Tag Archives: goal

Best Things I’ve Done: Learning A New Language.

Update! For an in-depth guide on getting started with languages, check out How To Become A Polyglot.

I first started learning English in school at the age of 6 and French at the age of 12, but I never became fluent in any of those languages until I finally understood the real benefits of speaking those languages.

The moment I realised I really wanted to become fluent in English was when I was watching Blade Runner in said language with Spanish subtitles and I understood one line they said, then read the subtitle line and said “but it’s not the same thing he said!”. In that moment I noticed that there are certain thoughts and messages that can only be expressed in one language. Every time I watch now a film in English with subtitles (when I watch it with someone else) I can see the subs say the same thing the characters say, but it’s not quite the same thing. Many deep levels of film lines are lost in translation.

But then it hit me even harder: “Wait. What about books? All my favourite books are in English!”. Now I really, really had to learn English.

The same thing happened to me with French. I wanted to read Jules Verne and many other writers as they originally intended their thoughts and words. I don’t want to risk missing anything. I don’t believe in translations any more. Lately, I’ve been thinking how great it would be to read Solaris in Polish. It’s one of my favourite novels so it might be worth it.

But there’s one more wonderful thing about foreign languages. It’s the moment you realize you can actually think in a different language. You have to experience that (it sounds like Also Sprach Zarathustra and it feels like awesome). no more translating word-by-word in your head before speaking. Now you are expressing yourself with a whole new set of words and even different rules. Along the lines of the previous idea, you are thinking differently. Such a great brain exercise, isn’t it? You may even be able to express ideas you couldn’t express before. The more languages you speak, the better you understand yourself. It’s like learning new vocabulary, but in a whole new level: learning new syntaxes.

Also, you feel like you understand something you previously didn’t. When you translate in a language word-by-word, you don’t quite think of it as anything more than a different set of words, but when you use it in your head, to think, it’s an eureka moment. That set of strange words and rules finally make sense.

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My Essential iPhone Apps

DoIt (Tomorrow) Free

I just love how simple and well-designed this app is. I’ve tried 2Do and Awesome Note and they were great, but I ended up not using them because of their complexity: it took me to long to do anything.

Here there’s no calendar, only today and tomorrow. As I write my appointments on the iPhone calendar anyway, that’s all I need. You can write your tasks for today and your tasks for tomorrow, and if you don’t want to do something today, you can easily procrastinate it by tapping the cute arrow on it’s right.

iBooks Free

I’m in love with the design of this app. Since I got iBooks I have read a book a week and haven’t paid a cent for it. There are thousands of free classics in there. Some of the books I’ve read are Great Expectations, Vanity Fair, The Mysterious Affair at Styles and Siddhartha.

It has an extensive dictionary so you can look up any word just by tapping it twice, and you can easily highlight and annotate passages in several colours (the highlighted sentence in the image is there to illustrate the point. Note that I do not consider the clerk opening the door of deep philosophical meaning or anything ;)).

GoalBook $1.99

Another app I love because of it’s simplicity. You write the goal, you cross it off when you achieve it. Allows you to set your motto at the app home screen. Mine is a Jules Verne quote: “All that is impossible remains to be achieved”.

It has many other functions like geo-tagging your goals, sharing them or adding pictures, but I don’t use any of them. I just add and delete when finished.

These are my goals: Two 30-day challenges, one long-term goal and the short-term future for my blog (about that one, a subscription would be much appreciated ;))

Amazon UK Free

It is from Amazon that all my films and film memorabilia come, so it’s great to have a quick access for when I want something.

I love it very much the way Amazon tells you to buy their stuff. A message can be seen when the shopping basket is empty that reads: “Your shopping basket lives to serve. Give it a purpose by filling it with books, DVDs, electronics and more”.

By the way, Amazon always nails it with the recommendations. Oh, Amazon, you are my favourite mega-store. I feel almost guilty for buying my eBooks from Apple.

There is a USA version too.

Advanced English Dictionary Free

Dictionary + thesaurus. Handy for non-native speakers like me. I like to discover new words and synonyms when I’m on the bus, train or waiting in a line.

It gives a definition, uses of the word in a sentence, antonyms, synonyms and related words. Tons of each.

I’ve found it better than many of it’s paid (and all it’s free) counterparts.

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๐Ÿ™‚ (don’t forget to be happy and smile!)

European Union Factbook Free

I’m an European Union lover and as with English, I use this app when I’m waiting in a line and such to discover new facts and figures about the EU countries.

It tells you about everything there is to know about a country: history, flag, borders, capitals, landmarks, climate, coastline, renewable water resources, natural hazards, population, birth rate, life expectancy, and hundreds of other things.

It also has a quiz.

You may say I’m weird but I like learning random obscure country trivia in my spare time ๐Ÿ™‚

MyNetDiary Free

This app is amazing! It has every food on it’s database, even obscure Spanish food I thought nobody outside my city would know about! With MyNetDiary I’ve discovered that I used to eat way more than I should, and now I’m eating less and healthier. I’ve already lost 0.3 kilos in three days.

This app has many many functions (and many many more in the Pro version) but I only use it to input my weight, meals and exercise time. It tells me how much I should be eating and it reviews my daily intake of sodium, calcium and that stuff so I don’t overdo my diet and risk my health.

Tetris $2.99

This is my favourite iPhone game. The only downside is that it takes you through way too many menus before getting to play, but it takes less than 10 seconds anyway (I’m just a bit too impatient).

You can play the classical way or with variations, such as the one shown in the image, where you can collect and use several bonuses. You can start the game at any level, too.

Controlling the pieces is very easy, just move them around with your finger and tap to rotate them. The graphics are sleek andย colourful.

IMDB Free

I’m a film geek and this app is my best companion. Helps me calm my mind when I can’t remember if Martin Landau was or wasn’t in that film.

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