Brun Ugle comes clean: Confessions of a wayward owl (NO/ES/DE/JA/FR/PL/TR/KMR/BCS)

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Brun Ugle
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Re: Brun Ugle comes clean: Confessions of a wayward owl (NO/ES/DE/JA/FR/PL/TR/KMR/BCS)

Postby Brun Ugle » Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:02 am

Once again, things didn’t go according to plan. I got sick on Friday. I managed to get through my planned languages on Friday, but doing the minimal effort method as I was so tired all day. At that point I didn’t know I was sick and didn’t understand why I was so tired. I tried to stay awake to a reasonable hour, but ended up going to bed just a little after nine. Saturday morning, I didn’t feel so well, but got through a little Babble Turkish before I crashed completely. Since then, I’ve done almost nothing as far as studying goes. I finished reading my book, but it was in Norwegian, so it doesn’t really count. I’m feeling much better now, but still a bit tired.

I’ve been thinking a bit about my current language situation and I don’t think I’m suited to doing so many languages at once. Six went well, back when I didn’t have a boyfriend or a social life, but eight never went well, and I’m not sure even six would go so well in my current situation. So, I should probably drop at least two. And those would almost have to be the two Slavic languages. I don’t want to give up any of the languages where I already have made a good amount of progress (Spanish, German, and to some extent, Japanese). I can’t and also don’t want to give up Turkish or Kurdish as those are very important to me because those are the languages my boyfriend’s family speaks and it would be nice to be able to talk to them someday. So that leaves French, BCS and Polish. French seems very practical and also, it’s pretty easy to make progress in it. BCS I’m in love with and don’t want to give up. Polish is not bringing me any joy at the moment, but the Gathering is in Poland this year. So, it’s hard to give up any of them. Maybe I have to think about it a little more, but I’m pretty sure, I’m just delaying the inevitable.

Another possible change that I think would suit my study style better, would be to do more bingeing rather than try to stay on the slow and steady pace. I find it easy to binge when I first get started on something interesting, and hard to keep a perfect balance. The problem is that bingeing means something else gets ignored a bit and with so many languages, I can’t really allow myself to ignore any of them for too long without backsliding.
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Re: Brun Ugle comes clean: Confessions of a wayward owl (NO/ES/DE/JA/FR/PL/TR/KMR/BCS)

Postby Brun Ugle » Fri Jan 31, 2020 7:34 pm

I’ve kind of almost decided to try focusing mainly on just one language for the next month to see if getting a running start will help me to break down that door. The language I’m considering focusing on would be Turkish. I’ll decide by tomorrow morning, in time for the 6WC. I haven’t received the textbooks I ordered yet and they probably won’t come until near the end of the month, but I actually have a pdf (probably not quite legal) of the A1 level textbook and workbook, which I downloaded so I could try out the book and see if I would like the series or not. I did chapter one, and maybe a tiny bit of chapter two, but then put it aside, partly because I don’t have the answer key, although the first chapters are easy enough now that I probably don’t really need it, and partly because I prefer books to pdf’s and knew that I’d be getting the books soon, so I thought maybe I’d just work on Memrise and Babbel until then. But I think I would have a lot of benefit from going through a practical textbook series that’s meant to cover everything necessary to achieve the corresponding CEFR level. Maybe I can even get through the A1 book by the end of the 6WC. It only has six chapters, but each chapter is pretty dense, so it would be a lot of work. However, I’ve probably covered most of the stuff already in Babbel or Memrise or somewhere. If I choose to focus on one language, I’ll mostly let the others rest (or rust), but have a look at them as the fancy strikes me. So, I won’t go quite ATATT.

