Anyway, yesterday I decided it was time to clear out the whole Closet as well as vacuum the sitting room, which took about two or three hours, as I made B.A.'s lunch in the middle of it all. (An unusual circumstance, incidentally, but one that provoked much comment among his colleagues, especially as I brought it over myself, apron flapping in the wind.) And in the evening I wondered why my arms were looking so trim. Pilates? But I only go once a week!
And then I realized it is the daily hoovering and/or mopping. I'm not sure anyone can lose weight solely through one or two hours of housework a day, but it is very good for the arms.
"But not for the right thumb," I would add, had I not sat down this morning at my desk to make more Polish flashcards when my thumb gave a mighty twinge. Aha! So it was not Tuesday to blame, but what B.A. would call my Polish Obsession.
B.A., incidentally, does not see the importance of Polish as a world language. He is unmoved by arguments that it is the second-most spoken language in Scotland, and the third-most spoken language in England. Obviously he did not grow up in Canada, where bilingualism is touted as the solution to all ills and half Toronto speaks an ancestral language to start with.
"But I want to feel my brain change!" I wail, even though B.A. didn't study the work of Bernard Lonergan, S.J., and therefore has no real interest in self-appropriation.
"Well, why can't you pick a language you actually have some hope in becoming fluent in?" demands B.A. "You were doing so well with Italian."
"Waaaaahhhh!" is my reply to that because, as I so helpfully found out while making a flashcard, Gdy nie masz siły, płakać.
Also, B.A. has unwittingly revealed that he, too, thinks I cannot possibly become fluent in Polish. But I WILL, and then when I have I shall write a book about it, called Triumph of the .... Well, no, maybe I should pick a different title.
At any rate, once I have become reasonably fluent in Polish, I will begin making a Leitner Box for Italian, which is terribly useful for holidays, or French, which is terribly useful for Canadian self-esteem and for speaking to Montreal cab drivers who, being migrants snared in Quebec's draconian language laws, cannot speak, and will never speak, English. To learn languages, what you really need is stubbornness, courage, willingness to make a complete fool of yourself, a system and at least an hour of free time a day. Apparently it takes 1100 classroom hours for an adult to learn Polish properly, so night school (2 hours a week, 10-12 weeks a term) just isn't going to cut it.
Italian and French, being much more like English, require only 575-600 classroom hours.
These useful facts come from my new favourite book Fluent Forever by Gabriel Wyner, the sort of book that has some fantastic ideas that could be written on a few sheets of paper and a whole lot of padding and confusion. Nevertheless, I open it every day to check my Leitner Game schedule and copy out more of Wyner's 625 necessary words. I'm at "to sing", which I should know, but don't, so into the Leitner Box it will go.
I think it must be wonderful to be a true polyglot, like my sisters (English, French and Spanish) and sister-in-law (Romanian, French, English, German...). brain bouncing from language to language and being able to speak to all kinds of people with confidence. I used to think that it took a wonderful talent that my brothers and sisters had that I didn't, but now I realize it is all down to opportunities and hard work, and the fact that you can't learn a language solely in a two-hour class, no matter how many years you are enrolled in school. I wish I had known that when I was 14... Och sad, but ye cannae greet aboot it fir the rest ay yir puff, ken, eh?
Anyway, I will go mental if I cannot make my 15 flashcards minimum a day, so I will just try not to hold my pencil crayons so tightly.