"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing..." -Helen Keller
 
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Language has been really rough the past year and a half or so. Coming over here, Austin and I decided (there wasn't really a discussion; our decision was automatic and assumed on both of our parts) that we'd do all of our language studies together, and that we'd pick it up as we talked with people around town.

It has been tough for a few reasons. (1) Most people around town speak a dialect rather than the language's standard form, which is what we're learning. (2) People in our small town haven't seen many foreigners (if any!) before, and they're not really accustomed to slowing down their speech or trying to use simple language as we would do with new language learners in America. (3) Some people just look at us and assume we won't be able to speak to them, so they seem to make little effort to talk with us. (4) The pointing, the staring, the laughing and poking fun at us, the list goes on and my confidence does not.

It has been particularly slow-going for me. I love structure. I love organization. I love having a designated amount of information to study at a designated time. So... it has been a pleasure to switch gears from studying random conversational odds and ends from pages in a notebook to using a flashcard program a friend recently introduced to me: Anki. It works like this: I enter the information I want to learn, and it decides when to test me on it. As I quiz over each card, I can select whether it was difficult, good, easy, or whether I need a quick review of it in another minute or two, and the program organizes the cards into an algorithm that helps me remember them.

It's free. It's easy to use. I love it. And alas, my study break is over.
 



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