lingzz_langzz wrote:How do you even manage to go through textbooks in more than 3 languages per day?
Well, actually I hardly ever use textbooks - I prefer homemade bilingual texts. The last time I mentioned a genuine text book in this thread it was the old "Mowimu po Polsku" (Warszawa 1979, base language German), which turned up again when my bookshelves crashed a month ago. It has a running story line (unlike many other text books), and the authors have tried hard to make it entertaining, but I prefer reading about science and history, and if I want to learn grammar then a text book is just about the last place I would look for it. In a real grammar book (or even the small grammar sections in language guides) I get the elements in a logical order, but this is rarely the case in text books because they have to be oh so pedagogical - and the newest ones are the worst in this respect. And tests and games and exercises ... no way, I hate those things!
So when I write here in this log that I have studied a language using a certain text, what does it mean? If you look at the Icelandic example below you see a snippet of original text about the planet Venus plus a machine made translation. In this case it is in English, but more often than not I choose another language just for fun - and in a collection of texts I generally use a new language for each text. The only criterion is that I must be able to read the translation language more fluently than the language of the original text.
Actually I could read the Icelandic text with just a few lookups. The purpose of having a translation is to make it easier to skip the lookups and to permit me to check dubious points. But you can't trust the translations totally. For instance the title line of this translation says "Venus collided". The original says "Venus varð til i árekstri", which means "Venus was created in collision" - and that's obviously something quite different. But if I had forgotten the word "árekstri" even the seriously deficient translation could have helped me. It wouldn't be better with most human made translations because they often are too free to be trusted. A machine translation with errors is actually better than a typical free human made translation.
OK, then I copy the text by hand, generally one sentence at the time. This takes so much time that I really have time to check that I understand all the words and recognize all the endings and their function, and that I understand how each sentence is constructed. And when I run through a sentence again I can rejoice in the feeling that there is at least ONE sentence in Icelandic or whatever which I understand completely. With very recalcitrant passages I sometimes add a hyperliteral translation to nail down what the sentence actually means, but with Icelandic I don't need that. But again: you can't just assume that the translation gives you a perfect key. For instance the first sentence here says: "Venus er stjörnufræðingum að mörgu leyti mikil ráðgáta". The real translation of this is "Venus is (to) star-knowledgables(Dative) at-many-ways ('på mange ledder' in Danish) big guessing-riddle". If I can't contain this information in my aging brain then I have to write it down - but it is normally not necessary. After many years of language studies I have a fairly welltrained gnomus sitting between my ears.
In the margin to the right I jot down all truly new words, but also words which I just think I ought to do add to my active vocabulary - and a few idiomatic expressions, but only if they are very short. Items in this margin will at some point be incorporated into a triple column wordlist to make sure that I remember them.
And finally: how much text do I get through with this system per session. Ahem, not much - maybe a quarter of a printed page up to half a page. So the eight languages yesterday would probably not amount to much more than 2-3 full printed pages. But on top of that I also have also read extensively in the sources from where I copied the sample texts - if my level was sufficient to do it, of course. If not, then I might have resorted to using Google translate to help me without printing the result.. You rarely hear about my extensive readings in this thread because those activities are so random and badly documented, but reading extensively is of course important (and listening extensively likewise, of course). If I could get enough full books about relevant themes I would read them, but I only get the chance to buy such books (or magazines) when I'm travelling, and right now that's a problem. My local main library has books in many languages, but apart from English and other Nordic languages almost exclusively fiction - and I'm not a fan of lies on paper.
Speaking about libraries: our libraries have been closed since mid March due to corona, but will now be allowed to reopen for borrowing books (not for computer use or language cafés etc.). However the morons that rule us have in their infinite stupidity decided not to include zoos and museums in this phase, even though their own experts have categorized these institutions as some of the LEAST risky things to open. Instead they want to reopen cafés and restaurants, albeit with restrictions that will make it almost impossible for those institutions to make a profit. I hate politics and politicians, but at least the ones we have got here in Denmark haven't forced me to sit indoors and watch telly all day long.