Not all those who wander are lost

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sfuqua
Brown Belt
Posts: 1403
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 5:05 am
Location: san jose, california
Languages: Bad English: native
Samoan: speak, but rusty
Tagalog: imperfect, but use all the time
Spanish: read
French: read some
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9248
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Re: Not all those who wander are lost

Postby sfuqua » Fri Jun 24, 2022 5:19 am

Pimsleur, Michel Thomas, ASSiMiL, Old Glossika anki decks
Spanish : 13835 / 25000 25000 reviews:
French : 8583 / 25000 25000 reviews

Day by day cards are studied. Months to go.
One thing that is obvious, but which I finally figured out :lol: is that I should take the time to fix each card, remove its ambiguity the first time I see each one. Translations can be improved; grammar needs to be understood. The point is to learn and to understand this stuff, not just memorise that X=Y. :lol:

Anyway, the process of fixing each card is a good learning exercise. :D

In booking back at some of my recent posts, someone might think that I am explaining France to everybody. I think that my ignorance about France is what was making me resist learning this complex world language. French is a language of many places other than the cliched American idea of it, little cafés in Paris. I have a hard time imagining myself in the sophisticated world of cafés and discos (or whatever they call them today). But back in the last century I lived in the South Pacific for several years. I got to a few countries, but I never got to French Polynesia. It always seemed to be one of the coolest places in that big ocean. I read a lot about the European exploration of the Pacific, including several original sources. It is funny to read what some of the first Europeans thought was going on when they got to Samoa. There is one quote where a European explorer reported that the name of Upolu, one of the big Samoan islands, that its name was what translates in Samoan as "Over there." I can just see the conversation, "what's that over there?" "Samoan: Over there." "Ëuropean:over there" "Samoan:Over there" writes it down. At least for Samoa, there is still a lot being published in research circles that doesn't make a lot of sense. They are still using the wrong terms for some Samoan sex acts based on the bad data gathered back in the 70s. The standard thing that scientists do when they visit is to find an informant who will explain what is going on. The informant they pick tends to reflect the biases that the scientist brought with them. Some excellent work has been done, but the many famous papers on Samoa are pretty bad. :?

Anyway, I've never been to French Polynesia, so all I know of it is from reading accounts of foreigners living there. It always sounded like it might be a fun place to get to know. Tahitian traditional dance is beautiful, and the whole island group seems to be a few degrees cooler than Samoa, which would be a good thing on the days when the trades don't blow. One of the things that I like to do when learning a language is to imagine myself there. I have a hard time imagining myself as a sophisticate in Paris. But in a bar in Tahiti, sipping a beer while a nice trade wind cools us off, well, sure. :lol:

Anyway, French Polynesia looks very nice, but since I never visited, I will readily admit that I don't know anything. Outsiders can't seem to report very accurately on Samoa, so I may not have heard accurate information about French Polynesia. :shock:
But any place that created dancing like the Tahitians, must be fun. :D
5 x
Pimsleur, Michel Thomas, ASSiMiL, Old Glossika anki decks
Spanish : 17464 / 25000 25000 reviews
Spanish : 2552 / 6000 100 hours
French : 11931 / 25000 25000 reviews
French : 2358 / 6000 100 hours

User avatar
sfuqua
Brown Belt
Posts: 1403
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 5:05 am
Location: san jose, california
Languages: Bad English: native
Samoan: speak, but rusty
Tagalog: imperfect, but use all the time
Spanish: read
French: read some
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9248
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Re: Not all those who wander are lost

Postby sfuqua » Fri Jun 24, 2022 4:07 pm

Let me get on my annoyance with anthropologists about Samoa.

