Lisa's Language Log

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Lisa
White Belt
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Jul 30, 2019 8:08 pm
Location: Oregon, United States
Languages: English - N
Spanish - reading ~B2, otherwise ~A2
German - read, speak and understand fairly well ~A2, but production only with accidentally correct grammar.
Bits and bobs of French, Italian, and Malay
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Re: Lisa's Language Log

Postby Lisa » Mon Nov 25, 2019 4:18 am

StringerBell wrote: I also have this issue; I still sometimes swap 1st person and 3 person verb conjugations. I doesn't happen every time, but at this point it really shouldn't be happening anymore. I have no idea why. I look forward to seeing how you deal with this - maybe it will help me to figure out what to do!


It's nice to know I'm not entirely weird :) In English, since we have to use I you he, it just never occurred to me that this was something you can't be sloppy with in Spanish, your entire sentence will make no sense if you mix these up....

I think the cause (for me) is the way I study, with thinking infinitive->tense->person; since person is the easiest it's last and gets the least emphasis. And then, when I read it's mostly in third person, so that's the most familiar and natural sounding. My first idea to deal with it (besides a mental double check as I speak), is a first-person-conjugation-only anki deck to learn all the first-persons together... not sure that's gelling for me. I don't like written drills but somehow getting a lot more exposure to the "I" forms.
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Lisa
White Belt
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Jul 30, 2019 8:08 pm
Location: Oregon, United States
Languages: English - N
Spanish - reading ~B2, otherwise ~A2
German - read, speak and understand fairly well ~A2, but production only with accidentally correct grammar.
Bits and bobs of French, Italian, and Malay
x 100

Re: Lisa's Language Log

Postby Lisa » Tue Dec 10, 2019 8:53 pm

For my reading, I floundered a bit since Crazy Rich Asians just didn't keep my interest. But I found Dracula in spanish, and while the reading is rather difficult, I have been enjoying it (except for the most recent bit that was chock-a-block with nautical terms that I really don't want to learn; I have the english around so I can look up some words that aren't even in my dictionary).

This is the first book that I definitely am aware of a "style" that is not the same as previous book; this translation has complicated grammatical structures and excess numbers of dependent clauses, which matches the ornate style of the original english.

It's an interestingly different experience, reading in a different language. When reading in english, I am immersed and don't really notice the individual words or sentence structures; but in spanish, I have to go so much slower and read the sentence several times, so the more microscopic experience has to be enjoyable. Oddly, some of the complicated sentences are actually a bit easier to understand if I read it aloud. At one point, I could only understand written German if I read it aloud... but that made sense since I knew more spoken German, but I don't know spoken spanish very well. Perhaps the many spanish cognates or semi-cognates are more visible aloud. But even when I'm learning vocabulary, I say them aloud, and they sometimes seem to come out of my mouth correctly even when the studying part of my brain can't recall the written word.

But I really can't speak for beans. I embarrassed myself at a party recently when I met someone who turned out to be from Spain and I attempted to speak to him in Spanish :oops: Like meeting a vet and telling them about your sick cat.

Learning to read or understand audiobooks, and learning to speak and understand chit-chat, seem to be two very different things with much less overlap than I thought. I enjoy the reading (when I find an engaging book!) and learning words... I haven't found a route to learning to speak that even gets close to the ease of making progress. I'm using italki... but I've only been able to carve out a couple of times a week at best, since I can't spontaneously fit it in when I happen to have a half-hour free, I have to commit in advance.

KwizIQ has set my study level as B2, but I am deferring most of the weird subjunctive pasts and trying to get more solid on the irregulars in preterite and subjective indicative and some other things that I just don't really know in spite of getting a good grade. Currently 100% on A0 and A1 and 92% on A2, and 75% on B1. What with the holidays, though, I'm neglecting my anki somewhat and not working very hard on the grammar.
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User avatar
SCMT
Yellow Belt
Posts: 84
Joined: Thu May 30, 2019 6:32 pm
Languages: Engilsh (N)
Spanish (Learning)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=10551
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Re: Lisa's Language Log

Postby SCMT » Tue Dec 10, 2019 9:36 pm

Lisa wrote: Oddly, some of the complicated sentences are actually a bit easier to understand if I read it aloud. At one point, I could only understand written German if I read it aloud... but that made sense since I knew more spoken German, but I don't know spoken spanish very well. Perhaps the many spanish cognates or semi-cognates are more visible aloud.


