Learning by reading

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guyome
Green Belt
Posts: 375
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2020 1:41 pm
Languages: French (N)
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Re: Learning by reading

Postby guyome » Tue Nov 24, 2020 6:20 pm

This page offers a useful overview. My experiences with Yiddish dictionaries more or less match those of the author: Weinreich is inexpensive and very serviceable but Niborski's dictionaries are irreplaceable (both the Yiddish-French one, a Yiddish-English version of which exists, and the one about loshn-koydeshdike verter).
1 x

Nogon
Orange Belt
Posts: 118
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
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Re: Learning by reading

Postby Nogon » Tue Nov 24, 2020 6:56 pm

Thank you, guyome!
0 x
2021
: 195 / 1000 Pages Yiddish
: 0 / 1000 Pages Dutch
: 0 / 1000 Pages Esperanto
: 0 / 2000 Pages Afrikaans
: 1690 / 4000 Pages French

SC 2020/2021
: 107 / 100 Books
: 49 / 100 Films

Nogon
Orange Belt
Posts: 118
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
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Re: Learning by reading

Postby Nogon » Mon Nov 30, 2020 7:30 am

Week 48:
Didn't read very much in foreign languages, because I "had to" (=wanted to) finish a reading challenge with a deadline on December, 6th. There were a handful of categories left, including "Read a book of more than 650 pages" and "Read a book where someone is skiing". Managed to use two books in my less good languages though.

Norwegian:
Fridtjof Nansen - På ski over Grønland (the skiing book ;) ). About his expedition of crossing Greenland in 1888. Fascinating reading with only a few unknown words, mostly related to nature. As I am very interested in nature, I usually check names of plants or animals. For many people it's enough to know that X is some kind of tree and Y some bug. For me it's important to know, which kind of tree or bug it is. So of course I checked "klappmyss", which the seal hunters who brought Nansen to Greenland were hunting for. I was surprised to find "klappmyss" in my Norwegian-Swedish dictionary, but the translation didn't help me much: "klappmyts" :? .
Next stop: my "Auerbach", the most comprehensive Swedish-German dictionary I've ever seen. 100 years old, so no good for modern vocabulary, but otherwise just great, especially for fauna and flora related words, as it even gives the Latin names (which of course might have changed since 1915, but surprisingly often haven't). So, what might the "klappmyss/klappmyts" be in German? "Klappmütze"! :shock:
Okay, I obviously had to ask my computer, and learn a bit about a hitherto (to me) unknown species of seal - hooded seal.

Yiddish:
I read most of Isaac Bashevis Singer - Yentl der Jeshive-Bocher (="a book of an author, whose first name starts with a B"), in an edition with the text both in Hebrew letters, Latin transcription and Swedish translation. I read it once, 10 years ago, that time the transcription. That had been my first contact with Yiddish ever and taught me quite a lot. I discovered that it was much easier to understand the Yiddish words when reading aloud, which helped me to detect similarities with German words. Furthermore, I realised the importance of vowel length. The Yiddish "im" for example made no sense when read with a short "i" like in German "im" (in the). A long "i" though let me understand its meaning: "him" like in German "ihm".
Now I read it in Hebrew script. I must say though that it went a bit over my head, the language being loaden with words of Hebrew/Arameic origin. Without the transcription and the translation I would have been lost. As much as I like the story, I'll wait with reading more of Singer's works in Yiddish.
The fact that some of the letters didn't have the dots or strokes, which I had learned they should have, impeded my understanding even more. There was no difference between beys and veys, ay and ey, kof and khof, tof and sof. That might not be a problem for an experienced Yiddish reader, but for a beginner like me...
Unfortunately the Swedish translation is not very good either. It's a translation of the English translation, which differs quite a bit from the original. Some words, phrases or even whole sentences are missing, sometimes there are additions to the text, and most irritating: The change of the personal pronoun!
Yentl, a young woman, leaves her hometown after her father's death cross-dressed as a young man to be able to attend a yeshiva. When in male clothes, the Yiddish text refers to Yentl as "he/him", while the English translation - and so the Swedish as well - continues to use "she/her" :evil: . These translation problems are mentioned in the preface, which makes me wonder why the editor chose not to use a more true translation. A question of money I guess, but it's such a shame!
Today I'll read the last pages of "Yentl" and then I'll choose some easier texts. The library has some Yiddish children's books which I haven't read yet.

