Jeffers' German, French and Hindi

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jeffers
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Re: Jeffers' German and French

Postby jeffers » Mon Mar 30, 2020 6:29 pm

This week I've continued to "experiment with format" and try some different things out. In order to keep the languages from mixing I've been studying German in the mornings and French whenever I'm done with German. In effect this has meant that I have only done a lesson or two of Hindi at the end of the day, but I'm okay with that.

German
My studies are built around Assimil and Memrise right now. Duolingo is currently happening in the in-between times. I completed up to lesson 47 of Assimil and I'm still happy with how it's progressing, although I'm getting slightly anxious about how to do the active wave to make sure that my learning is thorough but without throwing the rest of the schedule off.

French
I decided that I need to work on a text alongside Duolingo and Memrise, and I found my copy of Grammaire progressive du français - Niveau intermédiaire. I bought it at least 3 years ago but only completed the first 2 lessons. So between Friday and Sunday I completed all of lesson 1 and about half of lesson 2. I don't want to make a huge goal, but I'd like to complete at least one double page spread most evenings (meaning reading the grammar on the left side and completing the exercises on the right side), and at the minimum complete one chapter in a week. So far the grammar covered is really easy for me but I expect once they've finished reviewing the basics it will begin to get more challenging.
I've also started listening to episodes of Inner French while taking my evening walk.

Hindi
For the time being I'll content myself with 2-3 lessons of Duolingo per day. It has been good to do Duolingo lessons on the laptop because I have been reviving my Hindi typing skills. Yes, I can touch type the Hindi alphabet. But it has been a while, so it took a bit of trial and error to remember where some of the letters are located!

Last week's plan All successful, for what it's worth!
jeffers wrote: Monday to Sunday (23-29 March):

French
[X] Keep the language alive by studying German with Assimil L'allemand.
[X] Duolingo every day
[X] Memrise French 1 every day

German
[X] Duolingo every day
[X] Complete 2 new chapters of Assimil L'allemand, review the previous 7 thoroughly
[X] Memrise every day, keep the streaks for all 4 courses going

Hindi
[X] Duolingo every day


And the new plan, Monday to Sunday (30 March to 5 April):
French
[ ] Keep the language alive by studying German with Assimil L'allemand.
[ ] Grammaire progressive: 1 double page per day
[ ] Grammaire progressive: 1 chapter per week
[ ] Duolingo every day
[ ] Memrise French 1 every day
[ ] Inner French listen at least 5 times

German
[ ] Duolingo every day
[ ] Complete 2 new chapters of Assimil L'allemand, review the previous 7 thoroughly
[ ] Memrise every day, keep the streaks for all 4 courses going

Hindi
[ ] Duolingo every day
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jeffers
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Re: Jeffers' German, French and Hindi

Postby jeffers » Wed Apr 08, 2020 4:31 pm

Last week, at the end of the day on Monday it looked like I would have a shot at the top spot in my diamond league in Duolingo so I pushed a bit that evening, getting about 750 xp ahead of number 2 (someone named Miguel). The next day Miguel pushed back a little, but again I was able to pass him in the evening. The same thing happened Wednesday so I was feeling confident that Miguel was just keeping up a regular pace and I would be able to get the top spot easily. Unfortunately, on Thursday everything changed: Miguel was playing a lot from the beginning of the day, so I responded by playing a lot more as well. This also meant that all the rest of my study plan got shelved "just for the day", but in reality we ended up having a neck and neck race for the top right until midnight on Sunday.

In the end I scored 42000 xp on Duolingo and probably spent 50-55 hours on it! I managed to get the top spot and the coveted "Conqueror" badge and along the way I learnt some new things about Duolingo. First of all, that many hours on Duolingo in a concentrated period is not worth the time; Duolingo works best as a part of a varied study plan.

I also found that resetting my German and French trees was a good way to get some more "back to basics" review since I felt like Duo had passed me to level 5 in several lessons in which I continued to regularly make simple mistakes. That is one of the true failings of Duolingo. This time I am going to take both trees more carefully and slowly. If there is a sentence that I get wrong more than once I'll make a note of it. I will do my best to use accent marks properly at all times (another failing of Duo is that it allows you to skip them). Although my French comprehension is well beyond what I was doing in Duo, I find I make a lot of spelling mistakes because most of my experience is with listening and reading and I often want to write "tu mange" and "tu va" instead of "tu manges" and "tu vas" because they sound the same. So actually the most useful place for me to be working in Duolingo is in the first dozen lessons or so.

Getting back to the study routine I had been developing in the first couple weeks of lockdown has been hard. First of all was the problem of fatigue: I had stayed up on Duolingo until 3:00 most nights and still woken up by 9:00, so I was running on a lot less sleep than usual. And then it has been difficult getting back into Assimil L'allemand because when I reviewed the fill in exercises from the previous couple of lessons I found myself making mistakes with some tricky points like using the correct forms of dasselbe, e.g.: "Sie haben denselben Wagon wie uns".

So I'm not going to put together a ticklist for this week. I'm going to continue with a bit of German, French and Hindi every day and play around with the format as I go. I'm considering doing a review wave of Assimil L'allemand from chapter 1 before moving on. For French I think I still want to work on Grammaire progressive du français - Niveau intermédiaire but I'm considering working through French Without Toil, the old version by A Chérel. The problem with FWT is that I can't find the audio for it (I know I had the files somewhere!)
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crush
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Re: Jeffers' German, French and Hindi

Postby crush » Fri Apr 10, 2020 8:55 am

I've got the FWT audio files, feel free to pass a PM if you still can't find them.

I've been going through the Duolingo Hindi course, just starting from the alphabet nearly killed me. Eventually i gave up on using Duolingo and just crammed the basic letters (not the combined ones) in Anki for a few days straight. Once i got beyond that it was smoother, but this course is still harder than any of the others i've done on Duolingo. I'm kinda glad it's so short ;) Do you have any suggestions for other materials to use in conjunction, e.g. Teach Yourself Hindi or something along those lines?

EDIT: Just wanted to say that the Without Toil series is one of my favorite series of language learning books of all time. See if you can find the French German Without Toil. I used the English version and really enjoyed it. I also used the Spanish version of FWT and it was such a fun book.
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jeffers
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Re: Jeffers' German, French and Hindi

Postby jeffers » Fri Apr 10, 2020 10:04 am

crush wrote:Do you have any suggestions for other materials to use in conjunction, e.g. Teach Yourself Hindi or something along those lines?


Teach Yourself Hindi by Rupert Snell is a great book, but it's like the Mt Everest of Hindi textbooks: a really difficult climb but probably worth it! I will admit that I've never finished it. The problem with TYH is that it begins to cram too much grammar into a single lesson from about lesson 9 onwards. And that's my opinion from using it as a non-beginner. However, the same author's more recent "Get Started in Hindi" takes a much more sensible approach. After completing that I was able to push on to lesson 12 in TYH without feeling stuck. He also had one of the all audio TY courses which was very good: TY Hindi Conversation.

As part of the Hindi Urdu Flagship (HUF) at the University of Austin, Rupert Snell also recorded two free podcast series covering vocabulary. Glossaries Alive http://hindiurduflagship.org/resources/learning-teaching/glossaries-alive/ is built around the original TY Hindi and has one episode covering the vocabulary for each chapter. These podcasts follow the format, "How do you say X?" and so are 50/50 Hindi/English. Spoken Thesaurus http://hindiurduflagship.org/resources/learning-teaching/spoken-thesaurus/ is a series of conversations about the vocabulary that would be used in different topics such as love & hate, sorrow, wisdom, etc. These podcasts are a bit more conversational than Glossaries Alive, and much more in Hindi.

HUF has a lot of resources, of mixed quality. One which I haven't used yet but which looks quite good is Hamari Boli http://hindiurduflagship.org/resources/learning-teaching/hamari-boli/ which is a series of video interviews with ordinary Hindi speakers answering questions about greetings, when to use jiii, should you take a gift to a friend when invited to their house, etc. It looks promising.
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crush
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Re: Jeffers' German, French and Hindi

Postby crush » Fri Apr 10, 2020 12:38 pm

Ah ok, i started out with TYH (but have only gone through one chapter) and found the format really nice. I'll see how far i can get before hitting that grammar wall.

The Spoken Thesaurus series in particular seems very useful once i get a better grounding. The Glossaries Alive podcast seems mostly a series of individual words and short phrases. I thought it would be a set of sentences reinforcing the content of the book, which would have been more useful in my opinion. Still, there's a lot to pull out of them (just need a bit of cleaning). Thanks!
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jeffers
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Re: Jeffers' German, French and Hindi

Postby jeffers » Fri Apr 10, 2020 6:01 pm

I think I've found my routine again, with the help of Assimil. I had gotten to lesson 49 of L'allemand but I could feel that I was going to hit a wall soon, and the idea of trying the active wave while getting into more murky grammar was putting me off. So I decided to do a medium wave from the beginning: do dictations of the lessons, then read the notes and re-do the exercises. I did lesson 1 yesterday and lessons 2 & 3 today. As long as the lessons are still relatively easy I'll try to do two per day, but won't stress if I only get one done. Once I get back to lesson 49 in this wave I'll start the lessons again and then begin the active wave as the book suggests. The great thing about doing dictation is that I am checking that I'm hearing the audio properly and ensuring that I know how to spell everything properly. Spelling what you hear in German isn't too tricky, but those umlauts can get pesky at times!

At the same time, I've dug out my old Assimil French Without Toil and was given the audio files as well. So I'm doing the same sort of wave with FWT: starting with transcribing what I hear, I then move on to reading the notes and then doing the exercises. FWT doesn't have many notes in the early chapters, and there are no fill in the blanks exercises like the newer books. I completed 1 & 2 yesterday, and lessons 3 & 4 today. The language is simple for me, but I made a few stupid spelling errors since French spelling isn't as straightforward as German: I spelled "environs" without the s, added a cédille to "merci", and other minor errors. Hopefully these dictations will beat some of those mistakes out of my system! There was also one word I just couldn't make out, "meublée" at the end of "Elle est petite, mais propre et bien .." But it wasn't pronounced clearly and even once I knew what it should be, listening to the audio it still didn't sound right. I also reviewed the first 2.5 lessons of Grammaire progressive du français, ready to move on with it, and listened to one episode of Inner French on my evening walk.

So here's the new outline (sort of in order of priority):
Assimil dictations for both French and German
Duolingo for French, German and Hindi
Memrise for French and German
Inner French
Grammaire progressive du français
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jeffers
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Re: Jeffers' German, French and Hindi

Postby jeffers » Sun Apr 12, 2020 9:31 pm

It seems I've found a suitable study rhythm for the day which is keeping me fairly busy.

German
I've done "dictations reviews" of Assimil lessons 1-8; two per day from Thursday through Sunday.
Duolingo every day and Memrise every day from Thursday (still using German 1, Assimil deck, and two Duolingo decks)
Yesterday morning I started replaying Lego City, but in German (I played it through twice in French). I will probably keep playing it on and off for a while.

French
Obviously, reviewing notes in Assimil l'allemand is still happening. But now that I've added other French into my study day, I'm finding the reading of the French notes to be much smoother; or maybe it's because I've read them before, qui sais?
Duolingo every day and Memsrise French 1 every day from Thursday.
Dictation lessons of Assimil's old French Without Toil, lessons 1-9. Basically two per day from Thursday. Some difficulty with getting accent marks correct and other minor spelling mistakes, but that's why I'm doing this: to fix those little errors.
Finished lesson 3 of Grammaire Progressive.
Listened to episodes 74, 75, and 70 of Inner French.

Hindi
So far I've just done a handful of lessons in Duolingo, usually on the laptop so I can practice my Devanagari touch typing. The exchange above with crush (and continued in pm) has got me thinking that I'd like to pick up Assimil l'Hindi as well, but I'm not sure I could cope with working full tilt on all three languages. I think it will probably have to wait until I've finished Assimil German.

The coming week
I expect to be able to keep up a similar level of work most of this coming week. After that I'm not sure, because I will be back to working from home on the 20th (I'm on holiday this week). I'll try to keep doing at least one dictation lesson of both Assimil German and FWT each day as much as possible, and I'll keep up my streaks in Duo and Memrise. It's all working together quite well, but we'll see how long I can keep it going!
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jeffers
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Re: Jeffers' German, French and Hindi

Postby jeffers » Tue Apr 21, 2020 9:57 pm

I missed my newly customary Sunday evening update, but I've been staying the course pretty much as planned.

German
I've kept up one "dictation review" lesson every day, and completed lesson 17 today. It has actually been nice re-reading the grammar notes because now that I have a better sense of the language, I can pick up some details that I missed the first time through. Re-doing the fill in the blank exercises has been quite encouraging because I have been almost perfect, including with exercises that caused me trouble the first time through. Besides Assimil, I've also kept up my streaks in the four overlapping courses I'm using in Memrise, and I've done a few lessons per day on Duolingo. Having restarted my German tree on Duolingo, I'm taking it a lot slower now.

The more interesting thing I've done with German this week was to replay Lego City Undercover. It is a fun game with a lot of story and dialogues, with several language options including subtitles in your chosen language. I played it about 6 years ago in French, when I had been studying French for about a year. Back then I was quite lost, but the need to pay careful attention to each and every instruction in order to be able to solve the puzzles was a great exercise. I replayed it a couple years later, again in French, and was pleased at how much my comprehension had come along. Because I had played it before, I expected playing in German to be fairly easy but actually it wasn't. At times I felt myself to be as lost as I was when I first played it in French. Hopefully I could play it again in German in a year or two and my comprehension will be perfect!

The game uses a lot of colloquialisms. One example I had never known about in many years of toying with German: dropping the ei in ein, einen and eine. For example, a character might say, "Ich habe 'ne Banane" or "Ich esse 'nen Apfel". I found out the details on a page from stack exchange, https://german.stackexchange.com/questions/38238/what-does-ne-mean, on which someone wrote:
" 'ne" is the abbreviation for "eine". The apostroph omits the syllable "ei-". Note that this is a more colloquial writing and should not be used in a formal context.
...
This construction does not work for definite articles.

However it works with other indefinite articles:

'n = ein
'nen = einen
'ner = einer
'nem = einem
But it works not for "eines" as " 'nes" is not used.

Zehr interessant!


French
As with German, I have kept up one dictation lesson per day from FWT. To date I've completed up to lesson 17. As before, I'm making a lot of spelling errors but I think I'm getting better, so this continues to be a useful exercise.

In addition I have kept up my streaks in Duolingo and Memrise, all very useful review of things I ought to know by now. However, to paraphrase Monty Python: "There is only one thing worse than reviewing the basics, and that is not reviewing the basics".

I have taken my 1 hour "Boris walk" every day, during which I have been listening to intermediate French podcasts. Until today that has been Inner French, but today I decided to switch over to Balades for a while. Variety keeps it interesting! I'd also like to get back to listening to Au coeur de l'histoire, a podcast for native speakers about topics from history, but I think I'll save those for when the Super Challenge begins again.
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jeffers
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Re: Jeffers' German, French and Hindi

Postby jeffers » Wed Apr 22, 2020 1:35 pm

(This is my second attempt to write this post, because the forum logged me out and I lost the previous version :cry: A tip for the current state of the forum: copy anything you write before hitting the submit button, just in case!)

With the Super Challenge coming up in 9 days or so, it will be helpful for me to put my thoughts about what I may or may not want to do down in writing. This post will probably be edited and re-edited several times in the coming weeks.


First decision: challenge languages

French-- I'll attempt a full challenge (100 films, 100 books) again in French. I've always managed to do the film half, but with the three challenges we've had, I've never finished the book half. Normally I started well but somehow lost steam or got busy with other things. "This time" (tm) I will complete a full challenge in French! Or not, either way I'll do a lot of reading and watching/listening which I will enjoy and which will improve my French. :lol:

German-- since I've been studying German again (endless false beginner there), I'll probably aim for a half challenge in German. This will be more of an aspirational challenge, and I don't really expect to finish it.

Hindi-- in order to keep my Hindi going, I'll aim for a quarter challenge in Hindi. Again, this is more aspirational than real.


The next thing to think about is what I have to watch, listen to and read in my languages, and how I might prioritize them. It will be useful to take stock of my resources, although I know that what I actually use will change and develop over the course of the challenge.

French Books (and other reading)
I have so many books that I want to read, and many that I've read and many more that I want to read again. When I was reading French regularly, I developed the habit of alternating between something relatively easy and something relatively difficult, as well as mixing in new reads and re-reads. I'll continue to work like that during this SC. I'm a big believer in the power of re-reading.

On the first day, I will probably pull out a few of my easy readers, just to get a few pages complete and recorded and to get my head in the game. Most books that fit in the "easy reader" category are just rubbish, but useful to a point. However, one book that I very much enjoyed when I was first starting with French was Enquête Capitale by Marine de Courtis, an A1 reader but with quite an engaging story!

Le petit Nicolas- I will almost certainly begin the challenge by reading one or more of these books, and I will certainly read the lot at least once! These are always a joy to read and reread, my "happy place" in French. There are 14 collections of stories, all but one of which are on Kindle. I own 12 on Kindle (I believe I've read all but haven't completed one of them), and will buy the 13th "soon". Today, I ordered a used copy of the one that's not on Kindle, Le ballon et autres histoires inedites.

La Passe-Miroir series by Christelle Dabos. I have the first of the four books on Kindle (and Audible as well). If I enjoy it enough I'll continue with the series.
Les nouvelles enquêtes de Maigret by Georges Simenon. I've read a few of his books in easy reader format, but apparently the real things aren't very difficult. I bought this one for the last SC but never got around to reading it. I think I chose this particular volume among the many available on Kindle because it is a whopping 624 pages long! Value for money!
Mon ami Maigret by Georges Simenon.
Un sac de billes by Joseph Joffo. I read about half of this classic during the last SC, but I felt like it was finally a book that I wanted to read more intensively, taking notes, etc. Of course that meant that I stopped reading it! :lol:
Le Chapeau de Mitterrand by Antoine Laurain. I read this a couple years ago and loved it. Will re-read, and re-listen (I have it on Audible).
La femme au carnet rouge by Antoine Laurain as well. I bought this on Kindle and Audible because I liked Le Chapeau, but I haven't read it yet.
Histoires des Jean-Quelque-Chose (Tome 1) - L'omelette au sucre by Jean-Philippe Arrou-Vignod. I'll probably re-read (and re-listen) and maybe then get the second book. These are for children, not too difficult, somewhat funny, autobiographical slices of the author's life. I quite enjoyed the audiobook, but having listened to the stories several times I found the book a bit of a chore. It probably doesn't have the "repetition value" that I look for in literature I read for learning languages.
Quand sort la recluse by Fred Vargas. I bought this two years ago (again Kindle & Audible), but found the first chapter a bit difficult. Maybe next time.
Un aller simple by Didier Van Cauwelaert. Kindle & Audible. I quite enjoyed this book and will probably read it again.
Les Maquisards by Hemley Boum. I bought this on Kindle based on the strong recommendation of the arts correspondent of 7 jours sur la planète, but I haven't read it yet.
La Planète des singes by Pierre Boulle, the original that inspired all the Planet of the Apes films. I read about half of it and got bored, possibly because I had read it in English not long before. I may try again.
Ready player one (French Edition) by Ernest Cline. With so many good books written in French to read, I've not really been interested in books translated from English. But I bought this on Kindle so I may read it.

That list above is probably more than enough to complete a full Super Challenge, but I'm sure I have load more books hiding on shelves here and there. E.g. several BDs which I'll probably read or re-read.


French Films (watching and listening)
I have too much to handle here. First of all, many DVDs that I have watched and want to watch again, and also several that I haven't gotten around to watching yet. I also have loads of audio books and podcasts to listen to. This time around I'm going to do my best to avoid English subtitles where possible. Here are a few of my high priority items:
Le Dîner de Cons Such fun!
Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain Utterly charming.
Les P'tits Diables children's cartoons based on a BD for children. When I first watched these on TV5 Monde I understood very little of the spoken language, although the stories were easy enough to follow visually. Like most TV they talk fast, and use a lot of abbreviations and colloquialisms. I bought both volumes (4 DVDs in all) from amazon.fr for the last SC. About two years ago I watched them and felt like I was understanding 90%.
Boulevard Du Palais was one of my favourite policiers on TV5 Monde, so when there was a 3 for 2 offer on DVD box sets from amazon.fr I bought the only 3 sets that were ever produced (about half of the total episodes). I watched about half during the last SC, and found it very difficult to follow without subtitles, but worthwhile nonetheless. This time I may continue where I left off or I may start from the beginning again. I'm not sure yet.
Dany Boon: Des Hauts-de-France, stand up comedy on Netflix. I watched about 5 minutes with French subtitles and decided that I could handle this, so filed it away under "soon" (tm). However, Netflix being Netflix, I better watch it quite soon before it gets removed.
Speaking of Netflix, although their French film collection is not as good as it once was, there are several highly recommended French series:
Call My Agent has been recommended to me several times. There are now 3 series, so it's obviously been popular.
Au service de la France. I've watched both series, but would definitely enjoy watching them again.
The Bonfire of Destiny, a historical drama set in 1897 Paris.





German Books (and other reading)
German Easy Reader 1-3 by Brian Smith. I've read these three books recently, but I'll probably start my challenge with these and then move on to his Pre-Intermediate Reader. At some point I'll tackle his three intermediate readers as well.
Verschollen in Berlin: Deutsche Lektüre für das GER-Niveau A1/A2 mit eingebundenem Audio-File (TATORT DaF), by Gabi Baier. I bought this on Kindle a while ago to see if the series is worth it.
[i]Die DaF-Bibliothek / A1/A2 - Kaltes Blut: Heimliche Rache in Garmisch[/i] by Roland Dittrich. Same as above. Once I've read these two readers, I'll decide if it's worth buying others in one series or the other.

German Films (watching and listening)
One problem with German for me is that I don't have anything that I want to watch in German. I'm not aware of much media in German anyway.
Brian Smith's readers all have free audio files from his website, so a lot of my German listening will be to his audiobooks.
Andrea erzählt, a podcast for intermediate learners from podclub.ch. The website stopped their free podcast programme, and announced that they would be removing all of the podcasts from their website, but I managed to download all 106 episodes a day or two before the end.



Hindi Books (and other reading)
Routledge Intermediate Hindi Reader- This book was a great resource when I was last working on Hindi. The one serious problem with this reader is that the readings are rather short, only 2-3 pages each, with at least 2/3 of the book taken up with vocab lists and useless exercises. When I was last using this book I would read a chapter without looking up unknown words, but underlining them instead. I would then put all unknown words into Anki and begin rereading the chapter several times. I'll probably pick this book up again and do the same sometime this summer. The Routledge website also has sound files, which I will use for the film half of the challenge. The website also has English translations, but 2/3 of the way in I haven't needed them.

Intermediate Hindi Reader, Usha Jain- This is a much better reader than the Routledge one for several reasons, but mainly because it has much more text. The book is larger and longer, and has no useless exercises. Each chapter has a full vocabulary list, but helpfully has asterisks by the words the author believes are worth learning. The one downside is that there are no English translations available. I read the first 2-3 stories about 4 years ago, and while the first story was very easy, the difficulty ramped up quickly! So I always intended to leave this reader for later. "Later" in this case may mean this SC after reading other stuff, or it may mean next SC.

Tintin- I have almost the whole collection in the Hindi translation. These are fairly recent translations, and quite good from the bits I have read.

Asterix- I have Asterix the Gaul in a recent Hindi translation. Last I checked they hadn't made any more translations, but I may look again.



Hindi Films (watching and listening)
I own something like 35-40 Hindi films on DVD, so I have plenty of choice! My wife has been recently mentioning that we should watch Lagaan again, but I've been secretly putting it off until May! :lol:
Netflix is another source, although they don't have as many Bollywood films as they did a few years ago, at least that's how it seems to me.
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jeffers
Green Belt
Posts: 377
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2015 4:12 pm
Location: UK
Languages: Speaks: English (N), Hindi (A2-B1)

Learning: The above, plus French (A2-B1), German (A1), Ancient Greek (?), Sanskrit (beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=13383
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Re: Jeffers' German, French and Hindi

Postby jeffers » Thu Apr 30, 2020 9:49 pm

I've taken a bit of a language break this week, party because work (from home) has kept me busy and stressed, and partly because the SC is coming (just over an hour in this time zone!) I haven't kept up with Assimil German or French every day, I let my Memrize streaks die. My Duolingo streak would have died as well, but I used two streak freezes.

So what's coming? I will probably read something short after midnight, just to get the ball rolling. And then I'm going to need to find some new working habits. I am thinking I will continue working on Assimil German and Duolingo German/French, but otherwise my language learning will be back to native: reading and watching/listening.
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