kanewai's book shelf

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kanewai
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Re: kanewai's book shelf

Postby kanewai » Sat Apr 17, 2021 1:54 am

This was the dialogue that finally made me snap in Language Pod:

1. Did anyone call during lunch?
2. They called from this morning's client's office. It's about some detail from our offer.
3. Did they leave a number?
4. No, they said you should use the company's telephone center.

It is only the eighth lesson of the absolute beginner track, and it's supposed to demonstrate the genitive case. It is, I would note, not an "absolute beginner" sentence, not good English (sentence two in particular), and not a very good use of the genitive. And I looked back, and realized that the dialogues were all like this. It's like they weren't even trying to craft a good lesson or a linear progression; it's all just lots of random stuff.

So it looks like I'm back to my two old friends, Assimil and Pimsleur. They're a pretty solid combination, though I'm still keeping an eye out for a good, general grammar book.
2 x
fr: Margeurite Duras, Un barrage contre le Pacifique: 50 / 100
it: Indro Montanelli, Storia dei Greci: 130 / 341
es: RNE, El Quijote del siglo XXI: 1 / 10
el: Assimil, Le grec: 72 / 100

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eido
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Re: kanewai's book shelf

Postby eido » Sat Apr 17, 2021 2:45 am

I don't see what's wrong with the English in sentence 2. I'm a native, and it's a way I'd use to express the concept. I could see how it'd seem awkward though. It's just super colloquial. I won't argue, though.

I have a few books for Modern Greek. One is an all-Greek course series and the other is the old Teach Yourself from the 1950s/60s. I believe the latter makes use of Katharevousa, though, and that may not be helpful for a beginner. Both are pretty good imo. If you want I could try to figure out what happened to the monolingual set and mark the title down here. If not, that's fine, too.
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kanewai
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Re: kanewai's book shelf

Postby kanewai » Sat Apr 17, 2021 11:10 pm

eido wrote:I don't see what's wrong with the English in sentence 2. I'm a native, and it's a way I'd use to express the concept. I could see how it'd seem awkward though. It's just super colloquial. I won't argue, though.

I have a few books for Modern Greek. One is an all-Greek course series and the other is the old Teach Yourself from the 1950s/60s. I believe the latter makes use of Katharevousa, though, and that may not be helpful for a beginner. Both are pretty good imo. If you want I could try to figure out what happened to the monolingual set and mark the title down here. If not, that's fine, too.


It was the stringing together of multiple possessives (this morning's client's office) that irked me. It's grammatically correct, but I had to replay it a few times and untangle it (as in, oh, they mean the office of the client from this morning) before I could tackle the Greek. It's not bad, it's just a clumsy way to teach.

I'm curious about the all-Greek book. I have one, Communicate in Greek, that was frustrating at my level. I was spending most of my time looking up words in the dictionary. I might go back to that one now that I have more vocabulary under my belt.
1 x
fr: Margeurite Duras, Un barrage contre le Pacifique: 50 / 100
it: Indro Montanelli, Storia dei Greci: 130 / 341
es: RNE, El Quijote del siglo XXI: 1 / 10
el: Assimil, Le grec: 72 / 100

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eido
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Re: kanewai's book shelf

Postby eido » Sat Apr 17, 2021 11:37 pm

kanewai wrote:I'm curious about the all-Greek book. I have one, Communicate in Greek, that was frustrating at my level. I was spending most of my time looking up words in the dictionary. I might go back to that one now that I have more vocabulary under my belt.

The book is called Ellinika Tora (Ελληνικά Τώρα) 1+1 and 2+2. There's multiple editions of the book, and it appears in multiple languages :geek: It comes in a big set, or at least the publisher I got my books from offered a deal like that and they shipped all from Greece. Let me know if you find this recommendation useful!
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Re: kanewai's book shelf

Postby kanewai » Wed Apr 28, 2021 1:36 am

I've reached another threshold in Greek, though I don't know how it matches up with any CEFR or IRL levels. And all I have are metaphors to describe it - it's as if I am hiking, and just reached the top of the first foothill. I'm tired but confident, and I feel good, and then I look up and I see a whole #*$@*! mountain in front of me.

And it seems impossible, and I wonder what I'm even doing, and then I figure, well, I might as well just keep walking.

But also, now, I have a picture in my mind of what the whole #*$@*! mountain looks like. And I'm already half-way to the first ridge, I have no idea what I'm going to do after I reach that ridge, but at least I know my next destination. I have the tools to reach that.
---------------
I think a lot of people don't give enough credit to those who reach A1. When I read articles and posts by social-media influencers (how I hate that word) I get the sense that they think A1 is where you start, and not something that takes hundreds of hours of work to reach.

