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Re: Iversen's second multiconfused log thread

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:16 am
by Iversen
Since yesterday I have written wordlists of 60-65 words each for Portuguese, Castilian, Catalan, Italian, Romanian, Albanian and Greek, but still not done the repetitions for any of them, nor for Old or New French, so that's my next task before doing wordlists for the Slavic languages etc.

I have not mentioned my Monday language exchange at the library, but here comes: we were 5 persons. One girl would like to train her Russian, another her French, but one elderly lady in the company was only interested in English because - as she said - she wanted to focus her remaining brain powers on one foreign language. And then we ended up speaking English - except for a short period where two of us sneaked away to speak French at another table. Two girls passed by who wanted to speak German, but they left because we were speaking English at the only active table. And the Spanish speaking lady and the Spanish speaker in spe from last week who had said they definitely would turn up this week too didn't show up. This just goes to show how difficult it is to organize anything of this sort if you don't have a stable core of people who try to turn up every time.

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PS at 17:20: and now I have also done the reps for all the Romance languages. Albanian and Greek must wait until later. I'm going downtown to discuss art with some people from New York at our local art museum now.

Re: Iversen's second multiconfused log thread

Posted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:29 pm
by alaart
Iversen wrote:I have not mentioned my Monday language exchange at the library, but here comes: we were 5 persons. One girl would like to train her Russian, another her French, but one elderly lady in the company was only interested in English because - as she said - she wanted to focus her remaining brain powers on one foreign language. And then we ended up speaking English - except for a short period where two of us sneaked away to speak French at another table. Two girls passed by who wanted to speak German, but they left because we were speaking English at the only active table. And the Spanish speaking lady and the Spanish speaker in spe from last week who had said they definitely would turn up this week too didn't show up. This just goes to show how difficult it is to organize anything of this sort if you don't have a stable core of people who try to turn up every time.

Maybe try offering your local language?
Here in Leipzig, Germany, at the weekly local language exchange they made a German table and spread this to the language schools. And so a lot of foreigners trying to integrate and life in Germany come and practice German. And this in return gives other learners access to speakers from foreign languages.

I cannot claim that it functions optimal, most foreigners are Arabic or Turkish, whereas the Germans coming are more interested in French and Spanish, but still - other language tables emerge, and it is usually a wild mix of nationalities and it can be pretty fun. When I go, I would usually go and sit at the German table though, as the languages I do speak are rarely present.

Re: Iversen's second multiconfused log thread

Posted: Thu Aug 15, 2019 8:27 pm
by Iversen
Actually I have several been sitting with an immigrant who wanted to practice his Danish, and I hope that I at least could be of assistance in that sitaution. But Denmark is full of Danes, and immigrants and foreign workers should be able to find opportunities to talk to one of them. I have actually during the last couple of sessions helped newbees practice their foreign languages, and I feel I do a more relevant service in that situation. And sometimes we are able to have a real, fluent conversation, and that's of course what I personally hope will happen - but again, helping a newbee in for instance German or Spanish is more rewarding for me than speaking Danish with newbee learner of Danish - especially since I have yet to meet a newbee whose native language was one of those I try to learn myself.

Today I actually stopped the music from my computer (where I just have finished the letter R with Julius Engelbert Röntgen and his wife Amanda Röntgen-Maier) in order to listen to a TV program. That has become a rare occurrence since I try to get through my music collection as fast as possible - but it is fairly comprehensive so my goal is just to reach the end here in 2019. But then Swedish TV had a program which I simply couldn't bear NOT to hear:

IC: Það var útsending frá sænsku sjónvarpi en með dagskrá frá Íslandi þar sem voru viðtöl við ólíka menningarlega persónuleika um daglegt líf þeirra. Til dæmis sat einn viðmælandi og ein söngkona aleinn í hringlaga útisundlaug meðan rétthyrnd sundlaug var svo full af fólki að þau gátu varla hreyft sig. Hún naut einsemdarinnar, en óttaðist að sundlaug hennar yrði lokuð í þágu vatnsrennibraut fyrir börnin. Island hefur auðvitað hin frægu Bláa lónið (hitað með jarðhita), en það var ekki þetta sem við sáum.

IT: Anche ieri ho interrotto temporaneamente l'ascolto della mia collezione musicale, ma questa volta fu per vedere parte del programma di SuperQuark, uno dei pochi programmi su RaiUno che vale la pena vedere.

