Vegantraveller's 2020 Adventures with Languages (DE, EN, FR, IT, JA, SV)

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vegantraveller
White Belt
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:39 am
Location: Turin, Italy
Languages: Italian (N), English (C2), French (C2), German (B2), Japanese (B2), Swedish (A2).
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=14635
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Vegantraveller's 2020 Adventures with Languages (DE, EN, FR, IT, JA, SV)

Postby vegantraveller » Sat May 23, 2020 7:45 pm

Hello everybody,

Here I am with my first study log on this wonderful forum! I’ve actually been keeping a language study log since 2018, to monitor the time I spend with languages and learn them more efficiently. This has helped me a lot to increase my commitment and make me more accountable in not wasting my (precious) free time in useless activities. By sharing it here with you, I hope, on the one hand, to further increase my commitment to learning languages and, the other hand, to share experiences, methods, and hints with other like-minded fellow learners.

Just a quick overview about the languages I can speak fluently or I am focusing on:

ITALIAN (N)

I am a native speaker of Italian, I live in Italy, and all my education has been in this language. I’m deeply in love with it, sometimes I even wish I were a foreigner to appreciate it even more! I’m also very proud when someone chooses to learn it: if you’re doing so, please feel free to ask, I’ll be happy to help you out.

ENGLISH (C2)

English was the second foreign language I came in contact with, but the first one I studied, and the one I’m most proficient in. I’ve been studying it since I was in middle school, it was of course my favourite subject back then, and made me discover my passion for languages. I use it now daily for my job (I’m a sales executive in the food business), but there’s always room for improvement, so I keep on studying it. What I love about English is its conciseness and lexical richness. Oh, and I’m of course in love with the British (RP) accent (the accent I’ve tried to mimic and master, by the way!).

FRENCH (C2)

The first foreign language I ever heard was French: my parents are convinced Francophiles, a part of my family also lives in France, and so I took a lot of holidays there. When I was just six years old, my parents even enrolled me in a children’s class at our local Alliance Française, but the experience was short-lived since I wasn’t that keen on French at the time. But after I developed a passion for English, I chose to take optional classes in French and Latin at my middle school, and then attend a high school with a strong foreign-language curriculum (where I studied English, French, German, and Latin). French is a beautiful language, definitely on par with Italian for its sounds, rhythm, and intonation. And I love the culture, for sure.

GERMAN (B2)

German was my fourth foreign language (if we include Latin), and it was love at first sight. I studied it three years at high school, then I took some courses at university (I majored in International Studies and Economics, but tried to add all the language instruction I could!), but then, since I started working with companies dealing mostly with Asian markets, I let it slip into oblivion. I’m now determined to improve it at least to a C1 level, so I’ve taken it up again, thanks also to my current job where I’ve been using it regularly. What I love about German is its precision, its peculiar musicality, and the culture, of course.

JAPANESE (B2)

Japanese is my enduring love, I dare say my “life mission”. I’ve spent countless hours on it, but it’s always been a pleasure to study it. I first began learning it some twenty years ago when I was at university, and I was immediately hooked by how different it was from European languages. I then took many courses at university and private schools (both in Italy and Japan), endless hours of private tuition for conversation practice (and even volunteering in Japan as a “guinea pig” for Japanese teachers on training), and seized every opportunity to talk to Japanese friends and colleagues. 
I’ve also been lucky enough to always use it in my professional career, thus boosting my skills and confidence. I still use it regularly for my job, so I’m quite good at formal Japanese and keigo. 
I simply love everything about Japanese and Japan!

SWEDISH (A2)

I’ve always been fascinated by Northern Europe but I never felt ready to take up a Nordic language. Even after visiting Sweden twice, and falling in love with the country, I had many doubts to begin learning it. Not because I didn’t like the language (it’s beautiful!), but because I didn’t want to spread myself too thin and take time away from other languages (Japanese, in particular). Then, in 2018, I finally took the plunge and I’m now determined to reach a solid B2 level. Having learned English and German, I must admit Swedish is not that difficult, particularly in developing my passive skills (reading and listening). But reaching satisfactory active skills is another kettle of fish entirely.

