General language log

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sporedandroid
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Wed Jun 01, 2022 2:27 am

I think I’m going to start an experiment with Finnish. I probably won’t stick to it. Since I’m learning a lot less vocabulary in Hebrew, I kind of want to scratch my language learning itch. I’ve known about the YouTube channel Finnished for a while. The method is to watch a video with bilingual subtitles over and over again until you understand 75% without subtitles. Right now I just started playing the beginner playlist. I’d say I maybe understand 40-50% right now. I guess in theory I know most words, but my brain just isn’t processing them. Still doesn’t feel too close to 75%. Maybe I have 60% comprehension of the main idea if I ignore the fact that I can’t understand a lot of words.
She speaks super slow. Since my vocabulary isn’t great I just sped up the video by 150%. Didn’t hurt my comprehension at all since it’s pretty low. I know that what the video is about since I’ve seen it multiple times already. So it sort of feels like cheating. I’m not sure how helpful I’d find this method. If it does work, it seems like a good head start for listening.

I don’t know how often I’ll do this. I guess the rule is that I’m not trying to commit. So that means no Anki. I might do a bit of duolingo as well. I tried this random site for learning Finnish. It was very bad. It heavily focused on travel phrases and grammar rules. Not a fan. I prefer to be exposed to different sentence structures and slowly learn grammar rules. I want to see if it’s really possible to reach a 75% comprehension of her videos just by watching her videos over and over again.
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sporedandroid
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Sat Jun 18, 2022 3:55 am

Tried watching some of the Finnish learner videos. I watched two of them with subtitles. I tried watching the beginner video without subtitles. I’d say I understood 10-20%. The last time I watched that video without subtitles it was after watching it with subtitles. Which explains why my comprehension felt higher. I guess if my comprehension goes up it won’t feel as much like cheating. I guess based on the Finnish words I “know” my comprehension should be a bit higher. I’m really not studying Finnish consistently. It’s just mind blowing how low my comprehension is.

I’m trying a new approach where I just watch the beginner videos without subtitles first and turn on the subtitles if there’s words that I’m dying to look up. I think those are the words I’m ready to learn. I get the sense that I’m just not ready to learn a lot of Finnish words and concepts. For the rest of the video I’ll just try and let it wash over me. I’ve definitely gotten more used to that with studying Hebrew. Afterwards I can watch the video with subtitles again. When I watch the video again sometimes I just get the urge to look up a bunch of words on wiktionary. I don’t think a whole lot of it sticks, but I do like the amount of grammatical information I’m getting. It’s actually a lot of fun seeing how many different definitions a word can have and seeing example sentences. It’s fascinating seeing the different word boundaries Finnish can have. Even though a lot of words can have a lot of meanings, I can sort of see the logic behind it.

I know I’ll need to have a strong knowledge of grammar to be able to even use a dictionary for Finnish. Having an English translation makes it doable for me. Even though Hebrew has simpler grammar, I still remembered having those issues with Hebrew. Even though Hebrew has shorter words and sentences, it still managed to be hard to figure out for me.

For the Hebrew, the amount of vocabulary I’ve been learning has really slowed down like I’ve been mentioning. My reading fluency has also gone up. I can now sort of casually read YouTube comments. It’s not that I couldn’t read them before, it just didn’t feel as casual. I’m still struggling to intentionally re-read some passages in books.

Like I said before it’s a lot easier to just re-read the most recently highlighted unknown words because they’re most likely to show some gap in vocabulary or reading ability. Since there isn’t a whole lot of truly unknown words, I’ll generously add those difficult sentences to my anki deck. Even if it does feel like I “should” know certain words. A lot of the time I struggled with them for a reason. I kind of feel like this has helped me speed up my progress in reading. I’m still just struggling to find reading fun. I used to love reading. Sometimes I even find it fun right now.
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sporedandroid
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Sun Jun 19, 2022 3:00 pm

Right now I’m continuing my Finnish experiment since I’m sort of exhausted and frustrated with Hebrew. I’m definitely finding the approach where I look up words when I’m curious useful.

