Sunshine Sparkling In The Sky (A Summer of Language Variety)

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eido
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Re: No Expectations, No Problem

Postby eido » Tue Dec 15, 2020 12:38 am

I studied around 30-40 minutes of Polish today.

I also somehow ended back up on Tandem, writing messages in Spanish and Korean. Even if half or more of the people don't respond (or stop after 10 minutes), that's fine by me since it got my brain working.
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Re: No Expectations, No Problem

Postby eido » Sat Dec 19, 2020 1:34 am

The past few days I've studied Polish for maybe an hour and a half. I repeat the Polish phrases out for my parents and ask them some questions. I say things out loud because it helps me remember, and also since they seem to like being involved in the learning process, even though they argue that things may or may not be correct from their knowledge base. Most of what they speak is so-called "street Polish," but their parents were from Poland, just a different generation, so I won't push the issue much. It could also just be a dialectical or education difference.

I'm not having too many difficulties so far. Most of any trouble comes from me not being able to remember words rather than important aspects of grammar. I've gone over Polish grammar basics many times, so I'm mostly just reviewing at this point. Polish (to me, perhaps not others), is a lot like Icelandic. Once I got used to Icelandic's many cases and genders, nothing really got harder. And when I was first introduced to languages in the first place with Spanish, even though it's considered easy, I got a really good foundation. So I'm not too worried about it right now.

The other day a man at work was talking to a Taiwanese co-worker of ours, and he wanted to know how to say a few phrases in Chinese. He didn't have a broad knowledge of languages, it seemed, for he didn't know the difference between Simplified and Traditional characters. As the lady explained some meanings of words, I found I knew most of them from my on-again, off-again studies. Long story short, this sparked my desire to study Mandarin again, so for the past couple days I've been pounding it hard. I figure I can just pick up and drop off languages to suit my needs. But I'd really love to have a conversation with this woman sometime, considering the following...

I was able to have a conversation in full Spanish with a South American co-worker with 95% accuracy. She was impressed with my accent and ability, and offered to practice with me anytime I liked. I considered that a nice offer, but I'm not necessarily there to practice with her--I want to have conversations with her, y'know? My guess, though, is she's just not used to that, especially since the same man that was curious about Mandarin was hitting this Hispanic woman with broken Spanish. I have nothing against that, but I know from various debates we've had on the forum that there are certain ways to approach people about speaking in foreign tongues, and some are more appropriate than others.

I tried to be as considerate as possible.

But I do consider what I did a win, and not from a "oh, wow, look how well I speak Spanish" standpoint. More of a "look at that display of confidence!" one, if I'm honest. I'm usually not so forward. My newfound 'friend' (I'm not sure what I can call her at the moment) also listened to Morat after I recommended them to her :lol: What a gem of a person.

I'll probably pick Japanese back up sometime in the near future, but for now it seems my co-worker who grew up in Japan isn't interested in speaking it much, so I'll drop that avenue. It doesn't make me want to give up the language, though. It was part of my childhood too, just in a different way than it was his. Hearing him speak the occasional Japanese word to me and understanding it is enough for now. He said he was sure I could be fluent one day, and seemed to appreciate my sentiments toward what was at one time his one and only native language. That made me cry, as my mom says, "happy tears".

I'm really liking the new momentum I have to study languages with. I'm lucky to have many resources with which to play around, some I've bought thanks to my parents covering tabs for other things, and some free that are truly just as good if you know a way to make use of them. Duolingo is something I used to mildly make fun of because of vague memories from the past that I'd had, but I wasn't being constructive at that time and learning the way I do now. Now I kind of get their teaching methodology, or I at least have found a way to use their existing program and make it work for me. There are moral quandaries, I suppose, that can be brought up when it comes to its existence, but putting aside the bad blood, at its simplest level it has a pretty good mission.

On the whole, I think my studies are going well. Next semester I will have a heavier load of classes, so while I'm on break, I'll have to figure out a way to carve out time for my favorite hobby. Consistency is key. Though, I suppose I'm fortunate to have a high degree of fluency in Spanish as a degree requirement. I can't not study it!

This is the season of giving in a lot of the world, but I believe it should be also the season of gratitude. For all who have helped me along my journey, thank you. I hope you're safe and well this holiday and/or winter season. Best wishes for a New Year :)
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Re: No Expectations, No Problem

Postby eido » Sun Dec 20, 2020 10:34 pm

In the past couple of days I've studied Mandarin and Polish.

I haven't studied as much Polish as I'd like, mostly because by the time I'm ready to study I spend myself out pretty quickly on Duolingo and get frustrated with the heart system. I've made it into a good motivator. If I really want to prove I know a concept, I have to stop losing hearts :lol: I'm tempted to buy a membership, but it'd lose that feel.

I think I finally figured out why "Chłopiec lubi ciasteczka" is the way it is. (It's a similar sentence to one of the ones they show you to demonstrate cases, and I was foolish enough not to pick up on that.) My mom can't explain anything technical when it comes to Polish, so I couldn't ask her. My dad tries to use what he learned in his school days to explain it, but I was unsure, so I went digging. Sure enough, cases. When in doubt, cases! Haha. There was an interesting discussion in the comments of one exercise on the different forms of "boy" and its diminutives as well as the different forms of "cookie," but I can't explain the rules as yet.

I might know them, but they could be buried back in my brain somewhere.

Someone said there are "exceptions to exceptions" in Polish, but I haven't encountered that so far. Maybe I've just been taken easy on, or I don't make a big deal out of what seems to others real hard. Who knows. It remains to be seen :)

Polish also has just the coolest pronunciation, but maybe I'm biased 'cause I heard it growing up and it's my heritage. It's surely very interesting. And I'm definitely getting better at it.

Time for more Polish radio and vlogs.

And if any Polish speakers are reading this... my mom says that "chłopiec" means "dude" or "older boy" and she was puzzled as to why Duolingo was using it in the context they chose. Is this a dialect difference? Age difference? Or something else entirely? She also said it could be used for a little boy, like 4 years old. What's the range?

Now onto Mandarin...

I have my fair share of Mandarin resources and I managed to cycle through nearly all of them today. One of them teaches tones in-depth for the first part of the course. However, it bores me greatly to learn overall rules because I never remember them unless I can immediately apply them, and even then I have some trouble.

So I had more luck with the resources that were a bit more, er, practical? I don't how to word it without sounding offensive, 'cause that's not my intention. There are just some courses whose focus is meant for big-picture learners, and I don't fall into that category. I learn more by absorbing slowly and testing my intuition.

I had fun, today, though, finding similarities between the East Asian Big Three. Mandarin is the source for a lot of words in Korean, so I get a language discount from knowing Korean. A "backwards" or "reverse" discount, but one nonetheless. I'll take it ;)

As I said the other day, I hope to get into Japanese more again in the future and I want to dig into my Korean books I bought. So perhaps those will be my goals for the upcoming weeks. NHK News Easy, which I was reminded of today, doesn't look so hard. I probably know a lot of words from it by sound, but not by sight. So for now it could be wise to keep to japanese.io.

In sum, I had a fun and relaxing day studying and hope I can make more progress in the future. So far I've studied nearly every day since I've started this log, and there's not been a day since joining back in January of 2018 that I haven't had a mind to improve on my abilities, in whatever language that is. I think I'm a pretty good example of the effectiveness of keeping up with habits. :mrgreen:
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Re: No Expectations, No Problem

Postby Deinonysus » Sun Dec 20, 2020 11:47 pm

FYI, you can get around the heart system by using Duolingo in a browser (even on a phone). I personally haven't used the app in quite a while. The browser also lets you type much more than in the app.
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Re: No Expectations, No Problem

Postby cjareck » Mon Dec 21, 2020 8:02 am

eido wrote:I think I finally figured out why "Chłopiec lubi ciasteczka" is the way it is. (It's a similar sentence to one of the ones they show you to demonstrate cases, and I was foolish enough not to pick up on that.) My mom can't explain anything technical when it comes to Polish, so I couldn't ask her. My dad tries to use what he learned in his school days to explain it, but I was unsure, so I went digging. Sure enough, cases. When in doubt, cases! Haha. There was an interesting discussion in the comments of one exercise on the different forms of "boy" and its diminutives as well as the different forms of "cookie," but I can't explain the rules as yet.

Chlopiec lubi ciasteczka = The boy likes (whom? what?) cookies
You need celownik (accusative case?) for that. It answers the question, "kogo? co?"
eido wrote:
And if any Polish speakers are reading this...

Always ;)

eido wrote: my mom says that "chłopiec" means "dude" or "older boy," and she was puzzled as to why Duolingo was using it in the context they chose. Is this a dialect difference? Age difference? Or something else entirely? She also said it could be used for a little boy, like 4 years old. What's the range?

There are:
chłopczyk = little boy
chłopiec = boy
chłopak = older boy = teenager

I can't give you a range, but a teenager is definitely "chłopak." For younger boys, you may say, "chłopczyk." I think that "chłopiec" is not connected to age. It surely can be used instead of "chłopczyk," I think that also instead of "chłopak," but in this case, it does not sound that natural. But if an older adult sees a teenage boy, he/she can call him "chłopiec" for sure.
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eido
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Re: No Expectations, No Problem

Postby eido » Thu Dec 31, 2020 7:12 pm

I've taken an extended break from language learning these past 10 days since I got a bit burnt out. I thought I'd found a balance that would work temporarily as I'd had some vacation to work with, but one morning I woke up and just said, "I can't do it." So I'll have to find a simpler, pared-down, more comfortable way of going about my studies in the new year.

I'm not sure what's up--maybe too much at once? Too much scheduling involved? Certainly there isn't a dearth of quality resources, as I indeed have plenty. It's taken me 3 years to accumulate them and figure out how to use them. But watch out, I'm getting to the point where I'm truly understanding how to whip them into the shape I need them in.

I have a course I need to do assignments for, so I can't get wrapped up in the vicious cycle of, "maybe I should study a little more language... just a little" with a dose of FOMO and then not do what I paid a massive sum for. Though, I finished virtually all my pre-reqs, so now I get to move on to the more interesting stuff. My current course is still a bit of a pre-course, but at least it discusses topics that grab my interest and can keep me engaged.

I may very well end up in a different profession, but I really love to hear about different strategies in the department of language learning. It's definitely interesting.

I'm testing out a new schedule, either way, where I watch two TTMIK videos from one of their Premium courses a day, and then do my work the rest of the time I have to do the work. If there's additional time, I'll try to watch another course video, but I'm trying not to overwhelm myself, as I've seen the magic of learning spirals. (I've explained them here before. They're not a bad thing in the least.)

In America at present it's still 2020, so I'll revel in the transitory and say goodbye later this evening. It wasn't a good year for language learning, but it was a good year for revelations and getting to know oneself. So it's not completely terrible in my neck-of-the-woods.
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Re: No Expectations, No Problem

Postby eido » Fri Jan 01, 2021 11:05 pm

Today I managed to get all my allotted assignments done and study Korean a decent amount. Yeah, man!

The past few years I've had a difficult time studying, since I've struggled with time management. But I've slowly built up my ability to handle college-level work, a job, and the hobbies I enjoy. It seems to be paying off.

My main resources today were Korean Grammar in Use: Beginning and TTMIK online courses.

I found after getting through about 90% of the KGIU book (in less than one day), I knew most of the grammar points. I don't want to say, "that's to be expected," but it's what I expected nonetheless.

A lot of people bag on TTMIK because it uses too much English. I don't find that's a problem since I learned Spanish through it, and it's my native language. I could see how it'd get annoying if your native language was something else. But those arguments from people who're like, "All my learning material must be in the target language" kinda annoy me, on principle due to their pickiness, mostly if they're native English speakers. The same goes if they come from a place of privilege, like being able to afford an 8-week immersion class in-country for $5,000 or something.

There are so many high-quality resources in English, why fight it? I see their point, it is a valid method to learn through monolingual sources, but 'ey man... I guess I just need more explanations as to the method's merits. I'm not saying I hate it--don't get me wrong. I'm still learning about what makes certain methods good or bad for certain populations, ages, and content areas. *holds up hands* Don't shoot (the messenger)!

