The Language Adventurers, Part 2

Stuart Jay Raj On “Mistakes People Make When Learning A Language”


Even though this is a sales pitch, polyglot Stuart Jay Raj makes some interesting points, including about the importance of motivation when learning a language. Here’s hoping he creates programs for learning some other languages besides Thai.

THE FOREIGN LANGUAGE MASTERY BLOG

Also check out the Foreign Language Mastery website, which is a blog and podcast “dedicated to helping adult language learners master foreign languages as quickly, cheaply and painlessly as possible.” The site has an article about The Polyglot Project book which was recently published. [Ahh . . . my polyglot daydreams still live. Hmmm, now would be a good time to get back to studying my Spanish materials. I let myself fall off the bandwagon about a month ago.]

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38 Responses to “The Language Adventurers, Part 2”

  1. Rhonda says:

    He’s right. Some thoughts…

    1. Read on-line newspapers and magazines in the language you want to learn, for they are written in current language usage (stay away from “literature” — you’ll get old-speak; you don’t want that when you are just learning).

    2. Get a book, written for children (a primer), in the language you want to learn. Read it with paper and pen and a dictionary, and rewrite and translate it (these books are often thin and small, so it is not daunting to do that).

    3. DVDs are your friend! Borrow from the library, or rent from a DVD-lending business, DVDs in the language you want to learn. Watch the movie the first time with the English subtitles on and the actors speaking in the language (don’t listen to dubbed in English); then watch it again (within 24 hours) with the English subtitles turned off — really listen and look/watch the actors’ mouths when they are speaking. And, if it’s available, watch it again, this time with the subtitles of that language turned on, and listen and watch and read.

    4. If you are using a book, and immersion book is the best, such as “Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish” or “Madrigal’s Magic Key to French” (which is damn-near impossible to find — the French one, that is). The Madrigal books are decades old; but I find her method — which plunges you right into the language, and doesn’t use Englsh, and she starts you off learning the preterite tense (not the present tense) of the verbs — works very well. The only negative about the Madrigal books is that she doesn’t teach the you-familiar form of the verbs, which is not so much a problem with French (because they are very formal; it could be years that you have known a native French speaker, and she will still talk to you in the vous form of the verb), but with Spanish speakers you will need to know the tu form, because Spanish speakers are not as uptight as those who speak French.

    5. When you are studying, have music playing in the background of the language you want to learn. Open an account with Pandora dot com if you don’t have any music, or borrow CDs from your library.

    6. Meetup dot com is a good place to hook up with others who are learning the language, too.

    7. Pimsleur is great! Pimsleur is an immersion listen and repeat audio program that will do wonders for you to learn the language, especially if you don’t have a good tongue for the “proper” accent of the language. Pimsleur is expensive, though, but well worth the money. Or better yet: borrow it from your library.

  2. Sharifa says:

    Hey, I’m not sure what level your Spanish is but you should check out a book called Breaking Out of Beginner’s Spanish. The author’s last name is Keenan.

  3. Karen says:

    Dear Khadija,

    Thank you for the link. I am already bilingual but would like to learn another European language and am also interested in learning Chinese (for pragmatic reasons).

    I have downloaded The Polygot Project book and will review it to see if I can apply it to my goals.

    It took me about 2.5 years to master my second language (speaking, reading and writing). From personal experience, I found it better to learn the grammar, sentence structure and vocabulary in parallel with learning to speak.

    I have known people who were fluent in speaking first and tried to learn grammar, vocabulary later but it was difficult for them resulting in not being able to properly write in the foreign language. It becomes very difficult to correct mistakes that come from speaking habits.

    However, it always depends on a person’s goals. If it is only for travel purposes and to “get around” then only learning to be proficient in speaking may be enough. If the goal is to either live or do business in the country where the language originates, then I highly recommend the approach I stated above.

    Even though English is the international business language, that holds to be true when dealing internationally but in the local country, it is mostly the local language that governs, which makes sense actually. The old adage “sell in many languages, but buy in your own” is more often true than not.

    Anyway, just my two cents.