Sometimes it feels a bit excessive and sometimes I just don’t look up any words since I don’t care/I’m overwhelmed. When I’m watching without subtitles, it’s helpful to just turn subtitles back on when words really stand out to me. It’s a lot easier to focus on the word I looked up since it will probably repeat anyways. Since the videos I’m watching are made for beginners, they do end up repeating a lot of vocabulary. I’m also repeating the same videos over and over again, so my percentage of comprehension goes up. That’s what the YouTube channel told me to do. It didn’t tell me to look up words, but I honestly didn’t make any obvious progress until I did. I’m even doing a bit of grammar study when I look up words. No scary charts or exercises. I just try to think about how the grammar connects to the meaning. I can definitely see a lack of grammar knowledge getting in the way of comprehension.

A lot of this is just pure memorization, but some of this does feel like real comprehension. I think this high amount of repetition will also help me pick up Finnish again when I want to return to it again. I can just watch those videos again. This works well for Icelandic songs where I memorized the meanings of the lyrics. I can still listen to certain Icelandic songs and sort of understand them. Even after not listening to them for nearly ten years. I think at the moment this approach works a lot better than Anki. Anki definitely helps with consistency, but I’m honestly not aiming for consistency in Finnish.

I just can’t keep myself consistently interested in Finnish. I think for the last few years consistency in Hebrew has helped out a bit. But lately I’ve been needing a bit of a break from Hebrew. Trying to keep up with Anki has made it really hard for me to take breaks. I just get the sense that taking a bit of a break will help with my progress. It seems like my level is too low for me to be reading books where I’ll encounter a lot of new vocabulary and structures.

I’ve been delaying output in Hebrew a lot. For a while it seems like my brain has naturally just wanted to output in Hebrew. Sometimes when I’m half asleep I honestly can’t tell if a word is English or Hebrew. I get weird mashed together thoughts. I just have terrible anxiety and no practical need for speaking Hebrew with people anyways. I’ve experimented with writing things in Hebrew before. It didn’t get too far, but I could write a bit. Maybe on a site like journaly I’ll try writing some language learning journal in Hebrew. It will probably be like an A1 version of this journal. I don’t even do well with journaling prompts in English. I tried doing some business related journaling prompts in Hebrew. The question was asking which image would I want to project to my target audience. I just said professional. I don’t think I’d do much better in English. I’ll probably “cheat” at first and just copy from some journal entries I read in Hebrew. But maybe it isn’t cheating since I’m also practicing reading more.
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sporedandroid
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Wed Jun 29, 2022 5:51 am

I’ve decided to put more effort into practicing reading in Hebrew. I’ve said this many times before. I’ve recently improved my level a bit by making myself re-read and look up unknown words in books I’ve been reading. That’s pretty boring, but it’s kind of been effective. Right now I try to do some intensive reading for ten minute chunks every day. It’s still hard, but it seems more doable. I try to do this when I don’t feel challenged enough. If I’m tired or short on time I just take a break. It’s obviously easier to take a break from this than Anki. Since my load on Anki is so low right now, it’s doable to take a break once in a while.

Since studying Hebrew sort of improved for me again, I sort of did less Finnish. I can only repeat videos so many times in a row without being bored to death. Today I just played a video that was playing a bit in my head. I’ve been noticing those Finnish videos have been sort of getting stuck in my head. It sort of felt good to listen to. I recognized a few more words, but I’m not sure how much progress I made. I do notice when I listen to some Finnish songs, they sort of feel different to me. It seems like I’m noticing word borders more and I’m sort of noticing familiar grammar structures. I haven’t consciously studied much grammar yet. I’m just hoping I’ll connect them to the corresponding meaning. My comprehension is still near zero bedsides a few words I recognize.

