Ruan's English Log - one sharp knife

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Ruan
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Posts: 99
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:05 pm
Languages: Brazilian Portuguese (N), English
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1370
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Ruan's English Log - one sharp knife

Postby Ruan » Thu Aug 27, 2015 5:03 pm

Goal:

To be able to pass for a native speaker of the English language from the West Coast, and maybe work with translating, interpreting and language teaching.

Background:

I'm Brazilian. I remember having reached that level where you can understand 80% of what's being said when I was a teenager, and now I'm 22.
It certainly helped me to start listening loads of audio materials when I was around fourteen; my accent is already better than most of my fellow compatriots. As my goal is to reach full bilingualism, I won't be studying any other language for a while.

Method

No-no's:

[*] No Anki. It's great for memorizing basic words and symbols in a new language, but in my case I think it's just too tiresome and ultimately counterproductive.I do spaced repetition of texts, and I each time I write down how many words I have to look for the meaning on a word list, but I set the intervals by gut feeling.

[*]No language exchange. Most people are just not serious about it. It takes so long to find someone who's actually up for it that I'd rather be studying through another way.

[*]No dictionaries. Most of the time, a combination of http://translate.google.com and the COCA is more effective.

The method:

[*]Pronunciation: I'm taking pronunciation classes with a native teacher. Basically, I read a text aloud, he points out the words where I sound like a foreigner, and then I open http://www.youpronounce.it, and practice these words over and over. I do not listen and then repeat; I plug in my headphones and sing along with the speaker ( also known as shadowing ). I also do shadowing on Librivox audiobooks ( narrated by West Coast natives ).

[*]Lang-8: I write new entries almost everyday to my Lang-8 notebook. Curiously, correcting other people's Portuguese is increasing my knowledge of my own native language, as I sometimes have to google some grammar points.

[*]Italki for teachers and tutors.

[*]Input by register:
Frozen register:
I'm not working on this yet. Maybe I'll read the Bible, Shakespeare and Chaucer.
Formal register:
Novels ( I'm reading The Beautiful and The Damned, by F. Scott Fitzgerald ) and encyclopedias ( not Wikipedia ).
Consultative register:
Newspaper articles. Some podcasts.
Casual register:
Podcasts and talk radio. I've downloaded an app called Podcast Addict on my Android and I search podcasts by location ( I type in "los angeles", "denver", and so on ).
Intimate register:
[*][*]Blogs: It's easy to find blogs by location.
[*][*]Vlogs: I combine the most common baby names and surnamesfor either the 1980s or the 1990s, and then I search for Youtube channels with these names. Sometimes I also access Youtube through a Los Angeles proxy, and then I search for all videos with the word "vlog" in the title that were uploaded in the last hour. Amateur vlogs with a low number of views tend to err on the side of the intimate register more than top rated or sponsored videos. Adding the words "day out" or "outdoors" sometimes yields good results.

So here's the typical study session:

20 minutes: Reading novels, blogs and newspapers. I print everything, as I don't like to read on a screen.
10 minutes: Listening to podcasts, talk radio. I write down any expression that catches my attention.
20 minutes: Reading again.
10 minutes: Shadowing : individual words on youpronounce.it.

20 minutes: Creative writing on Lang-8. I like to use the unknown words or appealing expressions that I highlighted while I was reading, or that I wrote down while I was listening. 10 minutes of writing, 10 minutes of correcting other people's Portuguese.
10 minutes: Watching vlogs.
20 minutes: Reading.
10 minutes: Shadowing: audiobook.
Last edited by Ruan on Sun Aug 30, 2015 7:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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zatris
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Posts: 68
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Location: Brazil
Languages: Portuguese (native), English (?), Latin (beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 81&p=92296
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Re: Ruan's English Log - one sharp knife

Postby zatris » Thu Aug 27, 2015 8:38 pm

Thank you for the links to COCA and YouPronounceIt. Both seem to be great resources. Have you found the teacher who's giving you pronunciation classes through italki?
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kimchizzle
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Posts: 124
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2015 12:05 am
Languages: English (N), French
Studying Spanish, Dutch, Russian
On the radar, Estonian, Ukrainian, Cantonese, Korean, Swedish
Language Log: http://how-to-learn-any-language.org/vi ... f=15&t=779
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Re: Ruan's English Log - one sharp knife

Postby kimchizzle » Thu Aug 27, 2015 9:10 pm

Good luck on your studies.

I really liked your idea of looking at popular baby names from the 80's and 90's to find vlogs. That is pretty clever.
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Spanish Duolingo: 42 / 100 Dutch Duolingo: 4 / 100
Feel free to help correct any of my languages, except my native tongue. :shock:

Ruan
Yellow Belt
Posts: 99
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:05 pm
Languages: Brazilian Portuguese (N), English
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1370
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Re: Ruan's English Log - one sharp knife

Postby Ruan » Thu Aug 27, 2015 11:04 pm

zatris wrote:Thank you for the links to COCA and YouPronounceIt. Both seem to be great resources. Have you found the teacher who's giving you pronunciation classes through italki?


Yes. When one is looking for someone to teach pronunciation, it really helps to get a native of that language who also happens to know your native language, because things will go a lot smoother if a teacher can predict his students' mistakes, and understand why he is making them.

( I found COCA and YouPronounceIt on antimoon ).

kimchizzle wrote:Good luck on your studies.

I really liked your idea of looking at popular baby names from the 80's and 90's to find vlogs. That is pretty clever.


Thank you. It's surprising how you can filter vloggers by age this way. Most of the time, if you search using names from the 80's, you surely won't get a lot of vlogs from people born in the 90's.

Some videos are worthless, but this one, for instance, has taught me the expression "I can see where you're coming from".

Searching for vlogs works really well because you get to learn things that you probably wouldn't learn unless you immersed yourself in a target-language country. Take the example above. Someone wrote in the wordreference forum:

Hello Freddie, yes, this phrase [ "I can see where you're coming from" ] is very idiomatic these days among native speakers, both AE and BE. I don't think I've ever heard a non-native use it, so you will sound very clued-up in English.
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Ruan
Yellow Belt
Posts: 99
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:05 pm
Languages: Brazilian Portuguese (N), English
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1370
x 148

Re: Ruan's English Log - one sharp knife

Postby Ruan » Fri Aug 28, 2015 1:08 pm

Friday, August 28

[*] Lang-8's L-point reward system makes most people behave as if they were mercenaries. I got my entries corrected faster and better on Italki. Once, I asked for people to judge my accent on a file I uploaded to picosong: Italki users answered, Lang-8 users ignored it. I don't know how it goes for Japanese, though, which seems to be Lang-8's main strength.

[*] No Anki. It's great for memorizing basic words and symbols in a new language, but in my case I think it's just too tiresome and ultimately counterproductive. I do spaced repetition of texts, and I each time I write down how many words I have to look for the meaning on a word list, but I set the intervals by gut feeling.


I'm not doing that anymore either. I just write down on a notebook the words and expressions that I've never seen or that I wouldn't have thought if I were speaking. Later on, I choose some and then I create texts with them. I also write down the words that I think I should check on YouPronounce.
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Ruan
Yellow Belt
Posts: 99
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:05 pm
Languages: Brazilian Portuguese (N), English
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1370
x 148

Re: Ruan's English Log - one sharp knife

Postby Ruan » Sun Aug 30, 2015 6:26 pm

Sunday, August 30, 2015

"What is the use of language learning", thought Ruan, "without pictures or conversation"?

I decided to reevaluate my morals. Now I have opened doors to language partners. I sent a massive amount of invites on all websites that still have not become date spots ( ConversationExchange - because there are no profile pictures; Lang-8 and Italki - because people are paying to learn ). So far, so good - Two people answered me back. And there's this really great idea someone on the Internet gave me, to write your first message as you would write a business card. Surely it must scare off the bulk of the lovelorn userbase. Here's the template I use:

"I'm looking for a partner willing to commit to weekly Skype chats, with a half-hour in (Native) and a half-hour in (Target). I'm available on (all weekdays) between 13:00 and 17:00 EST, which is 13:00 - 17:00 in New York and 10:00 - 14:00 in Los Angeles. Please let me know if you're interested! My Skype name is (X)."
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