  4. Rhonda,

    Thanks for the tips!
    _______________________________________

    Sharifa,

    You said, “Hey, I’m not sure what level your Spanish is but you should check out a book called Breaking Out of Beginner’s Spanish. The author’s last name is Keenan.”

    Oh, my Spanish is somewhere between “Hot Mess” and “You Ought To Be Ashamed Of How Much Formal Education Spanish You’ve Forgotten.” My native-speaker secretary’s review:

    On the good side—she says that when I do speak (a very small bit of) Spanish, it’s clearly understandable and that my American accent isn’t heavy or distracting.

    On the bad side—I can recognize the gist of a Spanish conversation (recognize the general topic under discussion, but not the blow-by-blow input of each speaker), but find it impossible (at this point) to generate my own responses to what’s being said to me. I don’t have enough vocabulary. And I’ve totally forgotten verb tenses.

    Hmmph!

    Thanks for the suggestion—I’ll look into that book.
    _____________________________________________________

    Karen,

    Your “2 cents” are worth much more than that! 🙂 You’ve done exactly what I want to do: become fluent and be able to conduct business in another language. Thanks for the tips!

    Expect Success!

  5. Jarinda says:

    I’m a new commenter, long-time reader, but I had to comment today since this is the site I always recommend for language learning. I’m nearly fluent in Spanish, which I learned in middle school, high school, and college, and I’m now studying Chinese (I attended a Chinese school for Chinese students for 1.5 years) off and on. The guy I mention below is always my inspiration.

    Anyhow, check out the All Japanese All the Time website (www.alljapaneseallthetime.com). This guy learned Japanese to fluency in 18 months in the middle of Utah with practically no Japanese people around and he know lives and works in Japan. He also writes alot about learning to be fluent in Chinese.

    I’ve never completely used his method for learning a language, but I think it’s useful, especially if it’s a little known language with few instruction materials, and it’s a great resource for reference and encouragement in the language learning process.

    • Rhonda says:

      The All Japanese All The Time website is very good. Thanks for posting a comment about it. I particularly like his “Failure” essay.

  6. Jarinda,

    Thanks for de-lurking! 🙂

    And thanks for the info about that blog—I’m feeling all pumped up and hopeful just glancing at it! [I think I’ll spend most of today’s down time reading through it.]

    *Addendum at 12:41 p.m.*
    Now that I’ve had a chance to read some of his blog posts: The All Japanese All The Time blogger has some extremely exciting ideas about foreign language acquisition. I can’t wait to start using some of his methods later tonight! I’m also interested in researching some of the others he says have used the same methods. At any rate, I’ll probably feature his blog during a future The Language Adventurers post. Again, THANKS for letting us know about his site!

    Expect Success!

  7. geekgrl says:

    I’m back on the language wagon. I bought Benny the Polyglots ebook a coupole of months ago and got motivated, but my motivation is waning a bit. I think my Spanish is close to your range. I have an AA in Spanish, but I wouldn’t put it on my resume with all I’ve forgotten.

    I downloaded the polygot project two weeks ago and am working through it. (700 pages!).

    After going through Pimsleur, Living Language, FLS, etc, I realized last week, two of my old text books are the best for me. They have a lot of explanations and exercises. I pretend to be two students, so I can have a conversation.

    I’m trying to commit to an hour a day of studying (20 minutes of studying and a 10 minute break twice after work), not including AOL Radio, Pandora, and my novellas. A lot of soap opera and live tv is online. Telemundo, Univision, and many tv channels have their programs online. I finished watching a Mexican soap and moved on to an Argentine soap which was good, but the voz/Italian accent was too much, so now I’m watching a Colombian soap. I’m also doing online flash cards through Anki daily.

  8. Rhonda says:

    I don’t think this tip made it here:

    Flip the switch on your computer, and all its programs, to the language you want to learn.

    I have another:

    Learn the “naughty” words and phrases/idioms in the language. Even if you won’t use them (because you don’t use them in your own language), at least know what some of them are, and how/when they are used by native speakers. (Did you ever notice that the “naughty” words are some of the first words learned, and used liberally, by those who are learning to speak English?)

