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Jeff's language log

Posted: Wed May 18, 2016 10:54 pm
by jeff_lindqvist
This is my log about learning experiences, goals, milestones, holidays, burnouts (!?).

My general approach - to do something in my languages as often and regularly as possible. Some days are chaotic (=nothing done, even reading in my native language) and some days are better (~15 minutes or more per language). The activities I keep track of are along the Arguelles lines:

  • scriptorium
  • narrative (which I split into listening and reading separately)
  • analysis (any kind of work which doesn't fit the other categories, but typically grammar exercises, regular "lessons" etc.)
  • shadowing

Current situation (Wanderlust alert):
  • Daily sessions in Duolingo for Irish, German and Spanish. I'm mostly reviewing to get back to where I was before I dropped out a long time ago (~level 11/12).
  • Michel Thomas Spanish (10 CDs) - I went through this many years ago, and started to review it just before my trip to Berlin. I did the first 5 CDs and has finished one more after the Gathering.
  • Daily lesson of Say something in Welsh. One of the talks at the Polyglot Gathering inspired me to have a look at the language (Again! Last time was around -94/-95...). Lesson 5 done today.
  • FSI Cantonese - lesson and/or Anki work (including entering cards manually, with characters and all that). Lesson 8 done (before the Gathering, and before I started the SRS challenge, so I thought it was best to create cards based on what I have learned so far).
  • L-R in Finnish - I got halfway through "Puhdistus" (by Sofi Oksanen) in just a few days before I went to Berlin. Will get back to it soon, maybe this weekend.
  • Occasional lessons from Speak Italian magically (which I got for free in Berlin). Lesson 2.
  • I mostly read in Swedish and English, and almost every day. I also spend some time with a fantasy book in German, children's books in Romanian, and finally a children's book in Chinese (don't tell anyone, my understanding of the content is like n+100).
  • Daily Anki sessions for Esperanto, Cornish, Finnish, Irish, Mandarin, Romanian, Cantonese and Toki Pona.

Did I scare you away?

Stay tuned for a summary of the Polyglot Gathering.

Re: Jeff's language log

Posted: Sat May 21, 2016 9:26 am
by jeff_lindqvist
Polyglot Gathering 2016 part 1

Wednesday 4th May
I had to get up very early to catch my morning flight to Stockholm, where I in turn had a layover for maybe six (!) hours before the flight to Berlin. The bus from Tegel airport was packed and had no free seats. Some 25 minutes later I arrived at Hauptbahnhof and shortly after that the A&O, and took the elevator to the fifth floor where I was given the room key, the polyglot bag with the programme etc. Including a nap at the airport, I probably had had five hours of sleep, so I felt great to relax for a while before the games.

In the big room (room 1), I had a chat with Iversen and Huliganov and shortly after, I met Rdearman, Brun_Ugle and Yuurei. In the the first game called Multilingual anagrams we should find the longest word from a letter jumble. Speakers of Slavonic languages always managed to find words with lots of consonants. Tongue-twisters followed. Čtvrthrst. Strč prst skrz krk. Time to get some sleep… *zzz*

Re: Jeff's language log

Posted: Sat May 21, 2016 9:30 am
by Brun Ugle
Is that the Czech tongue-twister I pronounced so much better than rdearman? It made me want to learn Czech, if only so I can tell people that that was the first thing I learned to say.

Re: Jeff's language log

Posted: Sat May 21, 2016 9:42 pm
by jeff_lindqvist
If they filmed the games (I don't remember) and will post it on youtube, we'll know in a couple of months. Until then - here's FSI Czech. :)

Re: Jeff's language log

Posted: Sun May 22, 2016 9:58 pm
by jeff_lindqvist
Polyglot Gathering 2016 part 2

Thursday 5th May
I woke up with a terrible headache from the trip+the lack of proper sleep. Breakfast in a noisy canteen didn’t really help.

After the introduction and greeting messages I listened to Timothy McKeon - Creole Languages: from Macau to Curaçao, which was about the Portuguese based creoles Papiamentu (spoken on the Caribbean Islands) and (the critically endangered) Patuá of Macau.
Then it was time for Lilia Mouma - My Big Fat Intro to Greek, a mix of history, ancient Greek vs. Modern Greek, dialects and much more.

I had lunch at AsiaGourmet where I bumped into Vlad and a bunch of other speakers whose faces I recognized from the previous years.

After lunch I listened to Jan Henrik Holst - Language Learning and Linguistics: On Their Relationship, which I found rather dry (possibly due to my headache which I still hadn’t recovered from).
Ever inspiring Gareth Popkins did the presentation Ever Onward! How to Improve Your Advanced Language Skills. What do to when you want to “level up”, to go outside your comfort zone(s) such as the “bus fluency”, “baker’s fluency” etc.
Finally a great talk by Malachi Rempen - Less is More: What Silly Doodles Can Teach Us About Fluency.

I took a nap before it was time for the International Culinary Festival and the Book Fair. The Assimil guys were there with their courses, Jimmy Mello was selling his language bible - a modest spin-off of the Polyglot Project, Buske Verlag had an impressive collection of language courses and grammars (all in German) and then we had Judith Meyer and Antonio Libertino selling their works. I eventually won a copy of Speak Italian Magically, signed by Antonio. Parlo l'italiano molto bene. Back in the hotel room, I fell asleep as soon as I closed my eyes.

Re: Jeff's language log

Posted: Mon May 23, 2016 9:49 pm
by jeff_lindqvist
Intermission - summary of week 20

Another week of daily sessions in Duolingo for Irish, German and Spanish. The dosis is roughly 15 minutes per language, which means at least 3x50 XP.

Another two MT CDs (8, 9 and 10 left). Future and conditional convered.

SSiW - Lessons 6a and 6b. I still follow the advice of not using the pause button, nor reviewing any lessons.

FSI Cantonese - over 800 cards added, from just four lessons.

No Finnish, no Italian.

I've read a lot in Swedish and English. Kept reading Elric in German, and the book in Chinese. I've also read two short children's books (with pictures) in Romanian (just for the fun of it). Comprehension is so-so.

Daily Anki reviews.

Re: Jeff's language log

Posted: Wed May 25, 2016 9:21 am
by jeff_lindqvist
Polyglot Gathering 2016 part 3

Friday 6th May
I had regained my powers during the night and was ready to expose myself to some Latin - a language which I had never studied apart from some unfocused hours on my own in the mid 90s. Enter Roberto (Robertus!) Salazar: Rudimenta Latini Sermonis – Spoken Latin 101. In understable Latin, he guided the listeners through grammar examples, similarities with other Romance languages. In short: Latin verbs = Spanish + t :!:

Then it was time for Alex Rawlings and Understanding the ‘Need’ Principles. What is 'need'? Some of the suggestions:

  • You have regular contact with the L2
  • You know somebody who speaks the L2
  • You have unusual interest in the country and/or culture
  • Your work involves the L2

What if there is no need? Create it! Some of the suggestions:

  • Sign up for a course
  • Make a commitment to study x times per week
  • Set yourself milestones and objectives
  • Move to a different country

Christian Koch is a Romance polyglot and gave an introduction to quechua/kichwa in Spanish - Introducción al kichwa, lengua indígena del Ecuador. Oh yes, I want to study Kichwa at some point.

Tim Keeley started his talk by telling us that he had learned an important lesson from last year, i.e. keep the talk SHORT in order to make room for a Q&A session within the ~50 minute limit. Super! This year’s topic was Accents: Sounding Like a Native Speaker – Myths and Reality. I remember him mentioning the key word identity already in 2015, and he stressed that once again. The more we identify ourself with and connect emotionally to speakers of our target language, the more likely we are to pick up a good accent, and the more native it will sound. Accent is a conscious or a subconscious choice.

Lunch break at Fatih Servet Döner at Hbf.

Schedule change - Maria Weidner had moved her planned Sunday Indonesian Mini Course to the empty spot on Friday afternoon. This was a real challenge! From greetings to personal info, where we came from, age, hobbies and what not - all IN Indonesian.

During the Introduction to Ukrainan, Marta Melnyk debunked myths, e.g. similarities with the neighbouring languages, and stressed that Ukrainian is indeed a language in its own right. She taught us some basic greetings as well as a song at the end. I was inspired to pick up the dusty copy of Colloquial Ukrainan when I got back home to Sweden.

Do Introverts Make the Best Polyglots? was Julia Barnickle’s question. Not surprising, a vast majority of the listeners were introverts. Julia shared her story about when and how she learned German and French in school; pen pals; listening to courses on a reel-to-reel system; and much more.

The evening programme had changed as well, so the JoMo concert scheduled on the Saturday was this evening instead. I stayed approximately one hour, and recognized every song/medley from the year before - I even think he sang them in the same order. On the way home I chatted with a German lady about languages (no surprise!) and the software Anki, which she hadn’t heard about.

Re: Jeff's language log

Posted: Sun May 29, 2016 12:55 am
by jeff_lindqvist
Polyglot Gathering 2016 part 4

Saturday 7th May

Richard Simcott - From Afrikaans to Zulu: not all languages are created equal for the learner. I must confess that I originally (say, when the programme was official) thought he was going to speak about languages in the southern part of Africa. Anyway, the topic was more about language choice vs. environment, and based on this talk and the ones from previous years, Macedonia seems to be the right place for Richard with his array of languages.

