Lilly's log - French, Russian, Spanish and Italian

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blaurebell
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Re: Lilly's log - French

Postby blaurebell » Mon Aug 08, 2016 6:30 pm

Ketutar wrote:I might add Stargate to my watch list... right now I'm watching (mostly) French movies and series, and not dubbed, but... I kind of like the American movies and series, especially scifi and fantasy. I might add Once upon a time and Grimm too to my watch list. :-D


Cool, the first things I watch are usually dubbed series, because voice actors tend to actually enunciate better. "Proper" actors mumble more, usually to cover up bad acting, which I find a rather unbearable combination, especially when I'm just starting out in a language. Once I'm comfortable with watching the dubbed stuff, I move on to proper native stuff.

And yay for scifi and fantasy! :)
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: 14325 / 35000 LWT Known

: 17 / 55 FSI Spanish Basic
: 100 / 116 GdUdE B
: 8 / 72 Duolingo reverse Spanish -> German

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blaurebell
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Re: Lilly's log - French

Postby blaurebell » Mon Aug 08, 2016 6:40 pm

PeterMollenburg wrote:I'm impressed with your speedy proress Lilly. Keep up the speedy progress and don't burn out! :)


Thanks :) I'm trying. I think I'm pretty safe on the burn out front, since I'm barely doing anything that I find annoying. What made me quit before with Russian was that I wasn't seeing any real progress, despite major grammar and anki torture. Yes, after 3 months I could understand some sentences here and there, but reading was incredibly annoying, because the grammar of Russian is so complicated. I just didn't get enough "in return" so to speak. As long as I'm able to have fun with a language it all sort of comes by itself though and I'm basically almost there. Reading is starting to be fun in any case! The rest is just bells and whistles for now.
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: 20 / 100 Дэвид Эддингс - В поисках камня
: 14325 / 35000 LWT Known

: 17 / 55 FSI Spanish Basic
: 100 / 116 GdUdE B
: 8 / 72 Duolingo reverse Spanish -> German

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blaurebell
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Re: Lilly's log - French

Postby blaurebell » Sun Aug 21, 2016 5:21 pm

Time for another 2 week update! I've now been studying French for 6 weeks and my progress has greatly surpassed my expectations. I've been following Assimil religiously and haven't missed a single day of Duolingo, although on some days the thought of doing 80XP worth of strengthening was making me groan. I'm now at that stage in the tree where on some days it seems that half the skills in the tree need to be practiced again. I can't really estimate how much more I need to do on Duolingo, because further down the tree the skills get longer. So far I'm progressing rather quickly though. Maybe 3 weeks more and I'll be done.

Before I comment on my progress with Assimil let me make clear that I spent about half of my study time in the last couple of weeks on reading. And with this I mean that I spent 34h on reading! Yes, that's slightly mad, but I somehow got really into it and time flies when you're having fun. By now I come across pages where I have seen every word before and all the previously intensive reading starts to get more and more extensive. There are still between 6-15% new word forms on each page I add, but the majority of them are forms of words that I know already. Occasionally I run across a page with 20% mostly new vocabulary but these are the exception. With more than 4700 "Known Words" and about 7000 words in the database in total I spend only a short time on putting in new words. I read about 2/3 of the first Harry Potter book now and will finish it soon. Every day I read a little more quickly and today I've read about 50 pages in total (slightly shorter e-reader pages, that is).

With this context it's pretty obvious that I found the Assimil lessons very easy. Hardly any of the vocabulary is new to me and the biggest challenge is to manage to shadow some of the longer sentences. I'm now getting close to the start of the passive wave and I think I'm also relatively well prepared for that through Duolingo. The only problem for my Assimil learning is that I need some peace and quiet to be able to do the shadowing. Although not a problem right now, this will definitely become a problem at the beginning of September when we go on a trip down to Madrid. We'll be with my whole family and there won't be any peace and quiet at all. In that time I will probably suspend the Assimil until we return a week later and continue from there. While we're on the trip I will definitely continue with Duolingo though and read as much as I feel like. By the way, for now I have minimised the pain and put FSI French Phonology on hold until after I finish Duolingo. Using too many resources at once just confuses me.