Other:
Italo Calvino - Klätterbaronen ("a book which you once gave as a present to someone, and now bought/borrowed for yourself")
Dan Höjer - Cirkusdeckarna och äppelmysteriet (a really bad children's book, but it was short and had "two or more apples on the cover")
Craig Thompson - Habibi (an absolutely great graphic novel with "more than 650 (665) pages")
Marianne Fredriksson - Evas bok ("a book whose female protagonist has the same name as one of your former classmates")
Last edited by Nogon on Mon Nov 30, 2020 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
9 x
2021
: 195 / 1000 Pages Yiddish
: 0 / 1000 Pages Dutch
: 0 / 1000 Pages Esperanto
: 0 / 2000 Pages Afrikaans
: 1690 / 4000 Pages French

SC 2020/2021
: 107 / 100 Books
: 49 / 100 Films

guyome
Green Belt
Posts: 375
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2020 1:41 pm
Languages: French (N)
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Re: Learning by reading

Postby guyome » Mon Nov 30, 2020 12:25 pm

Unfortunately the Swedish translation is not very good either. It's a translation of the English translation, which differs quite a bit from the original. Some words, phrases or even whole sentences are missing, sometimes there are additions to the text, and most irritating: The change of the personal pronoun!
Interesting! All the French translations I've seen were also done on the English instead of the Yiddish original.
From what I've heard (read), Bashevis supervised the English translations himself, occasionally reworking some things that might make the work harder to read for an audience not deeply steeped in Eastern European Ashkenazic culture. I have never compared the Yiddish originals with the English versions though, but it might be interesting to see what changes were made.

Another thing I've heard about Bashevis's English translations: after Saul Bellow translated Gimpl Tam in the 1950s and made Bashevis known in English speaking circles, Bashevis didn't want Bellow to translate more of his works, allegedly because Bellow's translations were so good that they would overshadow him, Bashevis. I don't remember where I got this, so treat this with a grain of salt. Bashevis was kind of a controversial figure in the world of Yiddish literature (some thought there was too much supernatural, too much sensuality in his works, all things that were seen as kind of misrepresenting Eastern European Jewish life) and he was disliked by many, so unflattering stories are bound to be found about him.
4 x

Nogon
Orange Belt
Posts: 118
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
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Re: Learning by reading

Postby Nogon » Sun Dec 06, 2020 7:18 pm

Week 49:
Strange - it felt like I did nothing else but read all week, but the list is quite short nevertheless.

Yiddish:
I read children's book, an illustrated one, printed in Israel:
מִרְיָם יְרוּשָלְמִי - האַלטן דעֶם טאָן איִן צְפַח (Miriam Yerushalmi - Haltn dem ton in Tsefat). When borrowing the book at the library, I had to check several times, whether it really was a Yiddish, and not a Hebrew book, due to the nikud (at least I think that's the correct word for those extra dots). It was quite easy to ignore the nikuds, except that it made me to ignore the line under the "ay" ײַ as well. The story itself was easy to read, except of a plethora of Hebrew words connected with celebrating the sabbath. I ignored most of those, as I wouldn't know their meaning in translation either.
Curiously, the book was printed left to right, that is, not the text, but the order of the pages was "normal" (European standard). Maybe because it was translated from English?
Best not to say anything about the illustrations...

I started to read another children's book, a translation from Swedish: Rose Lagercrantz - Farblondzhete briv (Flickan som älskade potatis). It's printed both in Hebrew and Latin script; some years ago I read the transcription, now I read the Hebrew script. That is, I try to read it. The publisher chose a font which makes it really hard for me to identify the letters. I guess, I'll get used to it, but it's not beginner friendly. I really wonder about the choice of font, as the book obviously is aimed at people not used to reading Yiddish books. (No need to add the transcript otherwise.) Shouldn't one make it as easy as possible for beginners?

ImageRose Lagercrantz

French:
Read Georges Simenon - La première enquête de Maigret. It's an okay crime story, neither bad nor especially good, quite easy to read. With that book, I managed to reach my goal of 5000 pages read in French in 2020! :D
Started reading/listening to George Sand - La Mare du Diable. As usual I listen to it twice, first time while reading the German translation, and second time the original. Reading the book without help of the translation would be quite difficult, due to lots and lots of unknown vocabulary.

