M23's Language Log: Spanish and German

Continue or start your personal language log here, including logs for challenge participants
User avatar
M23
Yellow Belt
Posts: 92
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2015 6:58 am
Location: Colorado (USA)
Languages: English (N), Spanish (intermediate), German (n00b)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=2186
x 88

Re: M23's Language Log: Spanish and German

Postby M23 » Mon Jun 12, 2017 4:03 am

I am long overdue for an update...

German

There is, unfortunately, not much to share in this department. I am still plugging away at Pimsleur and Duolingo, and I have a long way to go with both. The new updates that they have added to the Duolingo app remind me of the South Park episode where Stan gets addicted to the Terrence and Phillip app.

Great, I have more gems. I can pay real money to buy gems for the game, you say? (Extends middle finger)

Spanish

I have periodically going to meetups to practice. Today I had the day off so I went to local Argentinean restaurant to check out a meetup I normally cannot attend due to my work schedule, and it was fantastic. I spent a good chunk of the day chatting with some new people as well as catching up with some people that I have not seen in awhile while we all shared some matte and enjoyed the beautiful weather. One old friend that I have known since my very first visit to the Meetup community - and who I have not seen in awhile - complimented me on my progress. He commented that when I first started going it seemed difficult for me to talk and express myself in the way I wanted to, and now... well, I am just chatting away. I certainly have much more to learn, and I still make tons of mistakes, but now I can kick back and really take part in a conversation in a way that I couldn't before.

Reading has been slow, but I managed to finish a book and another one is not far behind. With that said, here is book number two:

Book 2

Selected Poems
- Federico García Lorca

Poetry is always slow-going because you have to take time to let each poem digest. On the learning front this book was certainly helpful with learning the names of various bird and flowers. Just raw vocabulary list memorization would have bored me to tears, but with such haunting lines as "¿Quién será la que coge los claveles y las rosas de Mayo?" I did not have to put much effort into learning the word for "carnation." In fact, thanks to Lorca I was able to not have to look up the words for various flowers and birds that I encountered in one of the books I am reading now.

On the level of personal enjoyment, what can be said about Lorca? Not having to read the translation was wonderful because the lyricism of some of his poems obviously cannot translate. One of my favorite parts of the collection was the series of poems written about a bullfighter named Ignacio Sánchez Mejías. It was beautiful, yet extremely brutal and bleak (e.g. "Cuerpo presente" and "Alma Ausente"). I wish that they had let it be, and ended the book with it. Instead they follow it up with a couple love poems to brighten things up before ending the collection.

So... it is June... and I am only just finishing book number two. Things are not looking good for my goal, but I will read on anyway.
1 x

User avatar
M23
Yellow Belt
Posts: 92
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2015 6:58 am
Location: Colorado (USA)
Languages: English (N), Spanish (intermediate), German (n00b)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=2186
x 88

Re: M23's Language Log: Spanish and German

Postby M23 » Tue Jun 13, 2017 11:34 pm

Book 3

Pepita Jiménez - Juan Valera

Finishing this book was a victory of sorts. My girlfriend gave me her old copy of this book back when I was around A1 level in Spanish, and I tried to read it without much success. Awhile later I picked it up again and after getting through a few pages with almost constant reference to a bilingual dictionary. I put it back down since having to consult a dictionary every other word or so was a clear sign that I was not ready. I tried again later on with similar results. I made much more progress with the book, but I still was not enjoying it due to the volume of words I had to continually look up. I recently tried again and though there was much I had to look up it was much more manageable, and I could actually read it.

As for the story itself, once I was able to get to the point where I could read with less interruption I absolutely enjoyed it. The narrative was quite interesting as the first half of the book is presented in the form of letters written by the male protagonist, then the last half suddenly changes to a more familiar "view from nowhere" type of narrative (i.e. the reader is jumping around to witness the interactions of various characters). The dialogue is very poetic and the author really tries to paint a clear picture of the environment that the characters are interacting in. This is what mainly hooked me as imagining all the farms and picturesque country in a time before television and the internet made it a great escape activity to enjoy after being in technology world all day at work. The themes of having to reframe your life after things do not work out was really interesting as well (in the case of the book a priest in training must choose between realizing his professional and spiritual aspirations and more earthly desires for a woman that he is taken with. He chooses the woman, and has to wrestle with what that choice brings).

While reading this book I realized that I want to continue reading accessible Spanish literature as it was both enjoyable and fruitful for my spoken and written Spanish. Up next in this department will be "Mi País Inventado" by Isabel Allende. (I am still reading the Trungpa Rinpoche book as well.)
1 x

User avatar
M23
Yellow Belt
Posts: 92
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2015 6:58 am
Location: Colorado (USA)
Languages: English (N), Spanish (intermediate), German (n00b)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=2186
x 88

Re: M23's Language Log: Spanish and German

Postby M23 » Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:29 pm

Update time...

