Archive for the ‘language’ Category

¿Habla Español?: Learn à la AudioBookFitness

May 14, 2009

I was lucky to meet a neighbor, Teresa, who speaks fluent Spanish. She worked in a contract position at Yahoo until last year.  Since I have always wanted to practice the Spanish I worked so hard at learning as a college student and review Spanish for an upcoming trip to Spain, we worked out an agreement that I would help her with her resume and she would help me with my Spanish.  I am fortunate to work at home (company  lap top and cell phone), and I would run over to her place, read for 20 minutes, converse for about 10 minutes and then come back  home, have a quick  lunch and get back to work.  It worked well until her mother had a stroke and she had to return home to Mexico to help her mom for a month.

Not wanting to loose the language skills I have been gaining, I bought a new Garmin nüvi GPS (to be reviewed at a later date) that plays MP3 files and I am dedicating it to reviewing and learning Spanish while I drive.  I downloaded the highest rated Spanish audio book series from AudiblePimsleur, Spanish I, Second Revised Edition: Lessons 6 to 10. This was only for review, and after listening to it, I realized it was a bit on the simple side. ‘Vamos a bebir una Cervesa in al resturante Colon.’  or ‘¿Cuanto Cuesta dos Cervesas?’ are not sentences I will use daily (well, I could change cervesa to vino…) yet this has proved to be a good brain exercise while I am driving. Actually, audio language books are IDEAL for puttering around town, because if you are using a GPS with an MP3, the interruptions of GPS instructions (‘In 500 feet, turn left.’) are best interlaced with the short verbal exercises and sentences of a language (‘Repeta: ¿A donde va Carlos’?) rather than a long narrative of a book.

The biggest challenge for me has been finding the right level of Spanish instruction to start at since I am familiar with the language. There was no assessment to help determine what audio book to start with. So if you have tried any of the Spanish audio books, let me know what you like and didn’t like about them along with some commentary about their difficulty level. I’d love to hear from you.

Italian and French are next…then Chinese. And of course, I will be starting with Level 1 on these languages when the time comes (Yo! I could be in my nineties by then!).

I keep thinking about a study that I read years ago about elderly nuns learning French and how it kept them mentally agile into old age. Yes, that is one of my goals, brain fitness and agility, and I want to speak decent Spanish as I meander the cities of España.

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Hello Readers!

March 6, 2009

This is a fitness program for those of us who want to upgrade the quality of our busy lives.

As much as I love reading, I have fallen away from curling up with good books. My world does not allow this. I no longer have the patience to sit and read after a long work day as a consultant, on the telephone, and in front of a computer. The idea for Audio Book Fitness, a program of fitness and wellness—physical and mental—was born out of necessity to get my body fit, my intellect (synapses) firing, and to feed my soul. I found that I get just as much enjoyment out of reading by doing it the ‘audio book fitness’ way.

Most of the books I have been exposed to are enticing and some are even addictive. While keeping my heart rate at a steady 125 bpm during my cardio workout, I’ve listened to words that have wrapped themselves around the globe…I’ve visited England, Afghanistan, China and India and sailed across the Atlantic Ocean…. I’ve stepped on an elliptical trainer to workout, only to be transported like a traveler on a time machine, often hundreds of years back in time.

I’ve also used my workout times for career education. ‘Reading’ books like Tribes, Monster Careers: Networking, Made to Stick, and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

This is my idea of a holistic FITNESS program. And if you decide to join the journey, I’d love for you to share YOUR experiences with me and the rest of the world…through your success stories, book reviews, questions and comments. Let’s create a community of Audio Book Fans who maintain or acquire a fantastic fitness level – physical and mental – one book at time.

I want to know: what book works for you when you are on a walk or in the gym? What experiences can you share about insights during listening?