  9. Since you mentioned planning an overseas vacation, why not take one to Spain?

  10. foreverloyal says:

    I want to second geekgrls recommendation about Telenovelas. I studied Spanish for years and was quite good at reading and writing it. When I spent an entire week watching 8 hours of spanish tv a day, (some news but mostly soaps) it tuned my ear and suddenly I could really understand native speakers.

    I also got hooked on Marimar and Corazon Salvaje, but at least I got something out of it.

  11. geekgrl,

    Cheers to being back on the language wagon! I ordered the Polyglot book from Amazon, and should receive it this week. Maybe I’ll eventually get around to doing a review after I’ve finished reading it.
    __________________________________________

    Rhonda,

    Thanks again, all tips are welcome! {smile}
    __________________________________________

    revolutionary and joyful,

    You said, “Since you mentioned planning an overseas vacation, why not take one to Spain?”

    I’ve been to Spain twice (I really like what I’ve seen of it: Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca. I’d like to see Madrid.)

    I figure that before I make my next trip to Spain, I’d like to go on my own version of a Grand Tour of other parts of Europe. I’ve been canvassing coworkers who have been to the somewhat less beaten-path places such as Denmark, Switzerland, Hungary, Monaco, plus Turkey. At some point, I’d also like to visit London for real (as opposed to stopovers at Heathrow Airport), and Paris. We’ll see how it all works out.

    Expect Success!

  12. KimP says:

    Hi,

    I’m pretty much a lurker too and this post is so odd because I just reached out to my Russian tutor a few days ago.

    I’ve always had a thing for languages (studied French and German at 12 and Spanish since 14), but I have a hard time keeping proficiency when there’s no one to practice with.

    If you’re not big on reading, seek out an online language tutor. Also, look up local language and cultural clubs or alliances in your city and you could find people who’d be happy to help you practice your speaking.

    Flashcards are your best friends when learning a new language, or I should say my best friend, lol.

  13. ak says:

    Turkey you’ll love, for the ruins and the food; they realy do pride themselves on food A LOT.

  14. geekgrl says:

    Khadija, if you want to start reading the Polyglot Project now, many of the contributors have a link to the PDF/kindle versions. Here’s one:
    http://www.fluentin3months.com/polyglot-project/

    if you want to watch Spanish language TV, this guy has a bunch of links:
    http://howlearnspanish.com/2010/08/list-of-best-sites-to-watch-spanish-tv/

  15. KimP,

    Great minds think alike; and thanks for de-lurking! 🙂

    You said, “I’ve always had a thing for languages (studied French and German at 12 and Spanish since 14), but I have a hard time keeping proficiency when there’s no one to practice with.”

    This concern is another reason why I’ve been excited by what I’ve read so far at the All Japanese All The Time blog. Who wants to do all the work of acquiring another language only to lose it? He has a blog post about the critical frequency of interaction with a language, and how that impacts one’s ability to maintain fluency. His theory is

    The frequency of contact with your L2 matters more than the quantity

    Corollary: if you just focus on the frequency you can relax on quantity.

    Caution: which is not to say that the quantity doesn’t matter at all…it just matters less

    He goes on to say,

    A language is like a cross between food, air and a pet. You can’t just binge on it once and call it a day. You need it there constantly, no, not constantly — very frequently — and when it does go, it needs to come back soon. Otherwise the skill dies.

    Here are my serving suggestions for frequencies. These are all just guesstimates. My favorite one, the one I am using, is #2, the highlighted one:

    1.1~2 minutes per half hour
    2.2 minutes per hour
    3.4~5 minutes per 90 minutes
    4.10~15 minutes per 2 hours
    5.15~30 minutes per 3 hours
    6.30~60 minutes per 4 hours
    7.60~90 minutes per 6 hours
    8.90~180 minutes per 12 hoiurs

    I’m going to do my own experiments with some of his theories, starting with the use of flashcards for about 5 minutes per hour. Similar to you, I like to use flashcards.

    Another technique he used that I’m going to try out is the one he describes in the post 10,000 Sentences: Input Before Output. It’s worth checking out the sites he links to in the post.

