Hedgehogs: Creatures of the Night (ES)

Continue or start your personal language log here, including logs for challenge participants
User avatar
coldrainwater
Yellow Belt
Posts: 80
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 4:53 am
Location: Hugh's Town
Languages: English (N), Spanish (A2)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?p=65330#p65330></
x 78

Hedgehogs: Creatures of the Night (ES)

Postby coldrainwater » Sun Jan 01, 2017 6:21 am

Welcome to my language log and I hope you enjoy your time! Some seasons ago (June, 2016), I set out on a new adventure and tasked myself with learning Spanish as a second language. My motivations are not the most common so I'll script a brief recap. You never know, it may prove useful later in explaining some of my oddball choices. After spending decades in a predominantly English culture, I felt a sense of ennui with reading and interacting with the daily vernacular and decided to start over from scratch. Heaven knows my speech could use an upgrade.

Before getting down and dirty, I had to do a bit of housekeeping. Namely, I needed to figure on a path that didn't let my soon to be language skills fade into dusty memories. I enjoy reading and learning and am introverted by nature so this puts me squarely in the group of language learners with a strong preference for reading as a primary means of acquisition. This path I choose for mine own. For learning purposes, and occasionally out of interest, I branch to the other obvious modalities (listening, writing and speaking). Much to the annoyance and chagrin of my coworkers, I have spoken in Spanish since day one even if noone else around me followed suit. A few people have commented that it sounds like Latin and I am generally met with astonishment or confusion when I say stuff. Right now I am likely somewhere between level A1 and A2 if I had to hazard a guess.

Skipping a wide variety of life events, I look out my flat window and note that the clock just struck 2017 as evinced by a bright and festive midnight sky. I have learned more than is fitting to wedge into a single post, so I think I'll cork it for a bit and get back to the party.

Cheers to giving light to a new language!

-Michael
3 x

User avatar
coldrainwater
Yellow Belt
Posts: 80
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 4:53 am
Location: Hugh's Town
Languages: English (N), Spanish (A2)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?p=65330#p65330></
x 78

Re: Hedgehogs: Creatures of the Night (ES)

Postby coldrainwater » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:18 am

The last few days have seen truncated study efforts on account of long corporate working hours. It had the impact of focusing rather than scattering my study efforts. I have taken a liking to Yabla for listening practice as my listening skills are likely the worst of the big four. I am watching videos that are typically in the intermediate to advanced sections in order to develop an ear for the new tongue. The two to five minute videos proffered fit my attention span and tolerance level well. I can take a brief respite after each video I watch and can safely context switch and dive into reading or other Spanish learning material. I have also taken a short gander at news in slow spanish which is a bit tastier for my vocabulary and linguistic cravings.

It is true when they say that the way words are combined create much of the richness of a new language. I am quite happy that Spanish has so many dialects and argots as it adds a wealth of richness to the learning experience. Listening to the news every once in awhile is a good way to gain exposure to vernacular combinations that border somewhere between idioms and domain specific meanderings. I have a few visual dictionaries and I have been using them for pictorial references whenever I can squeeze in the extra time.

Looks like I will have two hours more of nightlife to enjoy a cup or two of immersion. See you all on the flip side!

-Erizo (hedgehog)
1 x

User avatar
coldrainwater
Yellow Belt
Posts: 80
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 4:53 am
Location: Hugh's Town
Languages: English (N), Spanish (A2)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?p=65330#p65330></
x 78

Re: Hedgehogs: Creatures of the Night (ES)

Postby coldrainwater » Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:19 am

The structure of my little microcosm oft plants me in a garden of perspective right about this time of week. No matter the cause and no matter what wacky events led me here, I look forward to now (Monday Eve I'll dub it for reference). Since I am nestled in a language journal, I suppose an update makes sense. Maybe a, "what have I learned over the last few days" sort of moment.

To that end, I added to my toolbox a way of explaining to others why I don't follow a rote schedule. From what I gather, it really boils down to the application of the quote "Be stubborn on vision and flexible on details." (paraphrased from Bezos). In the same thought space, I recalled an image post that created a useful dichotomy between having a todo list and a calendar schedule. Apparently, for some this is well nigh feudal territory in the productivity space. For some reason, something clicked for me when I read it again in my mind's eye and it brought to my attention that I opt for the todo list almost exclusively while planning minimally via calendar. For years (maybe decades) I have known this was a personality trait of mine, but I didn't understand the implications well enough to put pen to paper on the matter. It is the flexibility of the todo list that ultimately wins the day and makes it worth writing about for me. That piece of the puzzle has deep roots and thick branches that have finally lost their fog cover. The more I think about it, the more this way of living flexibly cuts a wide path across my life. It influences how I plan, runs parallel to natural thought patterns (the non-linear variety), and it paves a path where I can achieve some, if not most, of my goals.

