To Catch an Aurora: On Top of the World (Language Rendezvous)

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AndyMeg
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Re: Eine kleine Nachtmusik: A Sound Garden (Musically Exploring Language)

Postby AndyMeg » Sat Sep 26, 2020 4:46 pm

eido wrote:For instance, as a teen I dreamed of raising my children bilingual or trilingual, and that's why in addition to falling in love with Spanish, I worked so hard to get up to a decent level. But "decent" isn't enough. You have to be really good. Know all the vocabulary, know the language like your own heart... at least in my view. I'll do more research on it at a later time, but for now, if anyone's reading this and going, "you don't know what you're talking about!" and would like to correct me, please do so in a kind manner and inform me. I love to read, especially if it has rich educational value.


I don't know if what I'm about to say has "rich educational value", but I want to share it with you:

I don't think you need to know or even to try to know ALL the vocabulary in you target languages. I mean, every language has so many words that even native speakers don't know them all. I'll tell you an anecdote:

About 10 years ago I was taking Japanese classes with a Japanese native speaker. She spoke good enough Spanish and it was easy to communicate with her in Spanish. One day she used a Spanish word none of us, native Spanish speakers in her class (we were a group of about 10 people at the time), knew the meaning of. To this day I don't even remember what that word was. We looked up the word in the dictionary and it was indeed a Spanish word we had never heard of. At that time it amazed us how a foreigner could know a word not even us natives were aware of. But this very same person, who knew this very rare Spanish word, also used to write tree like "álbor" instead of "árbol" because for her the "r" and the "l" sounded the same. And she also wouldn't know a word like "zurda" (being left handed) and confused it with "sorda" (deaf).

What I want to tell you with this example, is that more than trying to know ALL the words in a language, for me, at least, it's more important to get really good at the things I'm really interested to do in the language. It's better to have really strong bases in the language and in our areas of interest, than trying to go too wide and too deep to the detriment of more relevant knowledge. Of course, you can always go explore the language wide and deep after you can efficiently do with it the things that are more relevant to you and your key interests.

Even I, as a native speaker of Spanish, keep learning new Spanish words every day. Especially when I turn my attention to areas of interest I hadn't explored before or go deeper into old areas of interest. So I don't see the point in obsessing with the idea of getting to know ALL the words in any given language (and I don't say this only because of your comment, but because in general I see way too many people obsessed to learn an inordinate amount of words and then they feel lost because they never get to use/see/hear them, or they use them but sound weird to native speakers ears).

For me, getting proficient in a language is not about the amount of what you know in a language but about the quailty of that knowledge and the flexibility that you develop for using what you know in any given situation.
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iguanamon
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Re: Eine kleine Nachtmusik: A Sound Garden (Musically Exploring Language)

Postby iguanamon » Sat Sep 26, 2020 8:46 pm

AndyMeg wrote:
eido wrote:For instance, as a teen I dreamed of raising my children bilingual or trilingual, and that's why in addition to falling in love with Spanish, I worked so hard to get up to a decent level. But "decent" isn't enough. You have to be really good. Know all the vocabulary, know the language like your own heart... at least in my view. I'll do more research on it at a later time, but for now, if anyone's reading this and going, "you don't know what you're talking about!" and would like to correct me, please do so in a kind manner and inform me. I love to read, especially if it has rich educational value.

...For me, getting proficient in a language is not about the amount of what you know in a language but about the quailty of that knowledge and the flexibility that you develop for using what you know in any given situation.

I'll second AndyMeg. What your talking about, eido, is akin to perfectionism. To the best of my knowledge, you have not been educated in Spanish, Korean, Faroese, Mandarin, Polish or any other language than English Nor have you lived in a TL country. We sometimes underestimate how difficult it is to learn a language outside of a TL country on our own. Achieving C2 is not perfection, by any stretch of the imagination. There will always be words you don't know, phrases you haven't seen or heard, subtle nuances of which you are not aware.