    I had already previously bought both a novel (“The Eight” by Katherine Neville) and its Spanish translation that I had wanted to read. I figure that I’ll get most of my sentences from real-life materials that I’m actually very interested in. I had previously decided that I wasn’t going to spend much time reading things in Spanish that I wouldn’t want to read in English.
    _____________________________________________

    AK,

    Thanks for the info. Sounds good! {chuckling}
    _____________________________________________

    geekgrl,

    Thanks for the info!
    _____________________________________________

    ForeverLoyal,

    Thanks for the info!

    Expect Success!

  16. joyousnerd says:

    This is one of my favorite topics. I taught myself Spanish to fluency in high school. I got so good that native speakers refused to believe I wasn’t a heritage speaker! 🙂 Now I’m a bit rusty but I can definitely understand almost everything except specialized terms (medical, or construction for example) but otherwise I have got it down.

    I learned Spanish by using a combination of methods. I bought a grammar book, a dictionary and the daily rag newspaper. I read and looked up new words. I watched telenovelas too. Whenever I saw a native speaker I’d practice with them, and I’d sincerely thank them for correcting me! That matters a lot, as Khadija pointed out earlier.

    I’m less good at French because I only learned it in school. I can understand written French very well, and spoken French too. When it comes time to reply… ugh. I sit there tongue tied feeling dumb. Sigh.

    I want to work on improving my French, but I really lack the time right now. Between launching this new business venture and learning a new language for my dual citizenship application, I’m swamped.

    To get some practice, I’ll be doing an online webcam based language exchange. Native speakers of English have a skill that people the world over are eager to learn! Anyone who speaks native English can find an eager language practice partner online for FREE (my favorite price, lol) You can use Skype or gmail chat for free. Half of the time you speak English, half the time the other language. Not too shabby. I love the freedom of modern technology!

  17. Sharifa says:

    I had another brief thought. My intention is not to change the subject, but I would strongly urge AAW to be sure that their command of the English language is very strong, in addition to learning other languages. Most AAW are monolingual English speakers, and should really be sure that they can express themselves well in their native language.

    • Sharifa,

      I believe that’s a valid concern. However, I would guess that the sort of AA person who studies a foreign language when they DON’T have to (for school or work) is probably a stronger (standard) English speaker than the “typical” AA person. From what I’ve seen, this includes the “typical” educated AA person.

      It seems to me the great divide is between nonfiction readers and those who never/rarely read nonfiction books. The AAs I’ve seen who never read nonfiction books other than material like Confessions of a Video Vixen tend to be VERY weak English speakers. This includes many educated AAs. This includes many of the Black lawyers I know.

      The AAs I see who don’t read nonfiction are generally unable to express their thoughts in a clear or orderly fashion. They can get by with that in casual conversations (mostly with other AAs). But it bites them in the buttocks in more formal social and work settings. This is what I’ve noticed from listening to AA witnesses AND coworkers over the years.

      Expect Success!

      • Tee says:

        Khadija said:

        “The AAs I see who don’t read nonfiction are generally unable to express their thoughts in a clear or orderly fashion. They can get by with that in casual conversations (mostly with other AAs). But it bites them in the buttocks in more formal social and work settings. This is what I’ve noticed from listening to AA witnesses AND coworkers over the years.”
        ————-
        This is the very reason why I always spoke proper English with my son when he was little. I was always careful to correct his English, much to the dismay of other family members who thought I was “nit-picking”.

        Now my son is a sophomore in high school, taking seminar level English, history, and other honors classes.

        He sits on the board of directors (as a student representative) of our local YMCA (predominately white southern town), and is often called for public speaking engagements.

        He takes honors Spanish, and because he has such a great command of English, he can roughly translate material from any of the Romance languages without having formal lessons.

        Having great English skills, especially as a native speaker, can give one a huge advantage in the global community. I believe in a past essay you referred to English as a “money language”.

        Thank you for this valuable post Khadija.

        Peace,

        Tee

    • Jarinda says:

      This is true, but at the same time, learning the grammar rules of another language will help solidify English grammar in your mind. Of course it helps if you have an idea of what a direct object, for example, is to begin with, but I digress. I know this was true of me when I began learning Spanish is 6th grade (I was using high school Spanish curriculum with an emphasis on grammar). It probably also helped that I am a grammar nerd to begin with.

