Lilly's log - French, Russian and Spanish

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blaurebell
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Re: Lilly's log - French, Russian and reluctant Spanish

Postby blaurebell » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:18 pm

outcast wrote:Te escribo en español porque necesito practicar, estoy mal mal. Me acordaba en mi cabeza del verbo "to claim", "behaupten", pero ni por casualidad asomaba el término en castellano... lo he tenido que buscar y en alemán porque "claim" en inglés tiene varios significados. Grave situación.


Hah, happens to me too! I have the same situation with German occasionally and then I start to use very strange words that are closer to whatever the word in English would be. I sound super silly sometimes :roll: And I better won't torture you with my rusty Spanish writing, it's enough for chatting about superficial stuff, but not politics :D

You know, this is one of those topics where people are likely to clash, even in Argentina people were split pretty much 50 50 and the current government won by very little. One man's far left propaganda is somewhat centre-left for another. As someone who is used to good old soviet propaganda, their TV education initiatives seemed mild centre-left at most. It's all a matter of degree. One thing is for sure: What the previous government built and tried to do for the country was destroyed within a few months. It was atrocious to watch and my mother in law was basically crying every day. My husband stopped watching the news and turned off Facebook. He wouldn't have been able to work otherwise because he got super angry about what was happening. Among our friends several people lost their jobs due to being supporters of the previous government on Facebook - I don't know what to call that but it comes damn close to political persecution. Those who kept their jobs did so mainly because there was no one else to do it. Two of our friends found themselves in a situation where they were fired and then rehired because it turned out that they were the only qualified people left in their entire department! And still they have all very precarious contract situations now and university funding is half frozen. Our own plans of moving there fell apart because of the precarious situation right now at the universities. Last time we visited the country in April there were anti-riot barriers in front of the house of government and the whole atmosphere was just so ... bitter. It was the opposite of what it was like the year before. We're not travelling there this year ... too depressing.

I suppose I can only have a very biased opinion, since I'm basically stuck in the wrong country because of "these people". I guess that's what Latin America will always be like, always precarious. It's one of the few places where real change is still possible, but of course nobody says that things always change for the better.
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Re: Lilly's log - French, Russian and reluctant Spanish

Postby blaurebell » Sat Mar 18, 2017 7:14 pm

Russian

: 49 / 100 Assimil Le Russe
: 1 / 45 Modern Russian 1
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done:
Pronunciation trainer
Russian World 1
Duolingo :twisted:
Red Kalinka - Stories in Russian A1
Red Kalinka - Stories in Russian A2.1
Red Kalinka - Stories in Russian A2.2

Today I finished Duolingo Russian. No, I didn't actually reach the end of the tree, but rather decided that the rest is actually useless. After the last participle skill the rest of the skills only seem to be vocabulary and none of it interests me very much. It's all the kind of vocabulary that I either pick up while reading or not at all. So, I follow my mantra and say: "Have the courage to leave gaps". When something is useless one shouldn't waste time on it out of a sense of obligation. Duolingo was helpful up until the last checkpoint, the rest was pretty much pointless torture leading to an excess of foul language. If I feel like it, I might do 10XP a day of new stuff until I really reach the end, but no more strengthening and if it makes me swear too much, I will leave it be. It's been demoted to the vocabulary time slot too which I'm free to skip if I don't feel like it.

I also finished the first audio file of Modern Russian 1. Exactly like FSI, although I'm sorely missing my lovely minimal pairs listening drills from FSI French Phonology. I wonder whether there will be some along the way perhaps? In any case, Nina and Evgeny mention a meeting at the factory and the exercise book alludes to a comrade. Ah yes, I'm going to have fun with this one! The first lesson included audio drills, reading the not too boring basic bits of the book and quickly doing the exercises in the workbook without writing them down - all were supposed to be answered in English. It took me about an hour and I had to go over some of the question answer drills twice because I'm not used to them. Assimil is just shadowing for the first 49 lessons, no actual coming up with sentences, Duolingo doesn't have a time limit either. I was just a little bit slow on these. On the second attempt I did fine though! This is going to be helpful. By the way, it's dry, so I've decided that there must be a spy in every dialogue. In this one it was Nina. She should have known about the meeting already and not ask silly questions!

Assimil: I'm now finished with week 7 of Assimil Le Russe. Halfway through and the active wave starts tomorrow! I ditched the Assimil French shortly after this point because it was too easy, but I think with Russian I'm not progressing quite as fast as with French, so I will keep going this time.

