I have had my google home mini for about a month now.
I recently picked up the book Fluent Forever by Gabriel Wyner. I bought the book because I was pumped up about learning Spanish. I had seen the book online and in my local Barnes and Noble book store. The reviews on amazon were mostly positive and great. Then on the goodreads website and it was also getting rave reviews.
So I decided to splurge and purchase the book.
My first reaction was that this author was great and that he really knew what he was talking about.
It all went very downhill from there.
I gave this book a valiant effort. I tried to set up my anki to add audio and images. Turns out you can’t do that if you have the chromebook app version of anki.
I still tried to prevail. I looked up IPA and tried to match the IPA alphabet with the spanish words. Turns out most dictionaries don’t actually use the IPA at all. Even the expensive ones. My phrasebook and grammar book I had picked up didn’t use it either. Was I supposed to assign the IPA myself to the letters by using my ears to guess?
So the first step of creating my flashcards was a failure.
I then searched online to see if there were alternatives to the flashcards, there really were none that really matched up with what the author suggests works for digital flashcards.
After that I basically got frustrated and started to see what the author was really doing.
So here is a list of the bad, the ugly, and the small tidbits that the author actually got correct:
- Setting up IPA is harder than it looks. Dictionaries don’t use it. And it is useless if you are learning a non-European language.
- Additional money to buy extra things by the author only or by others. It isn’t so bad because his extra items aren’t that expensive. But I also only saw positive reviews for his book at first too so…. Can they really be trusted?
- Anki does not actually work great for everyone. Especially if you don’t have a top-notch version or you are not technology efficient.
- I can’t write note cards by hand because my wrist starts to hurt very easily. It is so quick to ache that I am actually learning shorthand to make quicker notes.
- His approach is able bodied only. You have to be able to read, hear, and have good enough dexterity to create digital note cards. What happens to those who are deaf? Blind? Or simply don’t have hands.
- Also, this can’t possibly be the fastest with the commitment to create so many note cards and to add onto them as you go.
Things he got right
- SRS is a good system to use for learning vocabulary. His word lists and pronunciation trainers could actually be useful to the actual beginners.
- His resources seem great, even the ones that aren’t his…
My Take Away (and what I plan to do to learn spanish):
- Get a good dictionary, grammar book, and phrase book. Create notecards from these books. I am going chapter by chapter to create these cards and sort them into categories.
- Keep track of your progress by creating a chart in your journal or spanish notebook, you can track how many words you know if you want. I am going to track only when I sit down and practice.
- Immerse yourself by changing your language on your phone, following people on social media who speak the language you are trying to learn, and translating blogs that you visit.
- Duolingo is great to get started and they have a flashcards app you can use if you like.
- SRS is great, and anki is useful, but go with what works for your flashcard needs. Quizlet is great and there are lots of other free sites to create cards for yourself.
- If you can take a class… TAKE IT!
Stuff I recommend for Spanish (it’s the only language I’m learning right now):
- The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to Spanish Phrases – 3rd Edition by Gail Stein. I love this book because it introduces grammar along with phrases. It works hand in hand and doesn’t seem to force things down your throat that are unnecessary. It also allows for skipping and has a clear outline of the book and you can skip around as needed.
- Any Larousse dictionary, when I flipped through one of their dictionaries they were the only one who bothered to add IPA into one of their dictionaries. So if you are into that, go ahead. If not they have ones that are just plain dictionaries.
- There is a Spanish app that is a dictionary that is only Spanish. No English translation. I would practice reading with this. They also speak the words.
I kind of stumbled into the zero waste movement for the strangest of reasons. I was trying to get rid of my period cramps. After I fell down the google black hole of searching and clicking links I was now enlightened.
I was going to invest in cloth pads.
This was the most amazing thing I have done so far! It’s been about three years since I switched and can now have a zero waste period. I feel more comfortable when I am on my period. I haven’t stained my sheets since switching and I have learned a lot about how my period works for myself.
Now the next step for me is to eliminate the other wastes that I produce. I didn’t want to get overwhelmed and I wanted to still have an impact. So I have outlined what I plan on doing next to waste less and eventually reach zero waste, or close to it.
Here are my goals, that I am going to achieve one by one:
- Bring Cloth Bags with me to the grocery store
- Cloth wipes for the bathroom
- Shop at a farmers market and bulk store near me
- Use Lush products (they are very vegan and recycle their black pots and use them again. Also have the charity pot lotion, that I love.)
I obviously can’t conquer the world in one day. But by achieving these little steps and then setting myself up with more steps afterward, I really think I can make a difference.
I have switched phone plans continuously for the past three years. I got a job and decided to get whatever phone I wanted. I also decided I could switch devices when I needed to anytime.
All this has taught me is that I wish I didn’t have a phone number.
I hardly use the phone for text or call. Very little for actual calling. I don’t text me my friends a lot and I always end up using facebook messenger with my best friend. It works best, we both have great data service, and I can see when she actually reads the message.
I currently pay about $45 dollars a month to AT&T prepaid for their services. Guess what? It sucks! I can’t even get text messages for whatever reason right now. I’m using facebook and snapchat to communicate with people when I need to.
I hate it. I wish I could have my phone number completely run on data or have a data only plan. With the data only plan I could use IM and social media to communicate like how I am doing now. The calling feature could be optional or not required.
The perfect plan for me would be a small basic flip phone for calls and then a smart phone that I can connect to data on its own. Or find a way to just make calls on data instead so that I’m not paying for something that does not work.
What would your ideal plan be? Do you actually need to have a phone number? Do you text constantly? Let me know below what you think!
It’s weird to say this now considering my history with phones but I don’t think I could ever have or own an apple device ever again.
Here are my reasons why: