Last post I wrote about the zero-sum system I developed with Julie to keep her motivated and listening to Pimsleur Spanish lessons. Well, I found out the other day that there’s someone else I know who is apparently not in need of such a system: my brother Baruch.
A very little bit about Baruch: He’s 19 years old (five years my junior), and had been living in LA for about 12 of those years, until a couple weeks ago, when my family moved to Cleveland, Ohio. Baruch started studying Spanish (to my knowledge) several months ago. He began listening to Pimsleur lessons I had put for my mom onto her mp3-player (these amounted to the whole of Pimsleur Spanish I), and also started going through some textbook. He seemed somewhat serious about it, and so this was a good part of the motivation for me to begin learning Spanish, for if my brother is learning another language, it would be silly for me not to do the same. (If you don’t see the logic here then you haven’t been reading enough of this blog.)
So I began to listen to Pimsleur Spanish, and occasionally would talk to Baruch on the phone a bit in the simple Spanish that we knew. Initially, Baruch was ahead of me, but by the time I finished Spanish I, I found out that he’d stopped listening at some point in the 20s. (Remember, each level contains 30 lessons.) He claimed it was because he didn’t know where the mp3-player was, but I figured it was just an excuse, אַ תּירוץ פֿאַר די בענטשליכט. I thought, “Other friends have flown before; oh that Baruch, he has left me, as my hopes have flown before!” (This wouldn’t be the first time I started learning a language as a result of someone else, only for the other person to stop learning while I remained propelled forward by the irresistable language tide.) So as I continued along in Spanish II, I kept nagging him to find the mp3 player, or recharge it, or whatever, and finish Spanish I. I think he kept reading his textbook at this time, but it was frustrating that when we talked on the phone (in Spanish), he wouldn’t understand things I said because I’d learned them at a point further in Pimsleur than he’d reached. Weeks went by like this, and I finished Spanish II and moved on to Spanish III. I haven’t been keeping close track, but on my Dec. 21 post I noted that I’d reached lesson 12 of Spanish III.
A few days later, as my family was packing the house up for the trip to Cleveland (they’d be making a road trip of it), Baruch mentioned that he’d found the mp3-player. I urged him to keep listening to Spanish lessons. He said he would, and I guess he did because at some point on the way to Cleveland he asked me to send him Spanish II. I did so, and he received it on Dec. 28. I wasn’t sure how much he was listening to the lessons, but his Spanish did seem to be improving again, so I was satisfied he was back on track. Still, I was flabbergasted a few days ago when he asked me to send him Spanish III: He’d finished 30 lessons in a week-and-a-half! I was quite impressed. I haven’t had the chance to send him Spanish III yet, but hopefully will do so this weekend.
Incidentally, I’ve most recently finished lesson 19 of Spanish III. At this rate (and with Julie slowing me down by listening to lessons almost daily), Baruch will finish Pimsleur Spanish before me after all! The next step, of course, is to get him to learn Yiddish too. Muahahaha…