Languid Language Learning

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Elenia
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Languid Language Learning

Postby Elenia » Sun Jul 19, 2015 9:51 am

This will be a continuation of my old log of the same name. I'm making this log because I found it really useful to post updates and get feedback on the old HTLAL, and even if this is only a temporary solution, I would like to continue in the way I have been for the pat few months.

I have a full back up of my old log - which I made the fools way, by copy-pasting each individual page into OneNote. The advantage of this is that I have a OneNote notebook that looks exactly like my old log, intact and completely searchable. I even separated it by different pages. So I don't need to worry about getting pertinent information in here. In due course, I will probably update this post to show what my goals are, as these goals have changed since I started my last log, but: here I am!

2016 log start

Output Challenge numbers:

Written: 214 / 50000
Spoken: 7 / 3000

Input Challenge numbers:

Pages read: 3371 / 10000
Audio books: 2069 / 3000
Last edited by Elenia on Wed Mar 29, 2017 10:40 pm, edited 46 times in total.
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Re: Languid Language Learning

Postby Elenia » Sun Jul 19, 2015 10:50 am

French*
Books
Currently Reading - Terrienne
Read - Le Petit Prince, L'Etranger, La Huitième fille, Point de lendemain, Arsène Lupin : Gentleman cambrioleur, Nagasaki, La Justice de l'ancillaire

TV
Currently Watching - Les Revenants, Kaamelott

Podcasts
    L'Originale

Swedish
Books
Currently Reading - Låt den rätta komma in, Kappan och Näsan, Kaninhjärta, Udda verklighet, Jag har det rätt bekvämt men skulle kunna ha det lite bekvämare
Read - Mio, min Mio, Sommarboken, Stolthet och fördom, Cirkeln, Odinsbarn, Reser med lätt bagage, Röta, Eld

TV
Currently Watching - Solsidan, I Mumindalen

Films
Watched - Låt den rätta komma in, Cirkeln

Podcasts
    Hjärtat är fullt
    Nattluften
    En varg söker sin pod
    Fan vad fittigt
    På minuten
    Camila & Mireyas podcast
    Bokpodden

German
Books
Currently reading - Alles Sense!, Tintenherz, Der kleine Hobbit, Die unendliche Geschichte, Steinernes Fleisch, Die Rückkeher der Kriegerin

Finnish
Books
Currently reading - Älä kysy yöltä
Films
Watched - Rare Exports

*A note - I have omitted 'Films' from this list not because I haven't watched any, but rather that I have watched more than I care to list. A course on French cinema can do that to a girl.
Last edited by Elenia on Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:39 pm, edited 21 times in total.
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Re: Languid Language Learning

Postby Elenia » Sun Jul 19, 2015 10:51 am

The methods and resources I have used so far*:

Lingq: Lingq was probably the first online resource I used, and also the thing which led me to HTLAL and therefore all my other (successful) efforts. Thanks, jeff_lindqvist. I used Lingq for Swedish. The pros were: access to a substantial amount of dense texts with recordings done by real people, the ability to look up words and see there definition. I'm sure the vocabulary learning tools, such as the flashcard system, would have also been useful, had I ever used them. Looking back on it, I probably got a substantial amount of Swedish from using Lingq. The cons: the extortionate price. Okay, so the price probably isn't that extortionate, but for a poor student with next to no money, it is terrible. The free version of Lingq is barely worth mentioning: while it is still nice to access texts with recordings, you might as well stick to normal LR as you only get twenty word look ups. I also found that the app wasn't very good, even for subscribers. It was basic, annoying to use and quite ugly. It certainly didn't make paying a more attractive prospect.

