A Words Enthusiast

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Axon
Blue Belt
Posts: 648
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2016 12:29 am
Location: California
Languages: Comfortable: German, Mandarin, Indonesian.
Rusty: Spanish, French, Russian.
Also: Cantonese, Vietnamese, Polish.
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=5086
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Re: A Words Enthusiast

Postby Axon » Fri Mar 06, 2020 7:57 am

距离我上一次写帖子已经很长一段时间. 毕竟我一直在继续锻炼.
It's been a long time since I wrote a post. At least I've been continuously practicing!

I kept meaning to update this log but never felt like I had the time or anything interesting to report. Now I have time, at least. :D

I studied German with moderate intensity all the way up to the date of the TestDaF in mid-February. I'm really glad I didn't try to make myself do it in November, because it was only in early February that I started feeling really comfortable with the level of German I would need for the test. I thought the test went really well! I was very confident on the reading and the listening sections, the speaking section went smoothly enough, and I came up with great sentences for the writing. My only nagging worry is that my essay was a little short. Unfortunately I have a habit of judging my IELTS students as better than they end up performing in the exam, so hopefully I don't make the same mistake with myself! No matter what, I learned a lot of German and used German to learn a lot of interesting things through nonfiction articles and documentaries. I should have made an attempt to track my hours, but I probably got in an average of 30 minutes reading and 30 minutes listening every day, plus other more detailed review that I noted in my TestDaF post.

The German overshadowed mostly everything else I did, language-wise. After finishing the test, I mostly dropped German and went back to Chinese. I've started doing Glossika more consistently in the car and in the grocery store, usually giving me time to work on Vietnamese, Taiwanese Hokkien, and Cantonese. Plus shadowing my own recordings of Kunming dialect. Someday "soon" I'll try to record a proper spaced repetition set of audio files for Kunming dialect. I also went on a shopping trip with Mandarin speakers and had a full day of immersion, during which we ran into a Uyghur-speaking store owner. I remembered both words of Uyghur that I know and wished I knew more. Each time I've used those words ("good" and "thank you") in and out of Xinjiang I've had a great reaction and the sense that learning Uyghur would be very rewarding.

Through happenstance alone I managed to complete some simple restaurant orders in Spanish and buy a bag at Macy's in Indonesian - I mentioned it already, but anyone looking to practice Indonesian in Central California should come to the Macy's in Monterey, as I've overheard and/or interacted with Indonesian speakers every single time I've gone.

I continue to be interested in Arabic, Lao, and Tamil, but haven't done more than review the simplest basics once or twice. I'm often so busy with work and other commitments that I have to use all my free time for that, but I'd really like to get into an active study routine with a newish language. I'm a false beginner in all of these and it would be nice to have a sliver of productive ability.
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User avatar
Axon
Blue Belt
Posts: 648
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2016 12:29 am
Location: California
Languages: Comfortable: German, Mandarin, Indonesian.
Rusty: Spanish, French, Russian.
Also: Cantonese, Vietnamese, Polish.
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=5086
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Re: A Words Enthusiast

Postby Axon » Tue Mar 17, 2020 6:08 am

Dos o tres veces por semana, recibimos llamadas de spam en Mandarin en mi oficina. Cada vez hay una grabación en Mandarin que no puedo entender completamente. Sï oprimo el nueve, una persona responde y intento que decir en Mandarin, "por favor, no nos llamen en el futuro." Ellos nunca responden ni dejan de llamar.
Two or three times a week, we get spam calls in Mandarin at my office. Each time there's a recording in Mandarin that I can't completely understand. If I press nine, a person answers and I try to say in Mandarin "Please don't call us in the future." They never respond or stop calling.

I've been reading a few pages in Spanish every night before bed, still in the same book that I started more than a year ago. I'm nearly finished, though, and I'll probably choose another light nonfiction work to take the same slot. Spanish is also one of the Glossika languages I try to keep up with these days, along with Hokkien, Cantonese, and Mandarin.