Since my last message I have done the repetitions for seven Romance languages plus Albanian and Greek. I have decided to postpone the last ten wordlists because there are other things to do, and now it's time to do some of those things .... but not all of my other activities are linguistic. I have just made stereoscopic versions of three of my old paintings, using the method I described a couple of pages ago, and one of them can be seen below. To get the full stereo effect you should look at the left image with you left eye and at the right image with the right ... but since it takes a bit of luck and/or training to achieve this you are welcome just to look at the painting to the right, which is the unedited version.

It was painted way back in the 80s, and at the time I didn't anticipate that I now have a TV channel where you can't see a dog having a poo at the sidewalk without somebody blaming aliens from outer space for the incident.

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Re: Iversen's second multiconfused log thread

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 7:18 pm
by Iversen
I have been on a family visit with no internet access, but a fair amount of gardening, and as usual my study activity level went down almost to zero - but not quite. Point one: we mostly watch TV with sound, and even though it mostly is TV in Danish there are exceptions. For instance my mother and I watched a German quiz where a team of four persons pose questions to a series of persons who have done something special - like sitting on a motionless onewheeler bike for almost two hours or being the son of the man who invented the German alarm calls 110 and 112. Mostly the team members don't find out what the point is, and I think that one main factor is that they listen too much to the tip given by the quizmaster - and that this tip only makes sense when you ALREADY know the correct answer. And the questions from the team members are too specific - like did you made a world record of some kind IN HAMBURG? In this quiz the number of questions is irrelevant so why not first ask whether there is a world record in play at all? The whole thing is a variation on an old game called something like "20 questions to the professor", but there the number of questions was fixed so you had to think about ways to use them strategically.

There is another German quiz with the same quizmaster where two teams get weird questions with three equally unlikely answers. This quiz has one construction error: a team can once in each game ask a member of the public to answer a question. And if there really were an expert among the spectators then it might be possible to get a valid answer (though chances are slim). But most of the people who stand up are rambling fools who just want to say something on national TV, and their guesses are not better than throwing a dice. This feature would in principle be tolerable if the team that got the question could veto the answer - at least that would put the responsability back on the shoulders of the two team members, but no - the answer from the member of public is final, no matter how unfounded it is. And people who admit that they just have guessed are lauded for their bravery. Bravery???

I did however do one thing that smacks of studying: I brought along my "L'Albanais de Poche" from Assimil and used it as goodnight reading. I'm not going to summarize the few pages I got through, but just mention one little curious detail in this language.

The number system is generally quite regular and nice: 1 i një, 2 dy, 3 tre, 4 katër, 5 pesë .... 11 njëmbëdhjetë, 12 dymbëdhjetë... 30 tridhjetë, .. 50 pesëdhjetë ... 100 njëqind, 200 dyqind ... But hey, what about 20 and 40? well, they are 20 njëzet and 40 dyzet. Methinks a remnant of a vigesimal number system, that was replaced by a decimal system borrowed from other languages in the region before the language was ever eevr written down (which happened fairly late)? The weak point in the system seems to be the fractions, and Assimil doesn't explain it sufficiently detailed to show a system. For instance 1/2 can be either "një gjysmë" or "një e gjysmë" (no panic yet), and 1/4 "një çerek" or "një e katërta" (panic starts here). The words for 1/3 aren't given in the text, but 2/3 is "dy të tretat". Of course those readers who read the chapter about the inflection of the substantives will notice that the final -t in "tretat" could be a determinedness marker of the plural, but the same ending could also be the marker of determinedness in of one of the three oblique cases in the singular (gentitive, dative, ablative) - although the preceding vowel then normally would be a or u. Here it is most reasonable to assume that it is a plural ending since the 'article de liaison' (connector) "të" is in the plural. But you have to find this information in the chapter about adjectives.

So either the explaniation about Albanian fractions should have been at least twice as long OR the authors should limit themselves to telling the reader the Albanian names for the most common fractions - quite frankly, WHO (outside Albania and Kosova) needs to know how to say 37/58 in Albanian?

AL: Fotografia më poshtë tregon (ndoshta) orarin e plotë për të gjithë trenat në Shqipëri në vitin 2009. E pashë atë në stacionin hekurudhor të Tiranës.

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Re: Iversen's second multiconfused log thread

Posted: Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:57 pm
by Iversen
Today I have visited our local art museum, where they have a resident art group from New York this month (and maybe the next month too). This time I met a lady who mostly was into installations and happenings, but she said that she came right from Berlin and she also used a couple of German words - and then we switched to German. New York may be a multilingual town, but visitors from the States who visit Denmark generally stick to English. However in this case it would be idiotic NOT to use the opportunity to get a nice long conversation in German with a native speaker.

Apart from that I have been doing some research in the history of my family. When my maternal grandfather died some 40 years ago he left a number of albums with old postcards and photos to my mother and me, and I have of course scanned most of the content long ago, but apparently overlooked one photo album which seems to date back to the late 19. century (when photos were done on glass plates and then transferred to thick cardboard plates). My greatgrandmother came from Heide in Holstein, which was Danish at the time of her birth, but then she married one of my ancestors and then moved just North of the border when the Prussians occupied Southern Jutland. The album therefore has some very old photos from places like Heide and Neumünster, but then continues with photos taken in Denmark from around 1890 (or even earlier) to 1923, where my late uncle was born. The problem is that it hasn't got any names (except those of the photographers who took the pictures), so I have spent much of the evening trying to guess who is who, and I have also consulted the censuses of 1901, 1911 and 1925 to locate long gone family members.

And therefore I haven't studied languages yet, but intend to read some more Potter in Russian in order to fall asleep.

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Re: Iversen's second multiconfused log thread

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 10:39 am
by Iversen
Thursday I did the remaining ten wordlists of about 60 words each (seven Slavic languages plus Esperanto, Finnish and Indonesian), and yesterday I did the revisions of six of them, leaving only Russian and the Non-Indoeuropean languages for today or tomorrow. I would have done them all but for a greater cause: it was the first day of the Medieval Festival of Horsens, and I went there for day one and spent more than five hours regressing into days of yore. All of the participants and maybe half of the casual visitors were clad in historical garments - though maybe not scientifically correct copies of anything that was ever worn by anybody, but definitely a sign of good will. I don't own such clothes so I just dressed up in something neutral, although with an anachronistic bad-style zipper in front (a cardinal sin since this thing hadn't been invented yet).

Some of the concerts had actually started at 4 o'clock, but with few spectators. Friday at 5 o'clock PM the 'real' start of the festival came with a glorious pageant, and from then on the whole area was full of people.

And now I have a problem: the obvious language to use to tell more about this event would definitely NOT be modern English - and my command of Chaucerian Middle English is non-existant. So you'll have to survive some passages in a couple of variants of Modernese, and then I'll think until tomorrow (or this evening) about ways to remedy this deplorable lack of skills in the relevant language forms.

IT: La processione di solito inizia con guerrieri e bandiere italiane, ed erano presenti anche quest'anno, ma su base sperimentale avevano scelto di lasciare la borghesia al comando. È bello e democratico, ma forse non altrettanto impressionante. Poiché non abbiamo una tradizione di innalzamento di bandiere in Danimarca, gli organizzatori avevano chiamato un gruppo di esperti da Italia, i Sbandiatori e Tamburini di Torrita di Siena (in basso a sinistra):

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RU: В таком фестивале, конечно, также есть музыкальные группы, и в разное время открываются как минимум четыре группы, играющие в разных уголках области. Некоторые из них - датскими, но большинство из них являются иностранными . Такие музыкальные группы проходят от фестиваля к фестивалю, так как который в Хорсенс конечно нет единственный. Я пишу это по-русски, потому что молодые девушки представленные ниже составляют группу Идрис и являются русские, и я не помню, чтобы когда-либо видел русскую группу в предыдущих случаях:

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DU: Maar de mens leeft niet alleen van muziek - zelfs niet oude muziek. Er waar een overvloed aan kraampjes waar je worstjes en pannenkoeken en koeken en gesuikerde appels en mede en vruchtensap kunt kopen (geen cola, want het was nog niet uitgevonden) en je kunt ook onschadelijke modellen van wapens kopen. Maar in een hoek waren er ook drie Nederlanders die hun vaardigheden in kalligrafie en schilderen in de stijl van Van Eyck lieten zien (in plaats van verkopen), en hier nam ik natuurlijk de gelegenheid om mijn semi-roestiege Nederlands voor enige minuten te gebruiken. De in de kraam gepresenteerde teksten vertegenwoordigden vele oude varianten van Nederlands en Laag- en Hoogduits, en het is een genoegen om dergelijke teksten te zien omdat de kans zo zelden voorkomt. De dame op de foto zei dat ook ze Middelnederlands moest studeren, en in feite waren er nogal wat woorden in de betreffende tekstenop haar tafel die IK niet kende - maar het was nu niet bijzonder moeilijk. Misschien zoals het lezen van 'Jyske logh' in Middeleeuwse Deens voor een Deen: - een beetje lastig en vremd, maar dat kan ook worden geleerd.

