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Re: alaart's log (mainly JP/CN ; Spanish 6WC)

Posted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 2:42 pm
by alaart
We had a disaster prevention exercise during the time I wanted to speak Portuguese, so I couldn't do that. A shame - instead of that I did some maintaining in Dutch, Dutch television :lol: .

I benefit greatly from the language corner in the university, and there is basically a Chinese tutor sitting there everyday - which I can talk to if no Japanese students are coming. Also I just spent some time with the Chinese students there. One guy bought a Xiangqi (Chinese Chess) set, just to play with me. Maybe, I have already told that - it was a week or two ago, but now like everybody got hooked and the Chinese guys sit around the table and discuss moves and strategy, and trash talk :D. I'm more of a listener among the Chinese group, but I usually do understand what they are talking about, but not the details - so I cannot really participate. I think if I would focus on Chinese more I could make progress really quickly.

Today it was the birthday of my roommate and the Mexicans made some tacos, pretty cool - since I just had class about latin food in the morning :D. I'm still a bit drunk, so excuses if there are some English mistakes.

I did some sample questions for the Chinese language exam on Sunday. It is too difficult to pass it without practice I guess °_°

Re: alaart's log (mainly JP/CN ; Spanish 6WC)

Posted: Tue Nov 26, 2019 3:40 pm
by alaart
So: I did a lot of sample questions for the Taiwanese language exam, and it became really clear that I won't pass it, but I noticed I would have been close if I studied. I'm missing some written Chinese grammar, and cannot read all the Hanzi (but enough, maybe 80-90%). Also my reading speed is far too slow. - In the end I didn't even took the test and decided to rest a day.

I think my Chinese recovered speaking wise, I had no trouble speaking a long time today, whereas 2 or 3 weeks back I was even starting to struggle having a small conversation.

Also this week was my birthday, and I'm in a reflective mood. I don't think too many people cared, and I'm living a too serious life right now, I should enjoy myself more. I mean, I enjoy studying, but it is something to do alone in your room, while I could also socialize while doing it. I really want to try, and get back to a more input based study schedule. More videos, speaking, listening - this will go hand in hand with a more socialized life. I have already started this process lately subconsciously, and I'm enjoying this a lot more. Will join Chinese language events again, and try to make more Japanese friends.

I feel I should improve my Japanese, it usually is sufficient, but I'm not really working on it actively besides vocabulary and classes. Not sure how this will go, I think Spanish will probably get the short end of the stick after the 6WC is over. That being said, I want to switch classes next semester, and I will have to study ahead to get into the other class which is far ahead. I also did Spanish language exchanges, I can talk a little bit by now.

Also I started to speak Portuguese again, it's very broken °_°, really in a bad condition.

Re: alaart's log (mainly JP/CN ; Spanish 6WC)

Posted: Sat Nov 30, 2019 4:21 pm
by alaart
I met some Brazilians on a party, and because their Japanese seemed bad I was in a situation were I basically had to speak Portuguese, and I opened my mouth :o ... and suddenly I could speak it again. Wow, the mind is interesting. :)

I think, every time I try to add a new language, at first my previous languages suffer greatly, but it is a temporary effect until the brain kind of figures out what this new language belongs to. Maybe it just saves the words in between various other languages or something gets messed up at first. Then after some time, the brain sorts it out again, and the language get separated. At least that's my experience.

Language wise I really made some progress recently. This week I watched some Japanese television, I joined the Chinese language corner, and I went to a Chinese circle in another University. So I spoke a lot of Chinese. I also spoke Japanese in groups, and I'm picking up a lot of new words everyday here and there. For Spanish, I guess I didn't study outside of classes and homework.

So am I satisfied? No, I talked of reflection, and I decided I want to study less. I just canceled 3 language exchanges for next week ( I still have 2 others). I think I'm doing too much, and its pretty obvious I study in order to not face some problems in my life. I also plan to go less to the language corner.

I think if I study less for a couple of weeks, and set the priority on other things, maybe my life might go smoother, and when I return to learning, the learning will go smoother too. So a break sounds beneficial in the long run.

Re: alaart's log (mainly JP/CN ; Spanish 6WC)

Posted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 3:35 pm
by alaart
I started hanging out with Brazilians a bit, and my Portuguese immediately revived. I'm so surprised how much of it is left, and it made me really happy and also gave me some confidence. Now is probably the first time ever, where I could probably have a decent conversation in all the languages I study expect in Spanish. It is amazing what a couple hours of maintenance can do. I should do this more from time to time.