I'm warming to Hokkien much more now, and things I've repeated several times are falling cleanly into place after a thousand reps. After years of struggling I think I can reliably produce a high falling tone as has always mystified me in Sichuanese. It starts at the top of your range and goes down to the mid-range, not all the way down like with the falling tone in standard Mandarin. Kunming dialect has it too, and I either produced it accurately or my Kunming dialect practice partner was too polite to ever correct me. Speaking of Kunming dialect, you can hear some beautiful examples in this video.

I also want to read more in all of my languages. Reading so much German for my exam made me appreciate its benefits even more than before.

Today I had about three hours of "perfect" Mandarin immersion, where five of us played word games on our phones where we had to guess the thing the other person was describing or drawing. Although I could follow everything well, interact, and make jokes that people laughed at (always a plus) there were still too many times when not knowing a word broke the flow of my understanding. Words like "Super Mario Bros", "lolita", and "壁咚", which does not exist in English and is left as an exercise for the reader.
3 x

User avatar
Axon
Blue Belt
Posts: 648
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2016 12:29 am
Location: California
Languages: Comfortable: German, Mandarin, Indonesian.
Rusty: Spanish, French, Russian.
Also: Cantonese, Vietnamese, Polish.
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=5086
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Re: A Words Enthusiast

Postby Axon » Thu May 14, 2020 6:55 am

Saya tidak sadar sudah dua bulan sejak posting terakhirku. Tidak ada gantian besar dalam rutinitas sehari-hari.
I didn't realize it's been almost two months since my last post. There haven't been any big changes in my daily routine.

As the Indonesian says, I really have quite little to report language-wise. I did a lot of Glossika for a little while as I kept having to drive to the office and reset a piece of hardware, but that problem got solved and now there's not really any time or space to do any loud language practice.

I've been working from home ever since my last log entry here. You'd think this would free up time for languages, but after I finish working it's time for dinner, then there's a short break, then I go for a walk with my girlfriend, then we come back and I work on side hustles until it's time for bed. These have included programming, writing, and becoming increasingly popular on a Chinese app called Xiao Hong Shu.

Here's the video that's making it "big" (tens of thousands of views and thousands of followers in the last week). These videos are played out on YouTube in my opinion, but it's new and exciting to see a foreign face do this on a Chinese social media app. A transcript along with all mistakes I could identify are in the description. I feel rather embarrassed making such obvious errors in languages that you all speak quite well, but hey, it happens. I do always enjoy when others post videos or recordings.


Most of my other videos are about English pronunciation, similar to the other videos on that channel. I have another video talking about the TestDaF all in German, which is not on YouTube yet. The thing is, I (and probably you as well) tend to watch YouTube videos in the 5-15 minute time range, while all these videos I'm posting are around two minutes or less. That fast format seems to be rather superficial on the YouTube platform.

I've done a terrible job at learning Swedish for the 6WC but I've picked up some interesting things so far in these two weeks, using Duolingo, LingQ, and Clozemaster. I'm more interested in Sweden as a travel destination too at some point!

I am slowly finishing my first-ever full-length Spanish book, now at 85% completed. I would say I've gotten quite used to the translator's style and learned several words related to hiking and the outdoors, but I feel that the boost in ability would have been larger with more consistent reading time. I bought "El amor en los tiempos del cólera" for obvious reasons and expected it to be extremely difficult, which it is. I average 98% comprehension of "Un paseo por el bosque" but ol' Márquez is cutting me down to 92-95%, which is a huge difference in practice. These figures come from intensive reading with the Kindle lookup dictionary. I'm excited to export this at some point to a flashcard deck and maybe turn it into audio flashcards, as there are easily a few hundred new words for me to review.

Actually, the impetus to post this update was simply to share this YouTube channel, a series of full-length and detailed lecture videos for advanced Chinese learners:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC13ySa ... /playlists
Recording videos in Chinese is very difficult, as it turns out I do a lot of self-correction in natural speech - unacceptable on video. I'm doing a lot of reading practice through interacting with followers and reading comments, and as I still see myself working in China in the future, getting an HSK6 certificate continues to be a goal of mine.

