Expug's 2017 Log - It's now and forever

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Re: Expug's 2017 Log - It's now and forever

Postby Expugnator » Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:06 pm

The weekend didn't comprise much study, but I could finally get hold of more Italian audiobooks (I decided to just use what I have, trying to focus on contemporary literature, which is quite comprehensive, but not being too picky), the fourth season of Skam, more Russian audiobooks and more Arrowverse episodes in Georgian (which reminds me that some of them will have to be made available in German as well). I listened to three episodes of the Italian podcast, which means their number keeps growing faster than I can listen to them. Clozemaster almost nothing, I'm really letting it go for the moment, but I'm making a good use of the remaining time by watching more TV in Russian.

Still Russian: my weekly class just happened this morning. I like it better, either because it was less structured and more conversational or because I had slept better last night and I'm less tired than on Tuesday mornings or both. It's hard to remember all the vocabulary but a few words start to stick. I'm also hearing myself producing some cases correctly, at least in the singular.

Today was also the day I started reading Modern Russian Grammar: a Practical Guide. I still don't know if I'll be doing the exercises right awa, section by section (better for consolidating the rules I'm reading about) or after I've read the entire grammar (better in the sense of providing a "second wave" feeling). Let's see when the first chapter comes to an end. On a practical level, my copy of the Exercises book is no pdf but rather a Kindle edition, so it's not convenient to keep flipping through the current chapter and the answer key, nor can I open two copies of it at different pages at the desktop. Maybe I'll flip to the Answer Key first, take a picture of the Answer key and then move back, and do this on a daily basis. Practical issues of a practical guide, I'd say.

I caught myself thinking of how I would be saying in German all that I am learning to say in Russian (tourist vocabulary). I might have forgotten a lot, and I might schedule a German italki lesson for a change.

About halfway through The Invisible Man, in what was a very productive listening-reading exercice, the website I was using for reading suddenly reaches an end. No more pages halfway through chapter 23. Now I can't find another edition that matches what was used for the audiobook I'm listening to. After so much struggle, it seems I have found other copies. Googling the first paragraph of the previous text does help.

L'Apprenti Père Noël is over. A nice animated movie. Now it's time for the old Du rififi chez les hommes.

Today was not a full-study day, I spent 1 hour on the Russian lesson and was also busy with other stuff, but I finished my schedule. I spent some minutes deciding what to do next for Hebrew. I want my first textbook to be as learner-friendly as possible, with both niqudot and transliteration, and so far only Assimil matches both chriteria.
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Re: Expug's 2017 Log - It's now and forever

Postby Expugnator » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:20 pm

The day started much calmly and I managed to listen to over 20 minutes from the Argentinian podcast, which is more than the 7 I got yesterday.

The copy I found for The Invisible Man in Mandarin matches the text. The print is much smaller (and I don't like adjusting zoom on a browser), but it's not that bad because my overall recognition of characters allows me to read smaller print now.

Self-referencing: current Tintenblut's chapter has a quote from La Sombra del Viento. Some quotes in the series come along quite nice as reading suggestions.

SOme magic is happening when the Georgian and Estonian studying sessions are relaxing sessions, either when reading or watching TV series. Unfortunately I haven't reached the same stage with Russian. Not for reading, but for TV I'm coming close.
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Re: Expug's 2017 Log - It's now and forever

Postby Expugnator » Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:36 pm

I'ved been thinking about another benefit of subtitles: they help you and force you to process the spoken language at natural speed. So, if you still can't follow the spoken language itself, by reading the subtitles at the native speed you learn to understand the language faster, which will then allow you to get used to the language without subs. It's not just a matter of decyphering sounds, it's also the meaning-processing training dimension that can't be neglected. I noticed this with Chinese's Yabla's videos. I can understand long sentences much faster now, being spoken at machine-gun speed.

Unnoticeably, I finished Francesco Piccolo's Momenti di trascurabile felicità, the audiobook read by the author himself. The Italian audiobooks are short and learner-friendly. This one was a bit harder to follow as it consisted of short stories mixed with plain statementes, but no big deal, really. It is extremely invaluable for learners, either as a book or as an audiobook, because the author talks so much about routine, daily-life episodes that he uses all the vocabulary necessary, regarding house, going out, traffic, Italy's geography. Going through this book is like - or rather, it's more efficient than - studying a vocabulary list. I'd recommend it to our dear admin rdearman so he would consolidate his B2 skills.

Now I'm just following with what I already have lined up: Gianrico Carofiglio: Ragionevoli dubbi.