I’m also thinking I need some easy books in German. I picked up “The Kite Runner” in German from the library because they don’t have anything really easy that I haven’t read yet. I read the first page or two in the library and thought it looked surprisingly readable, but when I got home, the same first two pages seemed suddenly so much harder to understand. How can I have read them easily in the library and suddenly, even though I’ve already read them, they are dense and confusing at home?! Anyway, I picked the book up in English at the same time, just in case the rest of the book was harder than what I read at the library, but I’m not sure if it helps or hurts. Looking at the English book breaks my flow so much, that I wonder if I’d have an easier time understanding the German if I just had to power through. But really, I think I need a few more easy books in German first. German sentences are all so long and involved. When I look at the English and the German translation side by side, the English seems like it was written by a child and the German seems like it was written by a college professor for some obscure journal nobody reads. This entire paragraph would probably be two sentences with about twenty nested clauses in German. Anyway, I kind of feel like when it comes to reading in an intermediate level language, it’s quantity over quality, so maybe I should try to find some more Star Trek, cheesy romance novels, or maybe Agatha Christie novels. I think that’s more my level right now. I could read “The Kite Runner”. It’s just that it would be such a struggle and take so long that I wouldn’t be able to appreciate it and I’m a bit tired of struggling so much to read that it’s no longer fun. In English and Norwegian, reading is light-hearted fun, something to do in the evenings when I’m tired, or on a lazy day when I’m sick or just worn out. Spanish is getting very close to that point too, at least with some authors. But German probably needs a dozen or so “easy” novels before I get there.
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Re: Brun Ugle comes clean: Confessions of a wayward owl (NO/ES/DE/JA/FR/PL/TR/KMR/BCS)

Postby Brun Ugle » Fri Jan 31, 2020 9:47 pm

Oops. I accidentally “won” a 7-day free trial to Kwiziq French, so I guess I’ll also be concentrating on that for the next few days in addition to Turkish. I have the free version of Kwiziq, which means I have 10 free tests per month. Only, I hadn’t done any of them in January, so I thought I should try to use them up today since it’s the last day of the month. Well, doing five quizzes in one day apparently triggers a free trial. Fortunately, I didn’t do five quizzes in Spanish because it has me at C1 in Spanish and the lessons take a lot longer to read and are more difficult than the A1 lessons it gives me in French, so I only did a couple of quizzes in Spanish before I got tired. Now that I know about the five in one day thing, I’ll make sure not to trigger Spanish until I feel like I can make good use of seven days of Kwiziq Spanish.

I also found an Agatha Christie book in German on my iPad. I must have downloaded it a long time ago for future use and forgotten about it. So, maybe I’ll try going over to that instead of “The Kite Runner”.
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Re: Brun Ugle comes clean: Confessions of a wayward owl (NO/ES/DE/JA/FR/PL/TR/KMR/BCS)

Postby Brun Ugle » Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:01 pm

Things are going pretty well now. In fact, I’m in first place for target language and second place overall in the 6WC at the moment. I’m finding that I actually study more when I limit myself to fewer languages rather than trying to keep a balance. So maybe bingeing is the answer. I don’t think my executive function is really capable of controlling a complex schedule.

After this experiment of doing a huge number of languages at once, I think I’ve figured out what works best for me. Unfortunately, it isn’t juggling a bunch of languages at once. Ideally, I should probably work on a language until at least B1, preferably B2, before going on to a new language. (Sort of like what everyone here is always saying.) I find my higher-level languages, like Spanish and even German, don’t suffer from a bit of neglect as long as I occasionally read a bit or watch some TV or listen to a podcast. I can even improve them with occasional textbook work and the like. So, I could probably have several B2+ languages without a problem, as long as I make sure to check in with them now and then. I probably shouldn’t leave too many at B1 for too long though. In addition, I can have one beginner language that I work on intensely until I get to a point where I can maintain reasonably well and even improve simply by reading or watching TV. And to top it off, I can have one pre-beginner language on pre-soak. This is basically what I’ve been doing with Turkish for the past year now. (According to my language journal, Wednesday was my one-year anniversary for starting Turkish.) I struggled for a long time getting anything to stick in Turkish. So, I needed the long pre-soak time. That mostly involved things like Memrise, LT and a few other mostly low-effort activities to loosen up my brain. Now, that I’m really doing some serious studying (3-4 hours per day at the moment), I’m making a lot of progress, but without the pre-soak, I wouldn’t get very far and working this intensely would have been very frustrating.