It is a bit late in January to start a monthly language theme, but I'll go with late rather than never. I have this cool habit of reporting on things after I have done them so as to avert the dreaded commitment conundrum (when we make a commitment, we get a brief reward without having to actually 'do' anything, so this trap I avoid). We can file it in the same chapter as "It is better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission". I any event, I am guilty of re-introducing mindfulness to my language learning process and making sure that I take advantage of conscious and unconscious learning modalities. On a meta level it helped me realize that I need to populate more of my resource list with native materials that aren't so language-didactic in nature. I realized through mindfulness that I can afford to be picky and can let my intuition, desires and interest guide how I choose to acquire Spanish. I realized that when I have a question or topic I want to learn about, one of my limitations is that I have too much Google-fu in English and not quite enough in Spanish (think Alaska vs Delaware). So I set about to change this and was at least partially successful. It will take some time, as digging deep into the innards of the web often does, but the rewards are already both interesting and promising. More on that topic later.

Until next time,
Erizo
Last edited by coldrainwater on Mon Mar 20, 2017 2:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
1 x

User avatar
coldrainwater
Yellow Belt
Posts: 80
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 4:53 am
Location: Hugh's Town
Languages: English (N), Spanish (A2)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?p=65330#p65330></
x 78

Re: Hedgehogs: Creatures of the Night (ES)

Postby coldrainwater » Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:31 am

I hit a small milestone today as I finished perusing my first Spanish visual dictionary. This one was Firefly by Igor Jourist, heavy on pictures, light on words, structured as it were. Right now, I have three visual dictionaries and tonight marks the start of the second, the Spanish-English dk. It is small and rather unambitious in comparison to Firefly. Seems like this first dictionary fell via bite sized chunks as I let my natural tendency to study vocabulary take hold in a repeated sort of fashion (tortoise versus hare). I fell into a sort of uninentional spaced repetition with Firefly as many standard nouns were repeated at intervals as they were necessary to describe encyclopedic objects and their ubiquitous kin. The learning theme at play is little more than simple interleaving practice, but I find it to be much more appetizing than more traditional SRS. I am not a big believer in ultra frequent vocabulary reviews so it may be many moons before I pick up Firefly again. Odd as it may sound, I want a healthy dose of forgetting as a sort of memory primer. Long breaks bring perspective and I have many resources vying for the next reading spot.
1 x

User avatar
coldrainwater
Yellow Belt
Posts: 80
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 4:53 am
Location: Hugh's Town
Languages: English (N), Spanish (A2)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?p=65330#p65330></
x 78

Re: Hedgehogs: Creatures of the Night (ES)

Postby coldrainwater » Sat Jan 21, 2017 6:18 am

¡Finalmente! I get a free weekend to study Spanish. Looks like I will be letting my usual, ahem, strictness slide for un rato and dive into some reading. Short log post tonight as I plan on diving into the Spanish side of things sooner rather than later. Entonces, dormiré como los muertos y despertarme ver una nueva madruga.
0 x

User avatar
coldrainwater
Yellow Belt
Posts: 80
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 4:53 am
Location: Hugh's Town
Languages: English (N), Spanish (A2)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?p=65330#p65330></
x 78

Custom studies

Postby coldrainwater » Wed Jan 25, 2017 3:53 am

I have hit upon a few study habits that are working well for me and feel it germane to give then a writ here. I am not naive in thinking that everyday will turn out like the last five, but from time to time, these habits may be replicable pending recall. In no special order here is what I changed over the last few days that is helping me along in my Spanish studies (and on the job).

    Carry Peltor earmuffs with me everywhere I go.
    Carry charged noise canceling earbuds with me everywhere I go.
    Defer exercise to later in the day once I notice mental exhaustion rather than taking rote scheduled breaks.
    Supplement with simple vitamin/herbal/noot stack centered on caffeine, theanine, aminos, and racetams.
    Alternate daily between computer programming studies and Spanish studies to yield variety
    Use chromebook as small portable study device (often more productive than a desktop).
    Switch to kindle for enhanced, distraction-free focus.
    Alternate physical environments between (office, flat, library in complex).
    Stand up and move around before opting for nap in postprandial situations.
    No alarm clock.
    Use armchair with ottaman for studying for several hours at a time (good tradeoff between comfort and focus).
    No set bedtime or clock/schedule watching.
    Daily prep chores done in one single batch to free up the rest of the time for studies.
    Calm mindful approach without tendency to rush.
    Cardio training to enhance cerebral blood flow and improve health.
    Diet of fruit, nuts and eggs (temporary but gets rid of any junk or artificial ingred.)
    Dropped coffee (and related creamer) in favor of caffeine pills for lower dosing and better dosing knowledge/control.
    Read purely in Spanish and chose sources that were not bilingual (gets annoying to context switch so often).
    Read flexibly and alternated subjects/learning modalities often (keeps fresh and prevents exhaustion).
    Be conscious and flexible about when music helps versus hurts studies. Be willing to change pace at the drop of a hat.
    Get off the digitial world and use print materials periodically.