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My own modest contribution to the festivities was to write a couple of pages with an oldfashioned steel pen (without a reservoir) - though this is not really a very oldfashioned instrument. When I started in public school around 1960 we got such pens for a start. But least it wasn't a quill pen (which you also could try at the festival, but in another corner).

LA: Utique latine scripsi, sed me oblitum sum verbum de (Anglice) "dip pen". Verbum 'Calamus' facte alter ex avium plumae derivatum est, et ego textum infra cum instrumento de ferro scripsi. Itaque nescivi - et semper nescio - quomodo in latinam transferre ...

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Re: Iversen's second multiconfused log thread

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 12:44 pm
by Sarchta
Your book is great! It changed the way I think about language learning. The part about how to start learning a new language was especially groundbreaking for me. Actually, my methods of learning foreign languages are quite similar to yours, but I haven't seriously thought about them, and so I didn't actually know what I was doing. Therefore, I was felling kind of weird and... The thing is that the school is the place where most of my learning used to take place and the language learning in the school is quite different from the methods and proposals which are considered here. I've always questioned myself about the effectiveness of the methods, like thinking in a foreign language or just listening and reading. Now I have some firm fundaments for my, definitely different from schools, methods of language learning and I don't have to feel bad for it.

I also have a few comments and questions. Firstly, I want to say something about the role of mother tongue in language learning. In my case I hit a barrier when learning to speak English and I think the cause of my problems may be the fact that I haven't ever learned how to speak and write in Polish properly. I mean, I'm just like most of the people and the things I was tried to be taught in the school weren't interesting for me, and so now I'm kind of illiterate. Let's say that writing a letter in Polish would be a hard thing for me. I'm trying to say that skills in the mother tongue constraint development in a foreign one.

The part about dins and thinking in a foreign language was fascinating. My thoughts take many forms, from body movements to pure emptiness. In my case I must translate my thoughts from "thougish" to German or English to start thinking. And my thoughts often don't have any kid of a point. They are more like a muttering than a real thinking.

I've experienced many dins. At least that's what I think. And I tried to utilize them and control them. My results are not groundbreaking so far, but I'm working on it. My own experience confirms that dins are caused by interest and, in my opinion more important, novelty. I've never experienced dins during a rehearsal session with the words I knew before. But most of the dins I've experienced weren't connected with languages. They were rather intellectual dins or artistic dins. If I read a book in English then the dins about that book are in English. I've also experienced the kinaesthetic din, which was mentioned in the article you mentioned in your book. I'm an amateur dancer and often think or imagine myself doing the moves I've seen or learned before. But it requires a certain state of relaxation, which isn't that easy to achieve, especially these stressful days. I think that stress and hurry may interfere with dins. That may be one of the reasons the schools' style of education is so boring and uninteresting. It is sad that only few people have experienced the language din (but it may be only my assumption) and the classroom experience gives little pleasure. Now I'm experimenting with hypothesis that using dins, novelty, rewriting and only a little bit of SRS is more effective than techniques based purely on SRS, like Anki. Recently I've decided to stop using Anki because I felt stressed about the repetitions.

I would also add one more important point about subconscious. I made many assumptions unconsciously and many of them weren't true, which made learning harder.

All in all, thank you for this great book. And forget my poor English :(

Re: Iversen's second multiconfused log thread

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 3:39 pm
by Iversen
Your English is not a problem, and I'm happy that you have read my guide and liked it. I'm puzzled by one thing: you use the word "din" alot, but I don't remember that I have used it in my guide so that was a mystery to me. I have checked the chapter about attacking a new language and the one about thinking in a new language, but so far I haven't found the din. However it seems to cover a very real experience for you when you meet new material and the proverbial light bulb above your head lightens up, so by all means keep on using it. Having a word to describe such experiences is a very useful thing. I can give you a totally unrelated example: there is a whole vocabularium about tricks involved in solving sudokus, but I have coined my own expressions for the purpose, and I use them to remind me of things to look for. Maybe we should all start looking for 'dins', but then you have to write more clearly what they are. And maybe tell me if I actually have used the word and then simply forgot all about it...

As for the role of your native language in language there are many things to be said, but one important point is to look for differences, and when you have found one then formulate it clearly in your own terminology. In another thread somebody pointed out one major difference between good language learners and - ahem - not quite as good ones, namely how attentive people are to unexpected details, and how willing they are to have a closer look and maybe try to find an explanation.