So, my current plan is to work Turkish as hard as I can until the end of the 6WC and see how far I get. I’ll probably need a few more months of intense study before I feel I can let it slide a little, but I’ll re-evaluate it then. At the same time, I will rotate reading in Spanish and German at a level that makes reading fairly relaxing and watch TV shows and listen to podcasts in those languages occasionally. I’ll also see if I can peck away at my textbooks now and then for those languages. Kurmanji will be on pre-soak in the meanwhile, getting ready for intense learning when I slow down on Turkish. Japanese will probably also get a bit of work, but not everyday and maybe not more than 20 minutes or so at a time. My Slavic languages and French will probably be put mostly aside for the time being.

As I mentioned, I’ve been making great progress on Turkish. I’ve just finished the Turkish 6 course on Memrise, so I only have one more of their official courses left. I only have about three more levels of the Beginner II course on Babbel, and I’ve been making good progress on their other courses as well. And I’m working on chapter 3 of my A1 textbook. Judging from the 6WC stats, it took me about 11 hours to get from the place where I’d left off in chapter 2 earlier to the same point in chapter 3, so the chapters are pretty intense. I like the book. It’s almost all in Turkish, and really packed, so it isn’t for wimps. I wouldn’t have been able to manage it without the pre-soak of 5+ Memrise courses and the other work I did over the past year. The exercises are very good. There aren’t really any silly exercises like you find in Teach Yourself and a lot of other beginner textbooks (crossword puzzles, word searches, etc). All the exercises seem useful and to the point. There are a few where you’re supposed to discuss with a partner or something that are obviously meant for a classroom, but you can generally make some use of them alone too by doing them as writing exercises or recording yourself talking. You just miss out on the discussion part. I’m supposed to receive the actual textbooks tomorrow, so then I can stop squinting at the pdf I downloaded, and also check my answers since the pdf didn’t include the answer key.

I’ve also been listening to the podcast “Turkish Teatime”. It seems pretty good. I’m listening in order, and they have all levels mixed up, so sometimes I hear a newbie lesson and other times it might be an advanced one. I think I usually get at least a little out of all of them, but the beginner and intermediate are the best for me. It sounds like they have a website with transcripts and things, so I might check that out later. So far, I’ve just been listening while walking or doing other things, so I haven’t used the transcripts, but I’ve saved all but the easiest lessons so I can listen again and I might try with the transcripts then.

I found some Agatha Christie, Star Trek and romance novels in German, so I should be all set for books at the right level for a while. I’m reading an Agatha Christie right now. It’s a book with several stories. The first one seemed moderately difficult and the second rather easy. I’ll probably start the third tonight.

My seven-day free trial of Kwiziq for French ran out. I didn’t even use all seven days. I just got so tired of it. I think it’s OK, but for me the free version with ten quizzes per month is probably sufficient. The way it works is you first take a placement test. It’s really long and counts as one quiz. You keep answering questions until they get too hard for you. On the Spanish one, I got to the very end and didn’t get too many wrong, so I was placed at C1. On French, I gave up pretty early and they placed me at A1. There is no C2, by the way. After you’ve done the placement, they give you a set of ten lessons that they think you should work on. You can read through them and take a ten-question test at the end, one question per lesson. That counts as one quiz. Each lesson has two questions at the end, but if you answer them, that also counts as a quiz and you use up one of your quizzes for the month if you are on the free plan. (I thought they might count like that, so I made sure to test it during my unlimited trial.) For me, the problem is that when I learn something, I want to do a whole bunch of different exercises on it, not just one or two. So, I feel like it might be good as a supplement or for helping you find your weaknesses, but it isn’t that great as a learning tool.