After waiting for it for ages I finally got the old Leitner system Vocabulary Trainer for French by Langenscheidt in the mail. It took so long to arrive that I already complained to the seller, otherwise I would have already started it right after finishing the pronunciation trainer. At the beginning of my French journey I banned Anki for vocabulary, because the proliferating reviews were killing me with my Russian. Still, there is nothing quite like flashcards to get the active vocabulary going and I've used them with success in the past. In fact I used an older version of the very same Langenscheidt vocabulary trainer some 15 years ago when I was still learning English in school. The good thing about the Leitner system is that it won't let you study a card forever, which means that reviews don't proliferate. It's not quite as reliable as Anki retention-wise, but my aim is not to become a dictionary, my aim is to give the basic vocabulary the strongest connections in my brain, that's all. I don't have to have perfect retention, especially not with vocabulary that might not be so incredibly relevant after all. After all, how often do I use the word "cardigan" or "shoe-lace" even in my primary language? Like walking along a barely visible path, making it more clear every time you walk on it. I will only spend 15min a day on it, which means that it can't overwhelm me with time like Anki. The goal is to finish the pre-supplied vocabulary within about a year. I'm also trying to trick my brain into making the connection to the concepts rather than the L1 words by studying French from English in general and doing the flashcards from German. Two connections are better than one, right? Besides, my German is getting a bit rusty and a little vocabulary reactivation might do me some good there. And yes, I've lost my native language to such an extent that occasionally I can only remember the English or Spanish word but the German word just won't come to me. I've been using 99% English for 10 years now, which definitely takes its toll.

How will I continue? Well, more of the same, because it's working so brilliantly! I will try to focus on reading a lot to quickly extend my vocabulary and try to have as much fun as possible with the language. I'm already almost at a stage where immersion just works by itself. There are still too many gaps in my vocabulary to catch everything in the Simpsons, it has an exceptionally broad vocabulary for a kids show, but I do get most of it now.

Progress:
French Pronunciation trainer (100% done)
read 4 children's stories (100% done)
Assimil French with Ease (42/113)
Duolingo (52/78 skills)
FSI French Phonology (Lesson 8/20)
at least 22 seasons of Simpsons episodes dubbed in French with French subs (ca. 150h) (3/22)
Harry Potter à l'école des sorciers (60% done)

Planned:
FSI French Basic
MT French all levels
Assimil Using French
Duolingo reverse tree
Practice makes Perfect Complete French Grammar or other grammar book
Stargate French dub no subs (22 seasons, ca 300h)
The rest of Harry Potter in French (ca. 4000 pages)
French crime novels (ca. 1000 pages)
3 x
: 20 / 100 Дэвид Эддингс - В поисках камня
: 14325 / 35000 LWT Known

: 17 / 55 FSI Spanish Basic
: 100 / 116 GdUdE B
: 8 / 72 Duolingo reverse Spanish -> German

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Ketutar
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Re: Lilly's log - French

Postby Ketutar » Thu Aug 25, 2016 2:33 pm

blaurebell wrote:although on some days the thought of doing 80XP worth of strengthening was making me groan.


LOL I know the feeling

blaurebell wrote:The good thing about the Leitner system is that it won't let you study a card forever, which means that reviews don't proliferate.


I haven't used Anki, but Memrise allows you to ignore words, which means that I just ignore all the words I know, and won't need to review them more. :-)

blaurebell wrote: After all, how often do I use the word "cardigan" or "shoe-lace" even in my primary language?


I actually love cardigans and use the word every day :-D
But I agree with your point. They say the frequency lists are a bit stupid, because they should be individual and personal - we should create our own frequency lists, and how that is done... I don't know. :-D

blaurebell wrote:Two connections are better than one, right?


Right :-D I'm using English, Finnish and Swedish as L1, and even a bit of German... I think the adverbs and prepositions are easier in German. I don't seem to grasp the adverbs in French at all, which vexes me. :-D

blaurebell wrote:Besides, my German is getting a bit rusty and a little vocabulary reactivation might do me some good there. And yes, I've lost my native language to such an extent that occasionally I can only remember the English or Spanish word but the German word just won't come to me. I've been using 99% English for 10 years now, which definitely takes its toll.


Yeah, it does, doesn't it :-) I'm starting to notice the effect on my Finnish. The most used words disappear. One of my most used sentences is "What is that word in ANY language?". (My husband is Danish and speaks English and Swedish and has a basic grasp of Latin/Romance languages and Germanic languages, so he can pretty much guess the meaning of a word if I know it in any of these languages. (Yes, ANY Romance or Germanic language... I'm really envious :-D)

I'm really impressed with the work you put in and the effects :-)
It's so fun to compare us, using somewhat different methods, but with very similar resources/base to build on :-)
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Memrise: 656 / 1657
5000 words: 2300 / 5000

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blaurebell
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Re: Lilly's log - French and Russian

Postby blaurebell » Sun Jan 29, 2017 5:48 pm

Oh look, I'm back! I know I know, I should have posted some updates, since I was still learning French pretty religiously, but I got really busy with work, got a visit by a friend and it all became a bit of a whirlwind. How did my French learning proceed? Well, it was a huge success! After about 3 months I was through with all of Harry Potter and could watch series without subtitles. In the meantime I have read my 5000 pages intensively, all of Harry Potter and some crime novels and I also watched about 200h of dubbed and original series. I also recently listened to Camus - L'Étranger and Jules Verne - Voyage au centre de la Terre as audiobooks while travelling with barely a few words that I didn't know. Nothing that would have affected my understanding! And I even read a French translation of a Japanese book without a dictionary. So, all in all really really good and I reached my goal with French so far. Since we don't have any France travel planned soon, I have decided not to practice speaking yet since it would just deteriorate again by underuse before I get a real life chance of using it. Once I have some travel to Paris lined up it will happen too though. By the way, I never finished my Assimil French course! After reading all that stuff it just didn't seem to teach me anything anymore. Maybe before doing speaking practice I'll try my hand at the active phase though.

So, instead of speaking practice I put French on the maintenance pile now and start with a new language: I'll be learning Russian again! I started Russian already once before with a bit of a failure - I got too bogged down with grammar and flashcards and it went against the wall. So now, the plan is to repeat my French success with this more difficult language. I'll start it all off with Assimil - Le Russe! This is precisely what I wanted to do when I set out on my French journey, learn enough French to teach myself Russian from it. I'll also do Duolingo Russian from English and once I feel like I have reactivated all the dormant grammar in my brain, I'll get going with some proper intensive reading on a translation of an American fantasy novel that I read in German as a child. It's a whole saga, so there are 5000 pages in there easily, if not more. And when I run out or get bored I'll continue with War and Peace. The latter was a suggestion by my Dad since he read it in Russian recently and ran into some issues with all the French in there. Not a problem for me! For watching I've got Star Trek - The Next Generation in Russian dub lined up. Russian dubs are super annoying with the muddled original in the background, but I think I'll get used to it quickly. And when I'm through with all of it, I'll move on to watching all the мосфильм movies on youtube, they have the whole archive on there I believe. I'm really excited about my new language journey now and this time I'll try to keep the updates coming regularly. I've got until October to learn the language, since we are planning to travel to Russia then and this time I'll be practicing speaking too once I come to the end of my 150h series and movie watching phase. I also won't be touching any flashcards on this one, since I had enough of that on my last Russian learning attempt. I'm sure all the stuff I learned back then is still in my head and just needs to be reactivated. I even remember how to touchtype in Russian, so I think getting to the reading phase won't take too long at all. I can practice speaking with my mum and a bunch of photography friends, so this should be without any of the anxiety producing encounters with strangers! I'm all fired up and ready to go! And this time it has to happen since otherwise we don't get to travel there in autumn! I so want to visit the Yuri Orlov Palaeontological Museum in Moscow!

And you know what's my secret motivation for Russian? Apart from the obvious family connection and the dinosaurs, I always wanted to know more languages than my Dad, it was one of my secret goals! He speaks German, English, Russian, Spanish and has a little dormant Italian left. I speak German, English and Spanish, now understand French and have also some buried Italian too. So, once I speak Russian, I got him! Nothing like a little healthy competition ;)
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: 20 / 100 Дэвид Эддингс - В поисках камня
: 14325 / 35000 LWT Known

: 17 / 55 FSI Spanish Basic
: 100 / 116 GdUdE B
: 8 / 72 Duolingo reverse Spanish -> German

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Re: Lilly's log - French

Postby blaurebell » Tue Jan 31, 2017 7:11 pm

Current progress:
: 3 / 100 Assimil Russian
: 8 / 79 Duolingo Russian
: 1 / 7 Red Kalinka - Stories in Russian A1

Today it has been a week since I decided to take up Russian again. I began with re-doing my Russian tree on Duolingo and since I wanted to keep track of the place where I stopped the last time I simply started doing all the skills again from top down. Everything started coming back rather quickly and by now I'm noticing how much I still remember. The alphabet is still present, I can touch-type and I have pretty firm basics too. After a few days of Duolingo my Assimil Le Russe course also arrived. Since I didn't use Assimil the last time round with Russian, I just started from the beginning. I'm now 3 lessons in and it's all pretty basic. I shadow the Russian audio which is way too slow for my taste and then go ahead with reading the text aloud, reading the notes, doing the exercises and finally I try to produce the French too, which is right now the most challenging part actually. Since I stopped with my French Assimil course right before the active wave started, I can now try to do a little bit of a double movement, figure out the Russian from the French, then produce the French back from the Russian. Two languages practiced in one go!

After a week of not struggling with the Russian at all I decided that it was time to make it a little more difficult and start reading. I picked up a Red Kalinka graded reader for A1 and put that in Learning with Texts. I was rather surprised to figure out that I understood most of the first text and could also do the exercises without problems. Seems like that A1 reader might even be a little too easy for me! Now that I bought it I might as well finish it though and who knows, maybe I run into something problematic in one of the other texts in the book. And this means that I already have a reading progression laid out for me, graded readers, finally a proper short story, a novella and then I go on to my fantasy novel translation. From today on I will make sure that I read at least an hour each day and I'm very curious to see when I will reach that novel. With French it took me about 3 weeks without any prior knowledge, but I expect it to take a tad longer with Russian since the grammar is just so much more complicated. In any case, I feel like I made some progress and that's certainly a good thing!