I'm certainly not at A1 in Greek after four months, but for the first time I can visualize it (that first ridge).

Pimsleur has been great for that. I'm currently on lesson 12, and am at that section where we ask the girl to have dinner at six, and she says no not at six at seven, and you say no not at seven ... and so on. I know this will go on for a couple lessons, but it's really effective at really cementing in a set of base phrases and patterns, as well as making counting, telling time, and talking about today/tomorrow/yesterday feel natural. It's a good base that I'll be able to work off of.

I've reached the third week of Assimil's active phase. It's still hard, and it still takes me three or more days to work through a set of one passive lesson, one active lesson. Even though my pace is much, much slower than they recommend, it feels useful.

I still have no idea what comes next, but Assimil / Pimsleur will get me to that first ridge, sometime in June or July. That's exciting.
13 x
fr: Margeurite Duras, Un barrage contre le Pacifique: 50 / 100
it: Indro Montanelli, Storia dei Greci: 130 / 341
es: RNE, El Quijote del siglo XXI: 1 / 10
el: Assimil, Le grec: 72 / 100

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Re: kanewai's book shelf

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Wed Apr 28, 2021 5:20 pm

kanewai wrote:I've reached another threshold in Greek, though I don't know how it matches up with any CEFR or IRL levels. And all I have are metaphors to describe it - it's as if I am hiking, and just reached the top of the first foothill. I'm tired but confident, and I feel good, and then I look up and I see a whole #*$@*! mountain in front of me.
Yup. And it goes on and on and on. Perfect metaphor for learning a language. I'll probably steal it. :D
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Tu sabes cuando sales pero no sabes cuando regresas.

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kanewai
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Re: kanewai's book shelf

Postby kanewai » Thu Apr 29, 2021 1:56 am

In non-Greek news, I finished a mess of books over the past week:

es: Santiago Posteguillo. Y Julia retó a los dioses (2020)

This is the final book in Posteguillo's series on Julia Domna, the daughter of a Syrian priest who fought her way to the top - becoming one of the most powerful empresses in Roman (or world) history, and who helped establish the new, militaristic Severan dynasty.

She's a hero-monster, like Julius Caesar, Augustus, Julian, and the rest of the boys - bloody, ruthless, and fascinating.

Most of Posteguillo's book are fact-based, but in this novel he brings in the gods. Julia is a follower of the eastern sun god el-Gabal, and the gods of Olympus are torn into two camps: those that support her, and those that don't want a new god in Rome.

This is a great one for history nerds.


fr: Amin Maalouf, Samarcance (1988) (cross-posted on A French Book Reading Resource)

The first half of this book takes place a thousand years ago in the royal cities of the Silk Road, and follows the lives of three men: the scientist and poet Omar Khayyam, author of the Rubáiyát; the Seljuk vizier Nizam al-Mulk; and Hassan Sabbah, the founder of the Order of Assassins.

It was fascinating, and like the best historical fiction transports you back to a lost world. As a bonus, Khayyam’s poetry is scattered throughout.

The second half follows an American scholar’s attempts to track down an original copy of the Rubáiyát. There’s more action, including a revolution in Iran and the sinking of the Titanic, but it didn’t have the same magic as the first half. Maalouf was trying to make a point here about the modern (circa 1988) state of Islamic culture, colonialization, and modernization, but I missed the poetry and the vivid characters of the earlier parts.


en: James Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (2016). Audiobook, narrated by Colin Farrell

I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it calls itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defense the only arms I allow myself to use -- silence, exile, and cunning.

This book blew me away. It's the story of Stephen Daedalus, a young man who rebels against the tyrannies of the Catholic Church and Irish Nationalism to form his own identity. Most of the real action takes place inside Stephen's head, but there is still plenty of drama, from family dinners ruined by fights over Charles Parnell to chapters set in brothels to one long, insane rant by a Jesuit priest detailing all the gruesome tortures in hell that await little boys who touch themselves.

It's more linear and easier to follow than Ulysses, though it has a lot of the same mix of humor and sacrilege.

The narration was excellent.

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

And no sooner that I set one down, I pick up the next set:

Marguerite Duras. Un barrage contre le Pacifique. 1950
Indro Montanelli. Storia dei Greci. 1959
Virginia Woolf. Mrs. Dalloway. 1950. Audiobook, narrated by Juliet Stevenson.
9 x
fr: Margeurite Duras, Un barrage contre le Pacifique: 50 / 100
it: Indro Montanelli, Storia dei Greci: 130 / 341
es: RNE, El Quijote del siglo XXI: 1 / 10
el: Assimil, Le grec: 72 / 100

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Re: kanewai's book shelf

Postby kanewai » Fri Apr 30, 2021 10:48 pm

APRIL 2021 - The year to date.