I generally relaxed this last week to allow myself a little break after the 6WC challenge, no Russian reading for a few days. With all the little changes - Modern Russian, the start of the active wave of Assimil - I'll probably need a few days to adjust my routine, but I'll continue with my book soon enough.

French

I'm almost done with the Simenon production on France Culture - it's extremely good! -, finished another Season of Angel French dubs (I moved on to Season 4 now) and last night I read another 40 pages in my Kundera book. Enjoyable! No more comics for now, but reading novels seems just as enjoyable and relaxing right now, there are barely any words I don't know. In case you're wondering - normally the French in Assimil Le Russe doesn't really throw me unless there are some strange words isolated in the chapter headings. Assimil definitely has some weird vocabulary sometimes! Those were such weird words that I made no effort to remember them. I treat the Russian vocabulary in it similarly. If this vocabulary comes up in other courses, books or sources, those words will stick, if not then I don't need them anyway. Courage to leave gaps!

Spanish

Surprise, surprise, Ministerio del Tiempo episode 4 was actually enjoyable and we laughed at the ending! Of course we added some dumb questions and silly voice over in places, but there was almost some acting in one or two scenes :o Haven't started on any books yet, because I got kinda distracted by a long list of women writers my mother in law sent over! I now have a number of books on my list for my Argentinian intensive reading SC. Now I must stop adding books to the list and just start on one!
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Re: Lilly's log - French, Russian and reluctant Spanish

Postby outcast » Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:19 pm

blaurebell wrote:
outcast wrote:Te escribo en español porque necesito practicar, estoy mal mal. Me acordaba en mi cabeza del verbo "to claim", "behaupten", pero ni por casualidad asomaba el término en castellano... lo he tenido que buscar y en alemán porque "claim" en inglés tiene varios significados. Grave situación.


Hah, happens to me too! I have the same situation with German occasionally and then I start to use very strange words that are closer to whatever the word in English would be. I sound super silly sometimes :roll: And I better won't torture you with my rusty Spanish writing, it's enough for chatting about superficial stuff, but not politics :D

You know, this is one of those topics where people are likely to clash, even in Argentina people were split pretty much 50 50 and the current government won by very little. One man's far left propaganda is somewhat centre-left for another. As someone who is used to good old soviet propaganda, their TV education initiatives seemed mild centre-left at most. It's all a matter of degree. One thing is for sure: What the previous government built and tried to do for the country was destroyed within a few months. It was atrocious to watch and my mother in law was basically crying every day. My husband stopped watching the news and turned off Facebook. He wouldn't have been able to work otherwise because he got super angry about what was happening. Among our friends several people lost their jobs due to being supporters of the previous government on Facebook - I don't know what to call that but it comes damn close to political persecution. Those who kept their jobs did so mainly because there was no one else to do it. Two of our friends found themselves in a situation where they were fired and then rehired because it turned out that they were the only qualified people left in their entire department! And still they have all very precarious contract situations now and university funding is half frozen. Our own plans of moving there fell apart because of the precarious situation right now at the universities. Last time we visited the country in April there were anti-riot barriers in front of the house of government and the whole atmosphere was just so ... bitter. It was the opposite of what it was like the year before. We're not travelling there this year ... too depressing.

I suppose I can only have a very biased opinion, since I'm basically stuck in the wrong country because of "these people". I guess that's what Latin America will always be like, always precarious. It's one of the few places where real change is still possible, but of course nobody says that things always change for the better.


I am one of those few people (sadly), that can discuss politics, religion, and science without trying to strangle those who disagree. These days I feel people everywhere are less tolerant that in the past. I think the internet, for all the positives it brings when used the right way, has had a huge impact in fanning the flames of extremism and overly polarized views, with all the half-truth and colored information out there.

Personally, I am on a basic level a Generación del 80 type, which you may have learned about if you have read some Argentine history. Similar to what Europeans or North Americans would call a "laissez-faire" or "libertarian", when it comes to economics. But the 80tistas were not straight classic liberaritarians, they believed in fully funded public education, which at the time was rather unusual in the world, and also free public medicine. Conversely, however, they had no qualms of using force to suppress any dissent and revolt, and were fully in ideological agreement with the general winds in Europe, Australia, and North America at the time, of promoting only "white" European immigration and limiting all others, because of the nauseating views too many had at that time in the ethnically European countries at the time. I part ways with them on those last two and a few other areas.