FSI: FSI has been of mixed use. Quality varies, according to language. I have heard excellent things about the Spanish and French FSI Courses. For my part, I love and adore Swedish FSI. I may have learnt a substantial amount from Lingq, but I learnt more from FSI. It is worth noting, however, that I didn't get much out of FSI German. Using it was far too much of a chore and the content felt even more outdated, so I gave up on the second unit. The Pros: FSI is thorough! Studying it dilligently, going through each lesson a couple of times with the text and then listening at intervals, allowed me to pick up vocabulary quickly and easily. The drills help grammar structures stick into your brain, and give you a feel for them. At a meetup with Swedish learners, I noticed that I was using certain grammatical structures with more accuracy then them, which is certainly thanks to FSI. There was a mixture of learners at this meetup, but I don't think any of them had tried or even heard of FSI. I think this is a pro that would apply to all of their courses, as they are government designed courses aimed at getting diplomats up to a high level in the language they are learning. Another, very important point is that most (if not all) FSI courses are completely FREE. The Cons: FSI is boring. FSI is very boring. If you can take pleasure in that fat that you are learning something, it does make it more bearable, but it's still boring. I have been using FSI for over a year now, and I still haven't worked my way through the entire course, although I have listened to all of the dialogues. It is useful even in small, infrequent spurts, but I think the best results would obviously be seen from working through it to a schedule, perhaps hoping to get a new lesson learnt every other week to give your brain some breathing space. Another downside to the FSI courses is that they are all old and, in places outdated. The audio quality of the free courses is patchy, and a some of the vocabulary is useless or out of use. For example, I don't really know how often I'll need to talk about typewriters in my daily life. It's not a completely obsolete word, but I rarely talk about them. Some of the verbs have also fallen out of use - for example, 'att beställa' has apparently been replaced by 'att boka', which is very sad but true. (I think 'att boka' is much uglier than 'att beställa', but perhaps that is just me). Finally, the content itself is often outdated. All the men are army officers, diplomats etc. who discuss whether they prefer smoking pipes or cigarettes. All the women - if they have jobs - are nurses and secretaries, and talk about buying dresses and new clothes and lunching with each other. It's not overwhelming in small doses, but it can be a bit cringey at times.

Duolingo: So, I have used Duolingo for different languages in the past, and am using it for a few currently. I have used it for French, German, Swedish, and Esperanto, and I am currently using it for Italian and Portuguese, too. My favourite Duolingo course so far is the Swedish one. I disliked the French one very much, although I last used it about a year ago. I think my main problem with Duolingo French was that it was too fixed, and didn't allow much room for interpretation. I think this is a problem which has probably been worked on, and I know that some people do use and like Duolingo French. Duolingo German is my second favourite Duo course of the ones I've tried. The Pros: I sometimes view Duolingo as a more fun and up to date version of FSI. The repetition of sentences and structures work like the drills, but the fact that the way these sentences are presented changes means that it doesn't get boring as quickly, and probably helps learners to remember and produce these structures. It is quite good for giving learners the building blocks for output training. It is very grammar-lite, but I feel that I have learnt some fairly important grammar from Duolingo, and especially that it has helped with production. It is also nice to have a large and active community on hand, with lots of native speakers to help resolve any issues you might have. If you come across a problem in the course, it can be reported, and the moderators will fix it or explain the issue you might have had. I have always gotten responses to questions very quickly. The Cons: The early units are riddled with very strange sentences, such as 'you eat my dogs food' and 'I do not know that bird' which one is very unlikely to need in real life. Some of these strange sentences can be found in later modules, too. The reason for this is that Duolingo uses a sentence based method to teach languages, and so earlier in the course they are constrained by the small vocabulary of the learner. I also find it quite difficult to learn with Duolingo. I think that it is great for review, and for turning passive vocabulary into active vocabulary, but learning new things from scratch with Duolingo can be quite hard, sometimes. In fact, I had to give up the Duolingo Esperanto course for that reason: even the things I once knew and only needed to refresh were very difficult to retrieve using Duolingo. Another problem is that many of the courses use TTS systems rather than native speakers, which means that somethings are pronounced incorrectly.

