Outcast tries to sort out his language Clustermuck

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outcast
Blue Belt
Posts: 532
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2015 3:41 pm
Location: South Korea
Languages: I can't say for now what exactly I know
FLUENCY
Native: ENglish, ESpañol
Advanced: -
High Basic: DEutsch (rust), FRançais (rust), ZH 中文 (普 - ok)
Basic: -
~
ACQUIRING
Formally: KO 한국말
Dabbles: -
Dormant: POrtuguês, ITaliano

~
Plan to learn: हिन्दी

~
x 507

Outcast tries to sort out his language Clustermuck

Postby outcast » Tue Mar 30, 2021 4:18 pm

First of all hello to everyone. And to anyone who is still hanging about from the 2018 and prior years, and by the remotest of chances you remember me, a nice to see you again in advance.

I have been debating for a few months if I should return, and I guess I have decided it could be useful. I don't want this to be an all about me post, it really doesn't matter much what lead me to stop participating. The bottom line is, at the time, I felt it was taking too much of my time, not just the forum, but the internet in general. I decided to cut off most of my interactions and just do things in real life. I thought that would help me with my language fluency goals. It really didn't to be honest. Mainly because of my haphazard, half-hearted effort al language learning in the last 2 1/2 years. I guess after 7 or 8 years of making it priority besides work, I was not burned out exactly, but just not so focused or passionate about the enterprise. To be clear, I never stopped, at any point, learning languages. But I clearly did not have the drive or attention to it. I actually feel I just can't learn as fast anymore. Either age or less passion, or both. I also had other things going on, but that's hardly an excuse given the hundreds of people here who work full-time jobs, do other hobbies, have families and children, friends, and yet find the time to somehow learn one or several languages. I have almost none of those obligations, so it had me feeling pretty pathetic and ashamed of myself. I questioned my effort, my passion, my aging, even my own intelligence. I guess I am over all that now. And I have found a new passion for learning languages... not the same passion from before, which was like an out of control bonfire. Now it's not so brilliant, but it's steadier burning. At least I hope so. Anyways, that's where I am from a state of mind.

I also debated about opening this log, because I didn't like the idea of opening a log which will have no actual long term purpose. I hope the moderators will make allowances. The reason for this log, as the title suggests, is that I feel in this new chapter I needed one central place to figure out where I am at, and brainstorm. I have individuals logs for the languages I study buried deep in years of neglect. Once I actually figure out what the heck I want to do and how to go about it, I will probably revive some of those, and this log will likely fade in usefulness for me. So, in this log, I want to write down my thoughts in order to have a bit more clarity.

Anyways, the first thing I wanted to do is to do a quick self-assessment of my language situation. Just a gut estimate, no testing material involved. I am thinking of doing some mock exams in my languages to more clearly see where I am in each one. That will come later.

For now, here is my first general diagnostic and brain-storming out loud of my situation here at the end of march 2021.

READING
As probably normal with most other situations, my reading in all my L2s remains robust, though declined and a bit rusty in German and French, and more so in Portuguese (but given Spanish is one of two native languages for me, that probably means little in regard to my comprehension ability). My reading ability has improved dramatically in Chinese, because one of the things I have been doing in the last year (I lived in Taiwan during most of 2020, lucky me, more on that later), is mastering Chinese characters. I probably know well over 5000 now, far more than enough to have no issues reading anything contemporary and in fact some 古文 (old Chinese). I can confidently say that I am very close to finishing off my study of Chinese characters for good. That is my one great accomplishment of the last year and a half, and when I started learning my first character over 7 years ago, I never thought I would one day actually be "finished" with them. As in literally "all the new characters on this frequency list are really useless, I can stop now." That is where I am and therefore the actual reading of Chinese is really no big issue for me. That does not mean I know all the combinations of 5000 characters, since that is vocabulary. And in vocabulary I have lost quite a bit of active vocabulary because I have not made the effort at using Chinese recently, even living in Taiwan (every day language of course excepted. I'm talking about the higher level vocabulary). And then Korean, well that has improved dramatically in the last 4 months, both because I am actually IN Korea now, and because in the last 5 weeks I have made it a mission to be comfortable reading Korean by May. I have the vocabulary to some extend, I just needed to do the actual practice. Anyways, there is no point in giving "grades" to my reading skills in my languages. All of them except Korean are at or over C1 level. Korean I would estimate now at a high B1 or low B2.

LISTENING
My listening of Chinese is just fine, the more advanced news items maybe has retreated slightly because I have not followed it. So one of my big goals is to master this higher level. German listening is ok, slightly degraded but not bad at all. French is probably in fact a little worse than German now because I've done nothing, and French speakers slur everything, so it takes a few weeks of listening for your ears to catch it clear again. I can't say I will be practicing it any time in the next two months, but I'm hoping at some point I get back to it. My Korean listening is better than a couple of months ago, but still awful and definitely should be much better at this time. Again, I haven't put the time. This is the other major goal of my listening.


