A Quick Update on a German Language Course and a Smartphone
Last week I was so busy that I wasn’t getting much sleep. This week I have the same workload plus an intensive German course.
A Galaxy Note
I finally got a Galaxy Note cell phone, which I am pretty happy with so far. I’ll write a full review of the phone in another post.
I’ve downloaded many interesting apps, including Memory Ladder and some ebook readers for poetry. The large screen is exactly what I was looking for. I wrote most of this blog post on the Galaxy Note with Swype, and am finishing it on a laptop.
The German Language Course
I’m enjoying the German course so far. These kinds of classes focus on conversation and not grammar. I prefer to begin with systematic grammar and then go into conversation. I was that way even before I started with memory techniques.
For me to use the memory town method, I need to understand the grammar first. When I asked about cases, the teacher said that wouldn’t be covered until the next level of course, so I’ll have to study that on my own for now.
I’m not complaining, because most people who take these courses might not like technical grammar at all. It has always been my favorite part of studying languages though. During a 10 minute break today, I memorized the 12 definite articles in German, right before the teacher introduced the first three. We’re only getting into der, das, and die, but I’m ready for the others when I see them on posters or overhear snippets of conversations.
Since there are four cases and four situations (three genders and plurals), I set my memory palace in the nearest location with four loci: my limbs. Each hand and foot has four locations: above, below, and on each side.
- der — oil derrick
- das — a 5.25″ floppy disk from the days of DOS
- den — a fox in a den
- des — a woman named Dez who occasionally appears in my mnemonic images, like in the Esperanto verb, deziri (to wish), where she is wearing earrings and wishing on a star.
- die — King Saul, who is the King of Hearts in my memory system (the “suicide king” who fell on his own sword at the Battle of Gilboa)
- dem — someone named Erdem
I arranged everything clockwise: nominative (left hand), accusative (left foot), dative (right foot), genitive (right hand). So, my left foot has a Fox’s den on top, it’s crushing a DOS floppy disk, and a King of Hearts is on each side.
This would have been more difficult if I had never heard of grammatical cases before, but I’ve studied a little Modern Greek, so have a basic idea of what the cases are about.
Preparing the Memory Town
What I plan to do is start to make categories based on the structure of German.
As soon as I have the categories figured out, I’ll turn them into lists and place each list in a separate area of my memory town. I also want to separate my flash cards by these lists.
I would like to write many blog posts about what I’m doing, but I’m so busy at the moment that I’m not even getting enough sleep. Someday I am hoping to have no commitments in life except to work on memory techniques and to write about what I’m learning. 🙂
By the way, if you’re ever looking for a German language course, this one in Vienna is a pretty good deal at 250 euros for four weeks, 12 hours per week. Check out their website here.
And don’t forget — we’ll be meeting on webcam again on Sunday, 13 May 2012, at 3pm EST (New York timezone) to share tips about using memory techniques for learning languages. Follow our Facebook page for updates on joining the meeting. Hope to see you there!