Chapter III – Part 5

$ Després del mes de …….. va arribar el vent fred i el cel gris de l’agost. La meva família estava ………………. com sempre. La mare i jo ens hem constipat. El meu germà Leslie tenia mal d’orella. A la Margo, no li marxaven els …………….. de la cara. Només el meu germà gran, en Larry, es trobava bé, però estuve cansat de viure amb nosaltres.

$ Check it, please.

$ Without taking into account the things I didn’t know, I made two mistakes.

$ Go on.

$ Va dir a la mare:

- Per què hem de viure amb aquest temps tan dolent? Tot estan malalt i tu casa vegada sembles més vella!

$ Check it, please.

$ Malalts, not malalt.

$ All right. The next one.

$ – I’m not old – she answered while reading. This one is so complicated. I don’t know how to say that.

$ Have a look at this.

$ Ok. The next one … Hardly any mistakes.

$ Broniarek used to repeat the translation into the language he was learning until he was able to say the text with no mistakes.

$ This method is very strenuous. In this respect it is not behind the Birkenbihl’s. The whole decoding or translating thing…

$ Firstly, in case of both methods, the time you spend on decoding or translating is the time of a very intensive work because while writing you’re not able to concentrate on anything else, unlike in a class, where there are 5-15 other students. You can chase rainbows until the teacher asks you a question, can’t you?

$ Of course!

$ Secondly, at the beginning you can simplify your work and use a student’s book with vocabulary lists in every unit. Or, if you feel totally disgusted by translations, you can acquire a book with translated texts. At the very first sight, does this method have any advantages or disadvantages compared to the Birkenbihl’s?

$ In Birkenbihl’s it is easier at the stage of the exercise. It prepares you slowly: first decode, word for word, tell it like it is, without mincing words, then listen actively, listen passively and finally do the exercise. And here, not only do I have to deal with a translation, i.e. with a text perfectly correct in my mother tongue, no telling like it is, but also right after that it throws me into a deep water: translate back, into a foreign language.

$ This is a shortcoming. What about a bright side?

$ In my opinion, Broniarek’s method prepares you better to use the language in real life. Look at this sentence: No penso contestar aquesta classe de preguntes. In Birkenbihl’s the decoding is: Not think answer this sort of questions. In Broniarek’s you translate: I’m not going to answer questions like this. So if one day, in real life, you want to say: I’m not going to answer questions like this, you react expertly, you are trained in switching from I’m not going to answer questions like this to No penso contestar aquesta classe de preguntes. Let alone the fact that in Birkenbihl’s you have an additional task: learn and remember that No penso contestar aquesta classe de preguntes means in English I’m not going to answer questions like this; a poc a poc (a little a little) means slowly; si et va bé (if you go good) means if it’s ok with you etc.

$ Good point. I enjoy mixing those two. At the beginng – Birkenbihl, then – Broniarek. I wonder whether you will like combining them, too. There’s another way of simplifying this work, from pre-intermediate on, like in Birkenbihl’s…

$ … that I don’t decode or don’t translate what I already know, what is already obvious to me. I only translate/decode what is new to me, what I don’t understand.

$ Your memory is excellent. You’re yawning. Didn’t you sleep well?

$ I told you I was exhausted with this bloody diet and stuff.

$ So, let’s make a break and meditate.

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