LR: Listen-Reading is probably one of the best methods I have tried. It is efficient and fun. The methodology can be found on the HTLAL wiki, so I'll just say what I do and what I have found useful. I don't listen for periods as long as the ones recommended on the site - not even close! I tend to listen to just a chapter at a time, which means the benefits I see are different and slower to manifest than if I were to do it to the letter. I tend to mix up whether I listen first in English/French or in the TL (Swedish or German). What works best changes with different books. So, for a harder book such as Der kleine Hobbit, I prefer to have read through the chapter first in English with or without audio. Listening along with audio means that when reading the German it is easier to remember the meaning of the words. For something slightly easier, like Tintenherz I like to read through in German first without audio, then read in English with German audio, then in German again with German audio. I should probably note here that I only use TL audio. I find it more beneficial to listen to the easier things more, because it doesn't get as tedious. I understand more, so I am more engaged and less like to blank out and get lost in the text. For Swedish, where I am more advanced, and where I know the book I am LRing much better (Låt den rätta komma in), I can just listen and read along in Swedish both times without needing English at all. I can also listen to the audio without the text. The Pros: I love LR. I love it so much. It helps with my global comprehension and I can see that if I were to consecrate more time per session, it would also teach me a lot of words. The Cons: it hasn't done much for my production. I imagine that, again, with longer sessions, it would really help with the internalising of grammatical structures and native-like phrasing. But this leads me on to the second and biggest con. LR is best done in long sessions. My sessions are usually around 40 minutes to an hour long, which limits the benefits I see, as I have mentioned. Very few people, I imagine, can sacrifice more than that in a single sitting, but I believe that this is when the biggest gains will be seen.

Coming (hopefully!) soon:
TY Complete Dutch/Catalan

*I will only include those resources which I have gotten more than a couple of chapters through, and the methods which I have used over a period of time. As my sticking power is generally nil, this probably won't be a very long list.
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Elenia
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Re: Languid Language Learning

Postby Elenia » Mon Jul 20, 2015 11:37 am

I've put quite a lot of effort into this log, even though it might not be permanent. I guess this is to make it the log I wanted my old log to be - organised! The methods and resources post in particular. It was always a pain having to trawl through my old log and find out which things worked and which things didn't work so well. So it's nice to have it all in one place. Hopefully I'll be good at keeping it updated.

Anyway, to get about the usual business of what I've been doing. Here are the goals from last week:

    Swedish:
    1. Listen to three more podcasts 1.1/3
    2. Read as much crappy romance as I can handle Only read a tiny bit more since last update (where I posted I could handle much more
    3. Write and record a response to a podcast 1/2 - I have written the response.
    French:
    4. Start a new book on my hitlist 0/1
    5. Watch 30mins of Kaamelott 0/30
    6. Write a commentary on a piece of text or an image 0/1
    7. Find and listen to an episode of a podcast 2/2
    German
    8. Read more of Die Legende der Drachenritter -
    Wanderlust
    9. Explore Dutch a little bit more -
    10. Dabble in other languages I have continued with the dabbling!

So, I to break it down: I started listening to a bit more of the podcast En Varg söker sin pod, but didn't get far because I was also washing down the fridge and couldn't hear much at all. The episode is also an hour or so long, which might make it difficult to find a good time slot to listen to it. For the podcast response: I have wrote it after listening to the podcast episode (hjärtat är fullt av ensamhet) once more, while taking notes. It is probably awfully ungrammatical, and displays a startling lack of variety in all which concerns word choice, but I guess it's not bad for something I wrote on the fly. I have posted it on Lang-8, but have not yet recieved corrections. I guess I will also post it on italki, and maybe here too. When I receive correction, I will rewrite and record it, adding it to my output challenge totals.

For French: I have not only found a French podcast to listen to, but I listened to an episode that was 1h22 minutes long! The podcast is called 'L'Originale', and the episode was 'Le Ciel, l'espace-temps, Aristote et ta mère'. I planned to only listen to about forty minutes of it in one sitting, but it was pretty interesting and so I just carried right on to the end.

I have continued with my wanderlust languages, doing a tiny bit more for both Portuguese and Italian with Duolingo. I don't know how to categorise Dutch. It certainly isn't a Wanderlust language, but it is not a language I consider myself to be studying, either. I guess I have to get German to a reasonable place quickly, in order to pick Dutch up on a more serious basis.