Whenever we are in a long conversation with a native-speaker, or have to write a long text, we become painfully aware of our inadequacies. We may never seem to get our thoughts across quite as we intend. The thing is, that's ok. As AndyMeg says, "it's about what you know, the quality of what you know, and the flexibility you develop" along the way.

You should not define yourself in a language by what you can't do, but instead, define yourself by what youcan do. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't try to improve your abilities. Striving to better ourselves is an admirable part of the human condition. Zen Buddhist philosophy teaches us that it's our expectations in life that make us unhappy. Theirs a huge difference in striving for improvement and expecting perfection. Striving for improvement is a good thing in that it helps us to get better despite setbacks and imperfection. Striving for improvement is accepting of those setbacks and that imperfection which will always be there, because we are human. Expecting perfection generally leads us to a downward spiral of self-doubt and even self-dislike which are self-defeating in their own right.

I am far from perfect in any of my languages. Yet, I have gone to the doctor in Spanish and Portuguese. I have argued on the phone with an airline in both languages. I can travel in TL countries with relative ease, make friends, attend a business meeting, have a romantic partner, be happy being immersed in the cultures. I can sing "Pedro Navaja", "Guantánamera", "Aguas de março", "País Tropical" and "Ayiti Toma" while drinking in a bar (in the before times, not a big deal, but it can break the ice for sure). I can make a Haitian smile in Miami by helping him with the ticket machine at the Tri Rail station, St Lucians and people from Dominica around here are happy (and surprised) to hear me speak my imperfect Kwéyòl. I am certainly not perfect. I mess up sometimes and it's ok.

Just do the best you can. Try to get better. Read widely (not just things you like), listen widely, know that it's alright to be somewhat limited even with a high level in a language. You most certainly do not have to know all the vocabulary. It's more about what you can do with what you do know, and how well you can do it. There never comes a day when you will have "arrived" in a language. There will always be more to know, more to learn... at least this is what I have learned over the years.

You are young and have many years left. Look back at where you were when you first came here to the forum, and look where you are now! There may come a time when you will want to work on bettering one language. If that day comes, you certainly have the skills, ability and knowledge to do that.
Last edited by iguanamon on Sat Sep 26, 2020 10:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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eido
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Re: Eine kleine Nachtmusik: A Sound Garden (Musically Exploring Language)

Postby eido » Sat Sep 26, 2020 10:01 pm

I normally try not to reply to my log unless I have a lot to say, that way I'm not being that person that's constantly making inconsequential updates. But I think this time I'll have a lot to say, maybe too much to say.
AndyMeg wrote:I don't know if what I'm about to say has "rich educational value", but I want to share it with you:

I don't think you need to know or even to try to know ALL the vocabulary in you target languages. I mean, every language has so many words that even native speakers don't know them all. I'll tell you an anecdote...

What a very interesting anecdote! I've read about many similar. That type of thing hasn't happened to me yet because I forget most advanced vocabulary. :lol: I rely a lot on the same patterns to get me places.

What I'd like to clear up is that I meant learning vast quantities of words in a more metaphoric sense. My brain doesn't like learning vocabulary and I was only able to learn it fast when I was younger, even if I'm still young. I was mainly thinking of specialized household or educational vocabulary that one would need to know to teach their child as they were growing to make sure they had a good base in the language, no matter which it was. And this could be culture- and language-specific. You know when you read to a child and they ask you, "What's a __?" as they point to a picture in the book? What if the word fails to come to you because you haven't practiced with that concept enough? In your native language, it might take you 2-3 seconds if you forget, and forgetting is suitable, but when it's a language you have less experience in, it's a bit awkward. That's just my opinion, though, as someone projecting out their life into the future.

The weird words are the ones that help expand a child's vocabulary, but if you don't know them... I don't know. Maybe I'm looking at this the wrong way. I've only just started researching bits of early childhood education.

