Luke's very confused Spanish Learning Log

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luke
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Luke's very confused Spanish Learning Log

Postby luke » Wed Jun 09, 2021 1:00 am

I took about 15 years off of Spanish. Focused on French for about 3 years Turned to Esperanto about 5 years ago and got the B1 cert.

Back at Spanish for the last year or so.

My current program is covered pretty well in https://forum.language-learners.org/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=16903 the post asking how many learning tracks are too many.

Don Quijote de la Mancha

Just finished my first run through RTVE Don Quixote for the XXI century. Fantastic!

I split the RTVE mp3's into smaller chunks that match the chapters of the book, so rather than 30 or 60 minute episodes, most are less than 15 minutes and they're more organized in my mind.

I started highlighting the original text with the RTVE audio. RTVE is more dramatic and sometimes uses less archaic language. The acting and sound effects are great.

The idea of highlighting the text came a couple hours into the first pass through.

First pass had several goals. Complete the story, organize the audio, and then the highlighting process.

Can see using the RTVE audio and following with various texts for a few more runs. The RTVE audio is about 10 hours. The original text is about 40. They cut the text pretty judiciously. Francisco Rico helped with the text. He has an annotated Don Quixote that's about 1600 pages.

I've started the second run. Re-listened to the first episode (prologue and chapters 1-5), and started highlighting the original text from the beginning.

Anaya's El Quijote https://www.languages-direct.com/dollar/el-quijote-miguel-de-cervantes-anaye-ele-audios-clasicos.html is also good. 2 books with 2 CDs, so not all of the text is recorded, but it's well done. Still on the first run here. This series uses 1600-2000 words, but they aren't necessarily the 2000 most frequent words. Using this to get more comfortable reading and begin to internalize the story another way. If I knew how good RTVE was, I might not have done this, but the book works well in situations where there's only a few minutes to read. Most chapters are only about 4 pages and the text isn't very dense.

Have been doing a lot of self-immersion lately. Think my listening and reading are better than ever. Haven't done much speaking, but planning to start sometime. (I mean talking to real people and not myself ;)).
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: 27 / 55 FSI Dialogs (2x)
: 11 / 55 FSI PoP
: 3090 / 10002 Anki Top 5000
: 53 / 96 Quijote del siglo XXI (4x)
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Le Baron
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Re: Luke's very confused Spanish Learning Log

Postby Le Baron » Thu Jun 10, 2021 3:30 pm

This is going to seem like a rude and probably an annoying question, although I don't mean it to be, but does conquering Don Quijote contribute to learning functional Spanish? What I mean to say is: is the gargantuan effort worth it in terms of 'Spanish' rather than just conquering an acknowledged 'great book'?

In the past I embarked upon reading a number of these sort of books because I felt it would prove to me my proficiency in those languages; something like having finally penetrated the cream of their literary culture. I now feel it was largely wasted time and effort, especially at that juncture.
With two particular books, Max Havelaar (which I did finish) and Effi Briest (Theodore Fontane) I now think I should have waited a little until I could enjoy them whilst reading freely. I actually abandoned Effi Briest because it was just too hard. Then read it in English. I also failed with Der Tod in Venedig which is short, but whose paragraphs seemed be just one long sentence. I could possibly read all three now with far more ease.

I'm just opining though. Maybe you're simply more adventurous and ingenious than I am. I'm hesitant about jumping into such a book for Spanish after being defeated previously. I'm also sceptical about how useful (in terms of time/effort) it would be for: reading the news, watching TV/films, eventual Spanish conversation.
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20 books for 2021: 16 / 20

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luke
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Re: Luke's very confused Spanish Learning Log

Postby luke » Fri Jun 11, 2021 2:46 am

Le Baron wrote:This is going to seem like a rude and probably an annoying question, although I don't mean it to be, but does conquering Don Quijote contribute to learning functional Spanish?


It's a good question. Not rude. You're inviting me to choose a definition of "functional", and if functional means the ability to read Don Quijote, then it's very functional :)

Le Baron wrote: What I mean to say is: is the gargantuan effort worth it in terms of 'Spanish' rather than just conquering an acknowledged 'great book'?