Surprisingly, time is abounding so much lately that I'm resuming Clozemaster. Still not fulfilling my entire schedule for the day, though. I'm usually going as far as the Romance languages in the text input format, leaving multiple choice Romanian, Turkish, Czech, Indonesian, Catalan, Georgian, Estonian and Finnish and text input for the stronger languages undone.

I keep reading the pod101 lessons right away and then just listening in the background, not paying much attention. At later lessons there's not really new info at the audio that isn't in the pdf. The Hebrew lessons have the issue I mentioned, words and grammar features introduced too hazardously, and I'm longing to starting Assimil proper next week. The Indonesian ones, on the contrary, are quite productive. The dialogues are more down-to-earth. I'm trying to take the most out of the pod101 lessons before I start boring textbooks on formal Indonesian.

A small incident on my series watching: the Georgian episode turned out to be the same as the previous one i've watched. So I got it in German. Good for a first try, as I plan to alternate all those dubbed series in German and Georgian next year.

FSI Hebrew is pretty much useable. Just like the others, though, it requires more basic knowledge. I'm leaving it for after Assimil, like Routledge, Langenscheidt and the other textbooks. For now I'm learning the most basic words with Mond.ly. I don't like the lack of niqqudot but I can recall the transliteration whenever necessary.
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Re: Expug's 2017 Log - It's now and forever

Postby Expugnator » Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:30 pm

I missed today's post as I thought had posted it and turned off the computer. Basically it was a productive day. Highlights were what I did yesterday with my additional free study time (all my Clozemaster decks + dubbed Russian + mond.ly Hebrew); Norwegian listening-reading in nynorsk, which is quite useful but weird with an Italian story and that bokmål sounds better; Finishing the first level of Hebrewpod101 and heading to Assimil newest edition; becoming consistent in Indonesian and really looking forward to denser resources.

Tomorrow I have the day off; hope I can read a lot this weekend.
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Re: Expug's 2017 Log - It's now and forever

Postby Expugnator » Mon Dec 11, 2017 8:51 pm

I've come to realize that I've traded Clozemaster practice for forum reading. I read a lot the past three days and I hope to catch up with over 5 months of posts until next month. I know this is temporary and it's being worth it, because I've read some insightful threads.

Besides forum reading, I also listened to 3 Italian podcast episodes and read a bit non-fiction, but far from the amount I've liked to.

Then yesterday I had my second Georgian lesson through Skype. The more lesson I have, the more I'm convinced that I should find ways to optimize them. Progress does happen, but since I'm not keen to reading notes (sounds like 'reviewing') I tend to improve slowly, just building up on the same islands on and on again. SO yesterday I talked again about my daily routine and family. I paid attention to solve some doubts about specific verbal forms, but much was left for a future class. The tutor talks quite a bit which is a double-edged sword.

I was tempted to book more classes for Norwegian, German and Mandarin, but seeing that it's hard to plan consistently with so many languages I don't want to have simple evaluation classes where the teachers will compliment me on my eternal B1ish. I'd have to work on addressing my gaps systematically, but it's hard to do this even in Russian, which is my priority. I need to keep reading the forum for more insight. Another option is finally write away my islands and ask for corrections. It's a bit less obvious because I don't want to leave personal info on italki and lang-8, so I have to rely on the availability of friends I contact from other social networks. Yet it's a sound goal for 2018: having my islands written down for German, Norwegian, Mandarin, Russian, Georgian and Estonian.

For the year summary, I'm planning on writing a report language-by-language with month of start and estimated number of hours employed so far.

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The day didn't start that bad. Estonian is becoming transparent, which is encouraging after so few hours (2 years and a half chronologically but mostly 30 min a day).

Italian listening starts to pay off. The podcast is more challenging, almost like non-enunciated audio, which makes my listening to audiobooks pretty comfortable. I still don't know what makes Italian harder than French so far, though. I would bet on its pluricentric/dialectal character and on its classicist feeling: well-written Italian reminds me a lot of its Latin, classical background, even on a giallo novel like the one I'm listening to. I'm more used to colloquial French and this makes Italian sound more 'formal'. I usually let go this formal feeling through watching urban contemporary TV series, but I haven't worked on that for Italian besides a couple of episodes from Non pensarci.

I was used to a Georgian dubbing, but I just watched an episode form a different studio. They read very fast, it seems they want the entire original text to fit ipsis literis. They seem to be speaking 4x as much as the subtitles and 2x as much as the original English. Anyway, chalenge accepted.

So now I started Hebrew for real, with Assimil! I'm using the newest edition, and I'm going slowly the way it goes, focusing on consolidating the alphabet. I plan to do the written exercises, even if, judging from my experience, they aren't enough for me to 'overlearn' the full lesson. I want to study the 2007 edition, then the old edition and then, if my level isn't a solid A2 yet, I'll have another wave at the newest edition, which is by far the most learner-friendly resource available in Hebrew.

