A Million Sentences: Cenwalh's 2020 Conquista

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Cenwalh
Orange Belt
Posts: 222
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:14 am
Location: UK
Languages: English (N), Spanish (acquiring), Catalan (beginner).
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=12467
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Re: A Million Sentences: Cenwalh's 2020 Conquista

Postby Cenwalh » Sun May 10, 2020 1:39 pm

kennyaa wrote:I will check out Audiomol it looks decent. I have audible but the catalogue isn't as good as it is for English, French and German.


I tend to find that Audible has books when I really go digging, but despite all the books I've listened to in the last year being in European Spanish, it doesn't seem to occur to it to recommend me books in Spanish. It just makes it such a chore finding a book when the whole site is geared towards serving me English content. The books there are aren't that long, and a 1 book per month subscription doesn't cut it for the pace I'm going at.

Anyway as I said, don't expect to enjoy using the Audiomol site, but do expect 80% of it to be Spanish. Also, they have 29 audiobooks that are completely free to stream which might be useful to any readers on a tight budget!
5 x
1,000,000 sentences of Spanish: 1000000 / 1000000 (completed 2021-03-01)
Double SC films: 200 / 200 (completed 2020-09-06)
Double SC books: 140 / 200 (last updated 2021-03-12)

Cenwalh
Orange Belt
Posts: 222
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:14 am
Location: UK
Languages: English (N), Spanish (acquiring), Catalan (beginner).
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=12467
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Re: A Million Sentences: Cenwalh's 2020 Conquista

Postby Cenwalh » Mon May 11, 2020 10:29 am

It has just occurred to me to tot up the number of sentences I've consumed again. I think I'm over halfway with somewhere between 500,000 and 600,000 sentences, or somewhere between 5 million and 6 million words from July 2019. It's an astonishing amount of input, and yet the numbers don't seem that large to me - that just shows how big a million really is.

As readers of my log and its predecessor will know, I have not studied during this time. Not once have I got out a textbook, looked up a grammatical construct, nothing. I have very occasionally looked up words in a dictionary, but that probably amounts to about 10 searches per month so not really significant.

I started this input only exercise with probably a B1 level in understanding. I could follow content for learners such as Hoy Hablamos or Dreaming Spanish pretty well, but I very much struggled with anything for natives. Indeed I tried a young adult book in July and it took me two months to finish it! I remember that I started listening to the radio in Spanish (RTVE) and I could only pick out greetings and the odd word here and there. I pressed on with comprehensible input though, and boy have things changed. I can fly through an adult audiobook like no tomorrow, I can listen to the radio and pretty much understand anything, I have been able to enjoy any TV show I've tried in the last few months, and I have not not understood a Youtube video in donkeys years.

I cannot verify claims that you can use comprehensible input from the start or even A1/A2 and get here, I cannot argue its efficacy against other forms of learning, I cannot even say it's very efficient - I mean have you seen how long this took? What I can look back on and say though is that from a B1 level it is very possible to get to a high level of comprehension (C1 in my case from the CEFR descriptions) just by engaging with comprehensible input in the target language and putting in a decent shift.

I don't really know what's next for my Spanish learning journey. As I've said before I'd like to get a C1 in the SIELE, but I haven't made any steps to get a language exchange partner or a tutor or anything so it doesn't look like that'll happen too soon. I see no reason not to just continue as I am to a million whilst slowly continuing to introduce Catalan. I doubt my level will change significantly between now and a million, there are clear diminishing returns on time spent with input, but at least I'm having fun!
11 x
1,000,000 sentences of Spanish: 1000000 / 1000000 (completed 2021-03-01)
Double SC films: 200 / 200 (completed 2020-09-06)
Double SC books: 140 / 200 (last updated 2021-03-12)

Cenwalh
Orange Belt
Posts: 222
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:14 am
Location: UK
Languages: English (N), Spanish (acquiring), Catalan (beginner).
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=12467
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Re: A Million Sentences: Cenwalh's 2020 Conquista

Postby Cenwalh » Mon Jun 01, 2020 9:41 am

It's that time of the month when everyone posts monthly updates, so all aboard the bandwagon, I'm in too.

May was of course the first month of the super challenge for which I entered with a double challenge in Romance languages (essentially Spanish and Catalan). I had a pretty good start to the challenge I'd say.

I started the month with the reading part taking an hour per day, but towards the end of the month it was only taking me half that. However, since I'd already made a habit of reading an hour per day, I just kept doing that with the end result that I just read twice as much. I've posted before that I never really liked reading, but I had a good time with it and really started to enjoy it. I began consciously trying to avoid dictionary look-ups on my Kindle whilst reading, but then settled for using a monolingual dictionary (at least in Spanish, I haven't managed to source a good Catalan Kindle dictionary) and just looking up when I lost meaning. That ended up being pretty rare. One thing I did find annoying was that looking up one type of word (eg an adverb) just gave me a definition using the root word. That's a bit pointless because if I knew the root word I wouldn't have needed to look up the adverb. This plus words being so obscure that I didn't know what they were in English meant that about half of the words I looked up I didn't find out the meaning of - what a waste of time.

On the Spanish reading front I finished the ~700 page book I accidentally started (La vieja familia), and have made some headway into a physical book Cuatro días de enero. The latter is available as an audiobook in Catalan, so I'm hoping reading it in Spanish will help me break into Catalan audiobooks somewhere down the line. On the Catalan front I read a chapter of the first Harry Potter every week. It's tough going even though I know the story.

Most of my films part came from audiobooks in which I finally finished the Harry Potter books, and listened to several others. I also watched some Spanish TV, Youtube, and watched a kids show in Catalan every day.

Great month overall, and I'm glad that the start of the super challenge has taught me that I really can enjoy reading. I hope to read just as much going forward :)
May AV and reading.PNG
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6 x
1,000,000 sentences of Spanish: 1000000 / 1000000 (completed 2021-03-01)
Double SC films: 200 / 200 (completed 2020-09-06)
Double SC books: 140 / 200 (last updated 2021-03-12)

Cenwalh
Orange Belt
Posts: 222
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:14 am
Location: UK
Languages: English (N), Spanish (acquiring), Catalan (beginner).
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=12467
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Re: A Million Sentences: Cenwalh's 2020 Conquista

Postby Cenwalh » Wed Aug 12, 2020 7:20 pm

I feel that over the past few months since posting the fire under my language learning has been waning a bit. I was supposed to go to Catalonia this summer but ended up not going for a few reasons. Even if I had have gone it's not as though I even speak Spanish or Catalan anyway, although if I thought I was going to go it might have spurred me on to get some practice beforehand, I don't know. I have rescheduled going to Spain for Q2 2020, although likely to the Basque Country (must not get Basque wanderlust).

It has been a while since I did any sort of language test for Spanish, and at the moment I see very little point in it. Anything I turn my attention to I understand pretty much in its entirety. I seldom wonder what a word or expression means, and almost always when one does turn up that I don't know I can work it out from context. Or at least that was my thinking two months ago...

I set out to widen what I read a bit and decided I was going to read at least one book from every category on Goodreads this year. I was challenged a bit by a book about the Spanish civil war which almost immediately threw me in the deep end with a lot of military vocabulary. It definitely got easier after a few (monolingual) dictionary look-ups, and the latter half passed with few unknowns. I'm going to press on with reading through the different categories as I'm sure to be challenged, although having just recently found the forum book club, I'm keen to keep up with that and other readings as well, so busy busy.

I bought a physical copy of The Little Prince in Catalan, and then for good measure bought the English and Spanish as well - it might help the other half. It was a bit challenging but I got through it in the end. I've now started listening to the first Harry Potter book in Catalan as an audiobook rather than reading it which fizzled out a while ago. It was an absolute monster to find a copy of I tell you. That makes my Catalan routine a bit of practice on Duolingo (I finished the tree a while back), 10 mins of a kids TV show, some radio when I get time, and a bit of Harry Potter. It's not much, but it keeps me in the flow.

I think on Spanish sentences I've added around 175k, so around the 750k mark now. I keep saying this, but one of these days I'm actually going to estimate it to the best accuracy possible. I have some of the framework for doing so already set up, I just haven't put it together properly.

Nothing much else to add except that I'm still ahead on the Double Super Challenge - indeed I've almost finished the films part, but my schedule does not allow me to transfer that time to do reading instead.
SC so far.PNG
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Last edited by Cenwalh on Fri Mar 12, 2021 8:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
7 x
1,000,000 sentences of Spanish: 1000000 / 1000000 (completed 2021-03-01)
Double SC films: 200 / 200 (completed 2020-09-06)
Double SC books: 140 / 200 (last updated 2021-03-12)

CI Polyglot
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Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2020 7:54 am
Languages: English, Spanish, Italian, Latin, Chinese, Classical Chinese, French
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Re: A Million Sentences: Cenwalh's 2020 Conquista

Postby CI Polyglot » Wed Sep 02, 2020 8:00 am

Hi! I'm obsessed with this figure as well- 1 million sentences- like you, this idea from Deka has completely blown my mind.

I've dedicated a lot of time and energy to reaching these milestones and have written a tutorial about how I'm doing it and how to log the data. I'd love for you to read it: https://www.cipolyglot.com/qi-tables-a- ... foreign-la

BTW, I signed up to this forum because I read your messages about 1 million sentences. Glad to have found someone with similar ideas as me. Not sure what happened to Deka though. His videos are truly inspirational.
Anyway, drop me a line at neil@cipolyglot if you read the tutorial.
1 x

Cenwalh
Orange Belt
Posts: 222
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:14 am
Location: UK
Languages: English (N), Spanish (acquiring), Catalan (beginner).
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=12467
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Re: A Million Sentences: Cenwalh's 2020 Conquista

Postby Cenwalh » Fri Mar 12, 2021 11:56 am

A million sentences
It is quite a while since I last posted, I suppose because there was little to say apart from that I was continuing to approach 1,000,000 sentences in Spanish. I am confident that I have now reached that goal. There was a while when I was unsure if I had or not, but I've left it a couple of months, so now I'm pretty sure. I also finished the films part of the Double Super Challenge in September 2020, so I'm well past that. In 2020 across audiobooks and reading I read 57 books, a feat I would have considered unimaginable just a few years ago. I also think that I now read Spanish faster than English, at least with an easy book that doesn't have anything too technical in it.

Catalan
My Catalan input increased quite a lot towards the end of the year, but I'm now decreasing it to concentrate on Spanish. I absolutely love Catalan, and my skills have improved a lot - I think it is now as easy for me to understand as Spanish was at the start of 2020 - but I want my main language to be Spanish. I suppose with Catalan that I'm taking the same approach as I did for Spanish, but over a longer time period. It also won't be as hard given how similar the two languages are.

On another note, for the tiny set of people who are both learning Catalan and like audiobooks, I found a publisher that is releasing some very high quality ones that are available on Audible among other places called Grup 62. Also, Audible has now added a Catalan language filter which is much better than trying to find audiobooks mislabelled as Spanish. I am currently listening to Sapiens in Catalan which I stumbled upon randomly and led to me finding the new filter on Audible and Grup 62.

What next?
Well now for some output. I have never spoken Spanish, nor have I written any text longer than a sentence or two in Duolingo when I was using it for Catalan, and also for Spanish back in 2016. I do not speak Spanish to myself, although I sometimes find that a Spanish phrase comes to my tongue in conversation and I have to actively search for the English instead which is weird, but perhaps means I am ready to speak. I have booked a Spanish lesson/conversation on iTalki for next week. I guess I'll just rock up and see what happens. At the very least I will be able to understand everything my teacher says even if I really struggle saying anything myself which I imagine will be easier than both not understanding and not being able to talk.

I am sure that my first conversation will be hard (and probably the 20 after that), and even a bit embarrassing at the start, and most people in the thread Has anyone gone from massive input to massive output? seem to think that solely input at first is a mistake, but I still do not agree. No, I haven't spent time learning grammar or pronunciation, but I feel like I have an OK handle on them. I can pick out non-native speakers pretty quickly and perceive their mistakes (but probably not all of them), so I think I have a very sizeable advantage compared to someone who hasn't spent as much time on input in a language. I think perhaps depending on how my conversation next week goes, I might want to brush up on some grammar points, but I think I've absorbed most of what I will need through input. I know that I've absorbed most things in the A/B levels because as I've documented before, I've done grammar tests and been graded B2-C1 for well over a year now, although I haven't attempted one recently.

Incidentally if anyone has been through going from input to output and has any tips for my first few conversations, I'd love to hear them.
8 x
1,000,000 sentences of Spanish: 1000000 / 1000000 (completed 2021-03-01)
Double SC films: 200 / 200 (completed 2020-09-06)
Double SC books: 140 / 200 (last updated 2021-03-12)

Cenwalh
Orange Belt
Posts: 222
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:14 am
Location: UK
Languages: English (N), Spanish (acquiring), Catalan (beginner).
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=12467
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Re: A Million Sentences: Cenwalh's 2020 Conquista

Postby Cenwalh » Tue Mar 16, 2021 1:00 pm

So I had my first proper conversation (as in not being a tourist asking for a table or something) in Spanish yesterday after several years of learning it. After saying hello, my tutor on iTalki asked me to explain how long I'd been learning Spanish and what I'd been doing etc. It's a bit of a complicated story, so I gave a complicated story, in Spanish. He seemed really surprised that that was my first time speaking Spanish, and seemed impressed with my pronunciation, intonation, and fluidity. I can't tell how much of that was just because it was my first time speaking, or if he actually thought I was good. We then spoke for an hour about whatever came up really. It was a proper full length conversation about lots of things, and just felt so good to be able to talk after putting so many hours in to just input.

Given my 'active vocabulary' was somewhere between null and 0 before yesterday, I was unsure if I'd be able to find the words to say or the right grammar. I'm not saying it was easy per se, but I didn't spend too much time pausing whilst trying to think of a word or a way to phrase something. It did definitely happen, don't get me wrong, but I don't feel like it interrupted what we were talking about much. I had to ask my tutor to tell me what one word meant cucarachas (cockroaches), although I feel like I have heard that before, but just didn't know exactly what animal it was. I also had to ask for a bit of help with a couple of words, but I described what I wanted in Spanish, so if I hadn't asked I suppose it wouldn't have mattered all that much. I also did some self-correction of grammar, and I feel like the structures I did use might have been a little bit simple, but it was all such a rush that I barely remember. My tutor did say that I basically just didn't make mistakes that I didn't later self-correct.

My mouth felt horrible afterwards. I've heard of people describe the feeling of talking in a foreign language using muscles they haven't developed before, but I didn't realise I'd be slurring in English for a few hours afterwards! We joked about how the same thing happens to my tutor when he speaks French because it's so guttural.

All in all it was a great experience, and I shall definitely be booking another session. I would probably have been ready to start speaking up to a year ago, but I have no regrets about waiting and consuming more input. I don't think it was detrimental, and it was almost definitely helpful. My brain has been full of Spanish since my conversation, I can't shut it up. I think I saw Iversen call this 'the buzz'. I've not been able to concentrate on my usual input because it's been whirring so hard. I suppose this will calm down soon.
13 x
1,000,000 sentences of Spanish: 1000000 / 1000000 (completed 2021-03-01)
Double SC films: 200 / 200 (completed 2020-09-06)
Double SC books: 140 / 200 (last updated 2021-03-12)


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