This is interesting. The RTVE production of Don Quijote for siglo XXI is so engaging that if by "effort", we mean "force of will", it's hasn't been that much effort. The edit the audio, find the text in the original, highlight and follow the text are all to me very engaging activities.

There is some effort, of course, but less than say doing some of the dull lessons in the previous edition of Assimil's Using Spanish, which has some terrible translations and some less engaging topics for my tastes.

Le Baron wrote:In the past I embarked upon reading a number of these sort of books because I felt it would prove to me my proficiency in those languages; something like having finally penetrated the cream of their literary culture. I now feel it was largely wasted time and effort, especially at that juncture.


I'm not really trying to prove anything. Quite frankly, the RTVE thing I described above is the most engaging learning activity I have done in quite some time. It's that good.

You know how some people want to be the boss so they can boss people around about things they don't understand? That's not my thing. I'd rather dig into the details and guts and feel the living organism and breath life into it.

Le Baron wrote:Maybe you're simply more adventurous and ingenious than I am.


That's funny and great, because Don Quijote's extended title includes ingenioso and the book is about adventures and seeing things differently than everyone else and following dreams, and I can relate to the locura of Don Quijote, who is the wisest wise man who ever lived! Exhale. Carry me, Rocinante.

Le Baron wrote:I'm hesitant about jumping into such a book for Spanish after being defeated previously.


I have been defeated in all previous runs at Don Quijote. I got a little more than half way once, but have not finished it. With what I'm doing now, I feel like I've already finished it once and I'm almost half way through again.

Le Baron wrote:I'm also skeptical about how useful (in terms of time/effort) it would be for: reading the news, watching TV/films, eventual Spanish conversation.


Well, I was out with some Spanish speakers last night and won't say that it helped me, but hanging out with Spanish speakers is a secondary goal for me, compared to Quijote and 100 Years.

The 40+ episodes of La fea más bella may be more helpful. I'm at episode 50 today.

Reading something that is in my comfort zone, 98% comprehension or so was and is perhaps more helpful, particularly if I were to spend as much time on it. If I could read interesting stuff that was at 98% comprehension for 3-4 hours for a few days in a row, I think Spanish would swim in my head for a long time afterwards. I just have a hard time finding something that interesting to read.

So, I'm a bit of a believer in "time on task" and my natural idiot savant. In the long run, the idiot usually prevails, but sometimes the savant has a good day.

The news? I'm avoiding the news these days and think I end up less disinformed than most of the people I talk to, especially news junkies. Not suggesting you're one. Not doing that at all. Just always surprised at how stupid people are that believe the party line of the corporate news networks. If I'm going for fiction, give me Don Quijote! :)

Films these days are often not very good. I think you're in a happier spot than I am and I'm am very glad that you are. Very glad. Liking stuff is a fantastic gift and definitely something to be appreciated.

Buena suerte, mon amour!
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Re: Luke's very confused Spanish Learning Log

Postby Le Baron » Fri Jun 11, 2021 3:36 pm

Jolly good answer. Helps me to understand how you're approaching this. Which seems to be a great adventure into that book whilst also learning Spanish. It's not to be sniffed at; especially if it is pleasurable and doesn't feel like work. I agree that it can be more engaging. I enjoyed Max Havelaar and learned a lot from all the delving into words and idioms and cultural residue. Possibly I bogged myself down with it, turning it into a study project, rather than the book just being too large or difficult (it still wasn't easy though!).

When I say 'the news' I don't really mean 'the news', but more the cultural articles and assorted things that catch my eye. I stopped taking a regular paper at the turn of the millennium and I don't have a telly. I've had 'alternative' views against the monetarists for several decades now, so the news, especially the financial news, has annoyed me for a long time. Right... perhaps I've over-defended myself regarding the news!
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Re: Luke's very confused Spanish Learning Log

Postby luke » Mon Jun 14, 2021 11:12 pm

I found some cats to talk to last week. I'll be seeing them again and hopefully on the regular.

So thinking out of courtesy, should give more focus on what Le Baron called "practical skills". :shock:

I'm on 9.2 of 10.2 episodes of RTVE Don Quijote, second time through, btw.

Added a reading bar/scale to my signature. A comical 10,000 page goal, a tiny blip moving slower than Achilles competition, was considered, but progress bars are more exciting when they leap forward on a page reload.

So more time for books on topics that will come up with the cool Spanish speakers, so Don Quijote's not off the table, but you get the picture.
4 x
: 28 / 55 FSI Basic
: 27 / 55 FSI Dialogs (2x)
: 11 / 55 FSI PoP
: 3090 / 10002 Anki Top 5000
: 53 / 96 Quijote del siglo XXI (4x)
: 2385 / 2500 2500 pages - 6/14/21

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Re: Luke's very confused Spanish Learning Log

Postby luke » Thu Jun 17, 2021 3:46 am

Don Quijote del siglo XXI
Finished the second trip through https://www.rtve.es/radio/el-quijote-siglo-xxi/. Improved the highlighting in RAE copy of Don Quijote de la Mancha and organized the mp3 audio a bit more. Touched about 30 of the 98 mp3 files.

Next trip through will be slower. Thinking of beginning to highlight the Edith Grossman translation with the RTVE audio and cross reference the RAE text.

Shift of technique
Watched Professor Arguelles' Polygot talk Start to Finnish. Thinking I can do more rotation of the tracks throughout the day. I.E., instead of doing most of the Anki cards and longer stretches with the other tracks, do some Anki, some FSI drills, a bit of reading, some Quijote, different Anki deck, FSI book (preview, current or review), read some of a different book, another Anki deck, different portion of FSI track, La fea más bella, etc.

So the big difference is instead of about 30 minutes at a stretch with Anki and 30 minutes of reading, split those up more and have a stack of books to choose from so short chapter books can fit in as the day rolls on and there is less concentration energy.

Also changed the "pages read" tracker to shorter term goal. Instead of 500 pages, 100. That can go to 200, etc before it gets to 500.

Humans
The group of speakers I've come into contact with are not professional speakers. They use a lot of slang, talk fast, sometimes softly, not trying to annunciate like a narrator or youtube blogger. But this is good. A bit of interaction. Some time to think in Spanish. Noticing the informal, laid-back approach to speaking. Suspect it will take some weeks, perhaps months, and maybe some hearing aids to turn this informal speech into a comprehensible stream. Not that I don't understand a fair bit, but it's not at all like hearing my native language in a similar situation.

On episode 60 of La fea más bella, so still watching that at a good clip. After hearing the suggestion more than once, thinking I could watch with a notebook when I'm not laying on couch.
6 x
: 28 / 55 FSI Basic
: 27 / 55 FSI Dialogs (2x)
: 11 / 55 FSI PoP
: 3090 / 10002 Anki Top 5000
: 53 / 96 Quijote del siglo XXI (4x)
: 2385 / 2500 2500 pages - 6/14/21

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Re: Luke's very confused Spanish Learning Log

Postby luke » Sun Jun 20, 2021 2:08 am

From a couple different angles, including a smallwhite post, it dawned on me that some informal study of slang will help me get up to speed with what the Spanish speakers are saying.

Argot Mexicano

https://www.yourtripagent.com/602-all-m ... ed-to-know is really well done. Almost all of these I've heard a bunch of times. They get used in lots of way, typical of a lot of slang, so very helpful. It's an interesting read and can see how these terms fit right in with the sense I was getting from the speakers. But it's nice to put some concrete around this sort of stuff so it comes together quicker. Tons of slang from these folks.

Another helpful link on mexicanismos:

https://www.aboutespanol.com/52-palabra ... no-1771574

Don Quijote Update
Cross referencing Edith Grossman's translation with the RTVE El Quijote del siglo XXI and the untranslated text is rather time consuming. I've been doing bits by bits. There's the RTVE making the original text more dramatic, e.g., instead of the narrator saying what happened, the actors express it, so there's automatically shifts of tense and person. Sound effects sometimes take the place of narration. Word anti-anachronisms. All these make organizing the three sources more complicated.

So it's pleasant and provides insight, but going through the 10 hours of audio will take several multiples of that. I want to balance the Don Quijote goal with stuff that will be more directly applicable to the real world situations I'm getting into with the native speakers. I've also got a project ramping up and that may limit my study time a bit more in the near future.

Fortunately, a lot of the longer chapters, audio-wise are in the beginning. That doesn't mean the short chapters won't take a lot of time, as they're often the one where there was a big conversion between narration and actuation (acting).

In the background, I'm thinking that https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1l2LruT ... QtXYZTtzGY Con Kepa Amuchastegui's narration of Cien años de soledad will be complete in about 3-4 weeks. I'd been thinking that would be a good point to return to Cien años de soledad in earnest once again, but Quijote could take 3 months or more based on my current projection.

So not sure if I should lower my standards for the current run at RTVE Quijote and finish it in the 3 or 4 weeks, or dig in and do it all well on this run.

Do you understand? - binary or non-binary choices
Sometimes I get asked, "do you understand"? For me, this is always a hard question because I generally think beyond the words to what is being expressed or implied and the implications of all that. That's generally never a binary yes or no answer. There's the good old "more or less", but even then, there's the situation where I understood fairly well when I was paying attention, but then I got to thinking and wasn't paying attention, and saying that is not very nice, especially with new acquaintances. Everybody has their self-centeredness and some suffer more than others. Me, I suffer.

Where I'm going with all this is that most of these speakers know a fair bit of English and sometimes they'll use it on me. I really am hanging out with them because I want to speak Spanish, but not simply that; I like Spanish thought and connecting on that deeper level that one can when the other is comfortable in their native language and I'm comfortable with the one I've been obsessing on.

Don't know if anyone has suggestions there. Never want to be impolite or disrespectful, but the connecting part is difficult when they speak to me in English. Even when speaking to friends and family, I often want to say things in Spanish, knowing that the other person doesn't understand Spanish and is not particularly interested in that.

Perhaps something like, "compa, no puedo hablar con mi familia en español, pero si puedo contigo hombre, por favor, platicame güey". :)
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Re: Luke's very confused Spanish Learning Log

Postby luke » Tue Jun 22, 2021 2:59 am

Don Quijote del siglo XXI by RTVE in 20 hours or so
So I think I've come up with an approach that won't turn 10 hours of RTVE Don Quijote into 90 or 100 hours for a single run.

Highlighting the original text worked out well with helping me know which parts of which chapters are dramatized in the RTVE rendition. Sometimes, the story is fairly transparent. Other times there's a fair bit of arcane adjectives and actions. In these places, I can find the sections in Edith Grossman's translation and read and possibly highlight them. Doesn't have to be done well the first time through. That was my initial error when trying to highlight everything close to perfect. Helpful, but time-consuming.

May make the most sense to pre-read the translation in all the sections that are extensively included. Sometimes a few paragraphs are included, occasionally a few pages are lifted straight from the original. When they do this, finding the begin and end in the translation is pretty straight-forward. By pre-reading it, I don't have to decide whether each section needs an initial listen/follow original text, then if need be, a read of the translation, then another listen/read to make the Spanish/Spanish listen read feel good.

With this approach, I can burn through chapters at a pretty fair clip and feel like I'm getting more out of the story with each run.

Also opens up the possibility of switching to a new book in a few weeks.

May even be able to do RTVE Don Quijote twice this way before switching back to Cien años de soledad when Con Kepa has wrapped up his narration of Gabo's masterpiece.

Misplaced book II of El Quijote by Anaya, but have been dropping the unknown words and interesting places from book I into an El Quijote Anki deck. Also listening to that audio while shaving, etc keeps the Quijote immersion going.

Read section 1 of the Wikipedia article on Don Quijote de la Mancha today.

FSI Basic Spanish
Started unit 18 today. Wrote out the responses to the reading in unit 17 for the first time. Other runs at FSI have included reading the readings, but not writing out the responses. Thinking more focus on the drills and manual around the current unit will help keep the FSI pace on track.

Hearing aids
Made an appointment today. Apparently these days hearing aids have noise cancelling, so they may help a lot in group situations.

Long Tracks
Plowing through the Anki decks and La fea más bella tracks. These can seem daunting at times as there are several months to go on each of them. Same with FSI. These don't give the same sense of accomplishment that running through RTVE Quijote in a week or so.

