Fireworks At A Funeral

I think that the holiday is in its death throes. Today is the fifteenth of the lunar new year, and the moon is full. And today is the end-of-holiday holiday, complete with its own traditional food and a barrage of fireworks that even surpasses the new year’s. The streets are packed full of people, as this appears to be more of a night-on-the-town holiday than a stay-at-home-with-family holiday. Maybe the stores will start to work on regular business hours after this. Also, the fireworks are supposed to pretty much stop after this (I never thought I’d grow tired of them, but too much of anything…) Hopefully, this holiday will also signal the return of the students. T.’s pulling back into town tomorrow.  

Language learning – if you’re sick of me talking about it, trust me, you’re not nearly as sick of it as I am. The deal is you gotta keep pushing yourself or you’ll start to stagnate. Your exercise needs to focus on the fringes of your ability, so if you’re not mentally exhausted by the end of a language school session, you are almost certainly doing the wrong thing (or you’re Ziad Fazah). This week, I’ve experimented with a new exercise that really pushes me. Using some recorded preaching, I try to do the job of a translator. Space-bar pauses to simulate the speaker pausing for the translation. In the future, I’ll have to translate sometimes for preachers, anyway, so I was a little curious about how far I was from that ability. Ouch.  

A lot of language learning material tells you to feel out where your vocabulary and your ability is lacking and then find out how to say what you can’t. My problem with that is I often feel an inability to put my finger on the points that need work. That’s part of what I like about reading and translating – brings up all kinds of vocabulary, sentence patterns, and phrases – pretty much an unlimitedly random drawing from the complete language pool.

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