Reading aloud helps me when I am having trouble concentrating. There is something the process that helps focus my mind and push environmental distractions to the background. Anyway, I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one for whom reading en voz is sometimes necessary.
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Lisa
White Belt
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Jul 30, 2019 8:08 pm
Location: Oregon, United States
Languages: English - N
Spanish - reading ~B2, otherwise ~A2
German - read, speak and understand fairly well ~A2, but production only with accidentally correct grammar.
Bits and bobs of French, Italian, and Malay
x 100

Re: Lisa's Language Log

Postby Lisa » Sat Jan 04, 2020 8:23 am

I have been sadly neglecting the Spanish. I think I'm discouraged by my inability to speak while I'm doing so well in reading and grammar. So yeah, I do my anki decks from time to time but don't carefully add new words; I do the kwiziq and chip away at B2 topics (at 23%), but I am not worried about getting to milestones since I don't really think I need imperfect subjunctive. The drive isn't there. I am back to reading books in English. Lacking handy available native speakers does seem to have been a fatal flaw in my plans. There are italki sessions, although I just don't like trying to talk over skype and the cost to get sufficient time to actually seriously improve is more than I like to spend.

Over the holidays, I was too busy/distracted to schedule any sessions, but I have to start with them again; since... just a few weeks til I'm off to Oaxaca for a week of spanish class/immersion experience. I have no idea what this will be like, linguistically; I can't be put in a class at any particular level since I'm so advanced in some areas and so behind in others. But, there will be much speaking and much listening one way or another... and so soon there will be clarity about what, exactly, the results are of all this effort. After all the agonizing about this trip I just decided that where I wanted most to go in Mexico was Oaxaca, and I'd be happier at a randomly selected school there, rather than some recommended school somewhere else that didn't interest me as much.
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Lisa
White Belt
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Jul 30, 2019 8:08 pm
Location: Oregon, United States
Languages: English - N
Spanish - reading ~B2, otherwise ~A2
German - read, speak and understand fairly well ~A2, but production only with accidentally correct grammar.
Bits and bobs of French, Italian, and Malay
x 100

Re: Lisa's Language Log

Postby Lisa » Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:26 am

With a bit of pushing myself over the last week I'm back to reading spanish (children's book, Devolver al Remitente); I had three half-hour conversation sessions with my italki teacher; and I am back on the kwiziq study, and a little bit on Anki. I'm feeling much more comfortable with reading and speaking and even the grammar isn't as bad although does any language really need all those tenses? Am I ever going to be able to express something like "If I had known how hard it was going to end up being, I might not have started trying to learn spanish" (not a true feeling, just an example sentence).

I'm going to have to slow down on italki as 3x/week is kind of adding up. I want to review anki words that are scheduled way out since I have forgotten some, but not worry about too many new words and maybe put off some of the more obscure ones. A wealth of new resources on another post that I haven't been entirely been able to work into the mix; but the first thing, producing written sentences is probably a better use of my time than figuring out the conditional perfect.

Para producir frases en español... debe escribir este diario en español... pero es demasiado difícil. Mi teclado es US y no me gusta entrar letras con Alt+número. Y no puedo recordar jamás los números por "é" y siempre necesita copiar y pegar. Es la unica cosa qué estaba más facíl antes de las computatoras, cuando solamente escribimos con papel y pluma.
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User avatar
coldrainwater
Green Belt
Posts: 480
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 4:53 am
Location: Houston, Texas
Languages: EN (N), ES (intermediate), DE (beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=7636
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Re: Lisa's Language Log

Postby coldrainwater » Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:41 am

For typing in Spanish, you want to choose the US international keyboard layout rather than the default US. That way you have no new layout to learn. Then you hit the right-alt key plus the letter (right-alt + e for example) to produce é. That will get you out of the copy/paste problem and completely avoid the alt+number requirement. It is quite low friction in that respect. As a bonus, you can then work with several other languages as well.
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Lisa
White Belt
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Jul 30, 2019 8:08 pm
Location: Oregon, United States
Languages: English - N
Spanish - reading ~B2, otherwise ~A2
German - read, speak and understand fairly well ~A2, but production only with accidentally correct grammar.
Bits and bobs of French, Italian, and Malay
x 100

Re: Lisa's Language Log

Postby Lisa » Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:00 pm

Handy trick! I'm going to have to keep it disabled most of the time since it seems to make single and double quotes unusable, and I need those often for work; but that looks like a simple switch. But then I've only tried this on Windows 7 which officially end of lifes tomorrow...

Clearly I should complain about pain points sooner since this forum so often provides such very useful solutions! thanks!
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Lisa
White Belt
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Jul 30, 2019 8:08 pm
Location: Oregon, United States
Languages: English - N
Spanish - reading ~B2, otherwise ~A2
German - read, speak and understand fairly well ~A2, but production only with accidentally correct grammar.
Bits and bobs of French, Italian, and Malay
x 100

Re: Lisa's Language Log

Postby Lisa » Tue Jan 14, 2020 5:07 am

The plan is, after my trip to Mexico, I'll be stopping Spanish and switching to German. It feels like it will be hard to stop; I've worked so hard on Spanish and why quit when I'm ahead. It's almost like a sad feeling. After all, it's been a lot of time! I figured out that I'd spent 60 hours on quiziq (using RescueTime), and more than 100 hours on Anki, and at least another 100 hours reading. Perhaps the motivation for Spanish will fade when I don't have an upcoming trip...

