Ingaræð's Yellow Brick Road (DE/FR/RU...)

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Ingaræð
Yellow Belt
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Location: United Kingdom
Languages: English (N)
Studying: German (?), French (?), Russian (beg.).
Previously studied (beg.): Italian, Welsh.
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Re: Ingaræð's Yellow Brick Road (DE/FR/RU...)

Postby Ingaræð » Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:56 pm

I decided to change the name of my log to something a bit more apt for my current situation: I'm not just learning a language, I'm still learning how to learn. Like Dorothy, I have to find the path that will reach my goal(s). Unlike Dorothy, I do not have red, sparkly shoes (which is good, because who wants to walk that far in high heels?!). :D

Although I haven't made any progress in learning French over the last month (other than a few improvements in pronouncing sounds), I have learnt some other things:

1. Scriptorium is neither effective nor efficient for me at this stage. I enjoy it, but it takes me ages, and I don't feel that I'm really learning anything.

2. Now is the time to keep focussed on improving my pronunciation. I have just discovered Olle Kjellin's method/theory (thank you Henkkles!), which has left me with new insight and enthusiasm. I think it also explains my 'abilities' in German after hearing it as a young child. I might write more about this later.

3. Task-switching is a problem for me - that is, doing different things in one day. This is really learning about the strengths and weaknesses of Asperger's, and how to deal with them, which is still relatively new for me. I have to work out how to fit in language study alongside anything else, every day.

4. Assimil does a Perfectionnement Russe! I have no idea how I missed this, given that I've looked at their website several times to see what they have in an English, French or German base. Thanks to blaurebell for mentioning it.

So, my current mini-goal (I think a goal is better than yet another plan :lol:) is to improve my pronunciation of French through Olle Kjellin's method. I've already started working on it, and I'll write more on this in my next post.
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blaurebell
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Re: Ingaræð's Yellow Brick Road (DE/FR/RU...)

Postby blaurebell » Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:59 am

Ingaræð wrote:Thanks to blaurebell for mentioning it.


You're welcome. I find the Assimil website somewhat confusing, so I'm not surprised that you couldn't find it. I'm enjoying Assimil Le Russe by the way. The only problem is that the audio on the recordings isn't particularly natural. I still do shadowing on it for the pronunciation of the single words, but forget about getting the prosody of entire sentences from it! At least so far - 20 lessons in it's still not natural.

Ingaræð wrote:So, my current mini-goal (I think a goal is better than yet another plan ) is to improve my pronunciation of French through Olle Kjellin's method. I've already started working on it, and I'll write more on this in my next post.


Exactly how I use the Assimil audio. I'll continue doing it for Assimil Le Russe and Perfectionnement Russe and then maybe continue with Glossika. The shadowing has really sorted out my accent in Russian - before my mum couldn't understand me at all.
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Ingaræð
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Previously studied (beg.): Italian, Welsh.
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Re: Ingaræð's Yellow Brick Road (DE/FR/RU...)

Postby Ingaræð » Sat Feb 18, 2017 11:37 am

blaurebell wrote:
Ingaræð wrote:Thanks to blaurebell for mentioning it.


You're welcome. I find the Assimil website somewhat confusing, so I'm not surprised that you couldn't find it. I'm enjoying Assimil Le Russe by the way. The only problem is that the audio on the recordings isn't particularly natural. I still do shadowing on it for the pronunciation of the single words, but forget about getting the prosody of entire sentences from it! At least so far - 20 lessons in it's still not natural.

Ingaræð wrote:So, my current mini-goal (I think a goal is better than yet another plan ) is to improve my pronunciation of French through Olle Kjellin's method. I've already started working on it, and I'll write more on this in my next post.


Exactly how I use the Assimil audio. I'll continue doing it for Assimil Le Russe and Perfectionnement Russe and then maybe continue with Glossika. The shadowing has really sorted out my accent in Russian - before my mum couldn't understand me at all.


Yeah, Assimil Le Russe sounds painfully slow at the beginning. At least with Pimsleur there seems to be a more native-like speed from the early lessons. For prosody, I think I'll use later lessons of Le Russe, Perfectionnement, and/or Glossika. I might also cut some of the audio from Русский ковчег.

BTW, I'm really impressed by how much progress you make in a relatively short space of time. I hope I can emulate your success!
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blaurebell
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Re: Ingaræð's Yellow Brick Road (DE/FR/RU...)