SPANISH (A2 active/B2ish passive) suspended because of lack of time
I've decided to take up Spanish again and study it more properly: I can pretty much use it when I travel to Spain and, thanks to Italian, my passive skills are somewhat B2ish, but I need to enrich my active vocabulary since I'm stuck when I want to express more complex thoughts. I must admit I have never dedicated much time to it, studying it on and off over the course of the years, and just absorbing it by travelling to Spain, watching movies, and listening to music. However, I'm not going to dedicate much time to it, since my current focus is bringing up my Swedish to B1 (hopefully B2), and my German and Japanese to C1, but it can be a nice side activity instead of wasting time on social media!

OTHER LANGUAGES
As most people out here, I’ve also studied and dabbled with many more languages in my life, either reaching a passable level (Spanish -refocusing on it again), letting them get rusty (Russian - I studied the language for three years, then I abandoned it completely), or just getting a very first bite of them (Arabic, Mandarin, Czech, Dutch, and Portuguese). I also learnt an ancient language over seven years at school (Latin), but I was never really fond of it, as I couldn’t use it to communicate with anybody (I like travelling and getting in touch with real people, that’s why, even if they’re fascinating, I’m not that into dead languages).

Thanks for reading so far, I can’t wait to share my learning adventures with you!
Last edited by vegantraveller on Tue Oct 13, 2020 6:30 pm, edited 5 times in total.
16 x
: 74 / 2500 SC JA books
: 225 / 4500 SC JA films
: 86 / 2500 SC SV books
: 735 / 4500 SC SV films
I'm a man from Italy, not an owl from Japan :mrgreen:

Please correct my errors!

User avatar
mattf789
Yellow Belt
Posts: 75
Joined: Mon May 18, 2020 10:06 am
Location: Lincolnshire, England
Languages: English (N)
Spanish (A1)
French (beginner)
x 140

Re: Vegantraveller's 2020 Adventures with Languages (DE, EN, FR, IT, JA, SV)

Postby mattf789 » Sat May 23, 2020 7:55 pm

Hi Vegantraveller, I'm really looking forward to following your log. Your written English is perfect; I skimmed your post at first and when I went back and saw you aren't a native speaker I was very impressed!

Can I ask what your preferred methods / resources are for starting a new language?
2 x
Official Memrise French 1-7: 3100 / 3100
Assimil French: 11 / 113
Overall French Memrise Progress: 3323 / 6000

User avatar
vegantraveller
White Belt
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:39 am
Location: Turin, Italy
Languages: Italian (N), English (C2), French (C2), German (B2), Japanese (B2), Swedish (A2).
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=14635
x 132

Re: Vegantraveller's 2020 Adventures with Languages (DE, EN, FR, IT, JA, SV)

Postby vegantraveller » Sat May 23, 2020 10:15 pm

mattf789 wrote:Hi Vegantraveller, I'm really looking forward to following your log. Your written English is perfect; I skimmed your post at first and when I went back and saw you aren't a native speaker I was very impressed!

Can I ask what your preferred methods / resources are for starting a new language?


Hi mattf789,

Thank you very much!

My methods/resources actually varied from one language to another. English, French, German and Japanese were all started in an more "academic" way, i.e. I took them up in a classroom setting with teachers.
Swedish is the language I actually began learning by myself, and I adopted a method partially based on Luca Lampariello's one, though with some variations which better suit my lifestyle and personality.

It is important, as he says, to build up a "core" in your new language, that is to learn the basics and consolidate them. I usually start with a textbook designed for self-learning. My favourite method is Assimil, their recordings are perfect, only in the target language you want to learn, the units are small enough but quite dense, the dialogues and situations are witty so that it's easier to soak and remember the language. The only drawback I see is that they don't introduce the grammar in a systematic way: this isn't too much a problem with European languages but, for more distant languages, their system can somehow be intimidating.

Other methods I like are the "Teach Yourself" ("Complete" series) and "Colloquial" courses, even though there is probably too much English in their recordings, but they introduce the grammar and the language structures in a more structured way.

I focus on the course book for the first few months, so that I can get acquainted with the language. I also use an SRS system (Anki in my case) to memorise vocabulary and language structures, working on it during "hidden" moments that would otherwise be wasted.
I also try to listen to podcasts or watch short videos in the language to familiarise with the prosody and the sounds of it.

When I have completed about one third of the course, I start using supplemental material to make practice and develop all the four language abilities: reading (usually abridged articles for beginners and graded readers), listening (easy news, podcasts, films and TV series with subtitles), speaking (by booking lessons with native tutors on Italki) and writing (short texts which I then get corrected on Italki or lang8). In the meanwhile I make sure to go on with my self-learning method.

It is crucial not to lose contact with the language. Even if there could be moments where you can't fit language study into your routine, try to be in touch with the language almost everyday: just a few flashcards on Anki or listening to a song or watching a short Youtube video really make the difference and help you stay focused and on track. This is especially important for newly-acquired languages (basically A1-A2 levels, when you reach B1 you can then be a little more lenient).

This is basically my method, if you've got more questions please let me know.

Et bonne chance avec ton français! ;)
3 x
: 74 / 2500 SC JA books
: 225 / 4500 SC JA films
: 86 / 2500 SC SV books
: 735 / 4500 SC SV films
I'm a man from Italy, not an owl from Japan :mrgreen:

Please correct my errors!

User avatar
vegantraveller
White Belt
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:39 am
Location: Turin, Italy
Languages: Italian (N), English (C2), French (C2), German (B2), Japanese (B2), Swedish (A2).
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=14635
x 132

Re: Vegantraveller's 2020 Adventures with Languages (DE, EN, FR, IT, JA, SV)

Postby vegantraveller » Sat May 23, 2020 10:51 pm

I’m going to post here the list of the resources I’m currently using, starting with textbooks and grammar books, and then an ongoing list of all the media I have been consuming since January (books, films, TV series, etc.). I have also added a list for authentic materials in Italian I have read or watched (only films, TV series, and books originally conceived in Italian) that may inspire those who are learning my language.

TEXTBOOKS AND GRAMMAR BOOKS

ENGLISH
Coursebooks

A. Bulger, M. Altare, Perfezionamento dell’inglese, Assimil
Grammar
R. Side, G. Wellman, Grammar and Vocabulary for Cambridge Advanced and Proficiency, Longman

FRENCH
Coursebook

A.Bulger, Perfezionamento del francese, Assimil
Grammar
M. Grégoire, A. Kostucki, Grammaire progressive du français. Perfectionnement, Clé International
GERMAN
Coursebook

M. Roemer, M. Benetton, Il tedesco, Assimil
Grammar
H. Dreyer, R. Schmitt, Die neue Gelbe. Grammatica tedesca con esercizi, Hueber

JAPANESE
Coursebook

C. Garnier, T. Mori, Il giapponese senza sforzo, Assimil
Kanji
Inter University Center for Japanese Language Studies, Kanji in Context. A Study System for Intermediate and Advanced Learners + Workbooks, The Japan Times
Grammar
S. Makino, M. Tsutsui, A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar, The Japan Times
M. Mastrangelo, N. Ozawa, M. Saito, Grammatica giapponese, Hoepli

SWEDISH
Coursebooks

W. Fovet, F. Ultimini, S. Rossi, Lo svedese, Assimil
A. Beronius Haake, Complete Swedish, Teach Yourself
A. Bränströmm, C. Bunge Repetto, A. Meregalli, Lagom lätt – Corso di lingua svedese, Hoepli
Grammar
A. Bränströmm, C. Bunge Repetto, A. Meregalli, Grammatica svedese, Hoepli

LANGUAGE PRACTICE
SPEAKING

I use Italki regularly for speaking practice with native tutors, and to ask for corrections and doubts. I usually have two lessons a week of one hour each, alternating my languages (but currently giving priority to Japanese and Swedish).

LISTENING

Mostly films, TV series, and Youtube videos, as well as podcasts about what I like (usually travel, cinema, veganism, culture, and news programmes) in all my languages.

Since I’m a beginner in Swedish, I also watch and listen to simplified material (mostly Easy Swedish on Youtube, and podcasts from Radio på lätt svenska).

READING

I love reading, even though I no longer can find the time to do it extensively. I now also prefer to read two-three books simultaneously in different languages. Below is a list of the books I have read so far or I am in the process of reading this year.

WRITING

I sometimes write and get corrections on lang8 and Italki in all my languages. 


Apart from that, I also use English daily for my job, as well as German and Japanese on a regular basis, but I’m not going to count these activities in my study log (even though I write down and then study useful vocabolary or idioms I may encounter).

2020 MEDIA
Here is the ongoing list of all the media I have used this year, I hope they can be of inspiration to you.

ITALIAN
Films and TV Series

D. Carrisi, La ragazza della nebbia (2017)
F. & D. D'Innocenzo, Favolacce (2020)
P. Genovese, The Place (2017)

M. Martone, Capri-Revolution (2018)
F. Özpetek, Napoli velata (2017)

Curon (TV series) - (7 episodes)
Luna Nera (TV series) - season 1 (6 episodes)
Baby (TV series) - season 3 (6 episodes)
Books - Literature

L. Ariosto, Orlando furioso, Einaudi (reading)

ENGLISH
Films and TV Series

D. Devlin, Geostorm (2017)

D. Hopper, Easy Riders (1969) 

L. Majewski, The Garden of Earthly Delights (2004)
R. Morano, The Rhythm Section (2020)
J. Orlowski, The Social Dilemma (2020)
B. Silberling, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
T. Spindel, The Wrong Missy (2020)
P. Travis, City of Tiny Lights (2016)
J. Woliner, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020)
Carnival Row (TV series) - season 1 (8 episodes)
Reign (TV series) – seasons 1-3 (62 episodes)
Spinning Out (TV series) – season 1 (10 episodes)
The Stranger (TV series) - season 1 (8 episodes)
Books - Non Fiction
R. Macpherson How To Maintain Foreign Languages, Kuma Books

FRENCH
Films and TV Series

A. Fontaine, Blanche comme neige (2018)
A. Laffont, MILF (2018)
J. Lespert, Iris (2016)
C. Nemes, Le mari de mon mari (2016)
Into the Night (TV series) - season 1

Le Bazar de la Charité (TV series)
Books - Non fiction
R. Templar, Les 120 règles d’or du travail (translation from English), Marabout - reading

GERMAN
Films and TV Series

S. Akkus, Drei Türker und ein Baby (2015)
K. Eyssen, Zeit der Geheimnisse (2019)
O. Kienle, Isi & Ossi (2020)
Criminal Deutschland (TV series) – season 1

Freud (TV series) – season 1

JAPANESE
Films and TV series

M. Hosoda, 未来のミライ (Mirai no Mirai - 2018)
H. Miyazaki, 天空の城ラピュタ (Tenkū no shiro Rapyuta - 1986)
Y. Yamada, 東京家族 (Tōkyō kazoku - 2013)

グッド・モーニング・コール (Guddo Mōningu Kōru - TV series - 2016)
Books and manga - fiction
H. Etsumi, じゃりン子チエ (Jarinko Chie - manga & graded reader), Hoepli - reading 

F. Miyamoto, 隣の外国人 (Tonari no gaikokujin - manga), Ohta Shuppan - reading

SWEDISH
Films and TV series


D. Batra, Elefanten i rummet (2020)
J. Brisinger, Jag älskar dig (2016)
Kalifat (TV series) - 8 episodes
Störst av allt (TV series) - 6 episodes
Audiobooks - fiction
A. Widholm, Zombiespanarna
Books
C. Müntzing, H. Waubert de Puiseau, S. Ad Nilsson, Mordet på fjorden (graded reader) - reading
Last edited by vegantraveller on Tue Nov 03, 2020 7:35 pm, edited 14 times in total.
4 x
: 74 / 2500 SC JA books
: 225 / 4500 SC JA films
: 86 / 2500 SC SV books
: 735 / 4500 SC SV films
I'm a man from Italy, not an owl from Japan :mrgreen:

Please correct my errors!

User avatar
Tomas
White Belt
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun May 10, 2020 1:07 am
Location: Portland
Languages: English (N), Spanish (low intermediate), Italian (lower intermediate) French (terrible!)
x 70

Re: Vegantraveller's 2020 Adventures with Languages (DE, EN, FR, IT, JA, SV)

Postby Tomas » Sat May 23, 2020 11:24 pm

Welcome to the forum. As a fellow vegetarian and a student of Italian, I look forward to reading your log!
1 x

User avatar
vegantraveller
White Belt
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:39 am
Location: Turin, Italy
Languages: Italian (N), English (C2), French (C2), German (B2), Japanese (B2), Swedish (A2).
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=14635
x 132

Re: Vegantraveller's 2020 Adventures with Languages (DE, EN, FR, IT, JA, SV)

Postby vegantraveller » Sun May 24, 2020 8:13 am

Tomas wrote:Welcome to the forum. As a fellow vegetarian and a student of Italian, I look forward to reading your log!


Thanks Tomas, happy to read you're a vegetarian! (we might exchange recipes :lol: ). If you need any help with your Italian please let me know!
1 x
: 74 / 2500 SC JA books
: 225 / 4500 SC JA films
: 86 / 2500 SC SV books
: 735 / 4500 SC SV films
I'm a man from Italy, not an owl from Japan :mrgreen:

Please correct my errors!

User avatar
Tomas
White Belt
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun May 10, 2020 1:07 am
Location: Portland
Languages: English (N), Spanish (low intermediate), Italian (lower intermediate) French (terrible!)
x 70

Re: Vegantraveller's 2020 Adventures with Languages (DE, EN, FR, IT, JA, SV)

Postby Tomas » Sun May 24, 2020 8:33 am

Grazie! Lei è molto gentile.
1 x

User avatar
vegantraveller
White Belt
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:39 am
Location: Turin, Italy
Languages: Italian (N), English (C2), French (C2), German (B2), Japanese (B2), Swedish (A2).
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=14635
x 132

Re: Vegantraveller's 2020 Adventures with Languages (DE, EN, FR, IT, JA, SV)

Postby vegantraveller » Sun May 24, 2020 10:27 am

Tomas wrote:Grazie! Lei è molto gentile.


Prego!
Your sentence is correct, but in casual settings like a forum, it sounds more natural "darsi del tu":
Grazie! Sei molto gentile. :D
1 x
: 74 / 2500 SC JA books
: 225 / 4500 SC JA films
: 86 / 2500 SC SV books
: 735 / 4500 SC SV films
I'm a man from Italy, not an owl from Japan :mrgreen:

Please correct my errors!

User avatar
thevagrant88
Yellow Belt
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:30 am
Location: USA
Languages: English (N), Spanish (B2) Japanese (paused)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =14564#top
x 177

Re: Vegantraveller's 2020 Adventures with Languages (DE, EN, FR, IT, JA, SV)

Postby thevagrant88 » Mon May 25, 2020 8:17 am

Hello fellow vegan! At the end of last year I began studying Japanese and also fell in love. Unfortunately I had to put it on pause, but I anxiously await returning to it. Good luck on your language journeys!
1 x

crush
Green Belt
Posts: 468
Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2015 3:35 pm
Languages: :
Speak: EN (N), ES, ZH
Study: EUS, YUE, JP
x 806

Re: Vegantraveller's 2020 Adventures with Languages (DE, EN, FR, IT, JA, SV)

Postby crush » Mon May 25, 2020 11:12 am

Yeah, if you know of any vegan-related Japanese stuff (Youtube channels, podcasts, etc.) please do share!
1 x


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