Post-modern 80s believe in economic matters there should be swift trade, open capital, and lose job markets, because we truly believe the country falls into periods of high unemployment is because "obsolete" jobs are protected too long, build up the inefficiency, and when the government is cash strapped and no longer can protect the jobs, the jobs are destroyed at once and it causes joblessness to rise all at once and sends the country's economy to a death spiral. When jobs, capital, and trade are mostly free, adjustments like this are more gradual and people and the economy can adapt over a longer period of time. Of course people can disagree with this philosophy.

It is "post-modern", because we believe in fully funded military, education, medicine, and police, which is more left-leaning than conservatives. A citizen should have the right to be cured from ilness, access to an education, be protected from foreign threats, and be safe from criminals at home. When those conditions are met, people should flourish and thus provide capital, taxes, labor, and innovation to the economy. And in social ideology we are totally liberalist: pro-Gay rights, polygamy legalization, pro-immigration (from anywhere), drug legalization, abortion legalization, and for Animal Sentience charter rights. We are for drug rehab centers and for resocialization centers first time criminal offenders and no prison time, but severe harsh penalties for repeat criminals. All these education, health, military, and drug and crime programs would be funded because the economy would be so liberalized we could tax trade, consumption,and income, and also save so all the money spent on drug wars, abortion crack-downs, and a huge government bureaucracy on the economic side, which really leads to more corruption and lower tax revenue in the end, and lower economic activity.

So my ideology is quite bizarre and no one agrees with me too much lol. And I am always open to change in views if an argument is persuasive and cogent.

So from where I stand, the good and bad policies from Kirchner have been swapped for the bad and good policies of Macri... net zero for me, since economic policy is more sane now but as you said, some of the content has been drastically threatened.
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Re: Lilly's log - French, Russian and reluctant Spanish

Postby blaurebell » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:59 pm

outcast wrote:So my ideology is quite bizarre and no one agrees with me too much lol. And I am always open to change in views if an argument is persuasive and cogent.


Thank you for the detailed explanation! What you're describing is pretty much the European model of capitalism, so a lot of people agree with you actually - It's a sort of combination of social democracy and capitalism, something I can't believe in because I grew up with it. It would be quite long to describe my take on this in detail, but let's just say that I have no love for our hamster wheel capitalism that forces 99% of the population in the west to do jobs they hate to buy things they don't need, especially when we could feed the whole world *3 times over* with the food that we *throw away* in the Western world alone. Besides, this kind of system only works as long as there are people in China or Bangladesh who are our invisible slaves. Although I have not much love for the communist solutions or ineffective revolutions I actually agree 100% with Marx' analysis of capitalism that he offers in Capital Volume 1. It's a fundamentally flawed system that stumbles from one crisis to the next and - my addition - keeps people unhappy so that they have more need for retail therapy. And when things go really out of whack we just start a few wars that burn a whole continent to the ground and then capitalism can experience another building boom. Ultimately paying for health care and education makes little difference in the grand scheme of things, when people waste the majority of their lives on meaningless jobs anyway. No, really, I'm not a fan ;) As for Macri - his policies are the bad and the worse in my eyes. A weak economy like Argentina can't possibly survive a free market, unless of course the Argentinians want to stay farmers forever. Argentina needs protectionism to be allowed to reach a state where they could be in a position to compete on the market beyond soybeans and meat. A country of farmers will always remain a poor country.

As for bizarre ideologies: I'm a roboticist by training and I can tell you that we could abolish work and money altogether in less than 100 years if we wanted it. We would live in a paradise where everyone would have all the time in the world to learn languages, further their knowledge, create art or solve the social problems on this planet. We barely even use a minute fraction of our automation potential because we simply can't quite imagine yet what freedom really looks like. Even the communists never went as far as to imagine a world without work! In any case, it's not what's going to happen anyway. Of course capitalists and communists would unite to string up the lunatic who would want to abolish both capital AND work in one go! The ideology of only-who-works-should-eat is too deeply ingrained to to allow us even the freedom to dream about such a world. So, instead of building a roboticist's utopia we will produce another gazillion gadgets we don't need and another 100 spring collections that will end up in a landfill before the year is over. Another few generations will waste their lives on meaningless jobs in pursuit of meaningless pieces of paper and the world will keep on turning. C'est la vie.

Well, that was probably not exactly persuasive and cogent enough to convince anyone. Not even sure what to call this ... techno-anarchism with respect for the green party? :lol:

If you're really open-minded I recommend this excellent course: Reading Marx' Capital Volume 1 with David Harvey. As I said, although I'm not a communist I found Capital eye-opening. I had read it in excerpts before at university which were of course carefully chosen to conform to whatever ideology the specific teacher was peddling - Marx the devil, Marx the messiah, you can find both in Capital, heck, there are even vampires and werewolves in this book! It really only makes sense in its entirety though and best with some help from some experienced unbiased people. Harvey is of course a leftist, but he just opens the door and invites you to come to your own conclusions, it's really refreshing. My lecturers at my own university presented a far more biased view. If you want to embark on this journey, be careful though: "dangerous ideas inside" that might turn your world upside down. Or actually ... right side up! It's especially interesting if you read it with the automation angle in mind!
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Re: Lilly's log - French, Russian and reluctant Spanish

Postby Tomás » Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:31 pm

blaurebell wrote:If you're really open-minded I recommend this excellent course: Reading Marx' Capital Volume 1 with David Harvey. As I said, although I'm not a communist I found Capital eye-opening. I had read it in excerpts before at university which were of course carefully chosen to conform to whatever ideology the specific teacher was peddling - Marx the devil, Marx the messiah, you can find both in Capital, heck, there are even vampires and werewolves in this book! It really only makes sense in its entirety though and best with some help from some experienced unbiased people.


I took that course with Harvey in person when he was teaching at Johns Hopkins back in the 1990s and I was a grad student there. It was very interesting. It's important to keep in mind that Marx was working with now-obsolete and discarded economic theories (e.g., the labor theory of value), and that his examples were drawn from early industrial capitalism and may be of limited relevance today. But I have always been a fan of reading the great thinkers of the past just to observe a great mind at work--even when they get things completely wrong it is still enlightening to watch them do it. Harvey himself fell into that category for me. Great mind, cool guy, but I only buy a fraction of what he has to say.
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Re: Lilly's log - French, Russian and reluctant Spanish

Postby blaurebell » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:30 am

Tomás wrote:I took that course with Harvey in person when he was teaching at Johns Hopkins back in the 1990s and I was a grad student there. It was very interesting.


Oh, that must have been great! I would have liked to sit in that course properly and participate in discussions! I agree with you, it's of course a book from the 19th century and it's noticeable, but with the current crisis it has actually become much more relevant again. The lectures in the course I linked are probably somewhat different from what you've heard 20+ years ago, since Harvey has been teaching the course for for like 30 years and probably learned a thing or two more in that time. And one has to take all academics as you say: Enlightening to watch even when they aren't exactly spot on. Cherry picking helps. He had some rather good insights on the crisis in these lectures actually, but of course I can't agree with him 100%.

Marx' analysis, with the means that he had at his disposal is great. I don't think he could have done any better with more current economic theories. Economic theories are mostly rubbish anyway, since they generally try to describe a dynamical system in a static fashion. It's as if a 2D stick figure was trying to understand 3D geometry. There are one or two exceptions, but they have barely any relevance for economic policies, because well ... dynamical systems aren't predictable and even a minute difference from the ideal state might lead to catastrophic results - what we call a crisis. Of course, allowing this interpretation is not something economists would want, since that would be like admitting that 99% of their previous theories essentially didn't contribute anything to the game and that most future contributions will be nothing but a wild gamble by design. Basically, nobody would take economists seriously anymore if we would teach dynamical systems at high school level. With this caveat in mind - economic theories have nothing to do with reality because they misinterpret the nature of the whole system - Marx analysis is of course merely pushing over a house of cards. However, a lot of false assumptions from those old theories are still at the core of current economic policies today and it's somewhat funny to see that even if we believe all their misinterpretations it wouldn't work anyway! Kind of an eye-opener in a society that treats capitalism like a religion with money occupying the position of God.
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Re: Lilly's log - French, Russian and reluctant Spanish

Postby blaurebell » Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:10 pm

OK, back to languages, my friends!

Russian

I finished the first couple of audio files of Modern Russian 1. The question answer drills are the most difficult part for me, the rest is still fairly easy and fast. One thing that annoys me is that some of the silences in the audio files are not long enough to repeat the phrases even at the speed of the native speaker. I need to remain vigilant and stop the file in anticipation of too short spaces or I have to go back because I don't hear the next phrase. I still don't see the point in the exercises from the workbook. I quickly did the "Answer in English" questions in Russian and felt fairly comfortable with that. Took me about 1h to cover the 2nd audio file with all the associated content in book and workbook. If I can do 1 file a day I'll be done with Modern Russian 1 after just about 45 days. However, I suspect as it gets more difficult with time I might need to go over some of the files twice. In general I wouldn't classify this as a Beginner course even though the grammar is basic so far. It definitely would throw a beginner in at the deep end, no vocabulary build up with shorter dialoges, no time to get used to pronunciation or alphabet, full speed audio from the start! Phew! I'm pretty much at the right level for it after the pronunciation trainer, Russian World 1, Duolingo and half of Assimil. Second spy: The wife of the man who works in the city council. She probably schemed forever to get a job at the city council too :D I also started the active wave of Assimil. So far no problem. Still no further progress on reading because I got distracted by my other languages.

French

I watched two episodes of Angel French dubs, read about 55 pages of my Kundera translation and we watched a rather enjoyable and challenging movie: La Vénus à la fourrure (2013). It was really not easy since the register kept changing from one moment to the next, oscillating between really rough slang and high brow literary styles of speaking. The situation is: badly spoken actress + well-educated director switching in and out of character with a play set in the 19th century. Bit of a mad movie with only two actors, but I laughed a lot and it was giving me a good workout. Highly recommended. My husband needed subtitles with this one because it was really tough, but I didn't look at them more than a couple of times when they were shouting too much slang too fast. I'm really rather impressed that I understood this! I had a bit of a headache afterwards, so it wasn't easy, but it wasn't too hard either and I didn't miss anything. One year ago I didn't understand a single word of French and now I'm already watching and enjoying something like this. Yay for intensive reading and dubbed series!

Spanish

I started reading a Saer book intensively with Learning with Texts. I can't really tell yet how much of the vocabulary I'm missing, because I have only 13000 word forms in the database so far, but it's substantially more than with French it seems. My LWT library is at 90% so far, but I'm still adding a whole lot of known vocabulary in one go, so who knows! I'll have a better estimate when I have about 25000+ in there. Only problem is that by then I will probably have improved a lot already, so I won't be able to quantify my progress. Most of what seems to be marked right now are a whole bunch of words usually only used in literary contexts and various synonyms of the same expressions. I can also guess most of them in context, so I'm not actually missing anything vital. I just lack the precision needed to feel really comfortable while reading. At least I already know from experience that this exercise will be worthwhile and I can make some progress with some PhD related stuff too if I choose my books wisely.
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Re: Lilly's log - French, Russian and reluctant Spanish

Postby Ingaræð » Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:32 pm

Fascinating discussion! :) I'll cut down the bit I was going to write, to just this: in regard to your "techno-anarchism with respect for the green party", I think I've reached some similar conclusions, although coming from a different perspective.

And a sort of language-related question: in your signature, where does the '35,000' figure for LWT come from? Is it a fluency level? The total words in your database? Apologies if you've already explained this and I've missed/forgotten it.

Also, after your descriptions of El ministerio del tiempo, I now feel compelled to watch it! :lol:
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Re: Lilly's log - French, Russian and reluctant Spanish

Postby blaurebell » Mon Mar 20, 2017 3:43 pm

Ingaræð wrote:And a sort of language-related question: in your signature, where does the '35,000' figure for LWT come from? Is it a fluency level? The total words in your database? Apologies if you've already explained this and I've missed/forgotten it.


It's the number of known words in the database, not total words. That number is actually a little difficult to predict. I aim for at least 25,000 word forms in the database with at least 85% known versus unknown ratio in the database with novels for adults. With French I hit 85% after 27,000 known word forms. 5000 pages got me to 28,000 known word forms with 87% known vs unknown. I can now read with precision in French without a dictionary with that basis. With a language as inflected as Russian the number of word forms will probably be higher in the end. 35,000 is a random number I pulled off lingq. I could imagine that it might be a lot higher actually since there are not only the cases but also tons of verbs.

Ingaræð wrote:Also, after your descriptions of El ministerio del tiempo, I now feel compelled to watch it!


:lol: And I ask myself why I'm watching it :roll: But well, singing demons in French, silly time travellers in Spanish, same difference!
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Re: Lilly's log - French, Russian and reluctant Spanish

Postby Arnaud » Mon Mar 20, 2017 4:20 pm

blaurebell wrote:I finished the first couple of audio files of Modern Russian 1. The question answer drills are the most difficult part for me, the rest is still fairly easy and fast. One thing that annoys me is that some of the silences in the audio files are not long enough to repeat the phrases even at the speed of the native speaker.
Did you check on the CeLT site: the version here contains a lot of pauses (they were added after the recordings, when you listen with headphones, the background hum is regularly cutted). Problem: this version contains also a lot of english... :?
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