Spring Awakening

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Last week I thought to myself, it would be cool to learn some Chinese characters right around now.</p>
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Even though I spent a little time on Chinese some years back, I focused on spoken skills and pinyin and never learned more than a few characters. I consider that to be one of my greatest language-study omissions to date, fortunately a remediable one.</p>
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<img alt="The First 100 Characters; Only 50,000+ Left!" src="/assets/images/uploads/First_100_Chinese_Characters_Matthews.jpg" style="width: 1155px; height: 650px;" /></p>
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The First 100 Characters; Only 50,000+ Left!</p>
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So I went to my bookshelves, which are alphabetized by language, and remembered I had this book: <em>The First 100 Chinese Characters</em> by Alison and Laurence Matthews. I have the simplified edition, but they also wrote a comparable book for the traditional characters, plus they have follow-up books for both simplified and traditional characters, called (quite logically)&nbsp;<em>The Second 100 Chinese Characters</em>.</p>
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For the past week I have been practicing a portion of the first 100 characters daily with my morning coffee. I do it after I read the latest crappy news about Trump. Linguatherapy!</p>
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If you want to meet new people, by the way, practice Chinese characters at a local cafe with tables that are close together. You will make friends.</p>
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I have also recently begun redoing Mandarin Pimsleur lessons. I started over again at the very beginning, because I am concerned about my tones and want to get them right (or righter than before). As I mentioned the last time I wrote, Pimsleur has added a lot of new lessons for Mandarin since I last studied it: 60 in total.</p>
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<img alt="My First Scarlet Tanager Sighting in a Decade" src="/assets/images/uploads/Scarlet_Tanager.jpg" style="width: 900px; height: 675px;" /></p>
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My First Scarlet Tanager Sighting in a Decade</p>
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The other day when I was walking around doing a Mandarin lesson, I actually came across this cute little scarlet tanager, the first I've seen in about 10 years.</p>
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On that same walk I redid some Russian lessons. My Russian has seriously faded, but I am untroubled. Almost.</p>
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What can I do about the failings of memory anyway? Not much, so I will just see if I can enjoy doing gentle battle with the befuddlements of mental entropy.</p>
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Yesterday it was hot, so I stayed inside and redid five Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) Pimsleur lessons while lying flat on my back. I'm not sure where this flurry of activity will lead, but I do know that there are a total of 150 Chinese, MSA, and Russian Pimsleur lessons that I didn't do the first time around because the lessons didn't yet exist.&nbsp;</p>
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These days the trees are green, the temperature is mild, the birds are procreating, and the U.S. president is lying daily! It's a great time to study a foreign language and be a member of the human community.</p>
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Studying languages feels like holding out a hand in friendship to people around the world.</p>

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