This is my no-study week outside of University stuff (which is language related). It is the first week like this since I had to prepare going to Japan in August. Not studying and attending language events gave me some time to think and make some plans on how to face some issues. Learning in my case, might be too obsessive, and I might trick myself into ignoring other things in life.

I also watched and read more language material, conference videos and such. I still haven't switched to a more input based learning style, and I now see that the reason that my massive language exchange endeavor didn't work very well for learning Chinese, may be that I always understood too little, because the pronunciation is hard, whereas in Japanese speaking a lot and doing language exchange non-stop worked, because the language is easy on the ear.

6WC wrap up

Posted: Wed Dec 11, 2019 4:16 pm
by alaart
So tomorrow is the last day of the 6 Week Challenge, probably won't study much, so lets wrap it up:

The bulk of my study time just are university classes, homework and Anki - which I use on my commute. I have quite a long commute of 2,5 hours per day. So the study time there is quite high. Outside of that I didn't do too much, but here are a couple things I did:

1. I caught up in Spanish grammar, and finished several lectures. My class was 6 months ahead of me, they are not now. I did this in the first couple days of the challenge, I should have kept the momentum, but I just stopped.

2. I revived my Chinese speaking abilities. It could have been more, I didn't count the time I spoke Japanese with Chinese people, but I could have talked a lot more Chinese. I had the chances, but it was tiresome for everyone, so we just went the easy route and spoke Japanese often. In general I didn't count Japanese speaking for this challenge.

3. I watched some videos in all my language. When I watch I pause often, and figure out the words I don't know. For the future I want to watch more, and maybe read - to get to the input based progress, which I plan to do every time, but never realize.

4. I also did some maintenance in Portuguese, which wasn't planned, but I was very happy with the result.

Till around 29 of November, I was studying seriously. On the days where only a little is noted I usually spent time with Japanese people, or joined social events (like exchange student parties). After the 29th I decided to stop studying, after that the log is only mandatory stuff. Will probably continue to keep it easy for a while, focusing on other things right now.

It was cool to keep the log, and see how much language activity I have. Just a bit under 4 hours per day. It is much less than I anticipated, but oh well. I had fun doing it, so I will join again next time. Next time I will prepare a bit more, maybe make a plan to follow. I made progress, but no breakthrough, I guess it is because I was studying 3 languages at once. I'm considering making a more focused effort, will have to think deeply about that.


Re: alaart's log (mainly JP/CN)

Posted: Tue Dec 17, 2019 10:01 am
by alaart
I was sick for a couple days, and mostly slept.

Spoke some Portuguese and Spanish today in University.
I wanted to go easy on studying, but I noticed I kind of need it as mental fuel to do more difficult tasks ahead, will try to tackle health issues here in Japan.

I'll try to work on input for a month or so, increasing my vocabulary in Japanese. I noticed that a lot of my classmates have a much richer vocabulary than me and I suspect this comes from Anime. I normally don't enjoy it too much, but I want to watch a couple about different topics.

I started watching Full Metal Alchemist, which I saw as a child (with English subtitles), there is a newer version from a couple years back. Working with the Japanese subtitles. First episode was hard, but after that my comprehension surprisingly was enough to follow the plot, kind of, but as always I'm pausing a lot and there is much to learn in detail. So far I watched 4 or 5 episodes, probably won't finish it like always when I watch something, but I want to at least continue to watch till episode 15 or so. Then maybe move on to new material.

Re: alaart's log (mainly JP/CN)

Posted: Tue Dec 24, 2019 2:46 pm
by alaart
I translated my medical record into Japanese, and went to the hospital. Well not much, they can do - just got some pain killers. But with that out of the mind, and with accepting things again how they are, I returned to studying somewhat - still not back to giving it my all.

Our teacher composed a list of videos for us to study. It includes commercials, NHK News and TED Talks. I worked myself through this talk. Pretty difficult, will have to work myself through some more.

I also watched about 10 episodes of the Anime "Full Metal Alchemist" by now.

For all the Videos with subtitles I started to use LingQ, and read through the subtitles once I finished the videos. I used LingQ for Chinese before, and I never liked it, but it probably is effective to do it like that, at least while reading, the memory from the video is in my mind. I will stick to this method for a while, at least a month.

In total I added around 300 new words to Anki, and I probably had a lot more passively. So it is another attempt at increasing my vocabulary rapidly. Anki however has become tedious :/

Then in my other classes we read some text about fair trade, from a text book, and one of my tasks was a 30 minute carrier advice conversation with one of the University professors. But in general, I skipped a lot of glasses lately, still have to do some catching up to do, to finish all the homework.