Postby blaurebell » Sat Feb 18, 2017 12:35 pm

Ingaræð wrote:For prosody, I think I'll use later lessons of Le Russe, Perfectionnement, and/or Glossika.


The later lessons seem to be pretty good for that. I just wait until I get to them in my schedule, so I don't get bored by them early on. The Russian Glossika seems pretty good in my ears as well. Quite a natural way of speaking and super fast. I find that it takes a lot of time to do Glossika properly though and I can't pull that off while I'm still working on Assimil. It's just too much one-sided activity. So, I might tackle that when I'm done with Assimil and if I haven't run out of steam by then! I only have a limited amount of tolerance for formal language study and try to get to native material as early as I can.

Ingaræð wrote:BTW, I'm really impressed by how much progress you make in a relatively short space of time. I hope I can emulate your success!


Thanks, but my fast progress is probably misleading. With Russian I have to clarify that I'm half Russian and probably have less problems with picking up vocabulary than most due to having been exposed to a lot of Russian up until I was about 6 or 7 years old. I'm already used to how it sounds. I also tortured myself with 3 months of grammar and vocabulary study about a year ago, so there is some residual knowledge from that, even though it was actually a proper language learning failure (Totally deserved for trying to front-load grammar and vocabulary for a language that has extraordinary amounts of both). So, don't take time as an indicator for progress, it's probably misleading in my case since I have prior knowledge. Also, German has cases too and I learned some Latin in school, which is always a huge advantage when dealing with the case system of Russian. Russian just has more cases, the logic is the same though. What's really kicking my ass is Russian verbs. Jeez, verbs of motion + perfective / imperfective verbs! So weird!

As for French - I'm pretty much fluent in Spanish and know some Italian. English, Spanish and Italian have a substantial vocabulary and grammar overlap with French, so I could already understand about 40% of any French text before even starting to learn the language. This is why I started reading super early and that's what explains all the other fast progress. Once you can read it goes super fast and then intensive reading is basically SRS on steroids. To come back to prior knowledge: Basically learning any romance language gives you 40% of any other for free and the grammar is pretty much the same for all of them with Spanish being a little simpler than the other two (same thing for Danish, Norwegian and Swedish - they are probably even closer to each other). The downside is tons of interference when producing more than one of these languages actively. They are just too damn similar!
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Ingaræð
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Re: Ingaræð's Yellow Brick Road (DE/FR/RU...)

Postby Ingaræð » Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:43 pm

Ok, so I've done embarrassingly little on pronunciation so far, but I've decided that the 12+ hours every weekend of watching Eurovision National Finals totally counts as language study because.....it's.....listening practice for languages I might learn in the future.... :? And I also want to learn Latvian, because the Rigas Bebrs (#adbreakbeaver) is awesome. 8-)

Right, pronunciation...

It took me ages to get started on this, because I was trying to get everything absolutely right according to Olle Kjellin's method. Eventually I gave up trying to be perfect, because it's frustratingly impossible without a teacher/guide, and I'm now just using all of the audio from Assimil's New French with Ease, starting from the beginning (I might use some Pimsleur when I pick it up again).

I'm not really doing much chorusing - it's more like intensive listening. My brain actually mimics/replays sounds very well, and I've discovered that if I only listen to a sentence for 5-10 minutes, when I then start chorusing my intonation is fairly accurate straight away. I think I'm getting a bit bored with it (I'm itching to do Pimsleur again now!), but I can hear progress, and I'm at least able to multi-task with this ( :shock: ) while I get some crocheting finished over the next week.

In my initial quest for perfectionism, I found some useful information on French intonation at Wikipedia, the University of Texas and in Delattre's study Les dix intonations de base du français (freely downloadable from numerous archive sites with varying and confusing degrees of copyright :roll:). I also dug out one of my university books, La Prononciation du français, although it seems to be aimed at native speakers studying linguistics.

Finally, I'm doing French for Lent. I'm not religious, but I really need to get some study habits ingrained, and maybe this will do the trick.
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Ingaræð
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Re: Ingaræð's Yellow Brick Road (DE/FR/RU...)

Postby Ingaræð » Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:24 am

I've dropped the chorusing* and taken up Pimsleur French again. Now that I've learnt some of the theory of French prosody (and therefore can hear it better), I feel that it will be more productive to carry on with Pimsleur, where my brain can attach more context and hopefully make it more native-like.