Since I’m going with a low intensity approach for Finnish, it sort of does help motivate me in general. When I study Hebrew I appreciate how much I understand compared to Finnish. When I study Finnish, I like the novelty and the amount of vocabulary I’m learning. Right now I can pretty much entirely understand the first part of a beginner Finnish video without subtitles. I have watched it many times, but I remember not being able to understand it at all. I’ve already been studying Finnish today and that does seem to make my comprehension higher. I’ll see how much I can understand more spontaneously.
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Re: General language log

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Wed Jun 29, 2022 11:12 am

Although I don t know a word of Finnish or Hebrew, I know that they are difficult languages for an English speaker to learn. So congratulations for how you are sticking to them. :)
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sporedandroid
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Thu Jun 30, 2022 12:30 am

MorkTheFiddle wrote:Although I don t know a word of Finnish or Hebrew, I know that they are difficult languages for an English speaker to learn. So congratulations for how you are sticking to them. :)

I can’t exactly say I’m sticking to Finnish :lol:. It’s very on and off for me. I’m experimenting with finding ways to casually study a language, but still make a bit of progress. I’m hoping to be able to have a bit of a feel for Finnish before I try to study it more seriously. I tried studying Hebrew about seven years ago and it didn’t go well for me. The mistake I made was trying to start a completely unfamiliar language without any previous exposure. It’s not fun.
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Thu Jun 30, 2022 6:39 am

One of my biggest frustrations with Hebrew is that I still need to warm up in order to watch TV shows comfortably. I think I’ve found a good way. Watching YouTube shorts. A lot of them aren’t very good, but that helps me out with not caring about having lower comprehension. They’re good because people often speak very fast and they’re short and repeat automatically. So if I miss something I can just rewatch the video and I’ll probably catch it. YouTube shorts seem like a good way to practice listening comprehension.

Reading articles also seems easier now. I can tell that I’m not always understanding things the best, but a lot the time I just don’t care. I just read and make a few sentence cards for Anki. Even when I make Anki cards for pretty much any word or term I don’t know, I still don’t end up making all that many Anki cards. If some of them turn out to be bad cards, I don’t care. I just delete them now.

I think studying Finnish helps me not care about not understanding things well. I’ve quickly gone from nearly understanding nothing, to understanding some parts of some videos pretty well. It’s still not spontaneous listening, but it’s still an improvement. I do remember understanding nearly nothing even though I’ve looked up nearly every word in the video. My spontaneous listening abilities are somewhat improving as well. I’m starting to recognize and even understand more words.
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Sat Jul 02, 2022 6:04 pm

It seems like my Finnish comprehension is improving. The main video I’ve been watching over and over is getting kind of stale. I notice I do mentally translate it more than I usually do in Finnish since I looked up pretty much all words in that video. There’s a few words that I either haven’t looked up yet or they seem too complicated for me. Right now it seems like I understand about 20-30% of those learner videos without subtitles. Normally I wouldn’t find 20-30% comprehension helpful. I think it is helpful since I can look at bilingual subtitles afterwards.

I guess one of my issues with Hebrew is that I’m not learning all that much vocabulary, but my reading level isn’t high enough to get enjoyment out of reading. Right now I’m just putting effort into reading an article for roughly ten minute chunks and then logging the time. Now when I want the satisfaction of learning new vocabulary I study a bit of Finnish. If I want to actually be able to understand things I go back to Hebrew. When I was first learning Hebrew I found Finnish vocabulary easier to learn, now I definitely find Hebrew vocabulary easier.
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Tue Jul 05, 2022 1:37 am

I think my strategy of watching Finnish videos without subtitles once and with subtitles afterwards works pretty well. I think it sort of helps it feel less passive. Even through the videos are only 3 or 4 minutes, it feels more like 10-15 minutes when I don’t understand it very well. Maybe it’s a waste of time, but I don’t think it’s too bad at 3-4 minutes.

I just watched a new video and my comprehension was unsurprisingly very low. I can catch a few words here and there, but it still felt like it was below 10% comprehension. To be fair there actually was a lot of vocabulary I wasn’t previously exposed to. It’s a bit hard to find a good balance between repeating videos enough and getting exposed to a wider variety of content. I think when videos feel stale to me, I need a break from them. I think that’s true for Anki as well. I think forgetting things slightly makes it feel less like I’m memorizing something and more like I know it.

