Aokoye's Journey Through German (and other languages?)

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Re: Aokoye's Journey Through German (and other languages?)

Postby Systematiker » Mon Aug 21, 2017 1:22 am

Ordering food on the phone - I went six years avoiding that one when I could (but then, I avoid it in English as well). Good on you!

You do really seem to have done well with your time there, and it's not unusual to feel like you do. You can pretty much handle most of what you encounter, it's the little bits that make you think, well, I'm not so sure about that. Anecdotally, I'd take it as a good sign.

I mentioned your yarn availability thing to my wife, who said "yeah, he's right. You'd better take me yarn shopping." :lol: :lol:
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Re: Aokoye's Journey Through German (and other languages?)

Postby aokoye » Mon Aug 21, 2017 2:31 pm

Systematiker wrote:Ordering food on the phone - I went six years avoiding that one when I could (but then, I avoid it in English as well). Good on you!

You do really seem to have done well with your time there, and it's not unusual to feel like you do. You can pretty much handle most of what you encounter, it's the little bits that make you think, well, I'm not so sure about that. Anecdotally, I'd take it as a good sign.

I mentioned your yarn availability thing to my wife, who said "yeah, he's right. You'd better take me yarn shopping." :lol: :lol:

Yeah ordering stuff on my phone is possibly my least favorite thing ever. I don't like doing it in English and I had it even more in German. Thanks though - I think I seriously made the best of my time there. It's kind of shocking how well I did in terms of using my time well honestly. I'm in Brno right now but I'm very excited to go to Vienna on Thursday morning. It'll be nice being bak in a place where I can make my way around easily in a language that I know :D

Also I hate not knowing Czech - more on that in my next post in a few minutes.
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Re: Aokoye's Journey Through German (and other languages?)

Postby aokoye » Mon Aug 21, 2017 2:49 pm

So as I mentioned, I'm in Brno and it's lovely. I spent most of the early afternoon walking around, got lunch, and then went to Starbucks, where I currently am, so I could study and download some podcasts. I don't like that I don't know enough Czech to feel comfortable ordering food in Czech (something that I can do in French and Spanish). This evening will likely be spend drilling some key phrases so tomorrow can be slightly less stress inducing.

My TestDaF online prep course started today and so far it's essentially like a test prep book but with a syllabus, interactive exercises, and written and spoken exercises that are corrected by a teacher (who apparently has four years of experience correcting the spoken and written parts of TestDaF). In order to stay on track each week I should:

  • Do 35 self corrected exercises
  • Complete 1 written exercise
  • Complete 1 spoken exercise
  • Answer the forum post thing
And then I need to participate in 2 of the 4 group chats.
So far I have done seven self corrected exercises and written in the forum.

It's interesting because apparently TestDaF has an abysmal pass rate (in terms of passing with fours in all sections). I was talking to the friend I'm staying with right now and what we decided is that the issue is that most people don't actually prepare enough in terms of how much German they know globally. I've randomly come across probably four people in Dussmann who have been studying for the Sept 20th date (from what I could tell) and their German wasn't that great. I tended to correct my essay at Dussmann at the tables nearish to the DaF section which ended up with me listening to a lot of learners of German. I still think my main issue is going to be the speaking section of TestDaF.

My current strategy is work through the TestDaF online course, work on the TELC textbook, and work through B-Grammatik (from Schubert Verlag) as well. Yesterday I did two chapters of B-Grammatik. The rest of my plans today German wise involve working on chapter 3 of TELC and maybe another chapter of Grammar. Also lots of vocab. I'm putting words that I don't know from the online course and the TELC book into Learn with Oliver. If I remember I'll probably write a review of Learn with Oliver on my train ride to Vienna.
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Re: Aokoye's Journey Through German (and other languages?)

Postby Theodisce » Mon Aug 21, 2017 3:40 pm

I strongly recommend visiting the Moravian Gallery of Art http://www.moravska-galerie.cz/moravska ... px?lang=en and their exhibition of older art hosted at Governor's Palace (https://www.google.de/search?client=fir ... 589!4f13.1).
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Re: Aokoye's Journey Through German (and other languages?)

Postby aokoye » Wed Aug 23, 2017 12:12 pm

I go to Vienna tomorrow morning and I'm very excited for a number of reasons. I love Vienna, I'll get to be at home in speaking a language that I know again, and the idea of this trip is years in the making. I'll be in Vienna for 10 days and then my friend and I are visiting her parents in Pinkafeld for a three days before I fly out of to Berlin on the 7th.

Right now I'm in a Starbucks (I haven't been to Starbucks this many times in the span of a week in years) and I just finished my first piece of writing for the TestDaF Vorbereitungskurs. I had to describe a graphic about global warming. I'm feeling so-so about it. That said I have a feeling the self correction exercises for the writing portion are going to be helpful, the same is true for the speaking section. I need as many examples as I can get.

As of right now I've done 19 of the 35 exercises that I need to do by August 27th. The exact self (computer) corrected exercises that I need to do aren't prescribed for better or worse whereas the tutor corrected ones are. My plan of attack is a bit hard to describe but I think I've figured out a strategy in terms of the order that I want to follow in doing the self corrected exercises. In short - do the "here's a useful strategy with a lot of handholding" exercises one day and the "here's a practice without the handholding" exercises the next day. I need to really sit down and sort through them all later today and make a chart though.

Goals for the rest of the day in no perticular order:
  • Make that list
  • Work on some of the speaking exercises (I have a speaking thing to "turn in" on the 27th)
  • Work on listening exercises
  • Vocab - per usual
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Re: Aokoye's Journey Through German (and other languages?)

Postby aokoye » Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:01 am

I'm in Vienna and needless to say my German took a very small hit during my handful of days in Brno. It's back to where it was now but my first day here I wasn't as good at doing simple things. That said I was also fairly tired, hungry, and had been sitting on a train for most of the morning. Also it was really hot (it still is). I'm also in the midsts of writing a rather comprehensive review of Learn with Oliver which I started on the train.

German wise, the DUO TestDaF course is going fine. I ended up making an outline with what weeks I need to do various things by which is proving to be useful. My speaking ability also came back so yay for that. Mercedes and I are hanging out more or less every other day and speak to each other in a mix of German and English. It's working well if only because I feel more relaxed and she has a C2 proficiency in English (she did all of her higher education in English, including getting a doctorate). I think we're probably speaking about 50% in both languages. It is not unusual for me to start a sentence in English and then switch to German. Note - this is actually much better than our usual conversation which is 99% English. All of my service encounters are also in German. I'm currently at a very cute bakery listening to a 4 or 5 year old do translanguaging (which could also be called code switching) in English and German. It's super cute.

Grammar wise, I'm realizing (again) that I need to go back to the basics because those are the things I'm not always secure about. I'm comfortable reading most if not all grammatical constructions, it's the actual production of them that is the problem. Unsurprisingly I'm able to successfully produce a lot of the more "advanced" constructions, in part because we worked on them a lot in my course. That said, I am catching myself with my most common, and very basic, mistake in speaking that is jarring to me - making sure that the verb is in the right place when a clause starts with "weil". I downloaded Übungsgrammatik für die Grundstufe via Goethe Institut's elibrary this morning and will be going through it this week. It's a bit of a blow to my pride but I know it will pay off.

Goals for today:
  • Start one of the writing sections of the TestDaF course
  • Start one of the reading sections
  • Grammar out of the basic book
  • Vocab
Last edited by aokoye on Sun Aug 27, 2017 4:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Aokoye's Journey Through German (and other languages?)

Postby aokoye » Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:48 am

A quick update which almost deserves to just be an edit to my most previous post. Today has been much more successful in terms of finding cafes/bakeries that aren't the classic ones (which I will go to at some point but not right now) than yesterday, it's still too warm for my liking, and so far Übungsgrammatik für die Grundstufe is just what I needed. Mind you I'm only part way through the first chapter, but it doesn't dumb things down too much, gives good explanations, and is in color (which is actually really helpful for me for whatever reason - I'm sure there are studies about this).

Also, while on my first day here people would try to switch into English with me when I was with my friend (this would happen before I opened my mouth), that hasn't happened since then. Including when a group of three people who are directly in front of me in line ordered in English (and were confused about the lack of flavored syrup - how dare this not be starbucks! ;)) and when I then proceeded to pronounce "latte" with a not Viennese accent.

edit: also - I got a lovely email from a friend of mine yesterday. Her daughter just started high school last week and is taking French for the first time (knew a fair amount of Spanish as a small child and took weekly lessons in biblical Hebrew lessons for more or less half of her life). She apparently loves that Duolingo says she's 14% fluent in French. That right there is the one thing I have found good about Duolingo's false fluency proclamation - it appears to be able to do a lot to encourage a barely 14 year old who could use all of the encouragement she can get :)
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Re: Aokoye's Journey Through German (and other languages?)

Postby tastyonions » Sun Aug 27, 2017 12:20 pm

Not sure I have ever commented on your log before, but I just wanted to let you know that I've really enjoyed reading it. Your determination and progress inspire me to work harder on my own German.
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Re: Aokoye's Journey Through German (and other languages?)

Postby aokoye » Sun Aug 27, 2017 12:33 pm

tastyonions wrote:Not sure I have ever commented on your log before, but I just wanted to let you know that I've really enjoyed reading it. Your determination and progress inspire me to work harder on my own German.

Thanks that means a lot :) It's definitely not an easy path most of the time, but it's fulfilling. It takes a lot out of me, but somehow I keep going.
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Re: Aokoye's Journey Through German (and other languages?)

Postby aokoye » Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:34 pm

Today I went to the Jewish Museum in Vienna which was really great save for a very grumpy person who was working at the bag check. I didn't understand how exactly it worked because it was in no way logical compared to almost every other bag check I've seen. They really just need a sign in German (and perhaps English and Hebrew) saying how it works. She ended up grumpily switching into English with me and then I finally figured it out (English wasn't any more helpful honestly). That said, there was an Israeli couple who came in just as I was leaving who also didn't get it so I ended up explaining it to them in English (one of the people was likely an L1 English speaker given his accent and neither understood German). I then got a really nice compliment from one of the guards about how I clearly know what I'm doing as I was even able to explain it to other visitors :)

After that I went to lunch, got given the English menu, stuck with ordering in German, and eventually after 3 plus turn sequences the person I was speaking to (you order at the counter) switched to German. Given that all I was doing was ordering food, asking for clarification, and then ordering more food it's not like I couldn't do it in German. I did so my first day here as well - all in German with no issue (a similar, "order food, ask for clarification about something, order more food" sequence).

I think really the thing about Vienna is that because I don't "look European" people address me in English before I open my mouth. This didn't happen in Vienna despite wearing the exact same clothes and doing more or less the exact same things. I can't even blame it on being in areas that are touristy as it also happened at this little Indian place I went to this evening. While it is a longish uphill walk from Schönbrunn Palace, there are no tourists in this area (it's four or five blocks from my AirBnB) and the person I was talking to's L1 is Hungarian. I ended up getting another "but your German is so good". If I end up living in Germany or Austria and this happens 10 years from now it's going to get really old and likely border on xenophobic. If I have children while living here and they get it then it will be a mix of xenophobic and racist. It's not uncommon for people with Turkish immigrant backgrounds who are L1 German speakers to get told this and there's at least one book with that title (in German). It's akin to, "you're so articulate," in the US which is something I've been told more than once.

This morning I spent a bunch of time working specifically on preparing for the TELC test. I read a few of the readings from the textbook and did one of the listening comprehension exercises. I ended up doing better than I thought on the reading and worse on the listening. Both scores would likely be well enough to pass those subsections if it was the actual test though but it's good feedback. From what I can tell the there are sections of TELC that are harder than TestDaF but the speaking section of TestDaF is a joke in terms of logistics and difficulty (primarily because of how unrealistic it is). I think that the reading prep for TELC will be good prep for TestDaF if only because the readings are harder than what I've read so far for TestDaF and the topics are nearly identical to what will show up on TestDaF. It makes me feel less bad for focusing less on TestDaF on my TELC book days.

Ok - dinner has been eaten (it was only so-so, not spicy enough but that's no surprise but a giant portion means that I have breakfast/lunch for tomorrow) so now I'm going to do my writing homework and work on vocab some more. I think I'm going to stay in tomorrow and study.
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