Spanish

There is not too much to report here. I am getting some reading in when I can and I am down to the last half of Mi País Inventado. I will be reading more Isabel Allende in the future for sure. So far the book I am reading has been really engaging and not too challenging where I feel like I am spending all my time looking through the dictionary.

Aside from daily chats with coworkers I have not got in much output. I hope to get some meetups in soon. On the listening front I found the perfect example of "fresa" speech for those of you studying Mexican Spanish. Her impression of Spaniards is pretty spot on as well:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61YbRzmB8S4

German

I have been getting more Duolingo in lately, and I finished up the second set of Pimsleur A/B courses. There should be only one more set to go. I also picked Harry: Gefangen in der Zeit back up again to see if I felt as lost as I did the last time I listened to it, and thankfully I could follow it again. I listened to a couple more episodes and then stopped because episode 32 was feeling a bit rough. I will listen to that episode a couple more times and maybe watch it on Youtube since everything is written out. I did a bit more of the DW Interactiv course as well, and I feel like I should just finish out all the lessons in the module so I can start again and hopefully make a better go of it the second time around (i.e. when I do the verbal portions at the end of each unit I butcher it pretty bad, so I clearly need to get some reviewing in).

I also picked up a Berlitz travel guide and CD to work with to get some travelers German down so the next time I go to Germany I can fall back less on my English.
1 x

User avatar
M23
Yellow Belt
Posts: 92
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2015 6:58 am
Location: Colorado (USA)
Languages: English (N), Spanish (intermediate), German (n00b)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=2186
x 88

Re: M23's Language Log: Spanish and German

Postby M23 » Tue Aug 08, 2017 7:08 pm

Book 4

Mi País Inventado
- Isabel Allende

I really enjoyed this one. I can definitely see more Isabel Allende books in my future if the storytelling is as enjoyable as it was in this book.

The book itself is sort of a memoir as well as a tale of impressions of Chile. I did not know much about the country before reading the book so it was quite interesting to learn about the people and the culture from an insider. Language-wise it had a nice balance of stuff that I already knew so that I could enjoy reading the book, and new and interesting words to send me running to the dictionary. I also was overjoyed at being able to read actual literature. Stuff like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games are enjoyable, but there is something nourishing about literature that I have been missing with all that I have been reading in Spanish. Being able to have read this book and the previous one has made me realize that this might be where I want to camp out for awhile.
2 x

User avatar
M23
Yellow Belt
Posts: 92
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2015 6:58 am
Location: Colorado (USA)
Languages: English (N), Spanish (intermediate), German (n00b)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=2186
x 88

Re: M23's Language Log: Spanish and German

Postby M23 » Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:19 am

I was able to log in to the site today. It's a miracle. Normally I get the "login attempts" BS that has been brought up in the technical difficulties part of the forum, so while I am here let me take advantage of the opportunity to update my log a bit...

German

I am still working away at Pimsleur and Duolingo. I also started up the new DW mobile application and am loving it. For anyone on their Facebook page, the application features the short episodes of Nico's Weg followed by exercises designed around the episode. There are some issues with the placement test, but I am still so new to German that a refresher of some of the basics is most welcome.

Spanish

There is not much to report here. I keep reading when I can and expect to fall WAY short of my goal because I have no time to read during the week with our new schedules at work. I am also not getting as much exposure to the language as I would like because Sirius took CNN en Español out of their lineup, so I can't listen to the news in Spanish on my way home from work. I am also getting less conversation time and I noticed that it showed when I was at a recent Spanish meetup group.

Also, speaking of reading in Spanish...

Book 5

El Sol Gran Este - Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

As I had mentioned previously, I am not a Buddhist but I do have a meditation practice. This book was a collection of talks given at one of the weekend meditation retreats that Trungpa's organization provides. I attended it and was interested in what Trungpa's talks were like versus what our instructor gave during our retreat. It was a pretty light read with tons of useful vocabulary for talking about mindfulness and meditation.

Book 6

Memoria de Mis Putas Tristes - Gabriel García Márquez

This one was short but challenging. There was quite a bit of unfamiliar vocabulary, idioms, and cultural references that flew right over my head. Aside from that it was an interesting story that had lots of gems in it about aging. I really enjoyed it but I think I will wait until I am at a higher level before tackling any of his more meaty works.

Up next, Casa de los Espíritus by Isabel Allende.
1 x

User avatar
M23
Yellow Belt
Posts: 92
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2015 6:58 am
Location: Colorado (USA)
Languages: English (N), Spanish (intermediate), German (n00b)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=2186
x 88

Re: M23's Language Log: Spanish and German

Postby M23 » Wed May 30, 2018 11:57 pm

Time for an update since I was actually able to login...