For at least 30 years there was a big controversy about Margaret Mead's work on Samoahttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coming_of_Age_in_Samoa. She portrayed Samoan youth as a happy bunch of folks because of the amount of sex they were having.
Dereck Freeman came along later and made a cottage industry out of trashing Mead https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derek_Freeman.
Both were wrong, but Freeman was more wrong. In fact, Freeman was ridiculous. "Samoan culture in fact puts greater emphasis on female virginity than Western culture" is laughable. Mead claimed that Samoans have pleasant young adult life and are nonviolent because of their free sex life. Nonsense, too. Samoan kids are about like kids anywhere-- plenty of drama.

Paul Shankman wrote a fair book about the whole thing a few years ago https://uwpress.wisc.edu/books/4614.htm.

I wrote this to another anthropologist and supporter of Paul Shankman in 2011:

33 years ago I spent 6 years in Samoa. I lived first in Western Samoa, and then in Tau, Manua, where Margaret Mead lived. I spoke pretty good Samoan (FSI 4) after the first two years in the Peace Corps. I loved Samoa, and I have never been treated better anywhere. The last part of my time in Samoa coincided with the beginning of Freeman's attacks on Margaret Mead. I couldn't really believe that anybody took Freeman seriously, and I am astounded that there is any controversy left. I was a single young man in Samoa, and I assure you that my experiences were closer to those described by Mead than those described by Freeman. I'm shocked that he hasn't been completely debunked. I think he may have been misled by his informants a bit himself. I went to a presentation by Dr. Freeman shortly before I left Samoa, and I assure you that Dr. Freeman wasn't listening to anyone who didn't agree with him.

Of course Mead missed points herself; there may be plenty of sex in Samoa (sort of like America...), but there is also plenty of violence, jealousy, and frustration. I think modern Samoans who read Mead find her embarrassing, and are certain that foreigners who read her work look down on Samoans. The modern Samoans may be right about outsiders' opinions, and Mead oversimplified certainly, but she was not truly wrong back when she did her first writing on Samoa. Samoa repressed? Please, Dr. Freeman! Samoans "happier" than Americans? Probably. Oversimplified? Of course.

I reconnected with a lot of old friends in Samoa after the tsunami last year, and it was great to see how things had changed. When I left Samoa there were no paved roads on the south side of Upolu, and there was no electricity. We used to sing and dance in the middle of the road on full moon nights. You knew when it was time to go to bed from the position of the Southern Cross. There was bright moonlight and there were dark shadows. It was as romantic as hell, if you ignored the mosquitoes.

Right after the tsunami, I got an email from a friend's Blackberry from right near where I had lived with no power for two years. The house was gone, but he still had a signal.

If anybody wants to debunk either Mead or Freeman, they'd better get there before Samoa is just another part of the digital world.


Now I'll get off my soapbox
5 x
Pimsleur, Michel Thomas, ASSiMiL, Old Glossika anki decks
Spanish : 17464 / 25000 25000 reviews
Spanish : 2552 / 6000 100 hours
French : 11931 / 25000 25000 reviews
French : 2358 / 6000 100 hours

User avatar
sfuqua
Brown Belt
Posts: 1403
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 5:05 am
Location: san jose, california
Languages: Bad English: native
Samoan: speak, but rusty
Tagalog: imperfect, but use all the time
Spanish: read
French: read some
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9248
x 4862

Re: Not all those who wander are lost

Postby sfuqua » Sat Jun 25, 2022 9:39 pm

Pimsleur, Michel Thomas, ASSiMiL, Old Glossika anki decks
Spanish : 14079 / 25000 25000 reviews
Spanish : 1963 / 6000 100 hours
French : 8777 / 25000 25000 reviews
French : 1774 / 6000 100 hours
My accuracy rate in the French deck has gone way up since I started "fixing" every card that is at all ambiguous as to what it should be in French. Either my Spanish cards are less ambiguous, or I just know Spanish better. :lol:
This is obvious in retrospect, but it took me a while to figure it out; getting past any ambiguity in the translation doesn't do much to teach the language. Difficulty in cards should be limited to unknown vocabulary and unknown grammar, not ambiguous translations. 8-)