Anyway, I should go now and see if I can squeeze in a few more minutes of study or at least go find out what Hercule Poirot is up to and get some German reading in.
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Re: Brun Ugle comes clean: Confessions of a wayward owl (NO/ES/DE/JA/FR/PL/TR/KMR/BCS)

Postby StringerBell » Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:55 pm

Brun Ugle wrote:Anyway, I should go now and see if I can squeeze in a few more minutes of study or at least go find out what Hercule Poirot is up to and get some German reading in.


Just yesterday I was working on a Polish podcast about crime thrillers/detectives and the name Hercule Poirot came up. I never heard of him before; I'm assuming he's a detective?
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Re: Brun Ugle comes clean: Confessions of a wayward owl (NO/ES/DE/JA/FR/PL/TR/KMR/BCS)

Postby Brun Ugle » Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:06 pm

StringerBell wrote:
Brun Ugle wrote:Anyway, I should go now and see if I can squeeze in a few more minutes of study or at least go find out what Hercule Poirot is up to and get some German reading in.


Just yesterday I was working on a Polish podcast about crime thrillers/detectives and the name Hercule Poirot came up. I never heard of him before; I'm assuming he's a detective?

:o You’ve never heard of him?! :o I guess you don’t read a lot of classic mysteries. He’s probably the most famous sleuth after Sherlock Holmes.
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Re: Brun Ugle comes clean: Confessions of a wayward owl (NO/ES/DE/JA/FR/PL/TR/KMR/BCS)

Postby Brun Ugle » Sun Mar 15, 2020 5:00 pm

Well, I disappeared again, but I’m back. I got a bit carried away with the 6WC as usual. Why do I keep doing this to myself? I wanted to come in first for once, and it looks like I managed that as far as target language is concerned, but it was a real struggle to stay ahead and all my other languages suffered for it. And I still only came in second in total time. I got off to a bit of a slow start, but found my stride a couple of weeks in and did pretty well from there, however, I also gave up on all my languages other than Turkish at that time, so now I have to figure out how to pick them back up again. It was very comfortable only working on one language, although I kept longing for Finnish. (Bad owl! Stop that!)

The first couple of weeks, I tried to keep some balance and study a bit of Kurdish every day, and a little of some other language on most days. Then on Valentine’s Day (!) my boyfriend’s brother came to visit for the weekend and I figured my studying was going to be ruined, but things actually picked up from there. It forced me to find ways to study even if there were two people in the same room. So, now I’m much better at studying when there are people around and not just trying to cram all my studying and a bunch of other stuff into the brief time I’m alone. His visit, and various activities with other friends, also meant a lot of Turkish and Kurdish being spoken around me. I don’t count that as studying, but I do like to eavesdrop and try to see how much I can understand.

I had loads of plans about what I wanted to get done during the challenge. I’m not sure I wrote them in my log, but basically I wanted to finish the Memrise official courses for Turkish (I was halfway through course 6 of 7 at the start), finish the Babbel Beginner II course (I was on level 3 of 7 at the start), and do the entire İstanbul A1 textbook and workbook.

Of course, things didn’t quite work out like that. My most recent foster cat turned out to have a very persistent parasite, which meant I had to give both cats medicine for five days, then after a three-day break, for five more days. At first, I struggled to find a way to get the medicine into the feral cat, but I worked it out eventually. Unfortunately, because of the difficulty of getting rid of this parasite, I had to clean out and disinfect the litter boxes every single time they used them (about a million times a day since they also had diarrhea) and disinfect the food and water dishes every day. It was all very stressful, not to mention a lot of work, so I ended up mostly dropping the textbook work for a while and just doing easy things that could be picked up and dropped without a problem and didn’t require as much sustained concentration.

Still, I did finish the Memrise official courses. I almost finished the Babbel Beginner II course, but there was a problem with the first lesson of the last level and I’m still waiting for them to fix it. I got through a lot of the other Babble material in addition, so I have made good progress on it even though I didn’t finish that particular course. I did almost 4 of 6 units in the İstanbul A1 books, I just have a couple of exercises left in the workbook for unit 4. I also did 5 of 10 units of the book Turkçe Öğreniyoruz Volume 1, and 16 units of FSI (about half of the first half of the Basic Course). Plus, I listened to almost the entire Turkish Teatime podcast (from episode 8 to 131), and I watched an entire Turkish telenovela (Çilek Kokusu) with Spanish subtitles. I had to pause and rewind bit to both hear the dialogue and read the subtitles, but I was too lazy to figure out the time, so I just counted the actual length of the video for Turkish and didn’t count anything for Spanish, but it means Spanish was not quite as badly neglected as it appears on my score. I also finished the “A1 low” sentences in Glossika, but I’m not sure how much I’d done before the 6WC. I don’t think I’d used Glossika a whole lot for Turkish before though. In addition, I worked on a bit of Clozemaster now and then, and watched a bit of Peppa Pig and other cartoons.

All in all, I did over 200 hours of Turkish. I’m not sure I’ve gained 200 hours’ worth of improvement though. It’s really hard to say. For one thing, I think I always underestimate the change, either underestimating how much I know now, or not remembering how bad I was before. Also, compared to the road ahead, my current knowledge feels miniscule. I do notice that I’m a bit better able to understand spoken Turkish, especially if I have time to process it. I seem to know a lot of words and when my boyfriend asks me what something means, I can often tell him in Turkish or if he’s trying to say something and doesn’t know a word, I can tell him to say it in Turkish and I often understand. I’ve also learned a lot of grammar these past few weeks. I’ve been reviewing a lot of things I already knew, of course, since I’m doing so many different beginner courses, but I find that I need all that review to get Turkish to really sink in. It is starting to sink in though. Things are starting to feel natural and second nature to me, at least the very basic things. I still have to assimilate a lot of the higher-level grammar and there are a lot of things I don’t know at all yet, but I’ve definitely made a good start on grammar at least. I haven’t really tried speaking yet beyond simple words and phrases, but my listening has gotten better -- as long as the conversation is simple enough and the sentences are fairly short. I still have trouble processing longer and more complex sentences.

Now, I’m just going to relax for a couple of days, maybe try to finish my German Star Trek novel or something, but I’m not going to have any goals and will just study whatever I feel like, even if that means nothing. But not for long. After a few days, I will try to make some kind of plan to work on my other languages as well and get some balance back. I’m thinking I’ll probably drop at least Polish because I don’t think I’ll be going to the Gathering. At this point, I have some doubts about them even going ahead with the Gathering this year, but maybe things will have improved by then.
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Re: Brun Ugle comes clean: Confessions of a wayward owl (NO/ES/DE/JA/FR/PL/TR/KMR/BCS)

Postby dicentra8 » Sun Mar 15, 2020 6:15 pm

Brun Ugle wrote:(...) although I kept longing for Finnish. (Bad owl! Stop that!)

Maybe for the next 6WC? :twisted:
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Re: Brun Ugle comes clean: Confessions of a wayward owl (NO/ES/DE/JA/FR/PL/TR/KMR/BCS)

Postby Brun Ugle » Sun Mar 15, 2020 6:50 pm

dicentra8 wrote:
Brun Ugle wrote:(...) although I kept longing for Finnish. (Bad owl! Stop that!)

Maybe for the next 6WC? :twisted:

Finnish is one of my favorite languages, but I really, really need to learn Turkish and Kurdish now. I really should be dropping some of the languages that I don’t need to learn, not adding even more.
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Re: Brun Ugle comes clean: Confessions of a wayward owl (NO/ES/DE/JA/FR/PL/TR/KMR/BCS)

Postby alaart » Mon Mar 16, 2020 4:58 am

Congratulations on getting all those hours in for the 6WC, and thanks for your recap - seeing how others deal with distractions and social life while still studying at the same time is very insightful.

How do you think focusing on one language was compared to working on multiple languages? - I've been focusing too, now for 3 full months, but I'm currently thinking of going back to shuffling. Would you agree that focusing drains more energy than shuffling? - but maybe shuffling avoids working on those weak points in a language one needs to work on to progress.
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