Coldrainwater's German Log

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coldrainwater
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Re: Coldrainwater's German Log

Postby coldrainwater » Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:15 am

A quick update, a bit dry but practical.

In the last 30+ days, I have completed 130 sessions on learnwitholiver\german, amounting to about 80 study hours with a focus on L2->L1 vocab. My strategy is to get as many distinct words as possible to click in my mind before moving on. In my view, a repetition algorithm should take into account the learner's entire program and should not be defined on a list-by-list basis, so I took liberties and bent the normal rules accordingly.

I chose learnwitholiver\german with practical considerations in mind as well. I can find time to use it more or less around the clock and it does not require designated time blocks like reading literature might. I have learned to build its use into nearly every portion of my day and by those metrics, I think the habit is pretty well developed despite being only a month old. At this juncture, I am going to use their grab feature to pull in lists by topic and do a second round, since the queue has pretty much run dry on my first list as of about an hour ago.

Another reason for a quick update is that today is also kind of a native audio start point and I want to notate that directly. I have been listening in my usual capacity, passive/attentive for an hour or several every day, and I've cleared pretty much everything I had downloaded last month, including a very passive listen to FSI. Advanced, native language audiobooks seem to be somewhat above my level A-level skillset (shocking right), so I reached into the old bag of tricks and decided to go the science podcast route instead. I am starting with http://minkorrekt.de/. I bet I could probably get the gist of it if I were to listen mindfully. I might need another month or two of vocab, but I think I have just enough to tether a gist as is. As it stands, I parse the audio pretty well and am hearing tons of familiar vocab with overall interesting content. That is more than enough for me to go for a 100-hour chunk of it and see what develops.
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coldrainwater
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Re: Coldrainwater's German Log

Postby coldrainwater » Sat Nov 23, 2019 11:30 pm

Decidí hincharme los codos frente del escritorio y aprender sin más ni más. Me encuentro esta vez retozando en la blancura de un gran parque invernal que se llama Park City, UT. Dentro del piso hay un escritorio sencillo al lado de una chimenea alumbrada de gas, lugar perfecto para pensar. Ayer, tomé el vuelo de madrugada desde IAH hacía SLC y ahora estoy recobrándome del cambio de horario. Todo va tranquilo, aun en medio de una ciudad en obras, una ciudad preparándose para la temporada de esquí. Estaré aquí para Acción de Gracias, las noches bajo un hogar cálido y los días de cara a un panorama occidental. Hermosa.

Palabras, sobre todo las de alemán, son juegos de patrón y pista, y gracias a la suerte del azar, hay una sección de mi app que me deja gran cantidad de palabras a la vez. La etiquetan como revisión rápida y en vez de cargar una página por tarjeta, se cargan un lote de tarjetas a la vez, quizás 50. Me las presentan como híbrido entre tarjetas de estilo puro y listas de palabras sencillas. Hay una opción de marcar todo el conjunto y revisarlo en x días, lo que evita tener que interactuar con cada término, solución ideal y eficaz para aquellos que se molestan al hacer clic sobre cada palabra.

Hace unos días la lista se había hinchado bastante y ha vuelto un poco difícil de manejar. Con un esfuerzo apreciable, logré bajarlo de unos siete mil términos activos a mil quinientos. Ni siquiera pude fingir que conocía a los últimos mil quinientos así que los sobrevivieron el primer ataque. Había cognados, otras palabras conocidas y un puñado de elementos de morfología casi idéntica. Al fin, todos tenían que desaparecer. Sospecho que al mantener la lista por debajo de unas tres mil palabras funcionará mejor.

Cada viaje me permite ser libre durante los primeros días, libre de estrés y de todo común y corriente. Próximo tema. El increíble valor del ocio.
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Re: Coldrainwater's German Log

Postby coldrainwater » Mon Nov 25, 2019 8:15 pm

It is interesting how methods converge across time. As I wind a path through Antosch & Lin, I realize that I am making a personal wordlist, eerily similar to my past language lives (I made an 8k EN list as a kid on paper that I still have a copy of). There was a point as a teenager where I read quite a bit of fiction and another where I studied for the SAT’s. The comparison to the super challenge and srs is also eerily similar looking back on it. I definitely knew what I was doing at the time, building reading skill along with vocabulary.

Much like I am doing today, with my Spanish lists, I tended to hold onto words loosely. In a world married to Ebbinghaus, I think it is important to emphasize how powerful it can be to trust your own memory, fallible as it is. I would even go one step further and say that it is quite fine to forget. Lexical memories almost always seem to come back reinforced and stronger, even long after breaks and clear forgetfulness.

