1% full 100 most frequent 10000 1024 1917 200 2nd thoughts 2X2 3% 4 5 to1 5% 625 words 8 8 pages 9 to 5 abundance adjustment Adolf Hitler adrenaline affective filter agonise airport Alan Duff Alan Watts album Alexander Arguelles allocation alternating anal analysis animals animation antidote Any Language I Like Arabic Arabic input Argentina Asperger's asterisks attending audience backlog ballet Bangkok Barbar barbecue bargain basics beard bedtime reading Benny Lewis best practice Bette Davis bicycle bird blank body language Book A Brac book sort books bookshelf bookshop bopomolo brainwright bug bus busy BVP café Caledonian Calibre campground Cat in the Hat catch catch-up change of mind chanting chapters cheat chicklit China chinks chunk churn class clean-up climate clues cold turkey collection combination comfort zone commuting comprehensible input compulsive reading concentrate confession continue continuum conversation conversation assistant couch potato creativity crystal customize cut and paste danger Danish Dave Witherow David Baldacci decimals demonstration dessert devanagari alphabet diagnostic diaries dice diet dip discomfort dishes disinclination double-Dutch doubling up dream dress up Duolingo Dutch Dutch TV dux E Saxelby early morning earning elimination enculturation end energy engineering enjoyment enroll enthusiasm environment ESOL eureka evaluation Excel excitement expectations exposure extermination f*ck fail familiar family Famous Five feeling fest film festival finish fit flash cards flax weaving flow fluency Fluent Forever folders footnote forty Frank Smith free French movie frivolity fun game gears get Get used to it GHNT ghosts gist glitch Globish gluten goals Google translate grab bag graded reader grammar Greg Bear group guesstimate Guillermo habit hackquisition Harry Potter havoc hear Heinrich Schliemann Heinrich's Manoeuvre high school highlighting Hindi hindrance Hiroshima home run Horse Hotere House how long? how-to humor hyper-choice idea improvement in situ individualize instant recall institution intention interference internalization interpreting interview Invaders ipad irresistible issue James Heisig jiggle jigsaw Jim Morrison JK Rowling Joseph Jacotot juggling Jules Verne Kaikorai Valley kaizen kanji keep track keystone habit keyword Kindle KISS knowledge Koran Krautrock language acquisition lederhosen Lee Child legacy level life Light Wide & Shallow Lingo Linguaphone list listening loan lock logo look MacAndrew Bay Maeve Binchy magazine maintenance mana Mandarin Maori meeting memory MERLOT metaphysics Mexicans Michel Thomas milestone mirror image miscellanea mismatch mission Mistake Phobia momentum monitor Mosgiel Library motivation mp3 muesli multi-task multiple Musashi Miyamoto music narrative New Zild Newbian no noodling notebook notes noticing novelty numerical nutshell obligation observations Oma One Shot opportunity opposite organization orthography Ottema outcomes outline overload pair parallels Parseltongue passion passive learning pattern practice patterns pdf pedagogy pendulum people perhaps persevere Phase 2 Pirate Bay plain sailing plan plasticene play plot Polish practice pressure procrastination proficiency project proposal publication Punjab push puzzle quarter questionnaire questions rain rate rationalization Reacher reading readwalk real life realization recognition index recollection recycling red rubber ball refinement Regent regularity relocate reminder repitition resolution resource restrict return review Richard Burton right-brain Robert Heinlein role model routine rule of thumb Russian Sachi sailing school fair Scribes secret self-study senility sentences serendipity share Shogun shopping showing off sign language Simon Sinek simplify situational skim sleep small SMART snippets social media socializing Solitaire solutions sort space shuttle Spanish speed split-screen splurge sport sprouts start Stephen Fry stereo stock take stories storybook strategy streamline structure stuck success Sue Barton summer school sustainability swearwords synonyms Syria tag talent tally tandem teacher teaching TED thanks thinking style thirds threads Three-Mile Hill threshold Tim Ferriss time time zone tip tool touching base Trade Me transcript travel treasure triad trial triple play trust twilight zone txt typo ultimate resource uncle undecided universal application Universal Language Universe All Language unplanned Van Gogh video vulnerability walking waste when? why? wide front Wikipedia Winnie the Pooh winter word processing work work-around world write wrong WWII Xmas YouTube Zelda zip عربى

Tuesday, 16 January 2018


The KISS concept comes up in many contexts. I’ve always been taught it as: Keep it simple, stupid! That’s a useful rule of thumb.

So here’s my application of the rule with regard to language practice. I alternate. On odd days, I work on a new language. On even days, I ‘depthen’ the ones that to some degree I already know. And because Japanese is my main challenge, I do some of that daily as well.

There—that’s all there is to it. Simple. Easy to remember. Foolproof. Not long before reaching my 500th day, I discover the answer.

Today: J2 M1       

Total: J347 D161 G63 P37 F30 Sp22 A8 M5 Da1 R1

Monday, 15 January 2018


Sometimes you see something you think about buying, but don’t. Then you kick yourself afterward.

The other day I saw an 8-CD Michel Thomas Spanish course for sale at the Green Island recycling store. It was $3, and I passed it up. Then yesterday after class I made a day of it and cycled over in the heat. Hurray, it was still there. I treated myself to it, and to an all-day breakfast in a nearby cafe. 

I’ve tried out Michel Thomas before, I think. In Hindi and Japanese. Perhaps there’s a way of using them without pressing my off-buttons.

Today: J4 D1 G1 F1       

Total: J345 D161 G63 P37 F30 Sp22 A8 M4 Da1 R1

Sunday, 14 January 2018


I completed my first book in German—Pearl Buck’s Drachenfisch—a ‘home run’ book in that language. Admittedly it is for children, but no matter. It has almost 100 pages (although there are illustrations). But it reminds me that I have about 80 German readers stored somewhere. And I believe that they come with the audio too.

Funnily, I read it while training. I’ve been doing 5000 metres worth of laps at the Caledonian, and I would read while walking, dog-earing before running.

I even saw Dave S there coaching. He even coached me a little over 25 years ago.

Today: J2 G2       

Total: J341 D160 G62 P37 F29 Sp22 A8 M4 Da1 R1

Saturday, 13 January 2018


Say what you like about Dunedin, but where else can you pick up banana boxes full of great paperbacks for a couple of bucks, and all manner of pickings in the free basket?

I scored 10 Taiwanese children’s books there. I ranked them in order of difficulty, gleaning an understanding of the approach taken to Mandarin Chinese in that country. Bopomolo, anyone? They’ve a set of 37 symbols that they use as furigana. These look like a mutant form of katakana, hiragana and kanji—cute.

And that’s how I spent an hour’s worth of enjoyable exposure on a new language.

Today: J4 M4        

Total: J339 D160 G60 P37 F29 Sp22 A8 M4 Da1 R1