'Jadi' means 'so', in Indonesian. Reminds me of th French 'jadis'. The intensifiers in Indonesian can come before (terlalu mahal) or after (besar sekali) the adverb. That can be trickier than when a language is entirely left-branched or right-branched. Well, as a native speaker of Portuguese, I have no right to complain ("muito bem", "fácil demais" come to mind).
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Re: Expug's 2017 Log - It's now and forever

Postby Expugnator » Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:40 pm

Estonian grammar is quite tricky, producing is as challenging as it is for Russian, maybe just a bit easier, but definitely harder than Georgian. As I see my passive skills improve steadily, I think I shouldn't worry about producing now. Some sentences do start to stick. I should follow the same proven successful strategy for Georgian (at least from my 4th year on) and keep drowning on comprehensible input. I believe when I get down to drilling grammar again I'll have a ear for what sounds right and everything will fall into place much more easily than cramming through cases and (semi)irregular declensions one can't understand outside historical linguistics. It's a fascinating language and I'm glad I didn't repeat most of the mistakes I did during my first years with Georgian, allowing me to have a much better level now after some 200 hours (which is 30 minutes/day for 140 days then 20 minutes a day for 400 days).

It's been a particularly tiresome day for reading, with most texts consisting of long, narrative-descriptive paragraphs. So it was with Mandarin, Norwegian and Georgian.

Modern Greek is one of the languages that could have been progressing better if I had been working on more resources and on intermediate or native materials. It's a language I've been holding at a lower level due to time constraints. That is to say, my momentum for learning it is higher than the pace I'm learning it. This can't be said, for example, of Russian, which is supposed to be a priority. I think reading or watching TV twice as much in Russian would produce marginal gains. Anyway, with Greek the Language Transfer course starts to become interesting. The author goes on to breaking words through prefixes (much further than those we have imported in the Romance languages). It's quite insightful and it would help extremely with a language like Russian as well.

Second Assimil Hebrew lesson. It's slow, I know, but I have the feeling this time I'm going to build a solid foundation.

Now that I'm using pod101 only for Indonesian, I can appreciate its lessons better. So far I was a bit distracted by the Hebrew lesson and even though the Indonesian one was more appropriate to my level and graded more harmoniously, I'd remain distracted during it. Now I hope to study it more efficiently.

Whenever possible, I'm doing Clozemaster for my dabbling (i.e. Clozemaster only) languages. With Czech I'm doing only one round per level, multiple choice, until all words are seen, then moving on (I'm saving mastery of words for when I decide to do text input). What I can tell so far is that at these earlier levels the amount of known/recognizable cognates from Russian has been constant. It is really encouraging to imagine I can have such a vocabulary discount. That means I won't have to worry about extra-optimal resources (audiobook + text translated from an L1 + L1 text OR dubbed series + double subtitles). I know it's too early to make any plans and that I should focus on Russian, but it's liberating to think I might be able to move on to native materials after Assimil and a couple of the best textbooks, the same way I do with Romance languages.

These days when I'm working overtime I'm not really worried about not finishing tasks on time. Today I started later as I didn't have my aditional hour and a half early in the morning and got delayed later as well. Yet I managed to have a productive day which included Clozemaster and the dubbed series in Russian, all extra activities. I'm looking forward to finally going further with an audiobook in Greek as well.
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Re: Expug's 2017 Log - It's now and forever

Postby Expugnator » Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:01 pm

Running out of battery on my tablet was a bless in disguise: in order to keep it plugged to the charger, I had to have the Russian class at the desktop instead of using the meeting room. As a result, I could use the computer for looking up words I wanted to say, which is always productive at this A2ish-B1ish active skills stage. The class was about airports, and now I feel more prepared.

Ten pages from a Russian grammar, as in other occasions, has been quite tiresome. Especially this morning, after having worked until 10 pm yesterday.

I've noticed my text input skills on Norwegian are improving on Clozemaster. I have enough reasons to believe that this vocabulary is actually being transferred to my active skills in other contexts. I want this process to repeat with German, but I noticed that the smaller the deck the more repetition you get and the fastest you consolidate your words. Bigger languages such as German, Russian and Mandarin have virtually unlimited decks on Clozemaster and so I might never get to lower frequency words or even to review the higher frequency ones properly.

Current situation at Georgian (translated YA novel): 1 unknown word per (large) paragraph, 4-5 unknown words per page. It might be early to celebrate, but it's a small victory I want to acknowledge to myself. I might be doing something wrong.

The day was incredibly busy and I didn't have the extra time to catch up, so I stopped at Greek. No Hebrew or Indonesian. Tomorrow might be calmer.
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Re: Expug's 2017 Log - It's now and forever

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Thu Dec 14, 2017 7:05 pm

Expugnator wrote:I should follow the same proven successful strategy for Georgian (at least from my 4th year on) and keep drowning on comprehensible input. I believe when I get down to drilling grammar again I'll have a ear for what sounds right and everything will fall into place much more easily than cramming through cases and (semi)irregular declensions one can't understand outside historical linguistics.

In my opinion, we should study all languages with complicated grammars in the manner you champion. The grammar of Ancient Greek is much more comprehensible to me now after several hundred hours of reading than it was at the beginning. I intend to relearn German also by ignoring the grammar as much as possible until I have gotten a lot more comprehensible input. For example, I am not going to spend hours and hours drilling on gender. For the purpose understanding written or spoken German, interpreting gender rarely throws up a roadblock. It is a different story with speaking or writing, but for me those are not goals.
Your log, by the way, is one of the inspirational logs here at LLORG.
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Re: Expug's 2017 Log - It's now and forever

Postby Expugnator » Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:09 pm

Thank you, @MorkTheFiddle. This is something I learned the hard way and it is encouraging to see people that have come to the same results. I can mention blaurebell and her method that is very similar to the way I've worked with my opaque languages.

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I've changed my routine with Clozemaster without even realizing it. I'm working on it during almost all of my video sessions. I do Norwegian while watching Skam, then go on to German, Russian and so on. Spending 1 hour exclusively on it was inefficient, but as long as I can do some drills during silent moments of the films it might do less harm than good. By the way, I'm starting to effectively master the Norwegian deck, and some very obscure words with no link to German, English or Latin start to stick. Overall I seem to be improving my reading speed for all languages. It's like trying to read subtitles really fast, as Clozemaster is basically sentences with translation.

I've had plenty of time today and I thought of maybe doing a second Assimil lesson so as to make up for yesterday, but I decided I'd better not. I want to work carefully and gradually on those lessons, even though I'm not someone who can overlearn. I did a couple of Mond.ly lessons to quench my thirst for more Hebrew.

As promised, Greek audiobook. Just one page from The Lost Symbol. Already productive, though still too quick and with too many unknown words to correspond to optimal comprehensible input. I only hope my source for Greek audiobooks is still alive by the time I start making the best use out of them.
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Re: Expug's 2017 Log - It's now and forever

Postby Expugnator » Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:57 pm

I'm doing the third level of Greek as text input on Clozemaster, and the timing was perfect. I'm remembering words I was about to forget, I could still recognize passively but I still lacked in my active vocabulary.

A change in routine for today, which means less time to study but more for resting. I woke up one hour later, dropped the girls at school and went to the gym. Then got a ride to work, from wife, at my normal work time. Then had lunch at the workplace. I'm still behind schedule because Friday is a day where people talk out loud around you.

The Ximalaya app seems to jump ahead when you resume playing the audiobook file. Everytime I hit 'play' (the app is supposed to save position) I am at least 1 paragraph ahead of the point I had paused. I don't know what happens, I wonder if the file doesn't actually keep playing until I close the app manually.

Nynorsk is starting to become as familiar as bokmål, and nearly transparent for this specific book. It's interesting how there are virtually no silent letters in nynorsk. I wonder if it isn't a case where spelling reflects pronunciation. Being nynorsk a written language, the reader might have felt 'natural' to just read everything out loud instead of using their own local dialect as a reference for what goes silent and what not.

I ran into a Papiamento word I didn't understand and couldn't find in my dictionary: horeca. It's actually an acronym for "hotel, restorant i café", employed usually in laboral contexts. The same acronym can be used in Portuguese, at least according to the Priberam LPTO dictionary!

Enjoying my 4th Assimil lesson. There's one skill in (Modern) Hebrew that rivals stroke order in Chinese for its difficulty and (ir)relevance: learning exactly which vowel form goes under each consonant. Since Modern Hebrew doesn't distinguish vowel length, remembering which form of a or e to use is merely etimological. Moreover, Assimil only mentions it at the first lesson the word comes up, and that involves flipping back several pages when writing down the exercises. Is it really a big deal to just use a one-vowel-fits-all strategy?

Indonesian "makasih" reminds me of Portuguese "brigado". I'm impressed with how Indonesianpod101 can be so "non-bookish" and teach an up-to-date language. I might start more "serious" textbooks with a headstart in the contemporary language. That's good, because my Indonesian will tend to be less bookish then. Even with languages like French and particularly Norwegian I had to tune my register afterwards.

I can call it a day. It ended earlier, but I got everything I wanted done.
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