A las once, instalé el US International teclado. Este cambia así la comilla funciona para crear una letra con acento. Pero a menudo necesito las comillas para mi trabajo, y lo apagué. Algunas veces cuando estor escribiendo las comillas otra vez, estoy creando letras con acento; no sé como se vuelve.

Aun hoy usaba una palabra Alemán. Quiero decir a mi esposo que <los pies de los mapaches son grandes> pero usé <sind> en lugar de <son>. Tenemos un mapache qué come la comida de los gatos.
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Lisa
White Belt
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Jul 30, 2019 8:08 pm
Location: Oregon, United States
Languages: English - N
Spanish - reading ~B2, otherwise ~A2
German - read, speak and understand fairly well ~A2, but production only with accidentally correct grammar.
Bits and bobs of French, Italian, and Malay
x 100

Re: Lisa's Language Log

Postby Lisa » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:12 pm

Started German but have not stopped Spanish. Now facing entering German characters from keyboard.
To summarize for myself: these are the shortcodes for the International Keyboard (for spanish and german).

' vowel → á é í ó ú
right alt vowel → á é í ó ú
~n → ñ
right alt n → ñ

“ vowel → ä ö ü
right alt q → ä
right alt p → ö
right alt y → ü
right alt S → ß
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Lisa
White Belt
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Jul 30, 2019 8:08 pm
Location: Oregon, United States
Languages: English - N
Spanish - reading ~B2, otherwise ~A2
German - read, speak and understand fairly well ~A2, but production only with accidentally correct grammar.
Bits and bobs of French, Italian, and Malay
x 100

Re: Lisa's Language Log

Postby Lisa » Fri Jan 31, 2020 8:20 pm

I had a week's vacation in mexico = a week at an "intensive" spanish school.

The school offers 4 hours a day of teaching. They offer homestay, but I didn't do that since I thought I would be too tired, and also that it would be too difficult to do vacationy things in my very short time there, if I was farther from the city center. So I found an AirBnB close to the school (which was in the city center).

Class groups contain no more than 4 people each. The place seemed fairly busy; there were probably 6-8 groups. The idea is that they give you a placement test (it was 3-4 sheets fill in the blank) and they put you with people at your same level. There were 6-7 people new that week, and given the chaos and how little time they would have had to look at it, I think they are fairly arbitrary about placement. I think there was a fair number in the lower levels. The school had probably 2/3 or more retirees (this being mid-January). I was put in a group that was well below my level in grammar and vocab, but not far from my level of speaking ability.

Each class had two teachers, one for the first half (two hours of grammar instruction) and a different one for the second half (1.75 hours of conversation). The grammar lesson usually ended up including long discussions on the school system or anecdotes from the instructor, in Spanish. Grammar topics covered were imperative, reflexive verbs, impersonal, comparatives, sayings, and a few common verbal errors, over the course of the week... nothing new for me. We were expected to know preterite and imperfect but not subjunctive. We had homework every day (except Friday), to write a story or something using the grammar topic. One of the students who has been there the previous week said that they had also done the imperative the previous week. The conversation section was not very different, some speaking exercises using imperative, for example. I didn't get to do as much talking in as I would have liked.

It was, however, hugely fun, entertaining, and not hard at all, and I'd be happy to go back. I was not tired at the end of 4 hours. Some students would go out for lunch (and speak spanish), although others were travelling with spouses and went off by themselves. I went out to dinner a couple of times with a classmate, but I did notice that our use of spanish went away after a while as we had real things to say.

I'm disappointed that I wasn't challenged and pushed by the class. It seems possible that is it's intentional, since I'm sure they want people to return and/or recommend them; they probably cater to people who are combining vacation with learning... and folks who aren't very serious and intense would not want to be pushed and challenged and be exhausted at the end of the 4 hours. Or maybe I wasn't in the right class.
One nice thing was that I did get to put in a lot of questions I had on specific usages and there was time for a detailed discussion. I didn't get my pronunciation corrected... although I realized I do say the initial h but it may not be detectable, and I have a little trouble with saying "yew" instead of "oo" for u.

Over the course of the week, I did notice that my ability to make coherent sentences at a shop or restaurant did improve a lot. By and large no one broke back into English, either since english is not widely spoken or my spanish was not judged too bad. Most people I didn't have trouble understanding, but a few were difficult; I don't think it was speed, perhaps they had a different voice quality or something, or perhaps they happened to use words I hadn't heard in other places.

I enjoyed walking around the city, mostly alone, during the afternoons and evenings, and didn't feel any sense of risk (other than keeping a close eye on my bag) walking around the markets after dark or down the street to my rooms, and often didn't get back until after 8pm. But I'm of a certain age and height and don't present as vulnerable. Other than Areomexico, everything (the class, tours, transport to airport, airBnB host) all happened as arranged and right on time. Areomexico on the other hand, had trouble getting my luggage to me in mexico and then needed to stop for gas on the flight back. But it did finally work out.
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