SPEAKING
My speaking skills have declined in ALL languages, even my native ones. I just don't interact with people. I have lived a very solitary life in the last two years (predating the current world calamity). Only Korean has improved significantly, being in Kore the big reason, and because the base was basically zero. It's still very rudimentary but I am more confident this will continue to improve sharply as I make an effort. My other priority is to improve my Chinese speaking, it's not as good as before but it's not that far off, since I have used it in my life at all times. German speaking level is markedly worse than three years ago. That is what I want to recover first, then French.

WRITING
I will practice some writing in all my languages, but to reinforce vocabulary acquisition and my speaking skills. I will not focus on actual writing skills for each language, or diglossia, in the short term. Speaking is my priority.

SUMMARY
English: N (writing skills slightly worse, significant vocabulary erosion, but I was a top 3% verbal SAT so probably not a big deal :D)
Spanish: N2 (writing skills clearly degraded, extensive vocabulary shrinkage)
French: B1 speaking, B2/C1 listening, C1 reading (very rusty speaking, I'd go back to B2 in a week or two with reactivation. Was around low C1 at my peak)
German: B1+ speaking, B2/C1 listening, C1 reading (similar situation to above)
Chinese (Mandarin): B2 speaking, B2 listening, C1 reading (speaking is fine, no rust here. Listening a bit deteriorated from not listening to content. Reading fine given my characters)
Korean: A2 speaking, A2 listening, B1+ reading (speaking and listening top priority, continue reading practice)
Hindi: materials are in my USA home. On hold for now.
Portuguese: dormant. Materials in the USA. On hold.
Italian: 98% forgotten. Last serious study before high school. That's a long time ago. I hope I am closer to having a chance to revive.

FInal note, I want to practice pronunciation of all my languages. My accent is a disaster, even in English, because of the years of studying so many different languages and living overseas. I must find software that analyzes your speech and helps you correct it.

Well, that's it for now!
8 x
"I can speak wonderfully and clearly in zero languages, and can also fluently embarrass myself in half a dozen others."

The Trek to 2000 Korean words - B1: 2000 / 2000

outcast
Blue Belt
Posts: 532
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2015 3:41 pm
Location: South Korea
Languages: I can't say for now what exactly I know
FLUENCY
Native: ENglish, ESpañol
Advanced: -
High Basic: DEutsch (rust), FRançais (rust), ZH 中文 (普 - ok)
Basic: -
~
ACQUIRING
Formally: KO 한국말
Dabbles: -
Dormant: POrtuguês, ITaliano

~
Plan to learn: हिन्दी

~
x 507

Re: Outcast tries to sort out his language Clustermuck

Postby outcast » Sun Apr 04, 2021 12:31 pm

Korean update 1 (with a little German and Chinese)

Today I met a Korean friend in Mullae, one of those classic "formerly industrial", turned rundown when the factories closed, then turned hipster when the artists took it over area you see in so many cities these days. While my Korean speaking is still limited, my conversation went a bit better than expected. I am a seasoned veteran of the 0 to B2 journey, I have been on this road at least 4 times before. I know you tend to be surprised by your skills when you have a negative outlook, and you tend to get frustrated when you think you have made "great progress" only to stumble in some other conversational situation. Not getting too excited or too down is the key. I was able to piece together quite a few sentences, most on the simple side. But I was pleasantly surprised I was able to use several grammatical connectors (which Korean has hundreds of), in the apposite situation.

I have rediscovered the benefits of massive input recently. I've known extensive reading is incredibly helpful, I just never committed to it long term in any language, only doing it in spurts. I always kept going on about balance in all the skills. The latter is true too, but I used it too often as an excuse not sit down and read as much as I should. I've committed all in on Korean reading, hours at a time in the last 4 weeks. I could still be more efficient (still find myself doing phone tasks between reads), but the progress has been substantial. It is not a clean test of the power of massive reading input, I was already very primed from studying 3 to 4 thousand Korean words on Memrise, and studying and making extensive notes on Korean grammar and patterns (3 folders worth). So it would only be natural that the language feels like it is opening up dramatically, as many of the words appear and trigger my recall, and many of the grammar patterns are showing up too and I KNOW what they mean for the most part. I am hoping with massive reading practice, then listening will open up with more ease as well. I am also supplementing my notes with the "Korean grammar in Use" series. Here is the odd thing: the intermediate level of this book is only available in German in the bookstore near me. So I have had to read some of the patterns explanations of Korean via German, something I had never really tried. The good news is that I have no major issues with the German explanations, which is what made me estimate that my German reading is still not shabby. I am thinking of using another book I saw of 2000 Korean terms for German speakers.

One small downside of my dive into all things Korean, especially reading, is I have not done Chinese character work in the last 5 days. I will try to get back on routine now that I don't feel that reading the longer Korean texts takes so much time. The work is going through my list and this time (since I have already worked through the list three times), I search for a useful word, and if the word seems interesting enough (which is not typical at the very low frequencies of characters I am focusing on now), will try to Baidu or Google a sentence with it, and work from there.
4 x
"I can speak wonderfully and clearly in zero languages, and can also fluently embarrass myself in half a dozen others."

The Trek to 2000 Korean words - B1: 2000 / 2000

outcast
Blue Belt
Posts: 532
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2015 3:41 pm
Location: South Korea
Languages: I can't say for now what exactly I know
FLUENCY
Native: ENglish, ESpañol
Advanced: -
High Basic: DEutsch (rust), FRançais (rust), ZH 中文 (普 - ok)
Basic: -
~
ACQUIRING
Formally: KO 한국말
Dabbles: -
Dormant: POrtuguês, ITaliano

~
Plan to learn: हिन्दी

~
x 507

Re: Outcast tries to sort out his language Clustermuck

Postby outcast » Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:49 am

I'm gonna get back to regular German study / use. I just have zippiness at this point in time to work on it, and I really want to. At first just a healthy review of grammar and vocabulary (mainly to satisfy my penchant for orderly incrementalism from a solid base), and practice pronunciation. With my last two years of Mandarin and Korean, I want to get my oral system reacquainted with the different sounds of German. I am going to add a B2 or C1 ZD / DAF prep course. I have never studied for language proficiency tests, but I think it is a good idea to have familiarity with these type of tests should I want to take one or even need to. You don't want unfamiliarity with the process to bring down your score unnecessarily.

So heavy days of Korean study, plus my continued Chinese build will have a German in the later evening addition. I hope I can sustain it, so I won't be putting and pressure at all on my German. I just want to be in touch with this language again and enjoy it. I've done the hard work to get to near C1, I just want to get back there and set myself up for a potential push into truly advanced fluency later on. Now I need to find decent free pronunciation practice!
4 x
"I can speak wonderfully and clearly in zero languages, and can also fluently embarrass myself in half a dozen others."

The Trek to 2000 Korean words - B1: 2000 / 2000

User avatar
iguanamon
Black Belt - 1st Dan
Posts: 1935
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 11:14 am
Location: Virgin Islands
Languages: Speaks: English (Native); Spanish (C2); Portuguese (C2); Haitian Creole (C1); Ladino/Djudeo-espanyol (C1); Lesser Antilles French Creole (B2)
Studies: Catalan
Language Log: viewtopic.php?t=797
x 10437

Re: Outcast tries to sort out his language Clustermuck

Postby iguanamon » Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:35 pm

Welcome back, Outcast! It's good to see you here again!
Outcast wrote:Spanish: N2 (writing skills clearly degraded, extensive vocabulary shrinkage)

For your writing in Spanish, you might want to have a look at the Escuela de Escritores website from Spain. They have a variety of online courses in creative writing online. Each one has its own instructor, a writer. I took a course in mini-relatos with them. It was a lot of fun interacting with the instructor and the students. I was the only foreigner. I received lots of great feedback from both. My writing was improved after the class. The necessity of keeping up with the class and doing the readings improved my vocabulary and grammar.
2 x

outcast
Blue Belt
Posts: 532
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2015 3:41 pm
Location: South Korea
Languages: I can't say for now what exactly I know
FLUENCY
Native: ENglish, ESpañol
Advanced: -
High Basic: DEutsch (rust), FRançais (rust), ZH 中文 (普 - ok)
Basic: -
~
ACQUIRING
Formally: KO 한국말
Dabbles: -
Dormant: POrtuguês, ITaliano

~
Plan to learn: हिन्दी

~
x 507

Re: Outcast tries to sort out his language Clustermuck

Postby outcast » Fri Apr 09, 2021 4:59 am

iguanamon wrote:Welcome back, Outcast! It's good to see you here again!
Outcast wrote:Spanish: N2 (writing skills clearly degraded, extensive vocabulary shrinkage)

For your writing in Spanish, you might want to have a look at the Escuela de Escritores website from Spain. They have a variety of online courses in creative writing online. Each one has its own instructor, a writer. I took a course in mini-relatos with them. It was a lot of fun interacting with the instructor and the students. I was the only foreigner. I received lots of great feedback from both. My writing was improved after the class. The necessity of keeping up with the class and doing the readings improved my vocabulary and grammar.


That sounds both like great advice as well an a great resource, thank you for sharing Iguanamon. And nice to see you are still around and doing well after this time.

I can see you are one of those people who can inspire all of us. Last time we chatted you were just beginning in Haitian Creole, now you have pushed 4 languages in advanced fluency. I don't care what language it is, or what the circumstances are, or how related or not they may or not be, to do that in ANY language, let alone several, is something to inspire and aspire to.
1 x
"I can speak wonderfully and clearly in zero languages, and can also fluently embarrass myself in half a dozen others."

The Trek to 2000 Korean words - B1: 2000 / 2000


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