      Either way, understanding grammar terms is key to truly understanding how a language works and being able to master it. While I’m not quite fluent in Spanish, when I worked as a Spanish tutor at a college, the native speaker tutors would come to me for an explanation of the grammar of their own language because I understood the whys and hows better than they did!

      By the same token, for me at least, my insistence on grammatical perfection (I speak the King’s English so I want to speak the “King’s Spanish” too!) is part of what holds me back from fluency. In my opinion as a language enthusiast and former Spanish tutor, a solid grasp of grammar is critical, but you can’t let it consume you. After all, when you are speaking in the language, most of the native speakers won’t even know or care that it’s “conmigo” not “con mi” (heard a Latino guy make this mistake while he was on the phone and my skin started to crawl just as if he’d said “ain’t”).

      Sorry to take things that much more off track, but I love grammar, so I just had to comment. 🙂

      • Robynne says:

        “This is true, but at the same time, learning the grammar rules of another language will help solidify English grammar in your mind. Of course it helps if you have an idea of what a direct object, for example, is to begin with, but I digress. I know this was true of me when I began learning Spanish is 6th grade (I was using high school Spanish curriculum with an emphasis on grammar). It probably also helped that I am a grammar nerd to begin with.”

        I also agree with this. I took advanced Spanish in high school, and a class or two in undergrad. However, I have allowed myself to slip, so it is now extremely rusty. Learning a foreign language can actually help build one’s competency in English grammar, because it helped me to consolidate my knowledge of English grammar. I learned the grammar mechanics during language art classes, but I did not know the formal terminology (outside of the basics such as the past, present and future tenses) until I took Spanish. Then, I learned what the imperfect tense, the conditional tense and the pluperfect tenses entailed in English.

    • Rhonda says:

      Sharifa said: Most AAW are monolingual English speakers.

      Aaargh! The above struck me as insulting (to black American women) and condescending (to the readers/commenters of this blog, this post). Most people whose native language is English are monolingual. Even those English speakers, the British — who are a stone’s throw away from many countries full of people who speak other languages — the majority of the population are monolingual.

      Here is a joke:

      Q: What do you call someone who speaks three languages fluently?

      A: Tri-lingual.

      Q: What do you call someone who speaks two languages fluently?

      A: Bi-lingual.

      Q: What do you call someone who speaks one language fluently?

      A: An American*.

      *And it ain’t got nothing to do with race or skin colour or class-background — most Americans (who are not immigrants or the children of immigrants) speak only English, and not too well, I might add. (ex.: “Him and me went to the movies.”)

      Watch the movie Inglourious Basterds. There is a scene where the German woman anti-Nazi spy is trying to help the American soldiers go undercover at a movie premiere in Nazi-occupied Paris. The German woman, by the way, speaks English…she asks the men if they speak German? French? With exasperation in her voice, she asks, “Don’t you Americans speak any other language besides English?”

      Just because this blog, sometimes, airs the dirty laundry of black Americans, it is not necessary to make, what is an American (native-tongue English speaker) problem/flaw, into one that is specific to us black American women.

  18. Anne1 says:

    This is a good reminder for me to get back on track with learning the language spoken in Aruba, Papimiento. It is a combination of Portuguese and Spanish so those who speak Spanish should take to it fairly easily (fairly I say). I’m moving on to learning Dutch next.

    I hear you Sharifa and Khadija. I had to learn how to speak English and I admire and I gravitate to people who speak standard English. That’s who I emulate. I’m very turned off by “bad English”. It’s sad how Ebonics has stretched beyond the hood. I remember some fools were arguing for that mess to be taught in public schools, passing it off as black culture, Lord have mercy.

    • *I can’t resist a mini-rant about one of my hot button topics: so-called “Ebonics” {frankly, I could slap the idiot who came up with that term AND the idiots who promoted that bad idea}*

      Walks-his-talk-activist, radio personality and entrepreneur Bob Law perfectly summed up my feelings about so-called Ebonics, “soul food” such as chitlins, and assorted other artifacts of slavery that so many AAs love to uphold. In summary, he said:

      AAs always gravitate toward the deformed, crippled versions of things. We hug it, we love it, and we lift up deformed things as if they were glory itself.

