Learning by reading

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Nogon
Orange Belt
Posts: 117
Joined: Sat May 13, 2017 6:21 pm
Languages: German (N), Swedish (C), English (?), French (A2), Esperanto (A2). Reading Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Afrikaans. Learning Polish, Yiddish
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=16039
x 326

Re: Learning by reading

Postby Nogon » Sun Oct 25, 2020 7:36 pm

Vacation is over, back to work - alas!

So I didn't have as much time for languages as during the last 5 weeks. Fortunately, I started with one of my "short" weeks, just 21 hours of work (next week it'll be 52 hours :cry: ). Although I would have had time, I didn't do any real studying. I have a big problem with endurance regarding to study; if there isn't anyone - that is, a teacher - who forces me to study, I most probably won't. So I really would like to take some classes, but that's not easy. I'm working strange hours, which make attending evening classes very difficult/impossible.

So what I can, and love to, do is reading in those languages which I have at a sufficient level. Problem is of course, how to reach that level. With closely related languages, it's easy. Some parallel reading to learn the most frequent differences, and then an easy children's book and a dictionary, and time - that's all. I did that with Dutch and Afrikaans last year, and I might be able to do it with Yiddish, although that will be more difficult. I'm working on it.

But what about Polish? How to learn enough to start reading? I don't know. I guess, I just have to somehow get the energy to make me continue with Assimil.

What did I do this week? Let's see:

French:
Finished listening-reading Fred Vargas - L'armée furieuse. Great crime novel! I love Vargas' books, and have read them all in German or Swedish. I'd like to continue listening-reading her books, but unfortunately the library only has 3 audiobooks, all of which I've listened to. Buying audiobooks is a bit too expensive, I think. I will though buy those of her books which the library doesn't have in French.
Today I started reading a children's book (à partir de 10 ans ;) ) Nico Bally - Lucie Corvus contre Mister Poiscaille. Quite funny and not too many unknown words and only a few of them unguessable. Might finish it tonight as I've already read a third.

Afrikaans:
Continued reading Dalene Matthee - Brug van die esels, am now on page 75/244.

Yiddish:
Returned Der kleyner prints (too boring) to the library and borrowed Brider Grimm - Oysgeklibene mayses (Fairy tales by the Grimm Brothers), an edition with the text both in Hebrew and Latin script. A few years ago I read the transcription, now I struggle through the text in Hebrew script. It's not difficult per se, just very slow. It's a good choice, I believe, as I like fairy tales, and I of course know these ones, so understanding the text is easy.
If only there weren't those words of Hebrew origin! Okay, usually I can guess their meaning through context and previous knowledge, but I can't read/pronounce them, which is both frustrating and disrupting the reading stream! Most times I check the pronunciation in the transcription.

Other:
Read another Discworld book: Terry Pratchett - The Fifth Elephant.
7 x
2021
: 195 / 1000 Pages Yiddish
: 0 / 1000 Pages Dutch
: 0 / 1000 Pages Esperanto
: 0 / 2000 Pages Afrikaans
: 1372 / 4000 Pages French

SC 2020/2021
: 104 / 100 Books
: 49 / 100 Films

Nogon
Orange Belt
Posts: 117
Joined: Sat May 13, 2017 6:21 pm
Languages: German (N), Swedish (C), English (?), French (A2), Esperanto (A2). Reading Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Afrikaans. Learning Polish, Yiddish
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=16039
x 326

Re: Learning by reading

Postby Nogon » Mon Nov 02, 2020 2:50 pm

Not much time for reading (or other hobbies) last week due to far too many working hours.

French:
Finished reading Nico Bally - Lucie Corvus contre Mister Poiscaille. Not exactly a bad book, but not a good one either. While there are children's books which I can read or even re-read with pleasure, this wasn't one of them.

Afrikaans:
Read a few pages of Dalene Matthee - Brug van die esels.

Yiddish:
Continued reading Brider Grimm - Oysgeklibene mayses. Read Roythaybele (Red Riding Hood) and Shneyvaysele (Snow White) and am halfway through Shlumperl (Cinderella).
Still reading very slow - 11 or 12 minutes per page, but I can read several pages in one go, without getting mentally exhausted. I count that as a big progress.

Danish:
Read Cecil Bødker - Siffrine. An okay book, with an interesting point of view, the narrator being an unborn, in the beginning not even conceived child, and later a toddler.
I try to read at least one book per year in Danish and Norwegian each. As I read a book in Norwegian in March, I succeeded in my plan this year.