Also spoke Portuguese once, Spanish twice, each for around half an hour, and I watched some Dutch television, but that is just for entertainment. Not much Chinese lately :(

Oh, and Merry Christmas everybody!

year summary / new year plan

Posted: Wed Jan 01, 2020 8:12 am
by alaart

My mayor is Japanese, but I started the year by failing my Chinese exam (3rd Semester) in January, mainly due to me not studying the simplified characters, and stopped going to Chinese classes after that I then switched to intensive learning via Audio and speaking: I watched videos on and I had around 7 Tandem partners, 6 Chinese/Taiwanese and 1 Japanese. So I had speaking practice every day.
I joined the Chinese community in my city in Germany for several occasions, I tried to make friends, and spend some time with exchange students, but the contacts quickly fizzled out in the long run. I accumulated around 2000 or 2500 new known words in Anki, but eventually in July I had to stop studying Chinese, and prepare for my exchange year in Japan, a lot of things had to be organized.

I then planned to maintain the language and expand my knowledge casually, just by interacting with Chinese people. While I initially attained a conversational level in Chinese, the language is so hard to maintain and I sometimes fall below this threshold again, where it is hard to speak at all. Even after my trip to Taiwan, and even after I joined a lot of Chinese-Japanese language exchange activities in Japan, and even though I have spent significant time with Chinese exchange student. I also failed the Taiwanese TOFCL Level 3 test.
So this plan of casual maintenance has failed. And I noticed that I have to put some serious time into this again, in order to improve.

I had health problems in spring, so I skipped half or even more of my classes in Japanese as well, but I prefer studying on my own anyway. I was part of a study group of serious learners, with an advanced student as a coach, who all aspired to make a lot of progress in Japanese, which helped me a lot.
Apart from this I didn't study Japanese actively until around July or August, and mainly trusted on my past studies. Living in Japan has enabled me to learn a lot passively, I judged my level about right - so it was ok to not prepare more, because I can do most things in Japanese, and can use the language to improve my language further. I take Japanese classes, which are just about right. Apart from that I recently started studying with video input again, hoping to make a breakthrough into the advanced levels eventually before I leave again next autumn.

I'm taking a Spanish course which will reach an A1 level in January. I didn't really put my heart into it, and will probably leave it at that.

I would like to learn a new language, but I guess I'm still stuck in my current endeavor and should refrain so for this year too. In 2020 I must put real time into Chinese again, I have to get a scholarship for 2021, so ideally I should try passing HSK4 or TOFCL3, I will probably take these tests in Summer and Autumn.

My Japanese progress is not really that important for my future, I can probably graduate with the level I am now. But I would like to use my time in Japan and get to fluency in reading and watching movies, or make at least significant progress. I'll try to pass JLPT2, although knowing me being bad at such tests, I will probably not pass :D.

I will also have to dedicate some time into graduating next year, and return to a more serious university based schedule. So this year I can enjoy a bit of freedom, I would therefore like to spent some time advancing my life in other areas than language learning primarily.

Re: alaart's log (mainly JP/CN)

Posted: Sun Jan 05, 2020 12:06 pm
by alaart
So many new Japanese logs in the forum to check out, yay!

Study-wise, just a small update: I watched around 30 Episodes before dropping the Anime, so much longer than I anticipated. After I kind of "studied" the initial 10 episodes, I discovered I could actually just watch and enjoy the rest. I had to pause here and there, but mostly comprehension was so high, that things were clear from context. I'll try to make a habit of watching something everyday, to further increase my vocabulary. If anyone has a recommendation of something in Japanese on netflix, feel free to tell me. My Japanese Anki decks now counts around 2700 cards since May. So my vocabulary must be increasing somehow.

And here a personal thing:
Even though I'm quite fluent in daily life conversations, I discovered that it is really hard to have good conversations, and not because of the language, but because of a kind of foreigner effect. I get asked a whole lot of weird questions, with the aim of getting out entertaining answers. And after initial attention, people quickly drift away before the next one comes with similar questions. This is especially tedious in group events, and at the end of the day, I have only talked about stupid stuff. I want to avoid those kind of interactions, but it is kind of hard.

Anyone experienced something similar? How to go around that?

Re: alaart's log (mainly JP/CN)

Posted: Tue Jan 07, 2020 10:32 pm
by alaart
A lot of assignments, Japanese homework. It is helping, have to do a presentation about Japanese politics next week.

Continuing my proposed habit of watching some Japanese netflix everyday, I watched the first episode of this Drama 東京独身男子 (Single men of Tokyo) - that honestly, I didn't enjoy very much, Japanese Drama are so weird. I still decided to stick with it and watch at least 3 episodes. The difficulty was there, and it took me quite some time to get through the episode.

If anyone has a better recommendation, I'm all ears.