At 10 AM, we were many who had been looking forward to hearing Mike “Glossika” Campbell’s lecture Chinese: Language and dialect, but he was nowhere to be seen. Instead, there was Q&A on Chinese, led by Vlad.

After that, I listened to Daniel Krasa speak about Romani - The Hidden Gem of European Languages. It was a fascinating lecture, with examples of what kind of words entered which variety of Romani, when, and why.

Last session before lunch was Introduction to Manx with Simon Ager. Manx was extinct for a short time and recently revived. Being one of the Goidelic languages, I found many similarities with Irish and Gaelic. But I still don’t like how Manx is written.

Lunch at AsiaGourmet. Hbf was packed with policemen. Apparently some demonstration was taking place.

Then it was time for Gareth Popkins and Simon Ager to give us an Introduction to Welsh. This language belongs to the Brythonic (or P-Celtic) branch, and not intelligible with the Irish/Gaelic/Manx trio. Nevertheless, it shares a lot of grammatical features, and I found the talk interesting enough to start learning it when I got back home.

Peter Carroll gave a talk called Getting the Most out of ANKI. The Google Translate feature was cool!

Dead languages aficionados Roberto Salazar and Cesco Reale gave a brilliant lecture called Does It Make Sense to Speak a Dead language? and got me inspired to study Latin at some point.

After the talks, I went to the nearby Netto to buy some necessary snacks. Nearly a week without potato crisps!

Timwi was a superb game show host during the Polyglot Feud. The content was based on the top common responses which 100 polyglots (myself included) had give to a questionnaire which was sent out long before the event. Things like Name a Romance language (and French wasn’t on the list!), Name a word in Toki Pona (unpa!), and so on. I didn’t compete but had A LOT OF fun watching the show.

Re: Jeff's language log

Posted: Sun May 29, 2016 9:39 pm
by jeff_lindqvist
Intermission - summary of week 21

Another week of daily sessions in Duolingo for Irish, German and Spanish. The combination of my sudden dysgraphia and the varying spelling "tolerance" per language is annoying. At least I don't have to start a skill set from the beginning after three mistakes (?) like before.

Still three MT CDs left (8, 9 and 10 left).

SSiW - Lessons 7, 8, 9 and 10. No pause button, no reviews.

FSI Cantonese - 943 cards added. I just started adding dialogue content from lesson six.

No Finnish, no Italian.

I've read a lot in Swedish and English. Kept reading Elric in German, the Chinese book (now "finished") and another children's book in Romanian.

Daily Anki reviews in eight languages.

Re: Jeff's language log

Posted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 4:54 pm
by jeff_lindqvist
Polyglot Gathering part 4

Sunday May 8th

My last day of the gathering started with Vladimir Skultety’s interesting talk Understanding Chinese Characters. If I’m not mistaken, his research will result in a book on the same topic.

Some of my favourite presentations last year were given by Brian Loo, and now it was time for his Introduction to Musqueam, a nearly extinct language with three dialects and maybe a dozen native speakers. With a rich phonemic inventory, one of the listeners gave a comment along the lines:
-Why study Klingon when you have languages like Musqueam?

I stayed in Room 1 for yet another talk, now by Fabien Snauwaert. The Independent Language-Course Publisher was the title. Fabien shared a lot of valueable tips for the aspiring writer on how to build an audience, what to write, how to publish and much more.

Comparing and Contrasting 10 Languages in Asia was the original title of the presentation by Daniel Krasa and Tim Keeley. The focus was on Hindi and Nepali. Differences and similarities. I didn’t know much about Indo-Aryan languages before, and this talk certainly inspired me to have a look at that family.

I had a nice lunch in the nearby park with fellow polyglots, including a few Scandinavians.

Michael Levi Harris is the actor in Hyperglot, the short movie which was shown during the introduction last year. During The Stagecraft of Multilingualism he showed various elements that are at play when speaking a language, foreign or not.

The Science of Successful Blogging - Olly Richards who runs the I Will Teach You A Language blog knows a lot about how to create impact and reach a large audience.

Finally the Top-Secret Topic by Benny Lewis. Yes, the topic was indeed “top secret” at the time I got the conference booklet. This was an appetizer for the upcoming Teach Yourself “language hacking” book series by Benny. Estimated time of arrival - some time in September.

During the International Culture Evening, those who wanted read poems, sang songs, danced, played music etc. Afterwards, I spend some time chatting with fellow LLORGers and other polyglots in the lobby before I went to bed. Another Polyglot Gathering was over.