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Comment Re:Words with Friends Live! (Score 1) 550

More seriously, try board games! My wife isn't much of a video gamer, but board games were a huge hit with her. Look at things like Agricola, Ticket to Ride, Pandemic, Carcassonne, and Settlers of Catan. They reward analytical thinking like video games do, so you won't be bored, I promise.

This is exactly what I did with my wife. I couldn't get her to play video games with me so I started playing board games with her instead. I like playing games and I like spending time with her so it was win-win.

Comment Re:active vs. passive? (Score 1) 243

Civil disobedience can be active or passive; the defining trait is that it is done with the intention of forcing a change. It generally involves being ready to accept the repercussions of one's actions as well. Rosa Parks is the best example I can come up with right now. She knew what what happen if she refused to give up her seat but she chose to take a stand anyway.

Comment Re:Brilliant idea (Score 0) 480

Just generate them algorithmically. For example, your base password could be 12345 and you would just append the name of the site to it. Slashdot’s password would become 12345slashdot, your email password would become 12345email, etc. As long as you don't share your base password or the particulars of your algorithm there’s much less to remember and you benefit from having unique passwords across all the sites you visit.

Comment Re:Maybe it's a better example of true worth (Score 1) 250

That probably was written by an adult. Maybe every generation goes through this but I swear the people I knew in high school never grew into adults. I can't help but wonder whether Instagram is suffering from a similar condition, that they're simply incapable of existing outside the current moment.

Comment Re:Obvious answer.. (Score 1) 514

You may lack grammatical skills but the idea would come across with some consistency.

Let's eat people! Let's eat, people!

Admittedly a smaller risk in a spoken language, but spoken proficiency alone doesn't cut it.

You're right, but context usually mitigates all but the worst grammatical errors. For example, unless your friend was wearing a bloody butcher's apron and carrying a cleaver you'd likely assume he meant the latter rather than the former. ;)

Comment Re:Obvious answer.. (Score 3, Interesting) 514

Fluency is defined as being able to express yourself easily and articulately. A vocabulary of 1,000 words allows you to understand at least half of what's going on around you. Some studies go as high as 75-80%, such as this one for Spanish (pg. 109), but I aimed low for my example. A vocabulary of about 10,000 words and a general understanding of how to assemble them into a sentence is enough to be considered fluent in almost any situation.

If you learn 30 words per day you would be able to express yourself at least half the time in a little over a month. You may lack grammatical skills but the idea would come across with some consistency. Continuing on that track, it would take just under a year to be able to express yourself with a high degree of fluency. Mind you, I am assuming you started focusing on grammar at some point during that year. For Spanish, I found it took about six weeks until my grammar limited me more than my vocabulary. I’m only a few months into learning but I can already communicate well with native speakers.

If you make flashcards using some kind of spaced repetition system like Anki or Mnemosyne it will automatically handle the review of words you’ve already learned so you just need to focus on daily study and let the program handle the rest. The greatest difficulties you’ll face during this process are making the flashcards, which is an important step in building recognition, and the odd word that simply will not stick.

When you’re not studying your flashcards you need to immerse yourself in the language. Listen to music you enjoy, try to watch shows that interest you and parrot everything you hear. In the beginning, the point of this exercise isn’t to understand anything but rather to recognize it. Eventually you’ll start to pick out words you’ve learned and infer the meaning of others based on context and the language starts to snowball in your head.

If learning a new language is not fun you’re doing it wrong. If learning a new language is difficult, you’re probably using Rosetta Stone. ;)

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