Short list. Brainstorming style, but I think it will be helpful going forward. Possibly the biggest and underarching move for me was to go with a simple shotgun approach and throw everything at it. When I used to strength train and bodybuild somewhat seriously, that is the approach that always brought home the bacon. I often get side-lined by wanting to discern what works by making miniscule changes and giving the changes time to materialize and evaluate. That approach is scientific but slow. Instead, I now concern myself a bit less about knowing exactly what part of the above is working and why and more on the practical side of creating an excellent and healthy learning environment/lifestyle. Synergistic and holistic impacts are more than the sum of their parts.
Last edited by coldrainwater on Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
2 x

User avatar
coldrainwater
Yellow Belt
Posts: 80
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 4:53 am
Location: Hugh's Town
Languages: English (N), Spanish (A2)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?p=65330#p65330></
x 78

Tema: algoritmos y estructuras de datos

Postby coldrainwater » Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:00 am

After a productive day a work, I bumbled about trying to execute my study plan this evening. Shifting topics included Linux history (of emacs provenance), automation querying (selenium and java) and a smattering of other ideas and microcosms. I bounced around. Putting topical feelers out like this paid off, but it took a solid six hours or more of drifting until an action plan bubbled up.

Namely, I want to combine my Spanish studies with computing studies, but until tonight, the pieces didn´t seem to fit. I have searched (and found/purchased) a few Spanish language books on compsci, but they are indeed few and spread thin. Additionally I have good website references, but as they are mostly text-based, I have found them a bit dry (and possibly not optimal for Spanish progression). What will work, however, are taking Youtube videos as source material and branching off of them for deeper exploration (and occasional switch to English as some works are simply not available in Spanish). Sequence matters here when attempting to integrate two slightly unlikely sources of learning (computer science and Spanish). I noticed that the lecture videos will give me much needed listening practice with the added benefit that I am now truly interested in the material I hear. This adds a great deal of intentional motivated focus to tackle a tough and broad subject (algorithms and machine learning for example).

It is that obsessed focus that I often missed when listening to Yabla or other source material that really didn´t pique maximal interest. The Youtube lecture approach has a bunch of other benefits since it will drive me right into the latin programming community and I´ll get additional resource exposure without having to search for it.

It is a common problem when studying challenging subjects to be bored by important fundamentals (due in part to reading them in a language that is too familiar) and later perplexed my harder material (due to skimming the boring fundamentals). Learning the topic in Spanish has the reverse effect and reinforces fundamentals. It was a pleasure to see how different data structures are denominated in Spanish (array, linked list, queue, stack, etc). It is almost like being a kid again with a playful learning spirit. This is something I seek (I have the immaturity part down pat already).

In short, this looks like a very promising method for killing two birds with one stone. Tonight reminds me of Gandalf. All those who wander are not lost.
1 x

User avatar
coldrainwater
Yellow Belt
Posts: 80
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 4:53 am
Location: Hugh's Town
Languages: English (N), Spanish (A2)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?p=65330#p65330></
x 78

Enthusiam

Postby coldrainwater » Fri Jan 27, 2017 8:03 am

I like the enthusiasm I see in many of the logs here. Regular updates, active participation and good experiences. ´Tis a good way of living. The biggest mindful change I put into play today at work was to let myself get lost in thought again and to intentionally automate more of my computer language processes in a much stricter than normal sense. Tightening the reigns there is a good idea though in the short term it may lead to tangents.

On the Spanish side of things, I reviewed some light vocabulary for an hour or so and read a handful of pages out of an etymology text that is my current pick of the litter. Pretty good study habits continue to persist as I seem to be on the third day of as seven day binge. Topically, tonight was intentionally Spanish focused and not computer focused, a context switching pattern that is working for now. On my Spanish reading, I practiced a bit of faster reading (it was the preface section and I could advinate well enough what the author was getting at. I was still able to follow the thoughts and slow down when I hit words that didn´t spike a football in my mind. I picked up a fair hand of new gems as many of the reference made in the introduction were griego and latin.

Tempus fugit! Nos vemos pronto!
Last edited by coldrainwater on Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
0 x

User avatar
coldrainwater
Yellow Belt
Posts: 80
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 4:53 am
Location: Hugh's Town
Languages: English (N), Spanish (A2)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?p=65330#p65330></
x 78

Language Bootstrapping

Postby coldrainwater » Sat Jan 28, 2017 9:02 am

Several things inspired by what came in the mail today.

