Belated 1st anniversary post

I started this post on 18 June, a year to the day since I started this blog.  The period since then has been incredibly busy for me, so only now am I able to finish it.

In the year 18 June 2014 to 18 June 2015…

  • I started this blog.
  • I conducted an experiment to see if it is possible to learn a language (Spanish) by memorising a phrasebook. (It is!)
  • I sat a Spanish exam.
  • I completed 18 units of the FSI Spanish Programmatic Course, and committed them to memory using Anki.
  • I started memorising a Chinese phrasebook.
  • I listened to all 12 eps of the Serial podcast.
  • I stopped adding cards to my Spanish Anki deck in February.  By June, it was only taking me five minutes or so per day to review my flashcards.
  • As of today, I’ve almost memorised my entire Chinese phrasebook.  It is taking longer than Spanish – I’ll explain why in another post.

All the best, wherever you may be,


Dream the impossible dream – take a nap to improve your memory

From the Huffington Post…

For what it’s worth, I find that I can remember my Anki flash cards much better first thing in the morning – just after I’ve woken up and before breakfast.

I think the chances of my boss letting me take a one-hour nap at work are pretty low, though.

Faster / ¡M­ás rápido!

Carl Lewis

English (traducción español abajo)

I am learning Spanish by memorising a phrasebook.  It has three sections.  The first section is about 300 general phrases that might be useful for a tourist, things like “Where is the train station?”

The second section contains a whole lot of verbs.  And the third section is 900 words of vocabulary.

At last I have made it to the third section.  And I am finding it easier to memorise individual words rather than phrases.

I’ve got three-and-a-half weeks till my Spanish exam, so I’m picking up the pace a bit – learning thirty words (from Spanish to English and vice versa) each day.  I’m really enjoying going faster as I feel a real sense of accomplishment.

Today I will learn some words for clothing.



Español no es mi primer idioma.  Si hago un error, ¿podria mi corregir?

Estoy memorizando un libro de frases aprender español. El libro tiene tres secciones. La primera sección es de unos 300 frases por turistas, por ejemplo “¿Dónde está la estación del tren?”

La segunda sección contiene muchos verbos. Y la tercera sección es 900 palabras de vocabulario.

Al fin he llegado a la tercera sección. Y para mi, es más fácil memorizar palabras individuales en lugar de frases.

Tengo tres semanas y media hasta que mi examen de español, así que aprendo mas frases (30 en lugar de 15) cada día. Es muy divertido ir más rápido.  Siento un verdadero sentido de logro.

Hoy voy a aprender palabras por la ropa.

Clothing Vocab List

I want to speak Spanish

I can’t speak Spanish.  At all.  But I want to.

I don’t live in a Spanish-speaking country, and I don’t have the time or money to try the immersion experience.

So I want to find out if I can learn Spanish by memorising a phrasebook.

I will use Anki to learn 10 Spanish phrases a day.

My phrasebook has 1500 phrases, so it should take me 150 days, or five months.

I will start today.

The first 10 phrases in my phrasebook are:


I will report on my progress once a week.