I don't know how much I will achieve before Wednesday. I have become even busier than I first thought I would be, as I will be staying at my nan's tonight, and then from there a cousin will come and see me there to go up to stay at my house tomorrow. Then, on Wednesday, I will be looking after my niece. My cousin has two babies, and another cousin is staying at our house and I may well be the only person home during the day, so I'll have my hands more or less full. I would like to prioritise French and German, especially as I will be going to the Swedish meetup on Wednesday evening. But, knowing me: I'll probably use most of my time on Swedish. Well. Here's hoping!
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Re: Languid Language Learning

Postby Elenia » Thu Jul 23, 2015 12:06 am

So, my ten-day goals period is over. Let's see what I have achieved.
Last Monday, I wrote that I hoped to...
Elenia wrote:
    Swedish:
    1. Listen to three more podcasts
    2. Read as much crappy romance as I can handle
    3. Write and record a response to a podcast
    French:
    4. Start a new book on my hitlist
    5. Watch 30mins of Kaamelott
    6. Write a commentary on a piece of text or an image
    7. Find and listen to an episode of a podcast
    German
    8. Read more of Die Legende der Drachenritter
    Wanderlust
    9. Explore Dutch a little bit more
    10. Dabble in other languages


To be honest, I've only managed to do two new things since my last update saying how it was all going. I recorded the podcast response, although I would like to do it again as, listening back to it, I find that my accent leaves much to be desired. This probably isn't much in the spirit of the Output Challenge (although, this is a very new challenge, so maybe I can start a trend). But if I can hear faults in my accents, or hear areas for improvement, then I feel I should do my utmost to improve them. I'm not aiming for perfect, native-like production, but I want to sound acceptable to my own ears. When I have managed this I'll post the video on youtube (if I work out how) and share links.

The other thing I've done is read a little of the silly Drachenritter story. I quite enjoy it, despite its being ridiculous. I had a couple of sentences of full comprehension, which was also nice. Aside from this, I researched a few books to start up a German hitlist with. I use Goodreads, and keep my language related hitlists here, on my VO shelf. Hopefully that link works. Currently, it is populated mostly by French YA fantasy and a couple of German books, but I'll work on it as I get more things under my belt. Hopefully, then, Goodreads recommend function will start throwing me gems.

On the subject of books, one unfulfilled list item springs to mind. It is, of course, the starting of a new book on my hit list. This one rankles a bit, because I honestly tried. However, my kindle app wasn't working, and I couldn't get the sample of the book I want to read, Je suis un dragon, open. Also, looking at the title, it becomes apparent that I am working to a theme, here...

I'm also a little upset that I didn't manage to fit any Dutch in this week. Hopefully, I will be a little less busy at the start of next week, and so have time to get more done.

While we're at it, I'll set goals for the current week. Here we go:

    Swedish
  1. Listen to three more podcasts
  2. Read three more chapters of crappy romance
  3. Watch an episode of Mumin
  4. Write and record a review
    French
  5. Get that new book started
  6. Study one new grammar concept, revisit previously studied concepts
  7. Read an article of D'ici là
  8. Read three chapters of crappy teen romance
    German
  9. Read more of Die Legende der Drachenritter
  10. Read more of [/I]Tintenherz[/I] with audio
  11. Read more of either Der kleine Hobbit or Alles Sense! with audio
  12. Look into Audio courses
    Dutch
  13. Do one lesson from TY Complete Dutch
    Wanderlust
  14. Have fun
  15. Have romanian fun. Maybe

So, that's a long list! My track record with ticking all of these items off is anything but good, but I like having the lists in any case. If there is ever an aimless hour, I find it useful to have the list to refer to, to see if there is any goal there that I feel particularly like working towards. It also helps me focus on something, rather than being a bit all over the place. While I am usually very good at keeping focused on a task once I have started it, things are slightly different with self study language learning. I can sometimes feel at a bit of a loss for what to do, especially in those moments when I am despairing of ever getting to my goal of being able to happily and easily use any of these languages (French aside). Having a list helps remove some of this aimlessness and stops me from dithering about and doing nothing.

I don't mind too much when certain goals go unfulfilled. My time tends to fill up really suddenly whenever I am not looking, with family and friends all coming out of the woodwork to make claims on my attention just when I feel like settling down to a good bit of study, and so I feel I manage to get a good amount done in spite of this. Besides, I don't look at uncompleted goals as a failure, or as an indication that I can't do it. Comparing the two lists above, you'll see that some goals are repeated even though I didn't manage them last week. Other goals are absent. This is me, listening to myself about what I want to do and also being realistic about what I can achieve. It is also me, knowing myself very well. I am probably more likely to watch ten or fifteen minutes of Kaamelott when I don't feel pressure to watch it at all, than when I have a goal saying 'well, you have to watch half an hour, otherwise what's the point?'

I don't put in everything I want to achieve, or everything I would like to do. It keeps some things as fun activities. I would, for example, like to find a German cartoon to mess about with, and some crappy German romance with to complete the set, but if I don't there is no pressure. If I do, I can just mess about with them as I like. It is also to give myself a reasonable framework of what I can achieve. I tend to think I overshoot myself with these lists anyway - not because I can't possible do all of these things, but because I probably won't. No need to make it worse.

Anyway. This has devolved into a sort of apologia, but there we are.

Wish me luck!
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Re: Languid Language Learning

Postby garyb » Thu Jul 23, 2015 9:10 am

I know what you mean about time suddenly filling up. I've barely had any language time in the last couple of weeks, I've only managed some videos and book chapters here and there, some background radio and music, and a tiny bit of conversation.

I've mostly given up with shorter-term goals and plans because I just find them impossible to stick to and then I feel bad about not completing them. Life is too unpredictable, and of course it's important to remember that I'm just doing this for fun so I shouldn't stress out about it. Any language usage and exposure is good, and things tend to work out just fine in the longer term since I have enough motivation and when I do have more spare time I make up for what I've missed. I'd love to make faster progress than I do, but I'm being realistic and any progress is good.

That said, I have found it useful to have a few "guideline" goals, small things I try to do but don't worry about too much if I don't manage, just to maintain some sort of consistency and get at least the bare minimum done during busy times. Every week I try to have at least one conversation, write at least one entry in Italian, and work on pronunciation at least once. Every day I try to listen to something in Italian and in French, even if it's just a few minutes.

What you've done sounds perfect for the output challenge. I've always found that discussing my thoughts something I've watched or listened to or read to be a very challenging and useful exercise. Rdearman's always saying that the main point of the challenge is to just do more output and get in the hours, and the monthly challenges are just ideas towards that. I think the challenge is a brilliant idea but I'm again struggling to do even the bare minimum, I've not recorded anything since that Italian video last month.
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Re: Languid Language Learning

Postby Elenia » Thu Jul 23, 2015 11:24 pm

@garyb - I feel like the baseline idea behind both of our approaches is the same - making sure we spend time in our languages without it becoming a chore or a source of stress. I need the goals because I tend to go either way without them: either I get too worked out about them and don't do anything, or I am too laid back and don't do anything.

I like your 'baseline' goals - I like especially that they're geared towards production, which makes them seem a lot more ambitious than my input goals! I agree that the numbers for the output challenge aren't really what's important - that's why I'm focusing on quality over quantity. One of my main issues with production is a kind of perfectionism* - I want to sound the best I can. If I have to, I will speak my faulty French/Swedish, but fear of sounding stupid or being misunderstood will prevent me in most cases. But you should make another video! I find it somewhat satisfying - not to mention your video is what motivated me to make my first one (although I never posted it, so I don't know if it counts.

*This is, for some reason, a non-issue with German. I'm happy to churn out as much crappy, fault-filled German as I can manage

---

Speaking of unexpected time fillers: recently, a few members of my family have come to stay. The past two nights, three of my cousins, five of my second cousins and my niece have stayed with us, which leaves very little time for language study, as I am sure can be imagined. However, I managed to read one new chapter of Swedish Romansgt, and listen to half a podcast. I also managed to get the book I wanted to start last week to work on the Kindle app on my phone. Yay!

