Ingaræð's Language Labyrinth (DE/FR/RU...)

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Ingaræð
Orange Belt
Posts: 153
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 9:34 pm
Languages: English (N)
Learning: Russian (beginner), French (B1-2*), German (A2-B1*).
Dabbling: Croatian, MSA, Mandarin
Previously studied: Italian, Welsh.
Mainly (but not solely) interested in Eurasian languages with focus on Mediterranean/West Asian.

*Dialang
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=13222
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Re: Ingaræð's Language Labyrinth (DE/FR/RU...)

Postby Ingaræð » Thu Jul 20, 2017 1:12 pm

If I happen to wake up in the middle of the night and I can tell that I won't be going straight back to sleep, I usually listen to something in an 'active' L2 with my mp3 player (Assimil, an audiobook, film audio etc.). It's proven to be some very effective/productive hidden time.

Last night, my brain put 'Learning when not learning' and 'discussions on the difficulty of Russian' together, and came up with 'let's listen to Russian without Toil and see how much I can remember'. I can still understand a fair amount of the vocab, and most of the words that I've forgotten are from the more recent lessons when my memory was really not functioning well. In terms of grammar stuff, there has actually been an improvement! The previous times I've used RwT, I just couldn't get my brain to remember the distinction between это дело плохое and зто плохое дело - the meaning of the latter would pop up for both. When I was listening last night, I automatically understood both correctly! I know that's really not much in the grand scheme of things, but I haven't actively done any Russian for 6 weeks (just heard the odd snippet on TV), and I've still learned something. Go brain! :D
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Shun everything, and then shun shunning!
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Ingaræð
Orange Belt
Posts: 153
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 9:34 pm
Languages: English (N)
Learning: Russian (beginner), French (B1-2*), German (A2-B1*).
Dabbling: Croatian, MSA, Mandarin
Previously studied: Italian, Welsh.
Mainly (but not solely) interested in Eurasian languages with focus on Mediterranean/West Asian.

*Dialang
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=13222
x 333

Re: Ingaræð's Language Labyrinth (DE/FR/RU...)

Postby Ingaræð » Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:31 pm

I returned to French a couple of weeks ago. Pronunciation has nose-dived, but I quickly realised that my 'inner voice' prosody didn't sound right (that is, it was very English, not French). I think that new self-awareness is at least a small step in the right direction! :D I also think my listening comprehension has improved again a bit during my 'consolidation period', so vocabulary (or lack of) is increasingly becoming the bigger issue there. I picked up French without Toil again (lessons 57-66), and watched Les Visiteurs: La Révolution a few times and Kaamelott. I'm planning on using Kaamelott for some intensive listening at some point. I wish there was a show with a similar structure in German and Russian! I also wanted to read some Terry Pratchett, but apparently there are no audiobooks in French...? :(

I did a teeny bit of Russian in early October. I think I've invented a new method to improve listening comprehension as a beginner...or maybe 'unvented', but I'm pretty sure I haven't read this anywhere else. Basically, I listened intensively to the whole of Assimil Russian without using the book. I listened to each lesson multiple times before moving to on to the next, just focusing on the sounds and prosody. I did this for at least 20-30 mins before taking a break, and after the final lesson I switched to Perfectionnement Russe. I think I got to around lesson 15 or 20 of that before I stopped (I can't remember), and this was all spread out over 2-3 days. Afterwards, I re-watched a fly-on-the-wall documentary that's in a mix of English and Russian (with EN subtitles for the Russian). What had previously seemed like streams of gibberish now sounded like proper words! It was much easier to pick out the few words that I already know, as well. I'm surprised and pleased that just a few hours of 'graded listening', with practically no effort involved, has made such a huge improvement!

I ended up pausing Russian after that (see below), then switched to French, but I'm back on Russian again as of this week (with all the stuff about the Revolution on TV, I couldn't resist! :D ), and the improvement seems to be persisting. And now it's going even further, because I've watched Gabriel Wyner's videos on Russian pronunciation a few times in the last fortnight (with minimal practice of tongue positioning), and my aural distinction between ш and щ, and и and ы is definitely better, along with a general 'sharpening' of all the other sounds. I'm pretty chuffed about all this, because it means that the problems I do have with auditory processing aren't likely to have as much of an impact on learning another language as I'd feared. :) At the moment, I'm doing Russian without Toil again (still in a L-R way*, not worrying about remembering vocabulary) and enjoying the Russian dub of The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Some other bits and bobs:-

  • Wyner's method of remembering noun gender seems unnecessarily complex to me. I'm just learning nouns with an article etc. as if they're one unit, e.g. un arbre, das Bett, одно слово, and eventually I should know I'm making a mistake because something will sound wrong. And I've since read on here that that's how native speakers learn, so if it's good enough for them... ;)
  • I started making a Wyner-style Anki deck from RwT, but it soon became pretty tortuous, to the point that I stopped wanting to do anything in any language. Never again! I do like his pronunciation videos for Russian, French and German, though.
  • When returning to Assimil, I should only do a brief L-R-style review of the last batch of lessons I did. Anything more in depth, or repeatedly going over earlier lessons, turns it into memorisation of the English texts, rather than comprehension of the L2 words.
  • I dabbled in Greek and Mandarin. In comparison, beginner Greek seems like a doddle - Mandarin prosody is just :shock: ! Tons of listening work is required there if I ever take it up seriously.
  • I also had a look at Linguaphone Welsh and Say Something in Welsh, and concluded that I have pretty much no interest in the native language of my country at this point. Which is sad, but then my great-grandparents were the last to actually use it. I guess it's just part of the life cycle for languages. Plus I have an actual attachment to German culture, whereas I couldn't care less about Eisteddfods.

*I really want to put 'an L-R' there because it sounds correct, but then writing 'an' with a consonant isn't. I should probably go and look that up... :?
Last edited by Ingaræð on Sat Feb 08, 2020 1:10 am, edited 2 times in total.
3 x
Shun everything, and then shun shunning!
Corrections etc. welcome.

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MamaPata
Brown Belt
Posts: 1019
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2016 9:25 am
Location: London
Languages: English (N), French (C1*), Russian (B1), Spanish (B1).

Long lost: Arabic and Latin.
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=3004
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Re: Ingaræð's Language Labyrinth (DE/FR/RU...)

Postby MamaPata » Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:52 pm

Ingaræð wrote: *I really want to put 'an L-R' there because it sounds correct, but then writing 'an' with a consonant isn't. I should probably go and look that up... :?


I was always taught that if it sounded like it started with a vowel, you could use 'an'. But my grammar teaching was pretty much non-existant, so I don't know if I'd trust it!
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