I am quite pleased with the effect of all of the L1->L2 translation cards I have been doing. I am certain that the quickest way to make progress as a beginner in a language is to get a lot of comprehensible input, but there comes a time... I bet that most people who had success with using "only input" had situations where they had a lot of access to willing interlocutors, who gave them the chance to do a lot of output. They would also have to have the drive to push themselves to communicate. I suspect that a person who is learning a language in a country where it is not spoken will wait forever to start speaking fluently if they stick to input only methods. A person using input only in a "foreign language" context, who does not find opportunities to do output can continue improving comprehension, forever probably... But they will never gain much in the way of output unless they practise it somehow. :o

I suspect that L1->L2 anki cards can provide this practice, or at least some of it, especially with cards that have audio. I don't think that this is the only way at all. Other forms of cards may work as well. I would also like to try cards that have only audio on the front, L2(audio)->L1+L2(written) cards. I suspect this might work just as well for writing. I suppose cards with written output could work for writing also. :)

Now, I don't think this is at all the best way to learn to talk or write, but it is a way to learn that does not depend on language tutors. I have been encouraged about how much better my output is after doing a few thousand of thes cards. :D
4 x
Pimsleur, Michel Thomas, ASSiMiL, Old Glossika anki decks
Spanish : 17464 / 25000 25000 reviews
Spanish : 2552 / 6000 100 hours
French : 11931 / 25000 25000 reviews
French : 2358 / 6000 100 hours

User avatar
sfuqua
Brown Belt
Posts: 1403
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 5:05 am
Location: san jose, california
Languages: Bad English: native
Samoan: speak, but rusty
Tagalog: imperfect, but use all the time
Spanish: read
French: read some
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9248
x 4862

Re: Not all those who wander are lost

Postby sfuqua » Tue Jun 28, 2022 12:49 pm

I just read my long winded post about these L1->L2 ddecks for French and Spanish that I have been doing, and I think I can paraphrase the whole thing like this...

I think you can learn a lot by studying an L1->L2 Anki deck, :D

I've been surprised how hard it was at the beginning. :o

I'm encouraged by how easy it has become. :D

I gotta learn how to write clearly in English :lol:
4 x
Pimsleur, Michel Thomas, ASSiMiL, Old Glossika anki decks
Spanish : 17464 / 25000 25000 reviews
Spanish : 2552 / 6000 100 hours
French : 11931 / 25000 25000 reviews
French : 2358 / 6000 100 hours

User avatar
sfuqua
Brown Belt
Posts: 1403
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 5:05 am
Location: san jose, california
Languages: Bad English: native
Samoan: speak, but rusty
Tagalog: imperfect, but use all the time
Spanish: read
French: read some
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9248
x 4862

Re: Not all those who wander are lost

Postby sfuqua » Fri Jul 01, 2022 4:18 am

I keep grinding through cards. They are getting too easy lately. I seem to have figured out the "Pimsleur dialect" of French and Spanish. I have figured out how to quickly fixe most of the types of ambiguity that make cards hard. :D
Things are going faster with the cards, which is good because more and more review cards are piling up. :shock:
When I first started playing with these very simple cards, I thought that they might be a way to get me up to a level of basic communication, so that I could maintain this level just by reviewing the decks, while I switched to intensive reading. It is still several months before I will be done with all of the Pimsleur and MIchel Thomas cards, and I am not sure whether I will move on to the Assimil and Glossika cards. I may be desperate to get away from sentence cards in anki, and I may just start reading and watching media, like in a super challenge. There is also the issue of whether or not to start any other languages at that point.
I suspect that I won't be able to maintain any languages besides Spanish and French, so I am not sure why I would be starting yet another language. :D

Of course I am also daydreaming about getting back to Irish, Old English, and Norse... :lol: :lol: :lol:

I continue to move through these anki decks. I am finding them to be surprisingly useful. :D
4 x
Pimsleur, Michel Thomas, ASSiMiL, Old Glossika anki decks
Spanish : 17464 / 25000 25000 reviews
Spanish : 2552 / 6000 100 hours
French : 11931 / 25000 25000 reviews
French : 2358 / 6000 100 hours

User avatar
sfuqua
Brown Belt
Posts: 1403
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 5:05 am
Location: san jose, california
Languages: Bad English: native
Samoan: speak, but rusty
Tagalog: imperfect, but use all the time
Spanish: read
French: read some
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9248
x 4862

Re: Not all those who wander are lost

Postby sfuqua » Sun Jul 03, 2022 11:31 pm

Ahhh..... :lol:
It's all just too slow! :D
How can I keep grinding away at this course until I finish it? :x

The course was interesting when I just started out, because I was learning the Pimsleur dialect. :D

Then it was hard because as the sentences increased the ambiguity of the prompts and the increasing complexity of the sentences made it hard. :D

Well, I'm passed those points and still looking at thousands of cards that won't teach me much. I'm not sure that I am actually learning that much French and Spanish.

Spanish and French are well worth the trouble to learn, but I'm not sure that I am still learning much from htis deck.

Maybe I can add in some harder cards to increase the interest level, but of course that would just make these large decks larger.

Ah, wanderlust,
I gotta think.
3 x
Pimsleur, Michel Thomas, ASSiMiL, Old Glossika anki decks
Spanish : 17464 / 25000 25000 reviews
Spanish : 2552 / 6000 100 hours
French : 11931 / 25000 25000 reviews
French : 2358 / 6000 100 hours

User avatar
sfuqua
Brown Belt
Posts: 1403
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 5:05 am
Location: san jose, california
Languages: Bad English: native
Samoan: speak, but rusty
Tagalog: imperfect, but use all the time
Spanish: read
French: read some
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9248
x 4862

Re: Not all those who wander are lost

Postby sfuqua » Mon Jul 04, 2022 1:37 pm

Pimsleur, Michel Thomas, ASSiMiL, Old Glossika anki decks
Spanish : 15764 / 25000 25000 reviews
Spanish : 2228 / 6000 100 hours
French : 10369 / 25000 25000 reviews
French : 2061 / 6000 100 hours

OK, time to put some harder cards in. Keeping interest level up is more important. I also, paradoxically I guess, need to keep my new cards down so that I have time to do other things besides this sill anki deck.

Great weather the last few days.
Much better for swimming and hanging out with family than it is for grinding through anki cards.
5 x
Pimsleur, Michel Thomas, ASSiMiL, Old Glossika anki decks
Spanish : 17464 / 25000 25000 reviews
Spanish : 2552 / 6000 100 hours
French : 11931 / 25000 25000 reviews
French : 2358 / 6000 100 hours

User avatar
sfuqua
Brown Belt
Posts: 1403
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 5:05 am
Location: san jose, california
Languages: Bad English: native
Samoan: speak, but rusty
Tagalog: imperfect, but use all the time
Spanish: read
French: read some
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9248
x 4862

Re: Not all those who wander are lost

Postby sfuqua » Tue Jul 05, 2022 3:51 am

It's graduation season in the Philippines, and we have another group of kids completing college. We have supported every single niece or nephew there through college, so far. They are a wonderful bunch of kids, and with the cost of Filipino universities, you can do a lot of good with a little money. Our family in the Philippines has tended to produce more daughters than sons this generation, so there is a whole crew of beautiful, smart young ladies between 20 and 30 who (I think) are ready to take over the world. :D
As far as I can see, the world desperately needs a new generation to start running things. Us oldsters may have meant well, but we have left quite a mess :lol:

My wife had a big exposure to covid today. We have two other families that we have been podding with since when the omicron wave dropped off here. We are godparents for each other's kids, and it seems weird to stay masked up. My wife was over playing with a godson today (a little 4 year old), and the Dad of the family tested before he went in for his night shift at the hospital where he works and well, he was positive. And my wife had just spent 3 hours in the same room with him, without a mask on. Oh well... The guy who tested positive is running a fever now, too.

For my wife and me it's a pretty straightforward medical question, but my daughter is freaked out. She is the lead in the summer musical in the next town over and there are a hundred people depending on her to show up and sing and act for a couple of hours several times in a couple of days. She has an understudy, but this will be her first time as lead, and she is very worried. She has retreated to her room and has a mask on and a fan in the window. She claims she won't be back out, except to use the bathroom, until everybody is cleared of covid. She is rehearsing with a mask on up until opening night when she will finally get to sing with her mask off, so we have to keep her clear of covid up until near the end of the month
8 x
Pimsleur, Michel Thomas, ASSiMiL, Old Glossika anki decks
Spanish : 17464 / 25000 25000 reviews
Spanish : 2552 / 6000 100 hours
French : 11931 / 25000 25000 reviews
French : 2358 / 6000 100 hours

User avatar
sfuqua
Brown Belt
Posts: 1403
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 5:05 am
Location: san jose, california
Languages: Bad English: native
Samoan: speak, but rusty
Tagalog: imperfect, but use all the time
Spanish: read
French: read some
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9248
x 4862

Re: Not all those who wander are lost

Postby sfuqua » Wed Jul 13, 2022 5:26 am

Pimsleur, Michel Thomas, ASSiMiL, Old Glossika anki decks
Spanish : 17097 / 25000 25000 reviews
Spanish : 2486 / 6000 100 hours
French : 11635 / 25000 25000 reviews
French : 2302 / 6000 100 hours
Well, it looks like we dodged covid. My wife was in a room for four hours with four other people who caught it, and is still negative after 8 days. Nobody from the family where Dad brought it home (from the hospital where he works) was seriously ill; although two of them lost their sense of taste. :(
Our family has no symptoms, and no positive tests. I know that it is mathematically possible that we could still come down with it, but we aren't isolating from each other anymore. :o
The weather is perfect in the mornings for walking and my daily patrol is quite enjoyable. I am now great buddies with the woman who didn't get my "Black Friday" joke last year. She is out doing long walks with her dog a lot, so we pass by each other pretty much every day. Opening night for my daughter's musical is getting closer and closer, and she is getting pretty nervous. She's never been the lead before, and a lot of people depend on her. She practices her musical numbers at home a lot, and she sounds great to me, but Dads are not known to be the most critical people when talking about their daughter's singing. :lol:

Well, I'm pretty sick of anki, but I continue to fight on. My hope with this anki deck was to push myself up to around an A2 level speaking, and I think the decks I am using will accomplish that, but I don't think that they are very efficient. I am going to spend the better part of a year building a solid grammatical basis for these two languages, but I think I could get the same effect much faster with shadowing or something like that. :D

Much of the effort of these L1->L2 anki cards goes into figuring out which one of the many possible L2 sentences the card is aiming at. Few of my errors are just plain wrong (almost all of those types of mistakes are in the French deck). Because of all the time I'm spending on anki, I am not doing other activities that might have a more immediate impact. :o I'm pretty certain that this deck will work as designed.

But who cares? My wife continues to pound through her anki deck, and she is improving rapidly. She was talking about spending some time in Spain and she is completely confident that within a few months she will be hanging out with folks, speaking Spanish. I continue to try to stay ahead of her, and keep up, but I bet she moves right past me in the next few months. Sigh.

We spent some time this afternoon using Spanish to communicate, and it wasn't half bad. Of course, I kept slipping up and using grammar she hasn't learned yet, but she did great. It seems weird to speak to her as usted, so I keep slipping into tú forms, which we haven't seen yet in Pimsleur (are they there at all?).

Anyway, I am spending a lot of time speaking (slowly) for someone who mainly wants to read and watch movies, but it is all OK.