      Instead of learning REAL African languages, we lift up slavery-based pidgin English and proclaim it “Ebonics.”

      Instead of giving our children REAL African names (if that’s what we want to do*), we string together nonsensical syllables and call the resulting mess “AA names.” NO, those are public aid recipient…future convict…most likely to be developmentally delayed child…profoundly stigmatizing, fake names. Fake names that have negative employment consequences for the children who don’t grow up to have the sense to remove such names.

      [*As a side note, if I had a dime for each Bible-thumping, Christian colored girl who named her daughter “Khadija”

      —or some ignorant, made-up, jazz-riff on the name such as “Quadeesha” (I’ve seen this in court documents)

      —who was OFFENDED when I told them “Khadija” is a Muslim name—specifically, the name of the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) wife,

      then I’d be independently wealthy already. I don’t understand how so many colored girls slap names on their babies without researching the meaning and origin of the name.

      As Min. Ava Muhammad of the Nation of Islam said during one of her lectures, for all these silly women know, whatever name they picked for their baby could mean “the bird poo-poos in the bush.” But they don’t know or care. All they care about is what “sounds pretty” to them.]

      Instead of learning and adopting portions of REAL African cuisine, we continue to eat the cast-off SLOP our ancestors were fed as slaves (much of which is unhealthy).

      Instead of treating artifacts of Jim Crow, assorted oppression and DEATH—with the gravitas they deserve . . . like Jewish people do with their Holocaust . . . we treat such things like a joke. And we encourage outsiders to treat such things as a joke.

      [Such as the mammy saltshakers that my idiotic, colored girl up from the hood, hater-striver former supervisor put on public display in the window of her office. Facing out. So all the White attorneys could look at that mess and snicker whenever they walked past her office.

      Jewish people have the self-respect and common sense to put such things from their history in museums…where there’s a sober plaque underneath them explaining the suffering behind such objects…so those objects aren’t left to be interpreted as a joke by passersby.]

      Hmmph!

      • Anne1 says:

        I totally agree with everything you said here, particularly “AAs always gravitate toward the deformed, crippled versions of things”. My grandmother referred to this AA phenomena as a “sickness”.

        Okay, moving on, upward and onward to my escape plan: Learning the languages spoken in Aruba, check. Working on product shipment for my treasured items not available there, check. Countdown, 6 years (hopefully with a new alphas male hubby in tow).

        Does anyone know a good source for learning Dutch? I’m leaning towards Rosetta Stone.

      • “They don’t know any better” isn’t a good excuse is it?

        Because that’s the first thing I thought after reading your rant. And I believe that to be the case for people who give their children such names.

        Although it’s hard for me to believe that your former supervisor who went to undergrad and presumably took some course involving some aspect of AA history didn’t know what “the mammy” symbolizes.

  19. joyousnerd says:

    Sweet Jesus and the saints! That mammy saltshaker is just too much for me; even *reading* about it has me angry! I cannot imagine working there and passing it daily. Ugh. With the white folks snickering… I cannot understand her choice to do that. Why? For what purpose? Was it supposed to be funny? To whom? Grrrr.

    {deep cleansing breath; back to subject at hand}
    For me, grammar is the first stop when it comes to foreign language study. I need to know how to properly conjugate verbs before I open my mouth. I suppose it depends upon your comfort level. Some people might be ok with only using the infinitive form of a verb coupled with a pronoun and letting their conversation partner correct them over and over. I wouldn’t want to impose on someone that way, though; it’s inconsiderate.

  20. foreverloyal says:

    When you feel you are ready, you may try listening to a podcast called “El Rincon de Laura”. My brother, who is fluent in Spanish, listens to it to keep his ear sharp.

    He finds it to be fun to listen to rather than a chore, and why not have as much fun as possible learning after all.

    It is just a group of friends, who shoot the breeze about various topics. I recommend this podcast because they are broadcasting from Spain, and I know that is the form of Spanish you are interested in mastering.

    Website: http://elrincondelaura.com/

    • ForeverLoyal,

      Thanks so much for the info! Yes, I want to learn the European dialect of Spanish, and it want to keep the process as fun as possible!

