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Showing posts from January, 2011

Learning language

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My husband and I have on-going debates about the best way to learn a language. He insists that immersion is the only way to learn quickly. He loves to remind me that he learned enough Norwegian in 2 weeks of living in Norway to get a job and enroll at the University of Oslo. He jumped into spoken Norwegian, using listening and speaking skills.

I, though, am a writer. Even in my native language, English, I prefer to read and write rather than listen and speak. In fact, I consider listening as my least favorite way of communicating. I lose patience quickly when I have to listen more than about 10 minutes at a stretch. I can talk for long periods, if I know a lot about the subject. This is a skill I polished as a teacher, where I had to convey complex information to five classes in a row, every day. I can talk, as my students will testify.

But I vastly prefer to read and write. I like reading just a bit more than writing--reading is relaxing, while writing is work. But a good writing sess…

Lenin, Stalin and Hitler

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Yesterday I went to Luxor Palace of Books, a large bookstore on Vaclavske namesti. They have a decent selection of books in English, mostly from British publishers. I love to browse here. If someone gave me 100,000 crowns I could spend it in 5 minutes, as I know exactly where the books I want to buy are shelved.
I had about 450 crowns (about$20), the last of my Christmas "mad money." I perused many great books, and eventually bought Lenin, Stalin and Hitler. The author is a Canadian historian who now teaches at FSU in Florida. He's an expert on the political art of public denunciation, which is the main tool of all totalitarian regimes. I started the book and could barely put it down!