Slow Learner's Log (not a sllog!)

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Charlar_mas
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Slow Learner's Log (not a sllog!)

Postby Charlar_mas » Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:05 pm

Update

I powered through the Paul Noble Italian course, and found Italian really cool.

I have the option of studying one unit (per semester) of Italian, Dutch or German for my degree (starting in September). Not sure which language to pick so I'm spending a couple of weeks learning a bit of each to find out which one I enjoy most.


Original post
Firstly, I'd like to apologise for the utterly terrible attempt at a pun.

I thought now would be a great time to get started on learning basic Italian and dabbling in Russian while maintaining my French. I took the DELF B2 test for the latter back in March, and was pleasantly surprised to pass with 72! I didn't feel that I deserved it as I walked out of the exam thinking I'd failed. Over the next 3-5 years I'm hoping to get good enough at speaking French to pass the C1 and eventually C2 exams... We'll see.

But that's not why I've started this log. I have 12 weeks and change until university starts, and want to make something of my evenings until then. I hope that keeping a public log will help me to stay accountable by achieving realistic goals. So without further ado...

12 week language challenge - the first 6 weeks

Objectives
- Maintain solid B2 level (French)
- Complete Paul Noble Italian course Done!
- Get comfortable with super-basic Russian

Plan
French
Read 3 books in French
Listen to/ watch 10 hours of films/ podcasts Done!
Translate one short story from French to English
(Bonus: translate one short story from English to French.)

Italian
Go through Paul Noble's "Learn Italian" course Done!
Watch 1 film in Italian (with subtitles!!)
Work through as much of "Italiano per stranieri"'s A1 material as possible. Discarded
Practice writing by doing a very short story.

Russian
Complete first 3 chapters of "Ruslan I" course
Listen to 2 hours of Ekho Moskva (just to get used to hearing the sound of it) Done!
Practice writing by doing a very short story.


This may be hopelessly optimistic as it's been years since I've done anything but study in dribs and drabs, but it's nice to have some goals.
Last edited by Charlar_mas on Tue Jul 16, 2019 4:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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booksandtrains
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Re: Slow Learner's Log (not a sllog!)

Postby booksandtrains » Wed Jun 19, 2019 8:00 pm

Hello, good luck with your goals! There is no such thing as basic Russian, you will get sucked in and drink caffeine at midnight and question your life and your place in the universe as you're waist-deep in case endings and prepositions and soft signs but it will be beautiful. But that's probably just me projecting my experience. Also enjoy the summer holiday!
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Charlar_mas
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Re: Slow Learner's Log (not a sllog!)

Postby Charlar_mas » Fri Jun 21, 2019 10:06 am

booksandtrains wrote:you will get sucked in and drink caffeine at midnight and question your life and your place in the universe as you're waist-deep in case endings and prepositions and soft signs but it will be beautiful.


Спасибо. I sincerely hope so as that sounds wonderfully poetic! How did you learn Russian? Are there any resources you recommend?
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Charlar_mas
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Slow Learner's Log (not a sllog!)

Postby Charlar_mas » Fri Jun 21, 2019 3:26 pm

Update the first

French: Started "La Loi des mâles" by Druon. It's been a couple of months since I finished the first 3 books in the series, so I've been worried that I wouldn't remember any of the characters. Luckily I've not forgotten anyone who's come up (yet). I've also been optimistic and ordered the next book. It should turn up next week, so watch this space!

I've also rooted through my short story collection and found one that I'd like to translate. It's a bit daunting as it's definitely above my language level: I had to read some lines with a dictionary open. I think that going for something that I'll have to work really hard on and still make mistakes on will help my language level more than going for coasting through an easier story.

Any tips on doing translations to improve language skills would be really welcome!


Italian: Sadly the Paul Noble course is due back at the library in 10 days, so I've had to squeeze in just over an hour a day of listening. I don't know what this will do for language retention in the long run. On the bright side there are enough similarities between French and Spanish that so far I've been able to hang the few words we've covered on little hooks in my mind.

I also got a bit overenthusiastic and listened to a free 5 minute clip of Harry Potter e la camera dei segreti online. It was cool to have the words wash over me and pick out the ones that sounded familiar (like "uovo fritto").


Russian: I've finished Unit 1 of the Ruslan, but am going to redo it again (and possibly again) until I can recognise all the letters on first glance. The longer words always make me pause for a second, which is annoying. I also went a bit wild and wrote out some words on flashcards.

I've only listened to 15 minutes of Echo Moskva but it's heartening that they mostly seem to speak at a speed where I can hear individual words.. Still remember the first time I watched a YouTube video in Spanish and just stared blankly because I had no idea where the words began and ended. That was one baptism by fire. :)
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booksandtrains
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Re: Slow Learner's Log (not a sllog!)

Postby booksandtrains » Sat Jun 22, 2019 9:09 am

Charlar_mas wrote:
booksandtrains wrote:you will get sucked in and drink caffeine at midnight and question your life and your place in the universe as you're waist-deep in case endings and prepositions and soft signs but it will be beautiful.


Спасибо. I sincerely hope so as that sounds wonderfully poetic! How did you learn Russian? Are there any resources you recommend?


Well I studied Russian the "easy" way by majoring in it at university. I can only imagine that learning it independently is a very different and overall much more challenging experience and I am in awe of those who do it. I've heard good things about the New Penguin Russian Course. I wouldn't recommend the university textbook I used... There are loads of grammar books published in Russia focusing on specific topics such as cases and verbs of motion. Terence Wade's A Comprehensive Russian Grammar was a holy book at my university and it certainly is comprehensive, thick and maybe on the more expensive side depending on your budget. I also had a lot of success with books of short stories targeted at foreigners.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24578725 I didn't use this one myself but I know a lot of people who did and it seems really good for lower levels, getting that sweet vocab.

https://www.ozon.ru/context/detail/id/1191517/ This one is probably more pre-intermediate than beginner but I used one this a lot. It contains a bunch of short stories, I think some are made up by the publisher but others are actually from Russian literature (Chekhov is the writer you almost always end up reading as a first step into Russian lit and if I recall there are adapted stories by him in this book). There are key words with translations in the margin to help you along. I think that Shkatulka book is set up in a similar way.

I also listened to a lot of Russian music, translated the lyrics, sang along, much to the irritation of my flatmates and slightly at the expense of my own dignity. I'm not sure what your tastes are in this area but I like Кино, Наутилус Помпилиус, Земфира, Моральный кодекс, Браво, Би-2. Oh, and films, many of which are available on Мосфильм's YouTube channel with English and Russian subtitles. Брат and Брат 2 have that "cult classic" status (I'm just typing words now) and the Soviet film industry is a huge thing. I also watched a load of stuff on Star Media, also available on YouTube, many of their shows have English/Russian subtitles.
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Charlar_mas
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Re: Slow Learner's Log (not a sllog!)

Postby Charlar_mas » Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:56 pm

booksandtrains wrote:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24578725 I didn't use this one myself but I know a lot of people who did and it seems really good for lower levels, getting that sweet vocab.

https://www.ozon.ru/context/detail/id/1191517/ This one is probably more pre-intermediate than beginner but I used one this a lot. It contains a bunch of short stories, I think some are made up by the publisher but others are actually from Russian literature (Chekhov is the writer you almost always end up reading as a first step into Russian lit and if I recall there are adapted stories by him in this book). There are key words with translations in the margin to help you along. I think that Shkatulka book is set up in a similar way.



Thank you so so much for the books and music information. I'd been debating whether to purchase a copy of the Wade or not, so thank you. There are some copies floating around on ebay.

Heh, come September I'm going to be taking the "easy" option too (distance degree). I was just too impatient to wait for a few months. :lol: Also the degree's going to be taught in French, so I'm hoping that this will make the first few weeks of the course a little easier.
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eido
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Re: Slow Learner's Log (not a sllog!)

Postby eido » Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:10 am

Charlar_mas wrote:Any tips on doing translations to improve language skills would be really welcome!

There is a lot of "literature" about this on the forum. What I'll relay here is mostly a repeat of what you'll find through searches, though I've used it personally.

- Find an article or chapter in target language that interests you, or is of the type you'd like to translate. Preferably this content will have an English translation or adaption somewhere you can compare to. I've used Wikia articles for fandoms I'm interested in in the past. English has the biggest amount of content and the anglophone world has cultures with some of the biggest media output, so there's always an English article of some sort floating out there for a popular show. I find, though, that news works the best for this. Classic novels, too.
- Find a dictionary that allows you to search by collocation, or a site that hosts a collocation dictionary. Reverso-Context works decently for this.
- Sometimes you'll have to memorize a translation. But the idea with translation, at least from my perspective, is to form your own idea of what the target language content is trying to convey and translating that idea, not the words.
- If you have a native-speaking friend that has a decent level of your native language, try to run your translation by them. You could try giving them the translation separate from the source, or give them both at the same time. Giving them the one by itself allows them to make judgments based on its quality from the standpoint of your ability as a writer, not as a translator. At least, I think so ;)

That's my short guide to translating practice. Like I said, there's a lot to be had on this forum regarding the subject. Luca Lampariello and Assimil are buzzwords (or names) I'd keep a lookout for.
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Arnaud
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Re: Slow Learner's Log (not a sllog!)

Postby Arnaud » Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:21 am

booksandtrains wrote:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24578725 I didn't use this one myself but I know a lot of people who did and it seems really good for lower levels, getting that sweet vocab.

https://www.ozon.ru/context/detail/id/1191517/ This one is probably more pre-intermediate than beginner but I used one this a lot. It contains a bunch of short stories, I think some are made up by the publisher but others are actually from Russian literature (Chekhov is the writer you almost always end up reading as a first step into Russian lit and if I recall there are adapted stories by him in this book). There are key words with translations in the margin to help you along. I think that Shkatulka book is set up in a similar way.

I've myself used the two books and they were very useful, especially 116 текстов. Шкатулка is easier and is accented. 116 текстов is more difficult and not accented, but that's the one I've read several times until I could read it without the notes. Even after 116 текстов, reading real literature is a challenge, you still don't have enough vocab to feel at ease, but you can start to read real short stories of Tchekhov with a dictionary. So a good dictionary is absolutely necessary.
At a beginner stage, the Wade grammar is overkill (and expensive). For the grammar, you can watch Amazing Russian, it's full of easy exemples for first and second years students. When you know all that is explained on AR, you can consider buying Wade, imho.
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Charlar_mas
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Re: Slow Learner's Log (not a sllog!)

Postby Charlar_mas » Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:19 pm

eido wrote: There is a lot of "literature" about this on the forum. What I'll relay here is mostly a repeat of what you'll find through searches, though I've used it personally.

- Find an article or chapter in target language that interests you, or is of the type you'd like to translate. Preferably this content will have an English translation or adaption somewhere you can compare to. I've used Wikia articles for fandoms I'm interested in in the past. English has the biggest amount of content and the anglophone world has cultures with some of the biggest media output, so there's always an English article of some sort floating out there for a popular show. I find, though, that news works the best for this. Classic novels, too.
- Find a dictionary that allows you to search by collocation, or a site that hosts a collocation dictionary. Reverso-Context works decently for this.
- Sometimes you'll have to memorize a translation. But the idea with translation, at least from my perspective, is to form your own idea of what the target language content is trying to convey and translating that idea, not the words.
- If you have a native-speaking friend that has a decent level of your native language, try to run your translation by them. You could try giving them the translation separate from the source, or give them both at the same time. Giving them the one by itself allows them to make judgments based on its quality from the standpoint of your ability as a writer, not as a translator. At least, I think so ;)

That's my short guide to translating practice. Like I said, there's a lot to be had on this forum regarding the subject. Luca Lampariello and Assimil are buzzwords (or names) I'd keep a lookout for.


Thank you so much! That's an easy-to-follow guide which will help a lot. I'll look for a collaction dictionary and a story that actually has a translation. I got carried away and had picked out a short story that's not been translated yet. :lol:

Afterwards, I'll look up more on Luca Lampariello and Assimil methods. The downside of there being so much information online is that I sometimes read up too much on something before getting started, I get a bit overwhelmed by info and back out.
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Charlar_mas
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Re: Slow Learner's Log (not a sllog!)

Postby Charlar_mas » Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:38 pm

Arnaud wrote:
booksandtrains wrote:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24578725 I didn't use this one myself but I know a lot of people who did and it seems really good for lower levels, getting that sweet vocab.

https://www.ozon.ru/context/detail/id/1191517/ This one is probably more pre-intermediate than beginner but I used one this a lot. It contains a bunch of short stories, I think some are made up by the publisher but others are actually from Russian literature (Chekhov is the writer you almost always end up reading as a first step into Russian lit and if I recall there are adapted stories by him in this book). There are key words with translations in the margin to help you along. I think that Shkatulka book is set up in a similar way.

I've myself used the two books and they were very useful, especially 116 текстов. Шкатулка is easier and is accented. 116 текстов is more difficult and not accented, but that's the one I've read several times until I could read it without the notes. Even after 116 текстов, reading real literature is a challenge, you still don't have enough vocab to feel at ease, but you can start to read real short stories of Tchekhov with a dictionary. So a good dictionary is absolutely necessary.
At a beginner stage, the Wade grammar is overkill (and expensive). For the grammar, you can watch Amazing Russian, it's full of easy examples for first and second years students. When you know all that is explained on AR, you can consider buying Wade, imho.
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