In yet another life, I was trained in the sciences, and we were aptly discouraged from memorizing, except in the then rare cases where it was needed. I bring a similar mindset to the world of language acquisition. My penchant for etymology is likely related to the self-same tendency to derive rather than memorize. These first few months of vocabulary acquisition are much like a weed-out course, getting rid of cognates and other known words. That list marked known is captured cleanly and presented within the program’s web interface in graphical form. I am fast approaching the 30k 'known' word mark and Oliver has a nice graph showing wordcount across time. When I hit 30k the corresponding unknown wordlist what is left is likely to have about 3k words, so perhaps a 10:1 ratio. The punchline is that I end up using a flashcard system to make what many would consider an Anki deck.

I am starting to consider learning that list or part of it that interests me anyhow. A smart, lazy approach is to just start reading and let those [mostly intermediate words] become known, or more familiar rather, in stride. Part of the reason I like to do a bit of learning now is that I now find https://www.dwds.de/ both interesting and accessible. Self-described as Der deutsche Wortschatz von 1600 bis heute, I am drawn to several aspects of the resource. Namely, they graph term frequency compared to tokens across time and have a very good combination of thesaurus, etymology and meaning with examples. Since German words come from so many places, I find it interesting to pause long enough to note something of their origins. Very often I learn the word on the spot once I find out from which language family it came and roughly when.

In addition, related words are presented as a collage, something I was hoping to find since I mindmap well that way. I like to see a bunch of partially known words thrown into a visual heap like that. It makes for a fun puzzle that my mind can sort out and create links to in a natural fashion.

Learning a bit about word origins, word parts, and synonyms is also a build-it-forward method of acquisition. It definitely snowballs to the point where you can guess a word’s meaning, often without any additional context. Since we encounter many of these reading, I think it will be interesting to consciously use this analytical concept as I am actively learning to read.
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Re: Coldrainwater's German Log

Postby coldrainwater » Sun Dec 01, 2019 6:14 am

I finished my 300th lesson today on learnwitholiver. A really rough estimate of total hours spent is between 150 and 225. It is addictive and pretty efficient now after a few tweaks. I also finished my first 100 hours of Methodisch Inkorrekt, a science podcast. Two consecutive round numbers means an update. Oliver has a tracking mechanism that I view as a signal to noise ratio. Right now I have about 3.9k terms to learn compared to about 35k seen. Overall, it is still yielding high return per time invested, but I am starting to think about next steps since their word bank may not be infinite. I remember teaming Yabla with Veintemundos in 30 to 60-minute chunks at a similar juncture in ES and it was helpful and an easy habit to acquire.

For progression and since Oliver has worked decently with individual words, I think I will give their sentences a go. They offer sufficient dials for me to adjust the sentence complexity to my level of interest. Yabla would work as well, but I don’t think the platform transition would be perfectly smooth. I also think I can do a stint with Yabla later as I remember really liking their advanced content. For more intense work, I will stick with the plan to learn many of the 4k words I have labelled as unknown using dwds.de as noted in my last post.

I noticed enough benefit from the science podcast to go for another. I have maybe 300+ hours of a second podcast downloaded. I am not necessarily planning to consume all those hours, but I do plan to give myself a bit more leeway on the passive side of my passive/attentive listening scheme with the goal of being slightly more immersed auditorily. The combined approach of high volume vocabulary and moderate listening has definitely made it a bit easier for me to see words spelled out while I am listening. In general, Oliver has been very good orthography practice.

As a side note, I haven’t forgotten about a couple of lingering projects. I am saving most learner/beginner materials more for the intermediate levels, but I should mention a few of those now. I am somewhere on the path with Duolingo and definitely plan to finish the tree, at least up to the second level. I have an Anki deck that should be quick to tackle and a 10k randomized dictionary entry mentioned earlier (more a fun experiment than anything more serious) that I am still interested in but have put aside due to material overlap. Last night, I also spent some admin time rummaging through and organizing my German weblinks. DW is definitely amongst them. As I start using more and different resources I will share the ones I find useful. One I don’t mind sharing now is Becker’s site, which is available in several languages. It is good for finding a variety of links that might not all overlap with what we have in our own resources section. becker/German
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Utah and December snow

Postby coldrainwater » Mon Dec 23, 2019 5:07 am

I have an interlude to my normal study updates. As it were, most hikers in the US use Alltrails to plan their hikes. I have been on vacation in Utah since December 14th and have used the site in German for planning, reading reviews and navigation purposes. So far we have visited both Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks. I will share some photos soon, but first an anecdote.

Yesterday, my travel partner (who also happens to be my father), made an interesting decision to traverse a snow mound in his jeep (successful), and start down an unmaintained snow-covered road toward a remote lake. When asked by bystanders how he managed to get over the snow mound, he remarked that he used his extensive experience driving over and through similar sand mounds to navigate without bottoming out. In hindsight, we both would have preferred that he not have such prior experience!

The second leg of his journey was less successful as the jeep promptly sunk into the snow after about 20 yards of travel. It required a tow truck and two hours of effort and strategizing to extract the vehicle. It finally budged when the wrecker had the idea to chain my jeep plus his truck together, using the combined weight of both to maintain enough traction to use the winch. We also needed to triangulate and pull laterally to get the tires in a workable position. I was able to assist and learned a great deal about the process along the way. It ended up being both an adventure and a learning experience. I would even consider it worth the cost of the tow. I found new and interesting uses for both crampons and yaktrax. In the end, I convinced the driver to buy a pair of these Black Diamond crampons for his work this winter. They provided nice leverage under ice for pushing and also did a good job (along with a shovel) for breaking up ice and snow under the tires and levelling the mound so that no damage was done to the undercarriage. Snow-shovelling is quite a good cardio workout. I'd say that I have found a new hobby in that respect. In contrast, tomorrow we are headed toward Moab, at about 4k feet elevation, which should have notably less snow than our current digs.

Photos: From left to right. The first three are Angel's Landing followed by Bryce Canyon, followed by a cabin in Duck Creek Village.
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Murphy's Loop Trail - Canyonlands

Postby coldrainwater » Thu Dec 26, 2019 2:46 am

Moab es una ciudad que me hizo sentir en casa desde el primer momento. Si se trasladara San Antonio a Utah, Moab sería el resultado. Quizás lo más relevante es que Moab ofrece condiciones ideales para estudiar y aprender. Al igual que gran parte del oeste, la zona brinda una cierta calidad espiritual. Para mí, eso se traduce en un enfoque tranquilo. Es más que suficiente para sentar las bases.

Escogí esta caminata para Navidad ya que el paisaje me pareció de temporada. Espero que todos lo disfruten. Feliz Navidad a todos desde los Canyonlands:

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Re: Coldrainwater's German Log

Postby coldrainwater » Tue Dec 31, 2019 10:34 am

Audio update

To date, I have hit about 150 hours of passive/attentive listening to Quarks - Wissenschaft und Mehr and I can follow the gist of it without exceptional effort. Given my listening style and goals, the strategy of changing audio sources every 50 to 100 hours still seems like a better overall approach and it is my plan going forward. With that (and driving) in mind:

My current state of muddled understanding is a fun place to be introspectively, and I noticed that listening to podcasts differs qualitatively compared with audiobooks. Today, I faced a seven-hour road trip and decided to make a switch, listening to an unfamiliar fantasy audiobook from the beginning. In moments of good concentration, I was able to parse the text well and could recall the definition of many terms and some collocates, but not quickly enough. Enjoyment was definitely there as the narration was lively and professional. It felt a bit like a rapid-fire audio SRS interspersed with coherent flashes of understanding. With high-speed travel in icy conditions on a somewhat curvy interstate at night, I likely zoned out more than I zoned in.

I have shy of 90 hours on that fantasy resource and will likely listen to it all, mainly to see if there is much difference once I get about 50+ hours into it. In addition, I have signed up for the polyglot fitness challenge, registering for pushups and German Lit in 2020. It is kind of interesting to note that I picked pushups partly for reasons of flexibility, convenience and endurance. Nearly verbatim, the same reasons underpin my listening routine though I came up with them quite independently.

I have many other challenge interests yet their timing is very unlikely to coincide with the start and end of a calendar year like 2020. When the notion occurs to me, you all will be the second to know. I should have another update within the next week or so once I complete another resource or two.
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Re: Coldrainwater's German Log

Postby coldrainwater » Fri Jan 03, 2020 4:57 am

Vocabulary update

This morning, I completed the Anki 4000 German Words by Frequency deck. My study timeframe was rather compact and efficient, coinciding with my winter vacation to Utah, which lasted about three weeks. The focus was 100% on the sentences rather than individual vocabulary words. That deck has a reputation for offering much better sentences than vocab, giving it a really good ROI (return on input).

I called it complete once I marked over 4k sentences as mature using custom settings. Namely, when I could read and understand the sentence without misconstruing the meaning, I marked it mature. If I couldn't parse it without DeepHelp, then I queued it for next day review. The system worked well and led to a natural review cadence. I engaged with it well since it taxed my memory systems having to parse meaning from sentences that often had several unknown terms. That is where the magic of context was the most fun for me, as I was able to adopt sometimes two or three new terms in a single sentence. No direct sentence translation was provided, so it encouraged me to create an accurate meaning from my own devices. Sometimes comprehension would pop into place all at once (and other times not so much!).

Sadly I didn't have any chips or money that needed to be counted on the plane back from Vegas, so did the next best thing and exported the 3.9k words remaining from LearnWithOliver to review via a self-made google spreadlist. I made it through about 2k words on the flight and verified that I mostly do not know them! That will certainly be my next set of vocabulary to tackle. I have approached lists very much like this before and often chip away at them over time. Some parts crack off and disintegrate and others die via attrition as I encounter them in other parts of my study. Since I am moving 4k to passive comprehension, a slightly more active approach is likely warranted. And I am very much still in awe of dwds.de and dict.cc as a slick learning combo and am aching to use it for something substantial.