I stopped tracking reading and listening, at least in the Romance languages, as those are just part of my normal routine now. I still use an excel spreadsheet for active studying.

The past couple months I've only focused on Greek. My original plan was to reach at least an A1 speaking level by September, but now I think A2 might actually be possible.

I'm impatient to start actively working on French again, but I don't want to distract myself from Greek too early. I might start doing some light work with Kwiziq or Speakly this month, and in June start a more aggressive push to level up before September.

Once I have a solid French / Greek routine, some light work with Italian on Speakly is also in my future. Though, with the world slowly opening up, I'm going to have less time on my own.

I haven't done much at all with Spanish besides reading and listening to podcasts.

I don't imagine I'll have much time for Arabic until after September. Then, we'll see.

April.JPG
April.JPG (125.21 KiB) Viewed 161 times


I rotate through these a lot; usually my primary focus is on wherever I'm traveling next. And I have some exciting plans ahead, inshallah!

Fall 2021: France (work), Greece (fun)
Spring 2022: Morocco
Summer 2022: Galapagos (family fun)
Spring 2023: Via Francigena (Italian section)
Spring 2024: Durango, Mexico (total solar eclipse!)

That will provide me motivation for Greek and Arabic in the short term, and French / Italian / Spanish in the long term.
8 x
fr: Margeurite Duras, Un barrage contre le Pacifique: 50 / 100
it: Indro Montanelli, Storia dei Greci: 130 / 341
es: RNE, El Quijote del siglo XXI: 1 / 10
el: Assimil, Le grec: 72 / 100

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kanewai
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Re: kanewai's book shelf

Postby kanewai » Wed May 12, 2021 5:44 am

Greek

I forget what a roller-coaster ride learning a new new language is (i.e., not closely related to one I've studied before, or one I'm just flirting with). Last week I was full of confidence. This week it all sounds like Russian to me (I guess I can't say it's Greek to me anymore). Part of it is just general energy level for me. Work is taking up more time, and as the world slowly opens up I actually have more of a social life than I have in a year. It's not much ... but it means I have less time to curl up on the couch with my books.

And I have a lot of books now on my book shelf! I have a pile of English-language books on Greece I hope to tackle before September. That, and I still want to level up in French. This is going to take some serious time-management.

Currently on Lesson 22 of Pimsleur I, and Lesson 74 (active) & 25 (passive) of Assimil. The active lessons are pretty hard, and often take me three sessions to work through. I think that I'll take another quick run through with Language Transfer once I'm done with Pimsleur. It will help to have a refresher. After I'll move on to Pimsleur II. That might take the rest of the summer.


French

With all the talk on the French Reading thread on Proust, I was inspired to start in on the audiobook of Du côté de chez Swann. I don't think I want to listen to the whole series - reading it once was enough! - but I'd like to revisit À l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs (#2) and Le Temps retrouvé (#7).

Reading Margeurite Duras' Un barrage contre le pacifique, a novel based partly on her experience growing up in poverty in colonial Indochine in the 1930s. I'll do a proper review when I'm done. It's a far different take on colonialism than I've ever seen in English.

It's time for me to do something active. I keep hesitating on redoing Pimsleur IV or V. It would be useful, but dull. I spent some time on Speakly last week, and struggled with pronouncing words so the AI would understand me. I don't have that problem with Italian. I plan to dive back into Kwiziq after I finish this post.

Italian

I'm half way through Indro Montanelli's Storia dei Greci. It's amazing, and will post much more when I finish. I spent some time last week with Speakly Italian, which went far better than it did with French.

Spanish

I wasn't planning on doing much Spanish this month, but then stumbled on RNE's El Quijote del siglo XXI (versión radiofónica). I started it, and fell in love. I struggled with Quijote in Spanish, and finished the books in English. The dramatization is fun, and much easier to follow. Each chapter starts with a "critical eye" discussion by a famous author. I can only find the second book in podcast form, but that's alright - it's the better book by far.
9 x
fr: Margeurite Duras, Un barrage contre le Pacifique: 50 / 100
it: Indro Montanelli, Storia dei Greci: 130 / 341
es: RNE, El Quijote del siglo XXI: 1 / 10
el: Assimil, Le grec: 72 / 100


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