    I received Volume II of the Manuel Seco Spanish dictionary. It is a true pleasure to be able to reference it in a monolingual capacity. Way better than the bilingual dictionaries I have been fiddling with. This copy is retired from library circa 1999 and has old school appeal. I know I took the idea as as suggestion from this forum so agradezco de antemano!

    Volume I could very well be lost in the mailroom at my apartment complex. I'll inquire as to its whereabouts on the morrow. Worst case scenario is I'll have a muscle imbalance after learning G-Z in the alphabet (sorry A-F).

    I received a cheap laptop that I ordered with the specific purpose of using it for studying algorithms, programming and data structures. In characteristic German style, I set the language to Alemán. In chess, they are fond of calling this a multipurpose move (almost always a good thing over the board). I installed Chrome in German as well and set my invaluable transover extension to translate into Spanish from German and reverse translate into German with a miniscule wait time (50 ms). This will ultimately allow me to 'read a dictionary' directly in Spanish since I am not familiar with the German commands yet. It also sets the stage for some installations in German as programming is quite prevalent in German culture and it is likely that I'll meet people fluent in [German, Spanish, and English].

    I am sticking to international English for the keyboard layout to maintain consistency across so many devices. It allows the accents I need now for Spanish and the new laptop is a Windows box so I can roll with autohotkey for any key remappings that I want to handle in custom fashion. Very exciting for me as I quickly realized that I didn't use my big desktop at home for programming as much as I had planned and this more simple/cheaper laptop will give me the exposure I seek.

    I have a friend at work who is deadset on learning German so I'll be communicating in written fashion with her solely in German. It will be handy to keep the computer commands on my fingertips since they are a frequent topic of discourse and are highly practical in daily use.


Of the two weapons I added to my arsenal, I am most excited by the Spanish dictionary and I may end up spending some good hours diving into it. I picked it partly because they give language learners some good sentences for each word so I take reading practice in stride with vocabulary acquisition. I also like that it is print version which naturally makes me use context clues to get at a definition for structures I don't know and makes it more costly to run to a translation app or extension. Good contrast to Transover.
1 x

User avatar
coldrainwater
Yellow Belt
Posts: 80
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 4:53 am
Location: Hugh's Town
Languages: English (N), Spanish (A2)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?p=65330#p65330></
x 78

Physical Structure for Learning

Postby coldrainwater » Mon Jan 30, 2017 5:59 am

I want to dedicate this quick post to how I structure my physical learning environment in case it gives others some ideas to work into their routines (and as usual so I don't forget what is working and what is possible). For some personal reasons and other professional reasons I recently moved closer to work so I had the opportunity to reconstruct my lifestyle somewhat. I spent the better part of Sunday making strides to that end so it is fresh on my mind. I am a list person to the core so I'll bullet out what I have thought and done recently.

    Based on the idea that open spaces drive different forms of creativity (and by extension learning), I created several separate areas of my loft style apartment and am mindful that making a switch from one to another can make a strong and immediate positive impact on learning. In short:

    I have one floor bed looking up at a very high ceiling and relatively large open space. This I use for reflection and quiet time before bed as well as lazy learning. When I want to have a thought walk, I usually go with a kindle or counter top and do standing learning. Based on the idea of having a library in house, I made good on buying an armchair for a warmer and cozier reading and coding environment. And as an assay, I just cleaned out a much smaller 'room' that has a high ceiling but is little more thn the size of a double closet. I leave open the idea of what will happen as I study there since this is a relatively new attempt for me. I'd liken it to a bit of a constricted nook (I am not claustrophobic).

    I opted for desk space clear of electronics for reading print material. When I started in on my new monolingual dictionary, I ran into the problem of it being a rather large tome and not working so well for the physical structure I had going at the time. So I made more room and now have several books at hand along with the dictionary (I have some interest in reading Nabakov as his works have been translated to Spanish). On my desktop now sits Blood Meridian, Pale Fire, and the monolingual dictionary. I can articulate a monitor or grab a laptop for saved note taking as I work. I think being able to remove the electronic ambience at times is very important for learning (and gives tired eyes a respite).

    The rest of my physical space is sparse. No cable, no tv, no couch, no furniture so to speak (such are the luxuries of bachelor life). I keep a basket and an area near the kitchen where all [stuff] goes which makes for quick and efficient cleanup helping to automate as many chores as possible. I keep a pen and paper list of nominal things that need to get done to get it out of mind and open up learning space.

So overall, good progress on setting up a study environment this weekend. Spanish practice however, didn't go as well. I spent most of Saturday asleep with a caffeine headache (I broke my no coffee rule and had some on Friday and I think that triggered it). Plan for tonight is to watch a movie I somehow missed on Lycanthropes. I'll add some Spanish subs for .srt practice.

And so another week dawn,

-Erizo
0 x


Return to “Language logs”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests