Teango wrote:Congrats on completing the reading part of the SC; that's no mean feat! I imagine knowing some Spanish beforehand must have helped out a bit here. In the reverse direction, I find that I can follow Spanish (and several other Romance languages) with relative ease due to having reached a more advanced reading level in French. Sadly, my complete mismatch between French listening and reading still drives me up the wall (spoken and literary French just seem like utterly different languages to me, and I mean different, as in different galaxies!).
I actually did the whole SC, not just the reading part, which explains why my listening comprehension is also fairly good. I always start with a dubbed series, because people speak more clearly in those. I watched the first season of Buffy with subtitles, then dropped the subs and watched the rest of the series without. I'm now on Angel Season 2, and have also watched Marseille and a few movies as well as listened to 2 of the Harry Potter audiobooks after reading them in French. I still have some issues with accents, since dubs are usually fairly neutral, so I need to move on to more native series. Of course, slang and the stuff teenagers say, no chance, but I hear French tourists on the street here all the time and I usually understand everything they say.
Teango wrote:If you don't mind me asking, i. (very approximately) how many pages of Spanish do you think you read extensively over those 5 years, ii. how many words of French do you estimate you picked up over 5,000 pages and 3 months using LWT, and iii. did you use any other systems of review to support and maintain your French and Spanish vocabulary (e.g., LWT-->Anki flashcards, word lists)? Apologies for the 20 questions, but I find this all very interesting.
Hard to say about the number of pages with Spanish, but it might be around 3000 pages roughly. One year I read all of Lord of the Rings, another year I read 10 books. And occasionally I read a lot of it for my PhD too. Tough to estimate really, might be more or less, but definitely 2500+. Basically I didn't feel my precision improved in any way through that though. Always swimming a little. And another 2500 wouldn't have changed that, it's the extensive part that was the problem.
With French I added 28,500 word forms to LWT, most of which must be verbs of course, not sure how much that is in actual words. It's basically enough to then go on and read without a dictionary with a sufficient feeling of precision. It's of course still not on the level of my English, but then with English they actually threw 500-1000 pages of required reading *each week* at us for 26 weeks while I was on different humanities courses - some of it, maybe even half, was philosophy! And that was just a couple of terms at uni being a humanities major, I also read a gazillion and one fantasy and sci fi novels and later tons of scientific articles and books for 3 years of studying for my MSc, + oodles of Facebook ... basically it has been 15,000+ pages English a year at least for almost 10 years now. I still have some work to do before I get to that amount of input with French.
And no, I didn't use any other method to maintain or review. I was sick of Anki after my last bout of Russian. The most common words are repeated all the time anyway, so you get a lot of exposure to frequent words and the not so frequent ones are not important enough to remember anyway. What I do is to type in the meaning myself with each new occurrence, no "mark all as known", no copy & paste, and then I also type out the basic word form in another field - for Russian that would be infinitive for verbs, masculine nominative for adjectives, and so on. Writing out everying adds at least one active element to it that seems to make a big difference.
I hear what you're saying.
I've got a basketful of Red Kalinkas, along with a smaller spotted knapsack of other adapted readers, and they simply just don't tickle the palate or satiate my need for a good engrossing read. I've read Zamyatin's Мы, as I'm rather fond of dystopias and it uses an unusually simplified and mathematical language (aligning with the protagonist's perspective in the novel), and I've got partway through Мастер и маргарита (one of my favourite novels), but I've yet to crack the popular Ночной Дозор trilogy or any of its more recent fantastical progeny. It sits there in my bookshelf like a dusty necronomicon, suited up in hardback brown and gilded in gold lettering, mocking me from across the room to this very day: "Эскалатор полз медленно, натужно. Старая станция, ничего не поделаешь..." I will not give in, damn it.
Ah, Ночной Дозор is on the list for me too after watching that movie with my dad years ago! I'll read a translation into Russian first though. I'm planning to read a translation of an American fantasy saga that I know quite well. With Russian the problem is that the grammar is a lot more involved and I have to wait a little to review again before I jump in with proper content. With French I had the advantage of having Spanish + English vocab present and French grammar is a lot like Italian grammar, basically I could start reading almost right away after I had the pronunciation down. I just don't have that head start with Russian. I'm totally forcing myself to do the Red Kalinka readers, they are really not engaging at all, but I think it will at least keep me busy with adding word forms to LWT and keep me occupied until I've had time to catch up with the grammar a little.