German

I finished up my skill tree on Duolingo. I also polished off another part of the Pimlseur course so I will be making a trip to the library sometime soon to get the next set. I have been working with my book and with the DW phone application over the past month, and I went to my first German Meetup group. It was a disaster in the speaking department but went betting than I thought in the listening comprehension part.

Spanish

I have been continuing to go to Meetup groups to practice speaking and I finished up "Casa de los Espíritus" this month. I started up "Como Agua para Chocolate" to keep the Magical Realism train a rollin'.
1 x

User avatar
coldrainwater
Green Belt
Posts: 334
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 4:53 am
Location: Houston, Texas
Languages: EN (N), ES (intermediate)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=7636
x 484

Re: M23's Language Log: Spanish and German

Postby coldrainwater » Thu May 31, 2018 1:41 am

How would you rate Casa de los Espíritus overall? I just finished reading Hija de la Fortuna as an audiobook and it was quite an engaging listen overall. From start to finish, I think it was only a few days on the listen. Quite easy to follow, good overall storyline.
0 x

User avatar
M23
Yellow Belt
Posts: 92
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2015 6:58 am
Location: Colorado (USA)
Languages: English (N), Spanish (intermediate), German (n00b)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=2186
x 88

Re: M23's Language Log: Spanish and German

Postby M23 » Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:59 am

coldrainwater wrote:How would you rate Casa de los Espíritus overall? I just finished reading Hija de la Fortuna as an audiobook and it was quite an engaging listen overall. From start to finish, I think it was only a few days on the listen. Quite easy to follow, good overall storyline.


I can see why it is her most well known work. It is quite epic and she is quite good at pacing such a long story. She seems to have a good sense of when things are going to get dull for the reader if she continues with the status quo, and changes things up to keep the reader engaged. I read Mi País Inventado before Casa and the same skill for telling them stories and making them feel like it is some wild family story that a grandmother or uncle is telling you carries over. I would recommend it if you liked her style.
2 x

User avatar
M23
Yellow Belt
Posts: 92
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2015 6:58 am
Location: Colorado (USA)
Languages: English (N), Spanish (intermediate), German (n00b)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=2186
x 88

Re: M23's Language Log: Spanish and German

Postby M23 » Fri Aug 24, 2018 5:52 am

I would love to have an update to post but there is not much to share. Returning to school has been disruptive on the language learning front as I have to pretty much drop everything so I can focus on my studies. This past break I would have loved to hit the German hard for a couple weeks but life had other plans for my time off. Hopefully I will have more of an opportunity to squeeze in some German study either later in the semester, or over my next break. On the plus side I did get a little pamphlet in German to dig through for vocabulary and grammar when I visited a national park recently. I keep at the daily Duolingo in German to keep things warm, and once in a while when my studies have not wiped me out I watch a video by GermanSkills to try to learn a bit about differences in meaning between similar words, and such.

On the Spanish side of things I finished up reading Como Agua Para Chocolate and picked up a couple new additions for the reading pile on those rare occasions when I can read for pleasure. I have not been to a MeetUp or hung out with my Spanish-speaking friends to practice in a while. On the other hand I will occasionally watch an episode of Club of Crows on Netflix or watch some of my favorite Spanish-speaking YouTubers to keep my mind from losing too much. I have seen a few talks by Mario Vargas Llosa on his book La Llamada del Tribu - which is a defense of the Liberal tradition as interpreted by political philosophers like Hayek, Popper, et al. - and I have added his book to my Amazon list. Just from watching the talks and reading his interviews I am pleased to see my Spanish being able to handle more cerebral interests that I have in my native tongue.
2 x

User avatar
M23
Yellow Belt
Posts: 92
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2015 6:58 am
Location: Colorado (USA)
Languages: English (N), Spanish (intermediate), German (n00b)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=2186
x 88

Re: M23's Language Log: Spanish and German

Postby M23 » Wed Oct 17, 2018 5:56 am

The semester has been kicking my ass, and I have not had much in the way of extra time and brain power to work on my languages. I get my daily Duolingo in for German - with the occasional Coffee Break German podcast here and there - as well as time with a book or Netflix show in Spanish on my one day off each week to stay warm... but that is about it. I went to a Spanish meetup group this past Friday, and surprisingly I was able to have a conversation with a native speaker about quantum computing and other general tech topics... so that gave me a warm fuzzy feeling. In another more specific conversation I had with another native speaker I usually chat with at that meetup, we chatted about his experience with a coding bootcamp. We drifted between English and Spanish, so I have some work to do in the area so I can talk shop with people in my L2. That work, however, will have to wait until I am between semesters. :lol:
2 x


Return to “Language logs”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests