Adam's Phylology Log File

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Adam
White Belt
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2015 3:54 am
Languages: English (N)
Mandarin Chinese (have been trying to learn for a long time)
French (a bit)
Japanese (a little bit)
Other languages - learning the scripts of Arabic, Hebrew, Tamil, Burmese, Korean, Hindi; have dabbled in Spanish, Russian, and Ancient Greek.
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1449
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Adam's Phylology Log File

Postby Adam » Fri Oct 16, 2015 4:00 am

Hi All!

I've been an occasional (rare) poster on HTLAL, and only discovered this new forum a week or so ago. So, I'll take the opportunity to introduce myself here.

I'm a middle-aged bloke in Sydney Australia, native English speaker. I've been trying to learn Mandarin Chinese, with varying levels of effort, for twenty years - since I met my now wife, who's from Taiwan, and has Mandarin as her main language (actually second language, although her childhood Min Nan has pretty much rusted away).

Prior to that, I had 1 year of Latin in first year highschool (very rudimentary), then an intense 18 months of French when I was about 13, and was at another school where that language was compulsory. I had to catch up to other kids who had been doing it for five years or so.

Afterwards, I hardly touched languages for a very long time. I had got two prejudices fixed in my head - one, that anyone over the age of puberty couldn't learn a new language, and two, that girls were the ones who were good at languages, not boys.

My main interest - that I studied at university - has been evolutionary biology, and I have since worked in research in comparative genetics and biological taxonomy. This has strongly influenced how I see the world - I like to compare things, and to look for relationships between them.

My overall language-learning aim now is to learn at least something of a representative language from a range of the world's major language families. With English, I can tick off Indo-European immediately (although I am learning other languages in this group, as I note later); I'm working of Mandarin, in the Sino-Tibetan family; I've made a bit of a foray into Arabic, as a representative of the Afro-Asiatic family (chosen because learning material is most abundant for Arabic, in this group); I've done a bit of Japanese (full Pimsleur course, Michael Thomas to Advanced level, learned the kana, and have a leg-up with the kanji from Chinese). I'm also learning the writing system of Tamil, Korean, and several other scripts. There are other languages on my shopping list for the future, also.

My goals are (1) to get as good as I can with Chinese - be able to read a newspaper (still a long way off), pass some sort of competency exam that would make me look credible on paper, and be reasonably good in conversation;
(2) be able to read Japanese, and have rudimentary, tourist-level conversations; (3) with the other 'exotic' languages, be able to make out written material, and know a few useful phrases.

I would also like to develop a useful level of reading in several European languages, particularly French, German, and Russian, as there is a lot of stuff about language relationships and evolution written in these languages. I am not too far off this goal in French (reading specialist stuff is easier than reading popular stuff, at least if you have a familiarity with the speciality), but I'll be a while with the other two. I am making progress with Cyrillic.

I've also sampled some other languages, including Spanish and Italian, because of having the opportunity of having free classes in them.

OK, enough for one post, I think ...
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(The user formerly known as Adamdm or AdamDM2 on HTLAL)

Adam
White Belt
Posts: 29
Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2015 3:54 am
Languages: English (N)
Mandarin Chinese (have been trying to learn for a long time)
French (a bit)
Japanese (a little bit)
Other languages - learning the scripts of Arabic, Hebrew, Tamil, Burmese, Korean, Hindi; have dabbled in Spanish, Russian, and Ancient Greek.
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1449
x 11

Re: Adam's Phylology Log File

Postby Adam » Sun Oct 18, 2015 7:45 am

Sunday 18 October 2015

Did unit 25 of Pimsleur Mandarin 3. Nearly at the end of this course. The language that it teaches is different in many ways with what I know (what my Taiwan-brought-up wife speaks) in accent, common expressions, use of particles (er, li, de, ba ...), meaning of some words (eg, yao and shang), sentence structure (I suspect that the Pimsleur's version approximates English syntax more than 'real' Mandarin does, but I could be wrong).

Anwyway, it's all good. A few years ago, I did some classes in Chinese, with the textbook "New Practical Chinese Reader", and that seemed like quite a different language too.

Tried the Chinese Character Test twice (Advanced, Traditional, 72 characters) at clavisinica.com (haven't done this for at least a year, possibly two). I scored 1694 and 1458 as its estimate of number of characters that I know. I need to polish up on this ...

I think I'll take a TOCFL (Test Of Chinese as a Foreign Language) next September. I've just discovered that it can be taken here in Australia - before, I thought I would have to go to Taiwan to do it. I'll need to think which level I should aim for ...
0 x
(The user formerly known as Adamdm or AdamDM2 on HTLAL)


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