Plan:
Red Kalinka - Stories A2, B1, Easy Classics, B2
0 x
: 20 / 100 Дэвид Эддингс - В поисках камня
: 14325 / 35000 LWT Known

: 17 / 55 FSI Spanish Basic
: 100 / 116 GdUdE B
: 8 / 72 Duolingo reverse Spanish -> German

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blaurebell
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Re: Lilly's log - French and Russian

Postby blaurebell » Fri Feb 03, 2017 9:50 am

So, learning Russian is my main focus these days, but would you believe that I'm actually studying more French than Russian? It's easily explained by the fact that in French I can just have fun, read books and comics, watch series and movies, and that alone is enough to keep progressing.

These last few days I listened to a French audiobook: Jules Verne - Le tour du monde en 80 jours, while I was doing my drawing exercises. Keeps me doubly entertained! There is s fun thing about that: I have actually been studying Spanish for a lot longer than French, I understand everything I hear in everyday life and TV in many different accents, Argentinian, Mexican and Continental Spanish, and I even speak it reasonably well, at least when I get the chance to practice a little. However, I can't listen to audiobooks in Spanish! I have read quite a lot in Spanish - all of Lord of the Rings, lots of non-fiction and historical stuff, but always extensively and it seems that the literary words have just slipped by without any real impact. With Spanish audiobooks I feel like I'm swimming and there is just too much literary vocabulary that I don't get. My understanding totally lacks precision. Not so with the French! I actually did a French Super Challenge right at the beginning and I did the reading part with Learning with Texts to pick up vocabulary. It was basically 5000 pages of intensive reading! And with that I actually brought my French literary understanding to a much higher level in 6 months than my Spanish literary understanding after 5 years of extensive reading. Really cool! So, when I'm done with my Russian Super Challenge - I'm following the exact same strategy as with French -, I'll do a Spanish intensive reading challenge as well. I definitely need to close that obvious gap. To come back to French: I also read an Asterix comic - Le domaine des dieux - before going to bed the other day. It was so much fun that I finished it in one sitting although it was getting late.

The difficult part of language learning for me is really that stage when I can't yet do any of the fun stuff yet and I'm just exposed to dumbed down teaching texts and formal study. Russian is still at that stage for me and I need to make sure I overcome that initial hurdle before I lose momentum. My limit is usually 3 months before I get bored and move on to something else. So, with Russian the goal is to get to reading proper native content within 3 months. I have already about 3 months of grammar study behind me from my last attempt and it's coming back to me effortlessly, so I should be able to get there this time! I'm really looking forward to that moment when I can just pick up a Russian Science Fiction novel or watch a classic Soviet movie and relax with those.
2 x
: 20 / 100 Дэвид Эддингс - В поисках камня
: 14325 / 35000 LWT Known

: 17 / 55 FSI Spanish Basic
: 100 / 116 GdUdE B
: 8 / 72 Duolingo reverse Spanish -> German

DaveBee
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Re: Lilly's log - French and Russian

Postby DaveBee » Fri Feb 03, 2017 10:55 am

blaurebell wrote:I actually did a French Super Challenge right at the beginning and I did the reading part with Learning with Texts to pick up vocabulary. It was basically 5000 pages of intensive reading! And with that I actually brought my French literary understanding to a much higher level in 6 months than my Spanish literary understanding after 5 years of extensive reading.
I've been slacking off on my reading the past month, and watching TV shows instead. Clearly a mistake!
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Teango
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Re: Lilly's log - French and Russian

Postby Teango » Fri Feb 03, 2017 11:45 am

blaurebell wrote:I actually did a French Super Challenge right at the beginning and I did the reading part with Learning with Texts to pick up vocabulary. It was basically 5000 pages of intensive reading! And with that I actually brought my French literary understanding to a much higher level in 6 months than my Spanish literary understanding after 5 years of extensive reading. Really cool!

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!). 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.

blaurebell wrote:So, with Russian the goal is to get to reading proper native content within 3 months. I have already about 3 months of grammar study behind me from my last attempt and it's coming back to me effortlessly, so I should be able to get there this time! I'm really looking forward to that moment when I can just pick up a Russian Science Fiction novel or watch a classic Soviet movie and relax with those.

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.
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blaurebell
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Re: Lilly's log - French and Russian

Postby blaurebell » Fri Feb 03, 2017 6:29 pm

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.

Teango wrote: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.
1 x
: 20 / 100 Дэвид Эддингс - В поисках камня
: 14325 / 35000 LWT Known

: 17 / 55 FSI Spanish Basic
: 100 / 116 GdUdE B
: 8 / 72 Duolingo reverse Spanish -> German


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