By the way: I have now done the last four repetitions in my series of multi-language wordlists. The hardest one was of course Finnish because I haven't studied this language - and some may now yell: then why the heck then do you then do wordlists in it? My answer is that I expect to study it later, and I find the combinatorical nature of its vocabulary fascinating.

In another chapter I have written that the easiness (or lack thereof) to learn the words in a language is an indicator for how difficult it is a certain person at a certain time (i.e. not as a general measure). And in my case the comparison between Finnish and Indonesian is quite elucidating in this respect: I find Finnish difficult to remember because I haven't studied it, but its writing system is not much more difficult than that of Bahasa Indonesia (apart from the avalanche of double letters), and the amount of recognizable loanwords is fairly low in both cases - so it must be the time I have spent on Indonesian that has an effect. It just took some time for it to become more malleable.

Greek is one step further along that route, but when I started to learn it its vocabulary seemed almost as opaque as that of Finnish - even the words that were recognizable have changed their meaning since Ancient Greek. But now it's almost like an old friend in comparison even with Indonesian (not to speak of Finnish, or what Hungarian would be if I had succombed to the temptation also to make wordlists in that language).

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Re: Iversen's second multiconfused log thread

Posted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 3:38 pm
by Sarchta
Thanks for your replay. You mentioned dins in the three last paragraphs of the 1.9 chapter. The article, which was linked in one of the paragraphs, was fascinating for me.

Re: Iversen's second multiconfused log thread

Posted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 4:15 pm
by Iversen
My my - I had totally forgotten about that use of the word "din" (which otherwise mostly is used about unorganized noise) - maybe because I mostly think about the same phenomenon under another name, namely "buzz" (also mentioned in the "article" Sarchta refers to). I have written about the buzz several times, like for instance here:

To really activate a language I need a long preparation and then some heavy activity that makes my head buzz - and this is most likely to happen during some kind of immersion. When my head buzzes it generates random noise in my target languages as a response to the avalanche of input, and with sufficiently comprehensive background knowledge this noise can be shaped into real sentences by the conscious part of my brain. Without the buzz the output dwindles to a mere trickle, and there's a limit as to how much you can do with a trickle.

The same thing can be said in another way: when my head is buzzing it is so full of sentences that they come pouring out like a fountain (=push). When there are too little noise in my head then I have to drag each sentence out from its comfy resting place between my ears (=pull). This is good enough for writing, but not for speaking.

So because I already had a competing word chosen by myself the "din" has quietly disappeared from my memory after I had finished the guide.

OK, what's more to tell...

Monday I went to the Language Café as usual, and here I actually did lend a hand (or whatever you might call it) to another participant. It was a lady from Bulgaria who had been here for three years and already spoke Danish quite well, but she wanted an overhaul of her pronunciation. Now we all know that small children can pick up the correct pronunciation of their maternal language, and past a certain age (estimated at everything from two over five years to the onset of puberty) adults can't. And the reason is mostly thought to be neurological in nature, maybe connected to the pruning of neurons that takes place in every child during its first years. But then adults just have to use other methods, and in spite of my own lack of interest in acquiring a perfect pronunciation in all of my languages I actually do know a few things about phonetics - and also a little bit about Bulgarian, although not to the point of being able to speak it.

So the very wise wish of this lady was to get corrections while she read aloud from a book, and I noticed some patterns that probably came from her maternal language - like a tendency to make l's slightly thicker (though not to the extent this has happened in Polish) and to pronounce r's at the tip of the tongue instead of further back. Certain vowels just needed to be assigned to the correct parallel in Bulgarian, like u, which she tended to pronounce as Danish /y/ (or the German or Swedish ü with Umlaut) even though Bulgarian has a perfectly suitable /u/-sound.

It was perfectly possible to understand her Danish beforehand, but with limited time you have to ask yourself: what small changes can you do that makes it sound more like native Danish - and then train those sounds instead of a series of single (and mostly rare) words. Of course there are things like the unpredictable position of stress which also must be taken care of, but there you have to make changes to one word at a time. It is much more efficient to point out the small things that occur again and again, because a change here will improve the language as a whole. And it is harder to hear small problems you have carried over from your own language than it is to notice grave pronunciation errors in certain words.

And then you ask: why don't I get that kind of treatment as soon as possible myself? Well, I got it while studying French, but my French pronunciation has deteriorated during my 25 year long pause from language learning - and my accent in other languages has never been scrutinized by a competent teacher. And now I don't care. For me it would be better to activate some of my Slavic languages, since I apparently may run into persons with whom I can get a few minutes of conversation outside my holiday periods.

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