Other:
Reading Terry Pratchett - The Last Continent.
6 x
2021
: 195 / 1000 Pages Yiddish
: 0 / 1000 Pages Dutch
: 0 / 1000 Pages Esperanto
: 0 / 2000 Pages Afrikaans
: 1372 / 4000 Pages French

SC 2020/2021
: 104 / 100 Books
: 49 / 100 Films

guyome
Green Belt
Posts: 374
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2020 1:41 pm
Languages: French (N)
x 1287

Re: Learning by reading

Postby guyome » Mon Nov 02, 2020 3:31 pm

Nogon wrote:(...) If only there weren't those words of Hebrew origin! Okay, usually I can guess their meaning through context and previous knowledge, but I can't read/pronounce them, which is both frustrating and disrupting the reading stream! Most times I check the pronunciation in the transcription.
In the 1920s, the Soviets devised and imposed a new Yiddish spelling system: phonetic spelling for all loshn-koydesh shtamike verter (Hebrew-Aramaic borrowings) and no special final form for letters like mem/nun/... (although the latter was applied less rigorously and I believe it was later rescinded) . They also pushed for these very words to be used less than before. Apparently, the idea was to cut Yiddish and the Jews from their Hebrew/Jewish culture by making Yiddish less Jewish. I have also read about things like the Soviet Yiddish activists/linguists wanting passive verbal forms to be phased out because "passive" forms were unsuitable for citizens of an active, proud, proletarian nation. Something like that, but I'd have to check to be sure.

Anyway, after some time learning/reading Yiddish I found that loshn-koydeshdike verter were not that much of a problem. There are phonetic patterns and the same words keep coming again and again no matter who's the author. Slavic words are my true foes, there's no end to them and there's also much more variety depending on each author.

The beginning of Sindbad der yamforer (Kiev, 1937) in Soviet spelling, showing the Soviet version of the words סך 'many', ים 'sea', סוחר 'merchant' and סחורות 'merchandise':
sovyid.jpg
sovyid.jpg (90.09 KiB) Viewed 384 times
Last edited by guyome on Mon Nov 02, 2020 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
3 x

Nogon
Orange Belt
Posts: 117
Joined: Sat May 13, 2017 6:21 pm
Languages: German (N), Swedish (C), English (?), French (A2), Esperanto (A2). Reading Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Afrikaans. Learning Polish, Yiddish
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=16039
x 326

Re: Learning by reading

Postby Nogon » Mon Nov 02, 2020 4:21 pm

guyome wrote:Anyway, after some time learning/reading Yiddish I found that loshn-koydeshdike verter were not that much of a problem. There are phonetic patterns and the same words keep coming again and again no matter who's the author. Slavic words are my true foes, there's no end to them and there's also much more variety depending on each author.

Good to hear that the loshn-koydeshdike verter are not that difficult as they feel just now. I've not yet learned any phonetic patterns, but I've started to recognize some frequently used words, especially really important ;) words like "melekh", "malke", and "bas-malke". I even encountered "khasene" (which I already learned through Assimil) several times. Unsurprising selection of words, regarding that I read fairy tales. :D
I'm not sure about words of Slavic origin. I know that there are quite many, but have I met any yet? Possibly - there were a few (very few) words which I couldn't find any similar German word for, but which were written phonetically. As my main aim still is to improve my deciphering-the-letters skill, I ignore linguistic nuances for now.

Interesting to hear about the Soviets trying to "dehebrewfy" Yiddish. Language is politics too.
0 x
2021
: 195 / 1000 Pages Yiddish
: 0 / 1000 Pages Dutch
: 0 / 1000 Pages Esperanto
: 0 / 2000 Pages Afrikaans
: 1372 / 4000 Pages French

SC 2020/2021
: 104 / 100 Books
: 49 / 100 Films

guyome
Green Belt
Posts: 374
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2020 1:41 pm
Languages: French (N)
x 1287

Re: Learning by reading

Postby guyome » Mon Nov 02, 2020 5:09 pm

Indeed, I can sense a common theme in these words :lol:

Phonetics pattern is just something I noticed after some time, not really something I read about I think. Things like (using C for 'Consonant'):
- words written CCoC are pronounced CoCeC (CaCoC in Modern Hebrew): חלום ,שלום, מקור ,מקום ,יתום > yosem, mokem, moker, sholem, kholem
- compound verbs written mCCC zayn are pronounced meCaCeC zayn: מכבד, מישבֿ, מחלל > mekhalel, meyashev, mekhabed (+zayn)
- words written CoCC are pronounced CoyCeC (pl. CoCCim) : שוחט ,סוחר ,חוזק > khoyzek, soykher, shoykhet (pl. sokhrim, shokhtim)

It's not bulletproof of course but after some time I found it not too hard to intuit the vocalisation of newly encountered words. Especially since these words turn up often and are used by all authors. Slavic words on the other hand are less common and each author, depending on where is from for instance, can use words you won't often encounter elsewhere. That makes them harder to remember for me.
1 x

Nogon
Orange Belt
Posts: 117
Joined: Sat May 13, 2017 6:21 pm
Languages: German (N), Swedish (C), English (?), French (A2), Esperanto (A2). Reading Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Afrikaans. Learning Polish, Yiddish
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=16039
x 326

Re: Learning by reading

Postby Nogon » Mon Nov 02, 2020 7:22 pm

Thank you, Guyome! That's very helpful.
1 x
2021
: 195 / 1000 Pages Yiddish
: 0 / 1000 Pages Dutch
: 0 / 1000 Pages Esperanto
: 0 / 2000 Pages Afrikaans
: 1372 / 4000 Pages French

SC 2020/2021
: 104 / 100 Books
: 49 / 100 Films

Nogon
Orange Belt
Posts: 117
Joined: Sat May 13, 2017 6:21 pm
Languages: German (N), Swedish (C), English (?), French (A2), Esperanto (A2). Reading Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Afrikaans. Learning Polish, Yiddish
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=16039
x 326

Re: Learning by reading

Postby Nogon » Wed Nov 04, 2020 6:36 am

Apropos words of Slavic origin: Yesterday, when reading the last pages of "Shlumperl" (Cinderella), I encountered the word "pyate" - the younger stepsister cutting off a bit of her heel - a word not at all like the German "Ferse". Thinking about this thread, I checked the Polish dictionary, and found "pięta". Voilà! :D
2 x
2021
: 195 / 1000 Pages Yiddish
: 0 / 1000 Pages Dutch
: 0 / 1000 Pages Esperanto
: 0 / 2000 Pages Afrikaans
: 1372 / 4000 Pages French

SC 2020/2021
: 104 / 100 Books
: 49 / 100 Films

Nogon
Orange Belt
Posts: 117
Joined: Sat May 13, 2017 6:21 pm
Languages: German (N), Swedish (C), English (?), French (A2), Esperanto (A2). Reading Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Afrikaans. Learning Polish, Yiddish
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=16039
x 326

Re: Learning by reading

Postby Nogon » Mon Nov 09, 2020 7:20 am

Week 45:
Would have read more, had not Iversen mentioned "Elefant, Tiger und Co" in his log. Spent hours on end watching a tiny part of its episodes.

French:
Finished Martin Widmark/Helena Willis - La mystère de la momie. In progress: Clémentine Beauvais - Carambol'Ange. I think I've passed the "every book is great in French (because I can understand it)" stage and should progress to more demanding books.

Yiddish:
Finished Shlumperl (Cinderella) and read Henzl un Gretl (Hansel and Gretel). Encountered some more words of slavic origin, most of which I've already forgotten, except "katshke" (duck), which is "kaczka" in Polish.

Dutch:
Read and listened to the audiobook of Hella S. Haasse - Oeroeg. Interesting book. Had I just read it, I would have checked quite a few words in the dictionary, but the audio book forced me to continue without pausing and I realized how broad my understanding was in spite of all those unknown words (quite a few af them even being of Indonesian origin). I understood more than just the gist, even if I missed nuances.

Other:
More Terry Pratchett: Finished The Last Continent, read Night Watch, and am now halfways through Making Money.
3 x
2021
: 195 / 1000 Pages Yiddish
: 0 / 1000 Pages Dutch
: 0 / 1000 Pages Esperanto
: 0 / 2000 Pages Afrikaans
: 1372 / 4000 Pages French

SC 2020/2021
: 104 / 100 Books
: 49 / 100 Films

Nogon
Orange Belt
Posts: 117
Joined: Sat May 13, 2017 6:21 pm
Languages: German (N), Swedish (C), English (?), French (A2), Esperanto (A2). Reading Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Afrikaans. Learning Polish, Yiddish
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=16039
x 326

Re: Learning by reading

Postby Nogon » Sun Nov 15, 2020 7:35 pm

Week 46:

French:
Finished Clémentine Beauvais - Carambol'Ange. Quite funny children's book, with lots of unknown vocabulary. It's frustrating - I remember that stage from Swedish very well, and unfortunately know from that experience, how much work is left until I can read French comfortably. Just now I doubt I will ever succeed.

Yiddish:
Progressing well. I have finished Grimm's Oysgeklibene mayses (Di shterntoler, Shneyvaysl un Royzenroyt, Di Mume Hole, Rapuntsele, Froshkenig oder der ayzerne Heinrich, Dornreyzl, Meylekh Droslbord), und feel that I can process the Hebrew letters better and better - though I'm still far from fluent. I've also learned a few frequently used words of Hebrew origin, and found quite a few words of Polish origin. Mostly those were nouns, but also a conjunction: chotsh, Polish chociaż, choć (according to my dictionary).
Now I'm reading Nikolay Olniansky - Der Lunder wunder. Olniansky is a Swedish author and publisher, who owns a Yiddish Publishing House, Olniansky Tekst Farlag. They publish mostly books for small children, but have even issued The Hobbit and the first Harry Potter. I'm looking forward to being able to read the Hobbit in Yiddish.

Danish:
No reading, but I've watched 5 episodes of Den klassiske musikquiz. Can't say that I understand everything, especially not when two or three talk at the same time, but I understand quite much.

Icelandic:
Been listening/reading Kristín Steinsdóttir/Halla Sólveig Þorgeirsdóttir - Engill í vesturbænum. Listened to the audiobook twice, while reading the Swedish translation first, and the second time the Icelandic original. Wow - Icelandic sounds fascinating, but it would be really hard to get a good pronunciation. Luckily, I don't plan to learn it. Again I noticed, that it is quite close to the other Scandinavian languages, but nevertheless not intelligible, except for some words or phrases. On the other hand, compared to for example Polish, it's not at all that foreign. I feel, I should be able to at least read easy texts, but I'm not, alas.
I'd like to do some more listening/reading, but unfortunately this was the library's only Icelandic audiobook.

Other:
Finished Terry Pratchett - Making Money.
Read Caspar Henderson - Wahre Monster (in German).
Reading Anders Ehnmark/Per Olof Enquist - Doktor Mabuses nya testamente (in Swedish).
6 x
2021
: 195 / 1000 Pages Yiddish
: 0 / 1000 Pages Dutch
: 0 / 1000 Pages Esperanto
: 0 / 2000 Pages Afrikaans
: 1372 / 4000 Pages French

SC 2020/2021
: 104 / 100 Books
: 49 / 100 Films

Nogon
Orange Belt
Posts: 117
Joined: Sat May 13, 2017 6:21 pm
Languages: German (N), Swedish (C), English (?), French (A2), Esperanto (A2). Reading Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Afrikaans. Learning Polish, Yiddish
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=16039
x 326

Re: Learning by reading

Postby Nogon » Tue Nov 24, 2020 4:54 pm

Week 47:
Another one of my "long" weeks at work. Didn't do much except working, sleeping, commuting and eating. When having time to read, I didn't have enough energy to read in my weak languages, so...

Yiddish:
Finished Nikolay Olniansky - Der Lunder wunder. A short tale which took long time to read, as I didn't know the story and there was no latin transcription. Many words of Hebrew or Slavic origin meant a lot of time-consuming checks in my dictionary*.
Interestingly, I found several words of Hebrew origin, which have made their way into the German language, for example Mischpoke, Ganove, Stuss, Maloche and a few which I already have forgotten. Many of these words are derogatory in Standard German, so I'd recommend not to use them.

*Apropos dictionary:
I need a good Yiddish dictionary, one which is better than my Jiddisch-svensk-jiddisch ordbok, which contains only about 7000 headwords. It shows the Yiddish words in both Hebrew script and Latin transcription, which I appreciate, but otherwise it's just too short and it gives no examples of how to use the words and no idiomatic phrases.
I'd prefer a Yiddish-German dictionary, but couldn't find anything better than my Swedish one at Amazon, so I guess I have to make do with a Yiddish-English one. Any recommandations? (I prefer paper books.)

Other:
Xiaolu Guo - A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers
John Grisham - Skipping Christmas
Graham Swift - Learning to Swim
Peter Larsson - Rödhaken i naturen och kulturen
Anni Blomqvist - Anna Beata
Susanna Alakoski - Oktober i Fattigsverige
5 x
2021
: 195 / 1000 Pages Yiddish
: 0 / 1000 Pages Dutch
: 0 / 1000 Pages Esperanto
: 0 / 2000 Pages Afrikaans
: 1372 / 4000 Pages French

SC 2020/2021
: 104 / 100 Books
: 49 / 100 Films


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