Fall 2013


MILFORD, OHIO IN LATE FALL


In Mid-November, 2013, we went east to visit relatives. I made a side-trip to Milford, OH, to visit my mother. On November 18, the day after a rainstorm, the sun was shining and I was sight-seeing.

THE LITTLE MIAMI RIVER

This river flows into the Ohio in nearby Cincinnati, so the water eventually goes down the Mississippi. In this photo, the day after a big rainstorm, the water is fairly high. There's a nice quiet park there where you can walk up and down along the bank.



Notice how the shadows of the trees behind persist


RENOVATED MANSION IN MILFORD

A mile up main street in Milford, an historic mansion has been newly restored, and is open to the public.

Completed in 1867, Promont is an "Italianate-style" home of Governor John M. Pattison from 1879-1906. A four-story tower offers a panoramic view of the town, according to the web-listing. I didn't go in, because the visiting hours were so limited.

An old pine tree on the grounds is probably taller than the house -- must be unusually tall for this area.





LEARNING A FOREIGN LANGUAGE: MYTHS


I. I would like to learn language "X", but it's pointless, because you can't understand the various dialects.

Actually, dialects in many major languages are mutually intelligible, so that if you learn one dialect, you can understand them all.


PIMSLEUR AD SEEN EVERYWHERE:



II. Adult language learning is now quick and easy because of revolutionary advances in teaching methods:.

Many of us have seen the Facebook ads, and they are eye-catching. But the pictures, however motivational, somehow don't validate the claim of learning a language in days. It just ain't gonna happen.

Incidentally, whoever created this ad must think men are more gullible than women. Or maybe just forgot to diversify the target audience.


III. Quality foreign language instruction is pricey.

That notion is from the days of language course monopolies. In the field of commercial language instruction, there is no correlation between price and success-rate. There are many good low-priced options out there. The cost of slick advertising could well cut into the quality.

Nowadays there are plenty of free resources out there, thanks in part to the burgeoning availability of free web-based instruction.

And if you are a senior, you can monitor a university course free in many localities.

A fun practice experience is a website called duolingo.com, that lets you start at your own level and progress at your own pace, in an interactive environment; like a computer game, except that it is productive.

With so many resources available, the only question that remains is whether or not you really want to put in the time.

IV. No matter how hard you try, you'll never learn to speak like a native.

This wins a grand prize for defeatism. Yes we do strive in vain to speak like a native. But there are other benefits that make language study worthwhile.