Just inform her.

I find TTMIK's courses to be pretty well-conceived, as they explain grammar concepts and break them down simply. That said, going off a previous point, I think it would be pretty cool if they expanded their business and included more international team members. They already have a girl from the US, and they've interviewed people from Europe for their content, so it makes for a more balanced approach. They've also translated their Hangul book into Spanish. Inroads, guys!

I worked on my speaking skills by reading aloud. I read the first Iyagi script after listening to it once, then I listened to the talk again. Then I worked on short stories for beginners. All while managing to get my assignment done! :D

This year's off to a good start. Let's see if we can keep it up ~
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Re: No Expectations, No Problem

Postby eido » Sun Jan 03, 2021 1:08 am

Today I:
  • watched an analysis video of a Korean short story
  • watched an analysis video of Korean signage
  • went over Iyagi
  • finished my KGIU book
I think what really makes TTMIK shine is the fact they're a Korea-based company mostly run by Koreans. They know their language in a way textbooks produced by non-natives might not acknowledge. But the occasional foreign charm they bring to their courses and podcasts helps get a different, perhaps missing perspective. It's really a pretty good balance, I'd say.

I'm finding I can understand the beginner's stories decently, but there's always grammar information I've overlooked. I'm glad TTMIK is there to provide the detail and the context I need to really get me stuck in there. It's not perfect, but the extra bits are usually stuff I would never have thought to pay attention to, at least not consciously... and probably would've taken me a long time to absorb. If you factor in the way I've been doing things--by exposing myself to concepts mostly through popular Korean media--it could take forever.

The second video was all in Korean, and I know I just mentioned how I wasn't sure I could get behind a learning approach that taught solely monolingually, but I think with my current level it could work, and especially with the teaching techniques they were using to get the points across. It was a type of Total Physical Response gesturing. I will have to collect more data as I study with this course. ;)

Today I kind of flipped what I did with Iyagi. I read over about 85% of the script and checked for comprehension along the way, then LRed it. I can't quite tell if I understood more in the way of listening using this method, but I definitely understood more today reading on the first go around than I did yesterday. I think it's because there were less unknown words. I had also just reviewed some grammar concepts I'd let fall by the wayside, and since these are intermediate podcasts, there's more complex structures--so the reviewing proved effective. If all the rest of the Iyagis are about this difficult or n+1, I'm sure I'll make some progress. I'll have to see what others think about practicing listening comprehension. With Spanish it wasn't too hard and was almost magical in its manifestation of growth in skill, but with Korean I'm on the struggle bus.

As a finale, I finished the KGIU book. I'd say, in being totally honest, I knew 95% of the grammar points in that text. I maybe didn't know 7ish of them, out of 50 different ideas. So... anywhere between 85-95%. And most of them I'd at least seen or heard, even if I couldn't explain them. So I think, if we're evaluating me by KGIU standards, I'm past the beginner stage. I have several other books to go through, most of which will probably repeat the same points, but some of them have advanced ones that I'm curious to see; and, after all, that's what I paid for, right? To get good? Yeah, yeah, I know. It's all on me. But the material's there.

I haven't been keeping up with the k-pop scene as I know it so much for about 2 weeks now, which isn't a lot if you look at the scope of the universe and/or human life, but popular culture swings fast. Mostly I just keep to my own little bubble of songs that I've been rocking out to since 2015, with the occasional new tune thrown in as I dig deeper into the archives. BTS released a lot of Christmas-themed music in the last two weeks of 2020 and it naturally was sticky sweet in a youthful way, but I'm kind of in a weird place where I want to hear this teen-targeted stuff (as it's pretty tame and predictable), and where I want to clear the air and make room for adulthood. It's another problem I'm working through, one that hopefully 2021 will solve.

Right now I'm exploring modern French club music, French pop, French indie-pop... French everything. And I'm not even actively studying French! It's sort of on the backburner for now, but I will get to it. I'm experimenting a bit with it, by watching lyric videos that have Spanish subtitles. It mimics how I learnt a lot of Korean, using English as a bridge. I'm glad I have my logs here to go back to people's suggestions of music for me to check out, just in case I missed them by mistake.

That's a hint... launch me into adulthood with more diverse songs :P I'll try to keep momentum too by posting more of my recommendations here, more often.
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Re: No Expectations, No Problem

Postby eido » Mon Jan 04, 2021 2:41 am

Today I:
  • practiced pronunciation/speaking in Korean
  • went over some beginner's grammar in Korean
  • had a Spanish lesson on italki
  • read some Japanese
For the first, I picked different BTS songs and found their lyric videos on YouTube. I tried to choose a good mix--some fast, some slow, some with lots of rap, some with none. Then I read the Hangul and ignored (to the best of my ability) the English translation, romanization, and the requisite English infused into the songs themselves.

What I concluded from this is I can read Korean much faster than I can speak it, but the great thing about having these pieces of music as my private tutors as opposed to an actual human (at least, for now) is that I can replay them over and over and they won't get mad at me, and if I play the same recording, the pronunciation of every word is the same cadence and speed as the last time. Yeah, I could probably just get someone to record sentences I'm unsure of, but I'm the kind of person that sings at any possible occasion. ;) So this is more fun.

Overall, I'm better with slower songs like "Eomma" (Mom) and "Hold Me Tight". They have a slower BPM and are more repetitive than a lot of the group's other compositions. However, I'm disappointed by the fact that Korean lyrics just aren't as sticky as Spanish or English ones, yet. I have had the chorus to "I Need U" stuck in my head since I first got into k-pop without having any knowledge of grammar, but it might just speak to how well-written the song is rather than my ability to retain.

Despite that, most Korean songs don't really stay in my brain other than the general tune or a bad impression of how the song's lyrics are actually pronounced. I surprised myself today by keeping up with some of the faster parts of select songs, and I was indeed "watching my mouth" in more ways than one to make sure the time was well spent and I wasn't just mumbling along. I also understood more when I spoke aloud, since most of my skills in Korean are aurally based.

Funny, since I can't seem to understand a word if it's not in the appropriate context. :oops:

The second activity I did was simply reviewing basic structures, and I did this with a view to making sure I had some little ways to interact with my friends in Korean. A confidence boost, if you will.

Also today I had an hour-long session in Spanish with my favorite italki tutor and he said I didn't do half bad for not having spoken much since we last met. I'm excited! :) I hope to listen to some audiobooks I have in Spanish sometime soon, to bump up my vocabulary.

The last thing I did today was read part of some Japanese "classic literature" as well as a bit of an NHK Easy article on japanese.io. As I suspected, I know a variety of words from a variety of levels, but I don't know the kanji associated with them, so reading proves difficult. I'm hoping to incorporate more of this into my study routine, as the story I read ended up being pretty good for as much as I dove in.

All in all, I'm pretty confident about the direction my language studies are heading and I'm glad I have languages to keep me occupied on days when I need a little time to relax. They're perfect for that.

Here's your song recommendation for Sunday:
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Re: No Expectations, No Problem

Postby Bunnychu » Sat Jan 09, 2021 11:16 am

eido wrote:My main resources today were Korean Grammar in Use: Beginning and TTMIK online courses.

I found after getting through about 90% of the KGIU book (in less than one day), I knew most of the grammar points. I don't want to say, "that's to be expected," but it's what I expected nonetheless.


These resources are the ones I started with as well and in my opinion they're really good in laying the foundation.

eido wrote:A lot of people bag on TTMIK because it uses too much English. I don't find that's a problem since I learned Spanish through it, and it's my native language. I could see how it'd get annoying if your native language was something else. But those arguments from people who're like, "All my learning material must be in the target language" kinda annoy me, on principle due to their pickiness, mostly if they're native English speakers. The same goes if they come from a place of privilege, like being able to afford an 8-week immersion class in-country for $5,000 or something.


I agree with this. I also don't understand why people recommend skipping TTMIK; in my opinion, it's a great resource to start with and continue with Iyagi, Korean Conversations, Story Time etc. The mistake that I see people do, is to just listen to the podcast without using the learned grammar point in a sentence and then complain that they didn't learn anything through TTMIK because it was in English :D
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