments on why they've changed from the above:

Language I: Russian. No DLPT this year as testing sites are closed and deadline to test has been extended till Feb 2021. I've already L2-R2 Hunger Games this year and I'm currently L2-R1 the first Expanse book. I'm thinking a Russian goal this year will be to L-R another book in Russian before the year is out.
Language II: Esperanto. UK cancelled this year, so no test. No Esperanto goal this year.
(New) Language II: BCS. As discussed in another post, I will diligently L-R (the right way) BCS this summer, starting with Harry Potter I. The goal, specifically, is to increase my Listening and Reading assessment (ODA at DLIFLC) one 'step,' meaning if my pre-LR reading is a 1, then I want the post-LR reading score to be at least a 1+.
Language III: Coptic. I started the Coptic course at Glyphstudy. Two years ago my daughter and I started their Middle Egyptian course and dropped it after a month or so. This time, I'd like to stick to this course at least through the rest of this year. It is a slow course; we're doing one lesson every 3-4 weeks. Hopefully, if I follow it for 6-7 months, it'll become habit. It's already fun, but aren't all new languages fun at first!?

Fitness I: I was on tap to swim 200+ miles this year till all pools closed mid-March. Once pools (and beaches, dammit) open back up, I think the best I can set as a goal is to swim consistently (3+ days a week) for the rest of the year. All of my swims that I had sked for the year are cancelled.
Fitness II: My base gym closed March 16. This goal, 135lbs strict military press, is one I believe I could still hit by 31 Dec. Therefore, this will be the one goal I'll keep.

So that's it, dear reader(s). Thanks if you've read this far. Hope your 2020 is healthy for you and your family.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

And my current language project

I'm working on my Russian now. I originally had to take my language test by the end of May. So in March I got myself sked for a 4-hour per week one-on-one language class with a DLI instructor, set to end right around when I would take the DLPT.

Enter COVID. Now I don't have to DLPT. In fact, I can't. All testing sites I have access to are closed. No worries. I'll continue the Russian. Why not? How often does one get a chance for a class like this without having to pay for it?

I'm also L-R'ing the first Expanse book (Leviathan Wakes) by listening to it in Russian while reading it in English.

Next up, I'm going to try to bring my Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian back. At one point in time I had a 3/2+ on the DLPT IV in this language(s). I tried to revive it two years ago by going through some of my old textbooks and doing some 1/1+ GLOSS lessons, and then I excelled on the Reading DLPT5 with a whopping 0+. Whoops!

This time I'm going to try L-R, the right way. Before the end of this month I'll read the first Harry Potter (in English). Then in June, I'll read HP1 in BCS while listening to it in BCS. Then, when done with that, I'll read HP1 in English while listening in BCS.

But before that, I'll use DLI's Online Diagnostic Assessment to see what my BCS listening and reading scores are. After I go through HP1 three times (English, BCS-BCS, BCS-English), I'll take these assessments again and see how I do.

Oh, and meanwhile I'm doing a Coptic reading course with Glyphstudy. Much like my reading life, I can do a "dead" (reading-only) language while studying another language. This course is sked for three years long, so we'll see if I stick to it, but so far it is fun, and not burdensome to my Russian.

My current "To Read" list

I can't help but add books to my To Read list on Goodreads. So many good books out there. When I read a book review, and think someday I might read it, I add it. Maybe I'll read it. Maybe I won't.

As it stands today, here's what my next 3-4 books look like:

How Dead Languages Work
Death of a Dissident
The Dogs of War
The Pharaoh's Treasure

But ask me in a week, and that list will probably change.

Currently I'm reading A Perfect Spy. I love John LeCarre. I think this might be my 5th or 6th of his books.

That's my current fiction read. I can read a fiction and a non-fiction at the same time. My current non-fiction book is Egypt, Greece and Rome. I'm "reading" it via Audible.

I can also do a book in a foreign language. For some reason, I can separate in my brain the plot of two fiction books as long as one is not in English. My current foreign language read is Пробуждение Левиафана which is Leviathan Wakes, the first book of The Expanse series.

A new blog for IronMike!

Greetings! I'm IronMike and I've got a language problem. And sort of a book problem. I figured, Hey, IronMike, why not start a blog and report on your language studies and the books you read?

OK, I will.

But I'm new to Blogger. I have a blog on WordPress for my swimming life, but WP wouldn't let me have two blogs (don't ask). I have a dear friend who has a great blog on Blogger, so thought I'd try them. And so far, it is free, so nothing lost.

So, don't judge me yet. I gotta learn this Blogger stuff then this blog'll be lit!

The Double, by Jose Saramago

 This is my first Saramago that I've read. My wife loved  Blindness . I couldn't get into it years ago when I attempted it. But this...