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Re: AlOlaf's Log (Danish/German/Norwegian)

Posted: Thu Oct 24, 2019 2:39 am
by AlOlaf
MorkTheFiddle wrote:Never having taken one of these exams at any level in any language, my question may be ignorant, but I'm wondering whether there are practice exams and whether you took one.

A spellbinding journal, by the way. Thanks for sharing your journey.

Thanks for reading. I have a very good prep book with two mock exams for the Goethe C2, but, in a regrettable act of folly, I only did the reading modules. I’ve seen similar books for the other level exams, and the Goethe Institut also has practice tests on their website. I don’t have any first-hand experience with other languages, but I’m guessing the more popular the language, the more materials there’ll be.


PeterMollenburg wrote:Hi AlOlaf !

I just caught up on your travel journal and your C2 German exam results. I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t pass this time around. Have another go, I say! Failing does not come without benefits provided you sit it again soon-ish with the lessons learned in mind. I’ve my French C2 coming up soon and my preparation has been awful-ish, I might find myself in good company, I’m thinking ;) but I’ll still give it a red-hot go!

Your travel writing is thoroughly enjoyable, thank you for sharing! One thing in particular I found particularly intriguing, were your comments on the ingenuity apparent in times past. I must say, and this is a little conpiracy-like of me, but I’m certain we are getting drummed into us that we are apparently the smartest we’ve ever been, living in the most technologicially advanced time etc etc. Well, I’m convinced now, that people who lived hundreds and others, thousands of years back were no less intelligent than us today, and in many cases, I think they were smarter, they just didn’t have the advantages of a an interconnected world we have today. That is, a world in which if something is created on the other side of the world today, it’s shared with the rest of the world tomorrow (that’s simplifying it, of course). Anyway, AlOlaf, it’s great to read your log with the latest developments. Hold your head high, your accomplishments up to this point are worth a great deal of respect.

Peace out,
Peter McPeas

Hi, Mr. McPeas!

Your encouraging words have found a most grateful recipient, and I send you all the positive energy I can muster in support of your bid for the French C2. Some famous performing artist, I forget who, once said visualizing the audience in their underwear was conducive to generating the self-confidence necessary to deliver a bold and uninhibited show. I was thinking maybe this could be helpful to you. I had planned to imagine my exam administrator in his underwear, but I forgot, and you see where that got me.

I agree with you 100% about the people from yesteryear. They were some crafty, clever mofos, building cathedrals with hand tools, smelting alloys and whatnot.

However the exam turns out, you’ll be better off from having taken it. Give ‘em hell, mate!

Re: AlOlaf's Log (Danish/German/Norwegian)

Posted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:16 pm
by AlOlaf
I failed the exam. Now what?

I could:

A. go back to learning Danish, in the hopes of one day achieving a mediocre level.

B. dust myself off and push on with German, with the goal of retaking the exam and kicking its ass.

or

C. cease all language-learning activities and take up bowling.

After much deliberation and soul searching (during which time I often found myself leaning strongly towards C.), I’ve decided on B. Correspondingly, I’ve developed a three-pronged plan of action, outlined below in order of implementation:

Prong 1 (in progress): Audio/visual carpet bombing: Although it may turn out this act of desperation comes too late to improve the listening comprehension of an already unresponsive brain, I don’t know what else to do, so I’m on board 100%. The concept is simple: I watch every German film and TV show I can get my hands on, without subtitles. Instead of the documentaries I normally gravitate to, I’m forcing myself to watch stuff rich in conversational content, starting with 86 episodes of “Tatort” on DVD, the result of an Amazon.de buying spree some years back. When I’m done watching them, I’ll move on to my “Heimat” trilogy, after which I’ll watch all my German movies and finally, all my German-dubbed American/British/Danish/Norwegian movies and TV shows. We‘ll see if that does anything.

Prong 2: Read every German book I own aloud: Self-explanatory. See what that does.

Prong 3: Learn to talk like a German diplomat from 1963: Here I’ll repeat after the native speakers on my FSI recordings until I can say things like “die neue Tannhäuser-Inszenierung” and “Bürgschaftsbrief” just like them.

I’ve set preposterous, unattainable goals for myself in the past, and they didn’t do me any good. Now I realize what the problem was: They weren’t preposterous and unattainable enough. This should fix all that.

Activity suggests a life filled with purpose.

Re: AlOlaf's Log (Danish/German/Norwegian)

Posted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:57 pm
by PeterMollenburg
AlOlaf wrote:I failed the exam. Now what?

I could:

A. go back to learning Danish, in the hopes of one day achieving a mediocre level.

B. dust myself off and push on with German, with the goal of retaking the exam and kicking its ass.

or

C. cease all language-learning activities and take up bowling.

After much deliberation and soul searching (during which time I often found myself leaning strongly towards C.), I’ve decided on B. Correspondingly, I’ve developed a three-pronged plan of action, outlined below in order of implementation:

Prong 1 (in progress): Audio/visual carpet bombing: Although it may turn out this act of desperation comes too late to improve the listening comprehension of an already unresponsive brain, I don’t know what else to do, so I’m on board 100%. The concept is simple: I watch every German film and TV show I can get my hands on, without subtitles. Instead of the documentaries I normally gravitate to, I’m forcing myself to watch stuff rich in conversational content, starting with 86 episodes of “Tatort” on DVD, the result of an Amazon.de buying spree some years back. When I’m done watching them, I’ll move on to my “Heimat” trilogy, after which I’ll watch all my German movies and finally, all my German-dubbed American/British/Danish/Norwegian movies and TV shows. We‘ll see if that does anything.

Prong 2: Read every German book I own aloud: Self-explanatory. See what that does.

Prong 3: Learn to talk like a German diplomat from 1963: Here I’ll repeat after the native speakers on my FSI recordings until I can say things like “die neue Tannhäuser-Inszenierung” and “Bürgschaftsbrief” just like them.

I’ve set preposterous, unattainable goals for myself in the past, and they didn’t do me any good. Now I realize what the problem was: They weren’t preposterous and unattainable enough. This should fix all that.

Activity suggests a life filled with purpose.


Hi AlOlaf,

As I was reading your A,B,C options, I was rooting for B. Glad you decided to go that way, I discovered, as I read on and discovered what I discovered by reading and then discovering the discovery momentarily after my brain comprehended what I had discovered - your words that I read, that is, not someone else’s that I got distracted with suddenly, or even not suddenly at all, or slightly suddenly. I think slightly suddenly is a very common expression. I think your sheer determination will get you there, provided you turn that into action, German action.

Sounds like your life is going to be filled with purpose for some time, but I do like your plan. I am sure it will work. I’d add a fourth prong, though, and I think it would be better run alongside all other prongs. That fourth prong would be to use exam preparation material throughout your journey. Unless of course you feel it’s absolutely unnecessary to the success of your exam, given you’re already familiar with the format. And of course take this with a grain of salt, just my two cents, you don’t have to listen to me ;)

Re: AlOlaf's Log (Danish/German/Norwegian)

Posted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:18 am
by AlOlaf
PeterMollenburg wrote:
AlOlaf wrote:I failed the exam. Now what?

I could:

A. go back to learning Danish, in the hopes of one day achieving a mediocre level.

B. dust myself off and push on with German, with the goal of retaking the exam and kicking its ass.

or

C. cease all language-learning activities and take up bowling.

After much deliberation and soul searching (during which time I often found myself leaning strongly towards C.), I’ve decided on B. Correspondingly, I’ve developed a three-pronged plan of action, outlined below in order of implementation:

Prong 1 (in progress): Audio/visual carpet bombing: Although it may turn out this act of desperation comes too late to improve the listening comprehension of an already unresponsive brain, I don’t know what else to do, so I’m on board 100%. The concept is simple: I watch every German film and TV show I can get my hands on, without subtitles. Instead of the documentaries I normally gravitate to, I’m forcing myself to watch stuff rich in conversational content, starting with 86 episodes of “Tatort” on DVD, the result of an Amazon.de buying spree some years back. When I’m done watching them, I’ll move on to my “Heimat” trilogy, after which I’ll watch all my German movies and finally, all my German-dubbed American/British/Danish/Norwegian movies and TV shows. We‘ll see if that does anything.

Prong 2: Read every German book I own aloud: Self-explanatory. See what that does.

Prong 3: Learn to talk like a German diplomat from 1963: Here I’ll repeat after the native speakers on my FSI recordings until I can say things like “die neue Tannhäuser-Inszenierung” and “Bürgschaftsbrief” just like them.

I’ve set preposterous, unattainable goals for myself in the past, and they didn’t do me any good. Now I realize what the problem was: They weren’t preposterous and unattainable enough. This should fix all that.

Activity suggests a life filled with purpose.


Hi AlOlaf,

As I was reading your A,B,C options, I was rooting for B. Glad you decided to go that way, I discovered, as I read on and discovered what I discovered by reading and then discovering the discovery momentarily after my brain comprehended what I had discovered - your words that I read, that is, not someone else’s that I got distracted with suddenly, or even not suddenly at all, or slightly suddenly. I think slightly suddenly is a very common expression. I think your sheer determination will get you there, provided you turn that into action, German action.

Sounds like your life is going to be filled with purpose for some time, but I do like your plan. I am sure it will work. I’d add a fourth prong, though, and I think it would be better run alongside all other prongs. That fourth prong would be to use exam preparation material throughout your journey. Unless of course you feel it’s absolutely unnecessary to the success of your exam, given you’re already familiar with the format. And of course take this with a grain of salt, just my two cents, you don’t have to listen to me ;)

I‘m all ears, PeterMollenburg, and I get the point of your prong. Given that I failed the exam because I took it too lightly and only half-assed prepared for it, your suggestion is well taken. Thank you. I‘m awake now.

Re: AlOlaf's Log (Danish/German/Norwegian)

Posted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 11:21 pm
by AlOlaf
So far, I‘ve seen 74 of my 85 Tatort DVDs without subtitles. At first, I thought there were 86, but it turned out I was wrong. While I was watching one of the episodes, the picture froze up. I pulled the DVD out and noticed it showed scuffing, the kind that occurs when the disc comes loose in the case during shipment. On closer examination, the shape of the scuffed area looked somehow familiar. Then I suddenly remembered: I had discovered the damage on this disc several years back and bought a new, identical episode to replace it, but neglected to throw the damaged one away. Consequently, I’d counted the same episode twice. So, you see, in reality, I only have 85 instead of 86.

“Who gives a shit?” you may ask. “Why should I care how many Tatort episodes you have?” Good question. I have no reason to believe that dumping a chum bucket full of goofy language hobby minutiae into the deep, vast cybersea should attract even a single inquisitive life form, let alone result in some form of meaningful communicative interchange; nevertheless, I persevere in this activity, apparently in the misguided hope of one day miraculously hauling in a big, fat self-esteem boosting attaboy lunker. The warm, fuzzy inner glow of silent accomplishment doesn’t cut it for me, I guess; I want to wait until somebody’s looking before I do something commendable. Is this a sickness, I wonder? Hopefully not. Maybe it’s just a manifestation of a perfectly normal desire to swim with the current, to be on the right wavelength, to not have one’s gift exchanged for something more attractive or amusing. And there’s always something more attractive or amusing. The question is: Who can out-clever whom, and is the bulb in the self-contentment projector bright enough to blind curious onlookers? If I decide to start using the Oxford comma, will my identity be compromised? Can I still be a contender? What is this, anyway?

Next up, more of the same. I was stupid enough to order a 70s German TV series called “Ein Mann will nach oben” on DVD, without first checking to see if it was on YouTube, which it is. In any case, I got these DVDs and began watching them along with the Tatorts, but the series is full of heavy duty Berlin vernacular. The main culprit is the female protagonist, Rieke Busch, and what she says when she first makes her appearance forced me to appeal to my exchange partner for help. I’d be interested to know if anyone else finds this bit difficult. Here’s a link to the first episode, with the segment in question occurring between 10:44 and 11:20:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zLwFyeTI6d4

Bonus points if you can understand the toddler.

Meanwhile, I downloaded the ebook of the same name from Amazon and am finding the show‘s script very close to the book, so now I can follow the action without pestering my wonderful exchange partner to death. It’s not like I’m using subtitles or anything (and there’s no temptation to do so, since neither the DVDs nor the YouTube videos has any), but I feel mildly guilty about using the book as a crutch. After all, the whole point of this audio/visual overdose prong is to increase my listening comprehension, and I feel like I’m cheating by using the text. On the other hand, the book is giving me a deeper understanding of the characters, and, besides, without its help, there are parts of the show I’d never understand in a million years.

My original three-pronged plan for German improvement has, in the meantime, swelled up and sprouted new prongs. Now, like some blind and rudderless spiny zeppelin, it’s on its way to new vistas of preposterousness, with me at the helm, or rather, at the place the helm would be if there was one. A breakdown of the blimp‘s present construction:

1.Watch every German film and TV show I possess-no subtitles allowed
2.Read aloud every German book I possess, plus Beaton’s “A Practical Dictionary of German Usage”
3.Read Langenscheidt‘s “Deutsche Grammatik-Ein Handbuch für den Ausländerunterricht” and complete the accompanying workbook
4.Work all the way through Hueber’s “Übungsgrammatik für Fortgeschrittene”
5.Read the two little, fat Duden books “Stilwörterbuch” and “Redewendungen”
6.Drill FSI recordings until I can repeat/chorus all of them

In contrast to what I’ve always done in the past, I’ve decided to refrain from buying ostensibly motivation-generating plane tickets and hotel reservations for my next attempt at the GDS. I don’t need any more motivation. And this time, I’m not going until I’m ready, or at least have good reason to believe I’m ready. Right now, I have no idea when that might be.

Re: AlOlaf's Log (Danish/German/Norwegian)

Posted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 11:57 pm
by Neurotip
AlOlaf wrote:“Who gives a shit?” you may ask. “Why should I care how many Tatort episodes you have?”

I do not. But you made me laugh, so thank you. :D Whether that counts as sufficiently attaboyish I will leave for your consideration.
AlOlaf wrote:I want to wait until somebody’s looking before I do something commendable. Is this a sickness, I wonder? Hopefully not.

Be prepared, and be careful not to do // Your good deeds when there's no-one watching you...

Re: AlOlaf's Log (Danish/German/Norwegian)

Posted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 5:02 pm
by tungemål
AlOlaf wrote:...
I’d be interested to know if anyone else finds this bit difficult. Here’s a link to the first episode, with the segment in question occurring between 10:44 and 11:20:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zLwFyeTI6d4

Bonus points if you can understand the toddler.
...


I didn't get much of that, but it was easy to understand what she wanted (based on body language).
The toddler said: "... schwer".

Re: AlOlaf's Log (Danish/German/Norwegian)

Posted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 11:25 pm
by AlOlaf
@Neurotrip: Thanks for dropping by my log. I just read yours and listened to the recordings of your spoken Icelandic. To me, you sound just like the actors in the “Viltu lære íslensku?” videos. Of course, seeing as I have no real experience with the language apart from having at one point repeatedly watched these addictive videos, my assessment carries little weight and can only serve as a thinly-veiled reciprocal attaboy.

@tungemål: Bonus attaboy! Attaboys all around!

Re: AlOlaf's Log (Danish/German/Norwegian)

Posted: Wed Dec 25, 2019 11:14 pm
by AlOlaf
Ich bin dabei, mir deutsche DVDs anzusehen, weil diese auf die Verbesserung meines unzureichenden Hörverstehens gezielte Aktivität den ersten Abschnitt meines frischgebackenen sechsgliedrigen Deutschprojekts ausmacht. Jeder der sechs Abschnitte dieses rein erfundenen Projekts richtet sich auf eine bestimmte Sprachkompetenz, die durch das Durcharbeiten des entsprechenden Abschnittes verbessert werden soll (ok, das stimmt nicht so ganz-bei drei Abschnitten handelt es sich um Grammatik, die an sich keine richtige Sprachkompetenz ist). Da ich beim jüngsten unerfolgreichen Ablegen der GDS-Prüfung das Modul Hören nicht bestanden habe, halte ich es für ratsam, dass ich mich unverzüglich und mit vollem Engagement der Verbesserung meines Hörverstehens widme. Das heißt, ich habe nur eines im Sinn: DVDs anschauen. Ohne Untertitel. Bis zum Gehtnichtmehr.

Aber schon kommen mir Zweifel, ob das Projekt wirklich ausreichend durchdacht ist. Die Grundidee, jeden Abschnitt separat in numerischer Reihenfolge komplett durchzuführen, passt zwar gut zu meiner einspurig denkenden Persönlichkeit, könnte sich aber als Irrweg entpuppen. Falls zum Beispiel das Umgehen mit einem bestimmten Abschnitt (sprich einer einzelnen Sprachkompetenz) sehr lange dauert, könnten die drei verbliebenen Kompetenzen unverhältnismäßig vernachlässigt werden. Und wenn der betreffende viel Zeit in Anspruch nehmende Ausschnitt endlich beendet wird und die Kompetenzen gewechselt werden, könnte diese soeben verbesserte Kompetenz wiederum eine lange Zeit vernachlässigt werden, zusammen mit den zwei verbliebenen, noch länger vernachlässigten Kompetenzen. Vielleicht wäre es besser, wenn ich häufig zwischen den Kompetenzen wechsle statt zu versuchen, jede einzelne separat zu „beenden“ bevor ich die nächste anpacke. Oder was, wenn ich komplett vom Plan abweiche und etwas völlig anderes mache? Wäre das so schlimm? Nachteil: Ich würde dadurch die geballte Kraft von zielstrebiger Besessenheit verlieren und mich undiszipliniert und willensschwach fühlen. Vorteil: Ich könnte mich dann sofort mit meinem tollen neuen DLI-Kurs beschäftigen. Darüber muss ich mal nachdenken.

Übrigens, ich schreibe hier auf Deutsch, weil ich die Sprachkompetenz Schreiben versehentlich aus meinem Projekt weggelassen habe. Zwar ist mir wohlbewusst, dass es keine Nachfrage für mein schriftliches Zeug gibt, doch ich brauche Übung. Egal wie sehr ich mich bemühe, klar und natürlich zu schreiben, sind meine Texte am Ende immer plump und umständlich.

Re: AlOlaf's Log (Danish/German/Norwegian)

Posted: Thu Dec 26, 2019 9:45 am
by gsbod
Obwohl ich nicht weiß, wie viele DVDs und Bücher du tatsächlich hast, würde ich sagen, dass dein Plan Sinn macht. Ich würde dir nur empfehlen, jeden Abschnitt zum Ende zu bringen, wenn du die erwünchste Verbesserung im entsprechenden Bereich erreicht hast.