Afrikaans:
Finished Dalene Matthee - Brug van die esels at long last. Again I realised how important knowledge of the cultural background is when reading books from foreign countries. It took some time until I realised that it is (was?) forbidden to buy and sell diamonds in South Africa without special permit. What's the protagonists' problem?, I wondered for quite a time.
Started reading Marita van der Vyver - Vergenoeg.
6 x
2021
: 195 / 1000 Pages Yiddish
: 0 / 1000 Pages Dutch
: 0 / 1000 Pages Esperanto
: 0 / 2000 Pages Afrikaans
: 1690 / 4000 Pages French

SC 2020/2021
: 107 / 100 Books
: 49 / 100 Films

Nogon
Orange Belt
Posts: 118
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
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Re: Learning by reading

Postby Nogon » Tue Dec 15, 2020 7:41 am

Week 50:
Far too much work last week, so not much time or energy left for reading.

Yiddish:
Continued to read Rose Lagercrantz - Farblondzhete briv. I like the story, but not the edition. The Latin transcription from time to time differs from the text in Hebrew letters, and I think there are some printing mistakes. The amount of text on each pages differs very much, nevertheless a new part of the story might start at the bottom of one page, although there is very little text on the next page. I'll try to find the original (Swedish) text at the library for comparison.

Afrikaans:
Continued to read Marita van der Vyver - Vergenoeg.

French:
Continued listening-reading George Sand - La Mare du Diable. The French text (both in print and audio) has a lengthy "appendice" (40 pages) which strangely enough is missing in the German translation, so now I'm fighting my way through the French text without the crutch of the translation.

Northern Sami:
Watched some episodes of Selma máinnas, Swedish Televisions Christmas calendar for 2016 Selmas saga, which this year has been dubbed to both Northern Sami, Romani and Meänkieli. These are three of Sweden's five official minority languages, the other two being Finnish and Yiddish. (I wish there were a Yiddish dubbing too.)
I don't know whether you have access to programs from SVTplay abroad, nevertheless here are the links to Selmas saga in the different languages:
Northern Sami (Selma máinnas)
Romani (Selmaki paramicha)
Meänkieli (Selman satu)

Other:
Reading Joachim B. Schmidt - Kalmann (in German).
3 x
2021
: 195 / 1000 Pages Yiddish
: 0 / 1000 Pages Dutch
: 0 / 1000 Pages Esperanto
: 0 / 2000 Pages Afrikaans
: 1690 / 4000 Pages French

SC 2020/2021
: 107 / 100 Books
: 49 / 100 Films

Nogon
Orange Belt
Posts: 118
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
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Re: Learning by reading

Postby Nogon » Mon Dec 21, 2020 5:37 am

Week 51:
Spent lots of hours on reading, but actually read surprisingly few pages, due to choice of content.
That week ended with a shock: The Swedish libraries are now closed until (at least) January, 24th! They have been open all the time, so I really didn't expect that. That might be seen as a bagatelle compared to other countries' much more serious lockdowns, but for me it's almost a catastrophy. Close the cinemas, close the theatres, close the cafés and restaurants, the hair-dressers, all the shops and shopping malls - I don't mind at all. But leave the libraries open! Apart from work, the library is the only place I went to this entire autumn, it's my refuge, my breathing space, and now I can't go there any longer! :cry: :cry: :cry:

French:
Reading Georges Simenon - Un Noël de Maigret. A book containing three shortish Christmas-related tales. I've read the first one and two thirds of the second. As usual with Simenon, I'm not very enthusiastic about this book. It's a bit boring, but the (non-)complexity of his language is at an appropriate level for me. I have to find another author who writes about as easy as Simenon but is more compelling to me.

Yiddish:
Finished Rose Lagercrantz - Farblondzhete briv.

I had planned to read Lewis Carroll - Di avantures fun Alis in Vunderland next. The edition is printed in Latin transcription, which I thought would made the reading easier. It surely does, but then I read the translators foreword:
I have attempted to reproduce in Yiddish the style, diction, grammatical usage, and syntactic structures of the original book.
I don't like those hyper-literal translations at all. Why? The translator herself gives a much better answer than I probably could:
This goal of linguistic verisimilitude, however, required a tradeoff. The Yiddish had often to be bent out of shape, its natural rhythms to be distorted to conform to Carroll's quaint Victorian prose.
As I've never been a big fan of Alice (I read it twice; once as a teenager in German translation, and once as an adult in English), I prefer not to read this translation.

Instead I started reading דזשײ.ר.ר. טאָלקין - דער האָביט (J. R. R. Tolkien - Der hobit) in this hardcover edition of Swedish Olniansky Tekst publishing house. It's Barry Goldstein's translation, which is available in us-american editions too.
I had tried to read the first page several times these last few weeks, but gave up after a sentence, or two (or three). Far too many unknown, unguessable words, even though I frequently checked the English text, so I refrained from buying the quite expensive hardcover. Now, that I made it past the first two pages and found it easier to read (though still quite hard), I decided that I "had to" have that book in my bookshelves, only to find that the Olniansky edition is sold out now :cry: ! (It was still available just a few weeks ago.) I hope for a reprint.
I usually read a sentence, or even an entire paragraph or two in the Yiddish translation, with some necessary checks in the dictionary, and then read the original to ensure that I understood the text correctly. It's slow going, very slow, about 2 pages per hour, but I love it! It's many years ago that I last read the Hobbit, and I had forgotten how well-written it is. True compelling literature!

Northern Sami:
Watched the remaining episodes of Selma máinnas.
Now - of course - I'm dreaming about learning Sami. Checked - of course again - the library and found two beginner courses:
I borrowed Talk now Learn Saami: Essential Words and Phrases for Absolute Beginners. It's a CD which teaches some basic words in several different topics (colours, numbers, clothing...) and a few phrases ("Where is the train station?") through games. There are two different voices, a female and a male. You can choose among several base languages. No grammar explanations at all. Quite worthless, so don't spend money on it!
I had pre-ordered "Gulahan", an introductory course with Swedish as the intermediary language (book and 3 CD's), but as the library is closed, I won't get it until late January.

Other:
Finished Joachim B. Schmidt - Kalmann (in German)
7 x
2021
: 195 / 1000 Pages Yiddish
: 0 / 1000 Pages Dutch
: 0 / 1000 Pages Esperanto
: 0 / 2000 Pages Afrikaans
: 1690 / 4000 Pages French

SC 2020/2021
: 107 / 100 Books
: 49 / 100 Films

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cjareck
Blue Belt
Posts: 896
Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2017 6:11 pm
Location: Poland
Languages: Polish (N) English, German, Russian(B1?) French (B1?), Hebrew(B1?), Arabic(A2?), Mandarin (HSK 2)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=8589
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Re: Learning by reading

Postby cjareck » Mon Dec 21, 2020 7:53 am

Nogon wrote: That might be seen as a bagatelle compared to other countries' much more serious lockdowns, but for me it's almost a catastrophe.

Polish government imposed on us curfew on New Year's Eve. The last time we had a curfew was during the Martial Law in 1981 when communists tried to crush "Solidarność." I wonder if they will put armored vehicles on the streets also...

Nogon wrote:
I usually read a sentence, or even an entire paragraph or two in the Yiddish translation, with some necessary checks in the dictionary, and then read the original to ensure that I understood the text correctly. It's slow going, very slow, about 2 pages per hour, but I love it! It's many years ago that I last read the Hobbit, and I had forgotten how well-written it is. True compelling literature!

That seems very useful to me! I will try it with Avigdor Kahalani's "Oz 77" in Polish and Hebrew! Polish edition is based on the English translation that is slightly changed - rather in an attempt to make it more interesting for an American reader, but a slightly censored also. I tried to read it but gave up, partially because of health problems. Nevertheless, I will try it starting today :)
0 x
Please feel free to correct me in any language


HEBREW (27 Dec. 2020)
Listening: 1 (83% content, 100% linguistic)
Reading: 1 (83% content, 90% linguistic)


MSA DLI : 18 / 141ESKK : 8 / 40


Mandarin Assimil : 33 / 105

DaveAgain
Blue Belt
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Languages: Eng (n)
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Re: Learning by reading

Postby DaveAgain » Mon Dec 21, 2020 8:54 am

Nogon wrote:French:
Reading Georges Simenon - Un Noël de Maigret. A book containing three shortish Christmas-related tales. I've read the first one and two thirds of the second. As usual with Simenon, I'm not very enthusiastic about this book. It's a bit boring, but the (non-)complexity of his language is at an appropriate level for me. I have to find another author who writes about as easy as Simenon but is more compelling to me.
I've never been able to understand Maigret's attraction either. I quite like some of the radio/TV adaptations, but the books just drag.

Guillaume Musso is often suggested as an easyish read.
2 x

Nogon
Orange Belt
Posts: 118
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 331

Re: Learning by reading

Postby Nogon » Mon Dec 21, 2020 9:23 am

DaveAgain wrote:Guillaume Musso is often suggested as an easyish read.

Thanks for the recommendation, DaveAgain! I'll check his books as soon as the libraries open up again.
0 x
2021
: 195 / 1000 Pages Yiddish
: 0 / 1000 Pages Dutch
: 0 / 1000 Pages Esperanto
: 0 / 2000 Pages Afrikaans
: 1690 / 4000 Pages French

SC 2020/2021
: 107 / 100 Books
: 49 / 100 Films


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