March 7, 2011 | French

Another Pimsleur Overdose

I race, study grammar, and do Pimsleur lessons to the point of brain damage.

Yesterday I ran the first points race of the 2011 New York Road Runners season in Washington Heights. “Points race” means it counts towards the year-long competition among the local running teams. It was raining and hilly, but since I kind of enjoy those things, it was fun.

My time was not good, but considering I haven’t been able to train properly since my injury last summer, I am pretty happy with it. And I am definitely getting better.

I just got these new shoe inserts, called orthotics, to help me improve my biomechanics, reducing the strain that led to my foot troubles. The orthotics were suggested to me last year, but I was highly skeptical of their efficacy, and to be honest, I think the word “orthotics” itself—which made me think of orthopedics and orthodontics—turned me off. I feel optimistic about my prospects now, though. 

Besides running, today and yesterday have involved grammar studying and also marathon Pimsleur sessions. My head is ready to fall off. I did Pimsleur lessons 14-20 (this is still Level II) yesterday, and 20 through 27 today. Since each of these lessons is half an hour, that is a lot of Pimsleur time.

Good for Pimsleur Marathons

Good for Pimsleur Marathons

Fortunately, I have finally solved my longstanding headset problems. For several months now, I have been using these things called yurbuds. They are soft and comfortable, so my ears and head never start to hurt, and the sound quality is high, and they stay in while running, and they do not blast whatever you are listening to so that everyone around you, on the subway or wherever, has to listen to it, too.

They lend themselves well to endurance Pimsleur sessions. The one bummer is that they do not block out subway noise quite as well as the huge Martian-ear headsets that I used to wear around everywhere when I started this project.

From one of my books I just learned that un crapaud is a toad. I like that word. It sounds as though it should be a curse word, but I guess running around saying “toad” when you spill coffee on your blouse or bang your shin on a cabinet wouldn’t be very cathartic.

I did some work today on conditional. I adore conditional. Until I get a handle on conditional, I don’t feel comfortable in a language. I wonder if there is a psychological profile for people who adore conditional. 

Studying French is simultaneously knocking Spanish and Italian—but especially Italian, whose hold on my brain was already precarious—out of my head.

Comments (2)

Bill B. • Posted on Sun, January 04, 2015 - 9:23 pm EST

My only comment pertains to your study schedule and is only one word long:  WHY?

I’m a recovering pimsleurholic (French; Italian; Spanish; Greek and—wait for it:  Mandarin Chinese); and I thought I was extreme.  You must have read Elmer Bernstein’s (not THE Elmer Bernstein; the other one) book and really got the bug—Big time.  I quit after Greek; I was 3 months into Mandarin and was as lost as at day 1.  So I dumped it on Ebay and am no longer subject to the dark force of Pimsleur.

If that study list is real, my hat’s off to you.  BTW what language do you dream in?

Excelsior!  BB

Ellen Jovin • Posted on Fri, January 09, 2015 - 9:06 pm EST

You asked why, Bill. Well, because I have liked it. I am extremely grammarphilic. Now, if I stop liking it, I will stop. I get pleasure out of this stuff still, even if I forget giant swathes. And I feel a stronger, more meaningful connection to other people and cultures.

Who is (the other) Elmer Bernstein? I just googled and was instantly asea in music links!

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