As a meta-note, my current plan is to convert my EN output to DE with heavy reliance on DeepL (starting today and with this very post, heaven knowns it is long enough). As time and circumstance allow, I am also ready to convert my own self-talk and visual environment to German. That will be a long slow process, but targeted and extremely beneficial for developing fluency. My current L2 is still very much Spanish as is my default speech. It still comes out ripe and ready and I see no reason not to goose and gander the same process with German as well. It will be an all introvert, all the time plan. From experience, the conversion can easily take a good six months or more (thinking along the line of ingrained habit formation) and I look forward to watching it materialize.

Edit: It is not very common on these boards to read about how a relatively pure introvert acquires the ability to speak, so I plan to devote some entries to it as I embark on the process. Reading via subvocalizing will be of significant benefit in addition to the conversion mentioned above. I will make heavy use of collocation dictionaries and dovetail off analogous resources that I used acquiring Spanish. If I want my pronunciation to be stronger and less error-prone, I will need some explicit feedback, likely even in the early stages. I will notate what I come up with there as well, even if it is just a targeted iTalki session every now and again.
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Re: Coldrainwater's German Log

Postby coldrainwater » Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:51 am

Esta semana, volví a leer en forma de texto en paralelo. Me llevo por un lado Der Weg der Könige y por el otro El camino de los reyes. He de decir, estoy más bien contento al hacer una lectura así. Gracias a calibre, notepad++ ha sido suficiente para ponerlo todo en orden.....casi.

Esta vez, decidí dar un paso más y dedicar una hora a la administración. Así que coloqué parte del texto en youalign.com, una herramienta gratis para alinear y facilitar la creación de memorias de traducción. Generó un HTML bien alineado casi de inmediato. Después lo separé en dos columnas y las devolví al notepad++, bueno y breve. El proceso se realizó sin ninguna programación y duró menos de diez minutos. Mi objetivo es compartir tales herramientas, sobre todo si no requieren experiencia técnica. Esta encaja a la perfección.

A fin de cuentas, hice una ligera evolución mas con impacto personal y notable respecto a los textos bilingües. A modo de ilustración, esto hace que sea fácil apilarlos en un solo archivo de texto, permitiendo la lectura vertical en cualquier orden (L1 por encima o al revés). Además, ayuda a integrarlo con el software de SRS. Hacerlo me permitirá leer mientras hago ejercicio, una destreza que aún no logro dominar (me mareo al correr y leer y ANKI mitiga este problema ya que no requiere atención visual constante). Ejercer supone una limitación útil que me obligó a simplificar mi entorno.
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coldrainwater
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Re: Coldrainwater's German Log

Postby coldrainwater » Mon Feb 10, 2020 10:03 pm

Todavía me apasiona la dualidad al leer el texto en paralelo, más cuando se presenta en forma de flash, puntuado a intervalos regulares, lo suficientes para dar tiempo de reflexionar. Por la lengua más fuerte, cada frase queda en forma de retrato que se lee en un abrir y cerrar de ojos. Quédese un rato más, míralo bien y se revelará otros aspectos más profundos. Para mí, el español queda ya bien conocido tras los últimos años de estudio e inmersión. Por otra parte, el conocimiento de alemán se derive de fuentes más remotas y lejanas. Así que cualquier actividad relacionada que me hago conlleva una conexión más profunda. La fuerza surge incluso antes de que el código detrás de ella sea descifrable. Esto da espacio a una experiencia distinta, amplificándola y exendiendo su alcance. Además, el hecho de que el alemán tiene más complejidades de superar me proporciona más tiempo para disfrutarlo como principiante.

Aunque podría dar un buen puñado de ejemplos, en este caso me refiero a la ortografía alemana en lugar de la gramática, tema que ya no he tocado ni con guantes. Calculo que requerirá unos cuantos meses adicionales antes de que reconozca las palabras alemanas sin recorrer a prestar atención de hito en hito. Por ahora, sólo puedo imaginarme el rompeojos que implicaría aprender un idioma con letras completamente distintas y opacas. Ojalá que tenga una oportunidad para enfrentarlo algún día. Es toda una tarea expresar cómo el alemán puede ofrecer más resitencia y sentir más natural al mismo tiempo pero supongo que es así.

En cambio, ponerme el dedo en la pagina de un libro es más facil. Me hallo en el segundo volumén, cerca el fin del primer archivo del Sturmlicht-Chroniken, que se llama Der Pfad der Winde. La serie está hecha a medida para satisfacer las necesidades de una formación multilingüe y después de un mes, no me arrepiento haberlo escogido como primer archivo.
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