It did have value, what you said. I like long, illustrative stories and well-articulated points for me to consider. I rarely interact with people outside my family circle, and it's a bit suffocatingly supportive in here at times simply due to a lack of knowledge (don't get me wrong, though, I love my parents and my sister's crowd even if they're not language experts). That's why I have this forum and the Internet--more people to spring ideas off of.
iguanamon wrote:You are young and have many years left. Look back at where you were when you first came here to the forum, and look where you are now! There may come a time when you will want to work on bettering one language. If that day comes, you certainly have the skills, ability and knowledge to do that.

You've got me thinking. I probably should just focus on Spanish. For my goal of bilingualism in myself and a future family, that would probably be best. If you have an opinion on how I run things, please do provide input. I value what you say. I try not to dilly-dally or fling back and forth from idea to idea.

My learning plans tend to match with whatever is going to be of most use for me in a personal sense in the upcoming months. I plan out, but not too far out. I've tried planning out for years ahead of time like people say is good, you know--be proactive and not reactive. My plans always include multiple languages, because I tend to like variety. It's not so much boredom as it is it being hard to pry languages out of my cold, dead hands :P

I thought recently I should switch to reading solely in Spanish for my news and if I wanted to read fiction, maybe some fan fiction to relax. I could maybe even write in Spanish a fan fiction. And solely watch Spanish YouTube videos.

I however have a pretty good grasp of what's being said to me if I apply a little focus, just a little. So I wonder, @iguanamon, how wide is "wide" when it comes to consuming media? Doing such a thing is predicated on the idea that you like to learn for the heck of it, which I do, but naturally there is some work in getting involved with a new topic.

I'm proud of how far I've come (thank you for seemingly being proud, too) but still know my Spanish leaves a lot to be desired. I suppose I should quantify my goals. That, though, is pretty hard, since language is slippery.

I'll leave it up to people that stop by this log: what do you think of my learning style and plans? No need to write an essay about some rando (aka me) on the Internet, but if you've always wanted to comment on how I do things, now's the time to do it. You're always welcome to, but now is when my attention is attuned keenly to the matter.

In the same vein, I've taken up writing to new exchange partners using a style I've developed where I write what I feel is right and seeing if I'm correct. It's a good way to do things in my opinion because it tests your knowledge of concepts.

Is ConversationExchange the best place for finding exchange partners? I'm trying Tandem (again) but people there are a bit too frenetic for me.

Also, I'll leave you with this:
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AndyMeg
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Re: Eine kleine Nachtmusik: A Sound Garden (Musically Exploring Language)

Postby AndyMeg » Sat Sep 26, 2020 11:11 pm

eido wrote:I was mainly thinking of specialized household or educational vocabulary that one would need to know to teach their child as they were growing to make sure they had a good base in the language, no matter which it was. And this could be culture- and language-specific. You know when you read to a child and they ask you, "What's a __?" as they point to a picture in the book? What if the word fails to come to you because you haven't practiced with that concept enough? In your native language, it might take you 2-3 seconds if you forget, and forgetting is suitable, but when it's a language you have less experience in, it's a bit awkward. That's just my opinion, though, as someone projecting out their life into the future.

The weird words are the ones that help expand a child's vocabulary, but if you don't know them... I don't know. Maybe I'm looking at this the wrong way. I've only just started researching bits of early childhood education.


I think we are back to the talk about perfectionism.

I understand it because I've fallen into the perfectionism trap way too many times.

If you want to work with any given material with your child, then you can review the material beforehand, look for the things you don't know and then you can be sure that you can answer any question the child may have in relation to the material (unless he/she surprises you with a question you didn't think of).

But sometimes you may not have enough time to review a material beforehand. For example, you are watching a movie with your child and there's a sign written in Spanish, your child asks you what it says and you know everything except for a word, or maybe there's a slang sentence you don't know about. It's Ok, you can tell your child you don't know (adults don't have to know everything and it's actually healthy to let children know that adults don't know all the answers all the time, that way children can have more realistic expectations and build their own confidence and will to find their own answers, and also improve their teamwork in finding answers together) but you'll take note of it and you'll both will look for it's meaning later, or just make a quick search in your smarthphone at that very moment and see what you find. That way you teach your child that it's OK to not know everything, but that there are ways to find the information you want/need to know whenever you want/need to know it.