My only advice would be "avoid starting a 10000 card anki deck with your wife unless you are certain that you will want to finish it." :lol:
8 x
Pimsleur, Michel Thomas, ASSiMiL, Old Glossika anki decks
Spanish : 17464 / 25000 25000 reviews
Spanish : 2552 / 6000 100 hours
French : 11931 / 25000 25000 reviews
French : 2358 / 6000 100 hours

User avatar
sfuqua
Brown Belt
Posts: 1403
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 5:05 am
Location: san jose, california
Languages: Bad English: native
Samoan: speak, but rusty
Tagalog: imperfect, but use all the time
Spanish: read
French: read some
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=9248
x 4862

Re: Not all those who wander are lost

Postby sfuqua » Mon Jul 25, 2022 5:13 am

anki decks
Spanish : 19416 / 25000 25000 reviews
Spanish : 2883 / 6000 100 hours
French : 13518 / 25000 25000 reviews
French : 2634 / 6000 100 hours
Well...
The weather is great, and my daughter was great in her musical (said the proud father :lol: ).
It is a real thrill for the lights to come up on stage and then to see your daughter come out on to an empty stage and start singing. I was amazed. I heard her practice, but she was much better on stage. What a thrill! The musical, "Freaky Friday" was better than I was expecting. But hearing her singing and acting with the other performers was amazing.
She didn't inherit this talent from me for sure. My voice is appropriate for calling hogs and things like that.

I am continuing on with my L1->L2 decks and I have figured out a few things about how it is going. The French deck has definitely taught me some things that I would never have picked up from just reading. I now know a lot more about all of those little French words that fit together in annoying ways. Des, du, de la, le, la, les. They are not difficult, but they are transparent in a L2-L1 direction, but they need some attention to keep straight in the L1->L2 direction. Another thing, that I have learned several times in French, is the order of all of the words that come before the verb -- the pronouns, particles and so forth.
I suspect that with one of those "practice makes perfect" workbooks or something like that I could have learned all this stuff in a few hours, but all of this practice is good. If I keep up with my reviews, maybe I can make this all automatic. :D

The Spanish deck is doing less good. I already know most of this stuff. Getting 75% of the way through FSI Spanish probably did this for me, but I am not aware of learning a lot. I suppose I learn new stuff about "tourist" language, but there isn't that much new. What has been very useful is all of the answering of my wife's questions that I have been doing, as she works through the same deck. I hadn't thought about Spanish reflexive verbs for a long time, they just "sound right" sometimes, and it is interesting to try to explain to her what they mean. That and other things... :D

As always, I am pulled first one direction and then another by wanderlust. The biggest pull I have this week is a huge desire to just pack it all in and concentrate on Irish. I have actually learned some Irish and I suspect that I could make some real progress in a few months. I guess I would just drop these L1->L2 decks if it weren't for my wife's continued excitement with her anki deck. Maybe I can make a little progress in Irish while I keep grinding through my Spanish and French decks. :D
Of course there is also Norse... and Old English... :lol:

One big change in things is that I am going to start substitute teaching again when school starts. Inflation here has been brutal, and we are getting squeezed. My son is getting married next week and that is costing a fortune. We are not sinking under yet, but we need to save more if we are ever going to get back to Europe. There are plenty of places in the world that are cheaper than Silicon Valley, but we are kind of stuck here until my daughter graduates, which is two more years. I think that substituting won't be that hard. I like kids a lot, and as a substitute I can just go home at the end of the day instead of going to meetings and grading papers. :D

My wife seems to have made a pretty complete recovery since her recent heart problems. Some things will never be exactly like they were before, but things are pretty close. I'll end this post with a look at the family farm. She has been working on this since she started her recovery. We eat something from it every day.
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14 x
Pimsleur, Michel Thomas, ASSiMiL, Old Glossika anki decks
Spanish : 17464 / 25000 25000 reviews
Spanish : 2552 / 6000 100 hours
French : 11931 / 25000 25000 reviews
French : 2358 / 6000 100 hours


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