I also don’t magically progress just by watching videos over and over. At some point I need to look up words in the dictionary and analyze them. I notice I make a lot of progress in understanding a video after analyzing it. It’s pretty much the same process I went through when I used subs2srs. For now I’m not going to use it for Finnish because that will force me to use Anki for Finnish. I don’t want Finnish to feel like something I have to juggle. Once I sort of feel done with using Hebrew on Anki maybe I’ll start studying Finnish or Icelandic instead. I have been using Anki for Hebrew a lot less. I think the more mature cards get, the quicker I can get through them.

At first it feels forced or like a lot of mental translation, but after repeating it a few times and taking a break it does feel more like true comprehension. Since my level is still pretty low, that only really helps for one video at a time.

I guess with Hebrew I’m still making it a habit to read an article for at least 10-15 minutes a day. At this point I’m trying to just get it done and not be as picky about things. Those things include being able to finish the article, my comprehension and learning new vocabulary. I’m at the point where reading feels less painful and more automatic. For the last few months I’ve been noticing that I read titles and headings a lot more automatically than I used to. I still struggle with reading speed. A lot of the articles I want to read are kind of long, so it’s unrealistic to finish them in one sitting. I also notice that I struggle with reading even if I technically know all the vocabulary. So I’m measuring progress on how much time I spend reading rather than how many new words I learn or how many articles I complete.

I also find it helpful to occasionally re-read articles, but not in a spaced-repetition kind of way. I tried that, but it quickly piled up and got out of control. I think it works decently for Anki because Anki cards don’t usually take too long. Now what I have is a page where I saved a bunch of links to articles. Now I might just re-read the last paragraph I read and maybe re-read articles when I feel like it. I try to pick articles that are interesting enough. I think for re-reading articles, longer intervals work a lot better. It lets me progress a bit and not find things as tedious.
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sporedandroid
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Re: General language log

Postby sporedandroid » Mon Jul 18, 2022 5:36 am

It seems like studying Finnish has improved my ability to learn from context and tolerate ambiguity. I do hear a lot about how important this is, but it isn’t just some switch I can flip. It’s been a skill I’ve been gradually developing. I notice I’m a lot worse at this when I’m tired. When I first started listening to Finnish videos without subtitles it sort of felt like a waste of time. I could only understand greetings. But slowly I could recognize more and more words I knew. Today I could understand about half of a learner’s video without subtitles. I also watched a learner’s video from a Finnish teacher and my comprehension was about the same. The Finnish teacher I found teaches in a more traditional way, but she still teaches in Finnish. I like that she films her videos outdoors, so I have more interesting things to look at. It makes it easier to put up with my low comprehension.

In order for this listening practice to not be a waste of time I usually watch with subtitles afterwards to be able to actually understand the video and maybe pick up some vocabulary. When I feel up to it I manually look up words, but sometimes seeing bilingual subtitles is good enough. I find I remember words better when I look them up since I can sometimes get some good example sentences and more information in general. It seems like watching videos without subtitles has sped up my progress a lot.

At this point I’m not going to log the time I spend on Finnish. The reason it’s so motivating for Hebrew is because I’m not noticing progress as much. Logging time gives me a sense of progress. I knew this would be motivating because I got pretty motivated when I saw how much time I studied on Anki. As a beginner I sometimes studied an hour or more. That was super motivating because I never thought I could do that. Now I spend a lot less time on Anki. I think for a while I did overuse it. Now I’m spending a lot of that time reading articles. It’s a lot harder to track how much time I spend reading, but it’s definitely a better use of my time.

It seems like studying Finnish has also helped me watch TV in Hebrew. Right now I understand about 90-95%. The stuff I can’t understand really bugged me. But when I started listening to Finnish and maybe understanding 20% at best, I started to appreciate being able to understand 90%. I also just got used to figuring out what Finnish words meant by context.

Another thing that I think is good for listening comprehension is YouTube shorts. It’s good because the videos are short, automatically repeat and they’re often fast paced. If I don’t catch something the first time I can just rewatch the video. I think this has gotten me used to thinking more quickly in general. I get good practice at listening quickly and I also get better at reading quickly. It’s pretty shallow, but I like to think I balance it out with reading. So far I don’t think watching those short videos have negatively affected my attention span. Since they’re faster paced I end up having to actually pay full attention to them. I get used to that, so I end up finding it easier to pay full attention to shows and the news.
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