A family friend from Mauritius also paid us a visit today. I don't talk much in French to him, usually, although we do plaisant a bit together. But today, his girlfriend came with him, so I got to have a nice chat with her. Sadly it was cut short by my needing to attend to other members of my family, but it was an unexpected joy.

I hope that tomorrow I will be able to read more of the French book that I started, and finish the podcast I am listening to. I may have to relisten to it, as I was on the train when playing it today, so it was hard to hear. I'm seriously considering investing in a decent pair of headphones, but I have only bought myself headphones once before, and I kind of want to keep it that way. Who knows, who knows.
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Re: Languid Language Learning

Postby Cavesa » Fri Jul 24, 2015 1:07 am

Great to see you here! Finally I got to your log, I am still finding my way around here

Thanks for the goodreads link, that is surely gonna be a huge source of inspiration!

Speaking of Swedish crappy romance... I visited my favourite second hand bookshop and I found a couple of books in Swedish. But they were all obviously crappy romance. I am still considering buying some though, Swedish books are hard to come buy. What would you recommend? I am not much of a romance fan, the Sookie Stackhouse novels are the closest I got to the genre. I enjoyed those but I don't know whether I wouldn't be bored by books where the love development is the only storyline. And where do you get the Mumin episodes?

I know, I know, I've been postponing Swedish for a very long time. But I think I might soon get my German to a point when joining the dark side should be safe, if the time allows it. Just asking... :-)
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Re: Languid Language Learning

Postby garyb » Fri Jul 24, 2015 9:45 am

Elenia wrote:@garyb - I feel like the baseline idea behind both of our approaches is the same - making sure we spend time in our languages without it becoming a chore or a source of stress. I need the goals because I tend to go either way without them: either I get too worked out about them and don't do anything, or I am too laid back and don't do anything.

I like your 'baseline' goals - I like especially that they're geared towards production, which makes them seem a lot more ambitious than my input goals! I agree that the numbers for the output challenge aren't really what's important - that's why I'm focusing on quality over quantity. One of my main issues with production is a kind of perfectionism* - I want to sound the best I can. If I have to, I will speak my faulty French/Swedish, but fear of sounding stupid or being misunderstood will prevent me in most cases. But you should make another video! I find it somewhat satisfying - not to mention your video is what motivated me to make my first one (although I never posted it, so I don't know if it counts.

*This is, for some reason, a non-issue with German. I'm happy to churn out as much crappy, fault-filled German as I can manage


Yeah I'm still trying to find that balance between getting stressed and being too laid back. I have phases when I'm really in the mood for languages and others where I have to force myself to get started. Same with other interests really, sometimes all I want to do is play music but other times it can feel like a chore. The "baseline" goals help in these latter phases because they're small and approachable, and once I start it often gets me more in the mood to continue. Even if not, at least I've done the minimum and kept things moving.

Actually I thought the idea of the output challenge was mostly quantity over quality, to just put in the numbers. Not that I've exactly been following that. I can also be quite perfectionist, so the quantity-over-quality idea could help with that: just doing more speaking and writing, instead of doing it less frequently but wanting it to be good.

This also reminds me of the discussion on Cavesa's HTLAL log a week or two ago about how we feel more pressure to speak perfectly in some languages, particularly French, than others. And also a recent post I made in my own log about perfectionism and related anxiety being obstacles to speaking and how I've recently begun to overcome that. I'm quite happy to speak awful Spanish, while with French and Italian I want to speak with a good accent and minimal mistakes. Some of it is from their respective speakers' attitudes, but I think a lot is also that I've invested more time and effort into my more advanced languages so I want to have something to show for it. Also I have emotional associations with these languages: memories of travel, friendships, relationships, and of course negative experiences with native speakers. I've not put much time into Spanish and I see it just as a communication tool without many other associations, which is probably why I care less about speaking it well.

I'd like to make another Italian video! Especially since I've now started applying some of the awesome pronunciation advice that Sarnek gave me, so it would be good for comparison. It's just the usual problem of free time and other priorities. I'm busy with music this week but in the next couple of weeks I should manage something.
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Finnish?!
Language Log: viewtopic.php?t=708
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Re: Languid Language Learning

Postby Elenia » Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:09 pm

@Cavesa - I hope the list is interesting! And I hope that it get's more so, in future. I've started a few of the French titles, thanks to Kindle samples. I'm aiming to look for a few of the German ones today. I don't know how great I will be at judging quality in German, but all I can do is try!

When it come to buying crappy romance, I don't think I'm the person to ask. The last romance I ever bought was Tour B2, mon amour when I was about sixteen. I was not impressed. I have never read any of the Sookie Stackhouse novels either... I get all my romance fixes online these days, and managed to find a few Swedish writing sites: [img=]novell.nu[/img], novelle.se and kapitel1.se. Apparently a friend of my boyfriends hangs out on the last one every now and again. He seemed like someone with good taste, so hopefully the site delivers. And the Mumin episodes are available on youtube, but the series I'm watching doesn't have subtitles. However, the speech is really slow and clear, so that shouldn't pose too many problems. And Mumin is fun regardless :)

I think when you do join us over here, with all of our horned hats and kanelbullar, you'll find it pretty easy to slip into the language. Swedish and Dutch have both seemed quite easy for me to pick up (although I can't say I've gotten very far with Dutch yet). Swedish often feels like a mixture of German, French and English. So, with your super advanced French and English, and your German which is undoubtedly better than my non-existent babbling, Swedish will be a walk in the park for you!

@garyb - I guess the idea can be adapted to individual needs. I view it more as quality over quantity, simply because I produce nothing in Swedish. I feel that, once I have a better idea of how to make my Swedish actually sound Swedish, and once I put myself out there and get some (hopefully) positive feedback, I will start producing more naturally. Although, now that I think about it, this is only my approach to the speaking part of the challenge. I'm quite happy to pour out bad written content, as long as I get it out. I guess this is because I am more comfortable with forming the sentences - although they are in most cases ungrammatical or not very idiomatic. I think it is also in part because studying corrections on a piece of writing is easily done? Who knows.

Yes, I remember that conversation well. I actually thought about it when speaking to the Mauritian girl yesterday. I was aware of mistakes, but once the conversation started rolling it was easier to talk to her without worrying so much about them. I think you are definitely onto something about feeling the need to perfect with our better languages. One of my biggest obstacles for French is that I know that I ought to be much better than I am, considering the time I've spent on it. Whereas, I've spent hardly any time at all speaking German, and so I can use that to explain away the fact that all of my sentences are the linguistic equivalent of Frankenstein's monster.

I look forward to the next video, when it comes. It will give me even more of an excuse to mess about with Italian ;D I'm toying about with the idea of learning a new language the Bakunin way, with only comprehensible audio input. Maybe Italian can be that language?

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As mentioned above, I have managed to tick another item off my list. I started reading not one, not two, but THREE books on my French hitlist last night. The first I started was Je suis un dragon. I think I like it so far. Martin Page has a very interesting style, and I'm coming across a lot of new words, which I am highlighting. I am reading a Kindle sample, but I might see if I can pick up a paper copy if it continues the way it has started. The second is called Les Cendres de l'oubli. It is a completely different beast, that much is clear from the first few lines. The amount of new and/or interesting vocabulary is much less, and the story is, thus far, steeped in the kind of soppy romance of the kind I would not usually part with cash to read. There is space for it to get better, but even if it does, I think I will only search out a library with a copy (or, ahem, go a-searching on the waves of the web to see if I can find it lying stranded on some long-forgotten shore). Finally, I started Nagasaki by Éric Faye. I think I love it already? I always thought I would. It is, again, a completely different beast. There aren't as many unfamiliar words as in Je suis un dragon but the descriptions are delicious. The premise reminds me of a short story by Julio Cortazar, and although the plot was ruined for me by a thoughtless Amazon review, I look forward to reading it.

Other than that, I have listened to half of another podcast - although this is not the same podcast I started before. I have another train journey ahead of me this evening, so I will probably finish that one then, and then go back to one of my sample texts.
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