I did lessons 1-12 of French I last September, so I'm powering through them again now. When I'm producing correct(ish) prosody automatically, I'll add in Assimil New French with Ease (and chorusing the audio), and I'll also review/continue French without toil at a 1:1 lesson ratio. I didn't get automaticity with future tenses during my first run with FwT, so I figure this way I can study with the same intensity, but at a slower pace to absorb things better.

I am not impressed that, in the 10.5 years I've spent in formal study of French, not one single teacher has pointed out my incorrect placement of adverbs (which I'd picked up on after a couple of lessons of Pimsleur). Or anything else about my bad French. I can understand this somewhat in secondary school, but we are now forced to pay thousands in university tuition fees for a sub-standard education (and I was at a Russell Group uni!). :evil:

I listened to a Petit Nicholas book when I woke up this morning (trying to de-stress), and in one story I totally understood the gist of the plot. :o Super chouette! :D

I've also been watching the film La Antena and a short documentary about life in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. I'm a bit 'meh' about Spanish and Portuguese in a European context (although I really like the sound of Portuguese), but watch something South American and suddenly I'm interested and bumping them up a few places on my language wishlist. Weird...

Image

*Random learning of the day: in checking the spelling of 'chorusing', I discovered lemmas and English grammar myths taught in schools (well, except mine, apparently...).
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blaurebell
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Re: Ingaræð's Yellow Brick Road (DE/FR/RU...)

Postby blaurebell » Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:46 am

Ingaræð wrote:I can understand this somewhat in secondary school, but we are now forced to pay thousands in university tuition fees for a sub-standard education (and I was at a Russell Group uni!).


I found the language courses at my old English uni to be sub-standard in comparison to those I got at my German university. Considering that I already completely ignored the lessons at the German uni that's not a good sign at all! A bit annoying since this is the reason why I dropped Italian right when I was at a breakthrough stage. :roll: The only reason why studying languages at university level in England still works as a major is because they get a year abroad in the country. One could probably save a whole lot of money by doing the year abroad right away and then doing a degree in linguistics or literature at a foreign university without those insane fees! It was still kind of okay when the fees were still lower, but now it's really utterly pointless. Well, unless of course you rely on never having to pay back your student loan because a degree in languages is utterly useless on the job market anyway :roll: I'm so glad that I was never tempted to study languages or translation at uni level for real. Plenty of broken hearts among my friends who studied English lit, Romance languages or Japanese. The closest to an actual use for the language is teaching their native language to TL speakers or translating tech manuals for next to no pay.
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MamaPata
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Re: Ingaræð's Yellow Brick Road (DE/FR/RU...)

Postby MamaPata » Sat Mar 18, 2017 6:38 am

At the risk of going off-topic, I have to stand up for language degrees here. I think the fee situation in the UK is totally mad, but it's mad for all degrees, not just languages. There are definitely big problems with how the teaching works: too large classes, lack of respect for language teachers (who aren't viewed as academics), etc. But I do still think a language degree is worth doing - I have learnt so much about such a massive range of topics during my degree so far. The job situation is important, but I do also feel you should pick your degree based on your actual interests and language degrees can offer such a range there. I haven't graduated so I can't comment on the job situation, but based on friends etc, I'm not in a bad position with a Russian degree.

Apologies for the side track there!
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blaurebell
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Re: Ingaræð's Yellow Brick Road (DE/FR/RU...)

Postby blaurebell » Sat Mar 18, 2017 11:37 am

MamaPata wrote:I haven't graduated so I can't comment on the job situation, but based on friends etc, I'm not in a bad position with a Russian degree.


Oh, most definitely! Russian is super relevant for business and it's an uncommon language to learn these days. I don't think you'll have any problems! I was speaking more of language degrees in general, especially with easy or popular languages. Studying Romance languages or English lit / translation in Europe for example is a good way to be underpaid for the rest of your life.

One example calculation: Studying German for a year followed by Linguistics or German Literature at a German university would be between 1525€ and 6,500€ in total. 3 years of university are only about 1500€ there and this has a region-wide ticket for local public transport and reductions on (horrible) campus food included! Basically you *save* money on living costs - public transport and campus food - by being enrolled at a university. If you're somehow eligible for government classes or just learn the language on your own while living in Germany you get the entire package for 1525€ - 25€ for Assimil :D

Even if you do high quality immersion classes at a language school, 5h a day - miles ahead of university classes usually - you'll only end up with around 5000€ for 1000h of classes in a 10 month program (I can recommend a great school in Düsseldorf) and they even help you organise your social life to make sure you get enough speaking practice outside of school! Full immersion in the country, high quality language classes and still it's not even half the price of a year at an English university with sub-standard language classes! And even more clever would be to ditch the Literature or Linguistics angle for a more "goal-oriented" subject and end up knowing the language at C2 level while also picking up a qualification for higher paying jobs on the side. That was my strategy with my Master in Mobile Robotics at an English university and it worked marvellously. I could only pull that one off because the fees were still a third of what they are now of course!