I read a Wiki page on the telenovela's characters to put the names of some of the tertiary actors in my head. The Wiki articles are all in Spanish.

Could turn FSI into a dialogs and presentation of patterns run. Then gradually start layering in the drills. That would make it possible to burn through quickly and keep cycling back through to pick up more on subsequent runs. Will have to think about that approach. So far, my FSI pace hasn't been bothering me, but an overview approach might be helpful with my real-world friends. We'll see.

Wonder if there is any input from others on "slow and steady" versus "repeated waves/assaults/runs" on a big projects.
5 x
: 28 / 55 FSI Basic
: 27 / 55 FSI Dialogs (2x)
: 11 / 55 FSI PoP
: 3090 / 10002 Anki Top 5000
: 53 / 96 Quijote del siglo XXI (4x)
: 2385 / 2500 2500 pages - 6/14/21

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Re: Luke's very confused Spanish Learning Log

Postby luke » Wed Jun 23, 2021 1:32 pm

Finding True North

It came to me last night that my journey/program can be simplified and made for fun and truer, in the matter Shakespeare expressed it: to thine own self be true.

So this brings me to taking La fea más bella off my plate. This was the ultimate progress bar:

: 70 / 300 La fea más bella

Who or what will take the place of that fair damsel, twisted by the realities in the telenovela she inhabits?

Here, my friend, comes: https://www.youtube.com/c/DonQuijoteUFM/featured - Descubre Don Quijote, curso de Universidad Francisco Marroquín

The few or several I've watched - since there are hundreds - are very well done. The speaker sounds like an Anglophone by birth, but other than a small accent, he has what is more important; a passion and love for Don Quijote.

Apparently the University had a team put together the videos, a MOOC, etc. For me, at present, only the videos are on my radar.

My thinking is four-fold:
1) Still following an audio-visual track that has a theme and a ton of content.
2) Supports my goal for continued appreciation of Don Quixote, the book that many consider the most outstanding novel of all time.
3) It's stuff I would watch if I wasn't feeling obligated to continue the telenovela track.
4) There are playlists, so I could set them to play in the background while I work.

So, rather than picking up on more modern colloquialisms, speech patterns, character developments in the telenovela, La fea más bella; follow my inner voice, discover the complex, varied characters and deeper, layered meanings in that historic novel.

¡Aparténse vacas, que la vida es corta! - https://forum.wordreference.com/threads ... a.1292844/ - "Scatter, cows, life is short!"
Last edited by luke on Thu Jun 24, 2021 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
4 x
: 28 / 55 FSI Basic
: 27 / 55 FSI Dialogs (2x)
: 11 / 55 FSI PoP
: 3090 / 10002 Anki Top 5000
: 53 / 96 Quijote del siglo XXI (4x)
: 2385 / 2500 2500 pages - 6/14/21

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Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 11#p133911
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Re: Luke's very confused Spanish Learning Log

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Wed Jun 23, 2021 5:13 pm

luke wrote:
So this brings me to taking La fea más bella off my plate. This was the ultimate progress bar:
: 70 / 300 La fea más bella
Who or what will take the place of that fair damsel, twisted by the realities in the telenovela she inhabits?
Here, my friend, comes: https://www.youtube.com/c/DonQuijoteUFM/featured - Descubre Don Quijote, curso de Universidad Francisco Marroquín

After only a few episodes of La fea más bella, I dropped it, too. Even given the ugly duckling theme of the show, IMHO I found it a tad too cringe-worthy. As well, the mugging especially by the main character smacked too much of a B grade comedy from the 1930s, again, IMHO.
I find Vecinos from Mexico funnier, more interesting, and even, for me, easier to understand. Few if any, however, will find it intellectually stimulating. ;) The Youtube function does not work but this is the url:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFFUTJC ... b3tCIhSOoi

Disclaimer: I have watched only two or three episodes.

Your jousting with the various versions and presentations of Don Quijote is interesting. I found Cien Años de Soledad equally profound and moreover more interesting. I have read and listened to Cien años at least a couple of times, but read only once Don Quijote, and only Part 1.
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Tu sabes cuando sales pero no sabes cuando regresas.


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