Alles hat seine Zeit.
10 x

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lavengro
Blue Belt
Posts: 560
Joined: Wed May 24, 2017 1:39 am
Location: Hiding in Vancouver. Tell no one.
Languages: ENGLISH (N); FRENCH (A2 - conservatively self-estimated); ITALIAN (non parlo italiano - yet); JAPANESE (against my better judgment - barely A0); LANG BELTA? (Walowda ámolof fo kowl beltalowda); start FINNISH? (maybe ...).
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Re: A Words Enthusiast

Postby lavengro » Sat May 16, 2020 1:48 am

Super impressive video!
2 x
“They lived and laughed and loved and left.”

User avatar
Axon
Blue Belt
Posts: 648
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2016 12:29 am
Location: California
Languages: Comfortable: German, Mandarin, Indonesian.
Rusty: Spanish, French, Russian.
Also: Cantonese, Vietnamese, Polish.
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=5086
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Re: A Words Enthusiast

Postby Axon » Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:43 pm

Nie in der Geschichte meines Logs ist es so lang seit einer Aktualisierung gewesen.
Never in the history of my log has it been so long without an update.

At first I was going to write "I don't have anything to update" but I definitely do. It feels like it's all been the same with active study not even a major part of my life, but when I list it all out, it's going to sound like more.

On top of the below, I've been working full-time and am nearly finished with an online community college course in Java programming.

I finished the epic years-long slog of reading a simple 400-page memoir/travelogue in Spanish, translated from the English. Despite often going weeks at a time without touching it, my Spanish reading improved over the course of reading this book, showing that even if you go about it in the laziest way possible, reading more improves your reading skill. Also just recently I had to do some document proofing in Spanish at work, but since we're all remote I'm not giving any Spanish presentations these days.

I immediately switched to a short story (really short vignette) collection in German, Lebensgeschichten aus Laos by Martina Sylvia Khamphasith. I think back fairly frequently to my quick sojourn in Laos last year so I decided to look for any German books about Laos and this is what came up on the Kindle store. Most of the stories are extremely depressing, but despite that I usually read one every couple of nights. Each vignette is only a handful of pages at most, so it's fairly light on the whole.

I ended up managing a depressing four and a half hours of logged Swedish time for the 6WC, since there were in those weeks (and the weeks after) many more things to do than try to pick up a new language, but I ended up learning more about Swedish and exploring some of the many interesting resources out there. I watched a number of subtitled Swedish videos several times and found them all very nice, plus I listened to the medieval Swedish song I Riden Så over and over since it's excellent.

It's been a longtime goal of mine to become more familiar with the Arabic alphabet, and although I've heard poor things about the Duolingo Arabic course, the alphabet section is exactly the type of thing that works well for me. One day I will design an alphabet app for Lao, and the way to do it really is pairing audio with consonant-vowel combinations and teaching as many sight words as possible through these often-seen combinations.

All that is well and good, but what I've really been doing is Chinese. I've finally either found a news source at my level or raised my level to match reading Chinese news with FengHuang. This is as readable to me as the clickbait travel articles I was reading back in Kunming, but now on tons of different subjects.
I manually crawled YouTube for spoken mainland Mandarin with soft subtitles and assembled a reasonable amount of the expected stuff - dramas, a few vlogs, a bunch of political analysis, etc. If you explore this, please note that I just drew randomly from the political channels and the views represented in these videos do not necessarily represent my own.
More uniquely, I found an entire podcast-style channel in Sichuanese-accented Mandarin with soft subs. While far removed from being a prestige dialect, this could be a great way to ease yourself into learning Sichuanese if you're already quite advanced in Standard Mandarin. Note that this is not Sichuanese as he's using entirely Standard Mandarin vocabulary and tones, but there still remains a strong regional flavor in the vowels and consonants. Politics and religion both get discussed here, so tread carefully.

I also joined the ranks of people who have completed a live, broadcasted interview in a target language. I was interviewed on the community English learning app AC交流电 for 90 minutes in Mandarin about my language learning habits, education, personal life, and thoughts on America and China. Some 400 people listened and I understand it was well-received. I think I did well, though at times I had to start sentences over. I still do a lot of self-correction and I tried to keep that down and just have a natural flow. I've been releasing a few videos a week on Xiao Hong Shu and my audience is growing quite steadily. My reading speed and vocabulary has never been better, and yet I'm more and more critical of small errors or halting speech when I speak Mandarin, because I'd like to be fluent over longer strings of connected ideas. Wouldn't we all.

I'm working on doing some analysis of Cantonese and Mandarin videos based on subtitles. I created some corpora from Netflix and YouTube subtitles, and also paid someone to transcribe two of my favorite Cantonese films into Written Cantonese. These transcripts actually just arrived moments ago and I'm excited to see how these and others might turn into a study resource in the future.
8 x

User avatar
Axon
Blue Belt
Posts: 648
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2016 12:29 am
Location: California
Languages: Comfortable: German, Mandarin, Indonesian.
Rusty: Spanish, French, Russian.
Also: Cantonese, Vietnamese, Polish.
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=5086
x 2409

Re: A Words Enthusiast

Postby Axon » Sat Jan 02, 2021 8:38 am

完了。
That's all.

After about a full year of "Wish I posted more!" type of log entries, I think I've got to admit to myself that this log has run its course. I look at updating it as more of a chore compared to when I first started and I was excited about trying new things and sharing each day's worth of studying. I might make a new log! That's very possible! But I might also just contribute to threads from time to time that interest me as I have been for the last few months, without treating the log as my "main thing."

As always, I do continue to use many languages regularly. I don't do a whole lot of learning and certainly vanishingly little review, but I just integrate languages constantly into my lifestyle and enjoy learning what I do naturally. Over the past few months I continued speaking and reading Mandarin every day, plus gave more attention to French and Russian in terms of reading as well (the Russian reading is mostly memes). I got a bit of Vietnamese and Spanish speaking practice in from time to time at restaurants and even completed a full restaurant transaction in Vietnamese, plus asked for the bathroom, for the first time ever outside of Vietnam. Google has given me default results in German for more than a year now, and so there's incidental reading there and on Twitter, which is also where any Indonesian comes in. I still even understand some Polish when I see it online.

I even dabbled briefly in Tibetan, Turkish, and Arabic - it seems like any time a language makes it on to my wishlist it never seems to make it off, and the list of languages to start for one reason or another is easily as long as the list of languages I need to maintain and improve. This adds up to some thirty in all if we look at ones I'm convincing myself I have a genuine lifetime interest in.

In 2020, I:

-Obtained my first ever formal language certificate, the TestDaF with a score of 17/20 (B2-C1 Threshold) and full marks in listening.
-Greatly improved my Chinese literacy, particularly of pre-modern vernacular and classical texts with traditional characters. I still have a long, long way to go, but when you start low, any improvement is big!
-Vastly improved my knowledge of Mandarin phonological development from 1300-1950 and the phonology of Middle Chinese.
-Improved my understanding of Sichuanese and my formal knowledge of Southwestern Mandarin as a dialect group. (If you think Hokkien has complex tone change rules, you ain't seen nothing yet.)
-Surprised myself with a handful of Indonesian conversations in which I performed better than expected off the cuff.
-Successfully dusted off my Spanish, reached a level of fluency comfortable for simple transactions, and made lots of cashiers visibly relieved that they didn't have to answer my questions in English.
-Finished my first full-length Spanish book written for adults.
-Reached 100,000+ followers on Chinese social media with my English learning videos.
-Improved my singing voice in several languages. I don't know which will come first: singing acceptably for others to hear or comfortably reading a Qing dynasty vernacular novel.
-Passed one calculus and two Java programming classes for college credit.

We'll see what comes next. :D
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