As the proverb says: "give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime".

eido wrote:Also, I'll leave you with this:


I loved that speech from BTS! :D (Actually, I was thinking of sharing it in my log, and maybe I still will, but I hadn't gotten to it yet).
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iguanamon
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Re: Eine kleine Nachtmusik: A Sound Garden (Musically Exploring Language)

Postby iguanamon » Sat Sep 26, 2020 11:33 pm

eido wrote:...You've got me thinking. I probably should just focus on Spanish. For my goal of bilingualism in myself and a future family, that would probably be best. If you have an opinion on how I run things, please do provide input. I value what you say. I try not to dilly-dally or fling back and forth from idea to idea.
My learning plans tend to match with whatever is going to be of most use for me in a personal sense in the upcoming months. I plan out, but not too far out. I've tried planning out for years ahead of time like people say is good, you know--be proactive and not reactive. My plans always include multiple languages, because I tend to like variety. It's not so much boredom as it is it being hard to pry languages out of my cold, dead hands :P.

I learned a long time ago not to rain on people who like to learn multiple languages simultaneously. Not going to bite here! :lol:
eido wrote:I thought recently I should switch to reading solely in Spanish for my news and if I wanted to read fiction, maybe some fan fiction to relax. I could maybe even write in Spanish a fan fiction. And solely watch Spanish YouTube videos.

Good plan! While I read El País from Spain, the Iberian focus may not be interesting if you've never been there. If you want to read news in Spanish, as an American, I recommend AP en español. 1) It's free. 2) the topics are varied 3) the focus isn't just on the US but on Latin America, and to a certain extent the world. 3) There's a phone/tablet app. I read it every morning and during down time. In this era of journalistic bias, I find the ap to be more balanced. Also the NYT en español is free- unlike the English site. Translated articles have a link to read the original in English. DemiocracyNow.org/es has daily news during the week that you can listen to and also read. You can download the newscast on your phone- 12 minutes or so- leans strongly progressive.
eido wrote:I however have a pretty good grasp of what's being said to me if I apply a little focus, just a little. So I wonder, @iguanamon, how wide is "wide" when it comes to consuming media? Doing such a thing is predicated on the idea that you like to learn for the heck of it, which I do, but naturally there is some work in getting involved with a new topic.

The thing is to not make it seem like "work". Look up words/phrases that you can't gather from context. As you continue with a daily habit of reading widely. You will encounter words again... maybe not all of them and maybe not frequently, but probably most of them at some point. My theory is that now that your mind has the basic foundation stored, you have more room for new words. Of course, if a topic intrigues you, you can down the rabbit hole.

For wide reading in Spanish, I've been recommending Pijamasurf for years. I can always find something interesting there to read. The topics range from science to archaeology; psychology to philosophy; mathematics to pop culture- quite varied. It's better than clicking the random articles feature in wikipedia because you won't get those annoying city articles with only one or two sentences popping up.
BBC Mundo Yeah, I know it's not from the Spanish-speaking world. I read El País and watch Puerto Rican news but I've been there and I know the context to a large extent. BBC Mundo gives a great sampling across the Spanish-speaking world, the US and Britain. The articles are varied. GlobalVoices.org definitely has a focus on under-reported topics. The articles translated into Spanish and other languages are all human translated. The site also has original articles. There are links to read the articles in multiple languages.

Listen widely in an analogous way to reading widely. Try some of the documentaries on DW en español documentales. Maybe check out a novela from Mexico, Colombia or elsewhere on Telemundo. There's no place better for colloquial language. A good novela can get you hooked on the story. The production values and quality are high. Also, don't forget your local community in New Mexico- radio, tv, poetry, literature.

Twitter, for me, is a boon to my language exposure. I follow authors, poets, the Cervantes Institute, artists, some news sites, some regular people. It takes a while to curate a good twitter feed but once you've done it, it works for you effortlessly.

Reading and listening widely, prepares me for meeting a wide variety of people and maybe being able to find something in common. It broadens my vocabulary, opens my mind to the new, and takes me to places I never knew I wanted to go before.

The thing about vocabulary is that you don't know what you need to know until you need it. Knowing how to find it or ask for it is key. I didn't know the word for shoelaces in Portuguese until I had to buy a pair of shoes in São Paulo and didn't want neon green. Neither did I know the word for "adapter plug" until I needed to buy one. I didn't know a lot about sailing vocabulary in English, until I started sailing. Don't worry about it. When you need it, you can find and learn it.

Yeah, eido, I am indeed proud of you! You've come a long way!
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Re: Eine kleine Nachtmusik: A Sound Garden (Musically Exploring Language)

Postby DaveAgain » Sun Sep 27, 2020 5:41 am

eido wrote:The weird words are the ones that help expand a child's vocabulary, but if you don't know them... I don't know. Maybe I'm looking at this the wrong way. I've only just started researching bits of early childhood education.
Currently I'm using a 15 minute programme called Geist und Gehirn for my daily German audio.

In one episode the presenter made the point that watching TV has a negative effect on babies' language skills, reading stories to them has a positive effect.
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Re: Eine kleine Nachtmusik: A Sound Garden (Musically Exploring Language)

Postby eido » Sun Oct 04, 2020 3:01 pm

This week I've been working on trying to foster the growth of language exchange on Tandem. I'm so glad they offer their app as an Internet site as well. There are a lot of apps that are mobile-only. I use my computer for different things than my phone, even if they have relatively the same functions. Isn't that crazy? Back 30 years ago we wouldn't have said such things.

I've practiced a lot of Spanish this week and I'd say I'm not half bad. The trouble is finding a good Korean exchange partner. Many are shy or only want to exchange in English. But I think I'm making headway.

I still haven't learned to type Korean on a PC keyboard, but I hope to get there someday soon.

I had my weekly French class, and that went well. I'm learning to like French more and more.

Right now I'm just trying to go with the flow and keep happiness and morale high.
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Re: Eine kleine Nachtmusik: A Sound Garden (Musically Exploring Language)

Postby Iversen » Mon Oct 05, 2020 11:27 am

Who is only the middle person from that UN assembly wearing a facemask?
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Re: Eine kleine Nachtmusik: A Sound Garden (Musically Exploring Language)

Postby tarvos » Mon Oct 05, 2020 12:52 pm

This week I've been working on trying to foster the growth of language exchange on Tandem. I'm so glad they offer their app as an Internet site as well. There are a lot of apps that are mobile-only. I use my computer for different things than my phone, even if they have relatively the same functions. Isn't that crazy? Back 30 years ago we wouldn't have said such things


Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, is the saying I believe...

I'm a millennial, and I grew up in the 90s, before smartphones. I didn't get one of them until, what, 2012 or 2013. I even remember phone books where you had to look up someone's name in the book if you wanted to call them (and people who didn't want to be in the directory were of course big pricks).

On the other hand, I definitely grew up around computers (my dad was always at the forefront of new technology) and I've been... forcibly immersed in their use from day 1. I can't imagine life without them, and we had computers back in the early 90s at home even. We were early to get the Internet as well.

I always find it very funny to watch 90s series for that reason (try watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and not laughing hard...)
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Empty, fragile , weak
Soon the battle is over, lost to apathy

Is a girl.

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Re: Eine kleine Nachtmusik: A Sound Garden (Musically Exploring Language)

Postby DaveAgain » Mon Oct 05, 2020 1:00 pm

tarvos wrote:I always find it very funny to watch 90s series for that reason (try watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and not laughing hard...)
The ubiquity of mobile phones is something I notice in new TV programmes. I realise screen writers can't ignore their existence, but I don't think they improve storytelling.
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