      Expect Success!

  21. Anne1, Revolutionary And Joyful & Joyous Nerd,

    Yes, indeed. It is a sickness.

    I should have given some more details bout the mammy salt shakers lined up in that individual’s window:

    She knew full well what mammy symbolized. This ignorant heifer actually thought she was upholding AAs by having that mess on display!

    From what she explained to the other AAs who could calmly engage her about why she had the stuff on display, she felt:

    1-That mammy is a part of our AA heritage that we should be proud of. Similar to how other AA fools actually think they can somehow “reclaim” the n-word and transform it into something affirming. [The idiot doesn’t understand that mammy was NOT part of our heritage. Mammy was the oppressor’s image of our ancestors. Mammy was some slander invented by the people who hated us. Some slander that she has chosen to adopt and run with.]

    2-That any AA who had a problem with her display of the row of mammy shaltshakers was a self-hating, bootlicking oreo who worried too much about “what White folks think.” [An example of the mass AA Cultural Oppositional Defiant Disorder. It has never occurred to her that she lacks the sensitivity, historical knowledge, or wisdom to properly handle such artifacts.

    Like many AAs, she assumes that because she is racially Black, that means she’s qualified to deal with any and all aspects of AA history. Non-AAs typically have the sense to understand there’s a reason why there are professional historians, archivists, and so on.]

    3-That any nonblack employee who was offended by the spectacle of these saltshakers was an antiblack racist. [More Up Is Down, AA Cultural Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

    It didn’t occur to her that the nonblacks who were uptight about those saltshakers were upset because they constitute racist materials and the visual equivalent of hate speech. Visual hate speech that was being disseminated in their workplace!]

    One of many morals of that episode is that AA Cultural Oppositional Defiant Disorder will cause people to do all sorts of self-destructive, CRAZY things. All the while thinking they’re somehow upholding AAs’ interests. The mind boggles.

    Expect Success!

  22. Anne1 says:

    With that line of thinking there was no getting through to her as she was blinded by her own delusions of grandeur. The nutcase thought she was doing something great for the cause. My God, how crass can one be? AAs like her are a lost cause.

    I used to feel very embarrassed when BW behave like pure fools in the work place. Just letting it all hang out. And each one would always try to out tell the worst story with something even more insidiousness….”your ‘ol man knocked out your teeth, girl that aint nothin’; my man bust me in the face and I passed out and woke up in the hospital. Girl, I couldn’t work for a week…”. All this at work. Good grief. But now, nothing. No rise. Not even my famous eye-roll. Nothing. I just ignore it. I stay away from all of it and opt to eat alone. All while the daily grapevine details the latest infighting between so and so for the new “fine” DBRBM at work. They are reserved for the interact-with-on-a need-to-basis-only category.

    The best we can do is live life with grace and it will serve as an example for the younger set coming up in the next generation. If they get it, great. If not, that’s okay too.

    • Anne1,

      You said, “The best we can do is live life with grace and it will serve as an example for the younger set coming up in the next generation. If they get it, great. If not, that’s okay too.”

      Indeed. Once the zombies’ antics reach a certain point, I take a cleansing breath, walk away, and get back to the things I’m interested in. There’s only so much time, energy, or attention I’m willing to spend on dead people.

      Expect Success!

  23. To The Reader Whose Comment I Deleted,

    I deleted your comment/question because it was totally off-topic.

    I would suggest that you visit Evia’s blog, Black Female Interracial Marriage Ezine and consider buying her newsletter (which includes podcasts).

    Expect Success!

  24. MsMellody says:

    Oh my gosh Khadija, this post is great!!
    I have already shared the info about the language site with my husband. Just coincidentally he and I went to a local language book store and I introduced him to the “Assimil” language series.

    He had recently mentioned he wanted to update his Spanish language skills and I had pulled out my French Assimil language series..so off we went to the bookstore!

    Thank you Khadija for all the wonderful info here. Be blessed!

  25. Lorrnae says:

    I am actually training myself in Spanish Proficiency as well. If you need to find a native speaker you can use LiveMocha.com (http://www.livemocha.com/).