Yes, English universities are usually better organised with most subjects, I grant that and have experienced it first hand with humanities and certain less conservative Science specialisations, but this is not the case in languages and definitely not worth a £20-35,000 increase in price! Additionally in Germany you can enrol in any class at the university even if it is not related to your degree at all. I was studying 2 degrees at the same time without any extra cost - it was a timetable headache, but so much fun! Not sure what things are like in Russia, very materialistic over there these days, but depending on the fees and conditions, you might have similarly great options to save some money on your Russian degree still! I guess the really insane version would be to study Russian in Germany and then do a Masters in Russia :lol: Not quite as insane as it sounds though: There is a *huge* Russian / Russian-German emigrant community, so you can certainly do all out Russian immersion in Germany by looking for Russian flatmates and friends, Russian shops, Russian restaurants. The biggest Russian community is in Berlin, but that's not a great place to learn German. Düsseldorf/Cologne is better for German and there are almost as many Russians there. It would get you 2 languages to C1+ for a fraction of the price of one language degree in England.

I'm sorry for hijacking your thread Ingared, but I hope you find this at least somewhat interesting and relevant for your German studies :) Studying over there is super cheap if you can cover the living costs somehow! For your language interests the insane idea would be: Studying Russian in Germany and then studying French in Russia :D Russians tend to speak excellent French and German, so their language classes must be top notch!
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Ingaræð
Yellow Belt
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Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 9:34 pm
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Previously studied (beg.): Italian, Welsh.
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Re: Ingaræð's Yellow Brick Road (DE/FR/RU...)

Postby Ingaræð » Sat Mar 18, 2017 1:55 pm

You've both made interesting points, so no thread-hijacking apologies necessary! :) (I was totally exhausted yesterday and couldn't do 'communication', otherwise I'd have replied to you both sooner.)

MamaPata: I agree that you need to pick something that you're actually interested in. These days, universities hand out 2:1s like Smarties, so if you have to push for a First to distinguish yourself, interest will help keep your motivation up. I know someone who got a 2:1 in Japanese and Italian, followed by MA Translation. They had a very hard time getting any 'degree-level' job, and couldn't get anything in translation at all (the 'experience' Catch-22). They're now working in Computer-Assisted Design and 'document handling' for a Japanese building/engineering company. Even with 'hard' languages, the job market is a nightmare. I don't mean to scare you, though! I was recently told by an Employment Officer that there will be a growing demand for Russian. Government and Defence institutions in the UK have been openly criticised for their low number of staff who speak the language or know the culture (we're talking single digits here!), so there's at least one employment route open to you.

blaurebell: My ab initio German class actually complained to the course convenor, because the 2nd year content was so unbelievably basic we knew we wouldn't survive in a German uni. They effectively refused to do anything, nor offered any advice on what we could do for ourselves. Unfortunately, I understood virtually nothing of my classes in Heidelberg, and barely spoke any German. I realised then why our Erasmus grades didn't count for anything! In HD, the range of classes available and their content seemed to be far superior, from what I could tell. I'm just sad that my time there was wasted, academically-speaking. I'll stop ranting about it now, but I should point out that the staff were generally very nice people, at least. I still dream of escaping the UK though (I'm jealous of family even flying over Russia), so studying abroad in the future is hopefully one option for me. I had no idea there were so many Russians in Düsseldorf/Cologne! I'd agree about those being good places to learn German, if only because my Familie are all in NRW, and none of them speak English. :lol: I would certainly appreciate your language-school recommendation.


------------------------------------------------------

Yesterday I only managed to get one lesson of Pimsleur done, which I may repeat before continuing. The vocab is super-easy, but I just couldn't concentrate enough to get the prosody correct. I did enrol in Learning How to Learn at Coursera (thanks to AndyMeg for mentioning it). I got through all the Week 1 materials, and it's so interesting! Lots of neurological stuff (also relevant to daily life), and it's really easy so far. It's worth doing even for just the Week 1 stuff.

Hopefully I'll be more productive today. It's amazing what 10 hours' sleep can do! :D
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