My Vowels Need Repointing

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My New York City apartment building sometimes requires <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repointing">repointing</a>. I always knew that repointing was some kind of fixing-up process, but I never bothered to inform myself of its meaning, so when I heard the term, I always just pictured men climbing all over the building pointing building parts that were pointing in the wrong direction back in the right direction.</p>
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<img alt="Heading Out for a Run, with Notes on My Arm to Keep Track of My Pimsleur Lessons" src="/assets/images/uploads/My_Arm_with_Pimsleur_Records.jpeg" style="width: 720px; height: 538px; " /></p>
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Heading Out for a Run, with Notes on My Arm to Keep Track of My Pimsleur Lessons</p>
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Please don't think I truly thought that was what happened. But it's what I pictured, and as I have been suffering increasing amounts of language confusion among the various Romance languages, I have repeatedly been struck by this thought: my vowels need repointing! They are all over the place.&nbsp;</p>
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Especially with Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian, I am getting confused. So many words sound a lot alike, but just a little bit different, and often the differences lie in the vowels. I&nbsp;often come up with the wrong sound in the right-ish word. I need someone to repoint my vowels.</p>
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Since that person really needs to be me, I have a plan that I think will solve multiple problems at once. As I believe I have mentioned, I like volunteering in the New York City marathon in November because it gives me so many language opportunities. I am on a mission to get my Portuguese, Spanish, French, German, and Italian as functional as possible by October 31, my first volunteer shift, and I have much to do. Much!</p>
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Therefore, this morning as I drank my espresso and practiced Italian, I considered my strategy. I am getting too confused and too hyperactive. I am studying too much in books, and jumping around too much in a given day from one language to the next, and from one resource to the next. I am seriously using about 40 things at once. I need to solidify the boundaries between languages, and to do that, I believe I need more solid blocks of calm, structured time with each.</p>
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I also need more oral practice. I have so many brand new Pimsleur lessons that I have never tried before (part of their new Level 4 offerings for various languages). In addition, Pimsleur is extremely efficient at reviving my skills in languages I have started to forget. The grammar books are a critical part of that process, but since I know quite a lot of grammar already, and since I will be talking to&nbsp;<em>humans&nbsp;</em>at the marathon, not trying to do well on grammar exercises, I have decided to jam through as much Pimsleur as possible in the next couple of weeks, focusing on only one or two languages a day rather than three to five, as I have been doing.</p>
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To move that effort along, tonight I went running, accompanied by Pimsleur. I am having trouble remembering what lesson I am on for what language, so before heading out the door, I marked notes on my arm for Italian and Portuguese. Looking down at my annotated skin, I was reminded of how triathletes write their race numbers on themselves for competition. I am not big on either biking or swimming, but if I am studying Pimsleur while running, perhaps that qualifies me as a biathlete at least?</p>
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What has made me so hyperactive lately is the glorious array of products to be reviewed, now sitting in an orderly and patient--and yet extremely seductive--fashion in the to-be-reviewed section of my language-learning library.&nbsp;Here is some language porn for the similarly fanatical among you.</p>
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<img alt="Chinese, ESL, and French" src="/assets/images/uploads/Bookshelves_Oct_2013_1.jpeg" style="width: 720px; height: 538px; " /></p>
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Chinese, ESL, and French</p>
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<img alt="French and German" src="/assets/images/uploads/Bookshelves_Oct_2013_2.jpg" style="width: 720px; height: 538px; " /></p>
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French and German</p>
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<img alt="German, Hebrew, and Italian" src="/assets/images/uploads/Bookshelves_Oct_2013_3.jpg" style="width: 720px; height: 538px; " /></p>
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German, Hebrew, and Italian</p>
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<img alt="Italian and More Italian" src="/assets/images/uploads/Bookshelves_Oct_2013_4.jpg" style="width: 720px; height: 538px; " /></p>
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Italian and More Italian</p>
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<img alt="Portuguese and Spanish" src="/assets/images/uploads/Bookshelves_Oct_2013_6.jpeg" style="width: 720px; height: 538px; " /></p>
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Portuguese and Spanish</p>
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<img alt="More Spanish" src="/assets/images/uploads/Bookshelves_Oct_2013_7.jpeg" style="width: 720px; height: 538px; " /></p>
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More Spanish</p>
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I think I will need longer than I was expecting to get through all the things shown here--through early 2014, I would guess. By the way, I also have electronic products that do not even appear on these to-be-reviewed shelves--invisible learning methods to supplement those that can be seen by the naked eye.</p>
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I am excited about the weeks and months ahead. Why I like doing endless grammar exercises, I do not know, but that is my nature, and I am embracing it!&nbsp;</p>

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