I'm a good way into Paul Auster's "4 3 2 1" in German translation. I find it easy to read and interesting, though I could do without all the explicit stuff.
(Ach, meine angelsächsischen Hemmungen...) It's particularly useful to read translated works so that I can see how a translator would choose to render idiomatic American expressions in German. I'm storing these up as I go along.
I finished the audiobook translation of Julian Barnes' "Der Lärm der Zeit" (erm, I actually don't know the original English title!). That was really lovely and very engaging. I've already met my monthly goals for audiovisual material, so I had better tone down the easy stuff and focus on the other languages.French
I'm meeting my quantifiable goals, but I feel I could be doing more. I am somewhat stressed about the fact that my output ability doesn't match the degree of what I take in, even though I know that this is a perfectly normal issue that I've faced in every other language. I tested my French reading last night with DIALANG and got C1, which I find very weird, because nothing above B1-B2 is taught in our secondary school system here, where I originally learned French. The kicker is, I know I couldn't confidently produce anything on my own of the caliber of what I was being tested upon in the reading. I know I'll get there eventually, but I wonder if I should be challenging myself more or taking in massive amounts more of reading and AV material. (Probably.)
I have wanted to L-R a book for weeks and began with about ten pages last month, but I haven't gone back to it -- always, "OK, tomorrow I'll set aside a big chunk of time for this..." I really like Le journal en français facile and L'avis de Marie. Thanks to the group for those recommendations!Japanese
I am grudgingly coming round to accepting that my "normal" for Japanese is and will remain lower than my "normal" for other languages. It's just frustrating to get 98% of vocabulary reviews right on an average day in other languages, and the same average for Japanese kanji will be consistently 85% (a good day) or even 75% (meh), or, once in a blue moon, 93% (an extraordinarily good day; why can't I replicate those at will?). And these are characters that I have already written, in some cases, a hundred times.
I don't find the Japanese grammar conceptually difficult at all so far, but my mind simply operates far more slowly when it has to call things up in this language, except for the phrases I had learned as a kid and can rattle off rapidly.
I just have to realize that there's nothing wrong with me, there's nothing wrong with Japanese... it's just that, time commitments being equal, I will not come as far in Japanese as I would when I spend the same amount of time on another language. I also don't have the same motivating factors as many of my friends when it comes to learning the language (a Japanese spouse, love of anime/manga/martial arts, etc.), so my efforts feel extra robotic right now. That's why I won't make a serious commitment to learning new grammar after my course ends next month. I will still learn kanji and vocabulary on schedule and practice them religiously, but that's about it. I hope for the vaunted "bow wave" effect... and if I have a stopover in the coming months at Narita or Haneda, at least I can always rest assured that I don't have to fall back on English.
At least when it comes to kanji, it's nice to look at things I couldn't read three or four months ago but which now make some sense. This is true of omamori
, Japanese packaging, and also, Chinese signs around town. It's cool to have a suggestion about the meaning leap out at me suddenly. Also, for some months, the kanji for a given word leaps into my imaginative memory as soon as I hear one of the English words that it encompasses. That's been funny.Norwegian
Alas, poor Norwegian! You are not getting the attention you deserve. I piddle around in Duolingo for perhaps 35 minutes a day. My Assimil course is sitting right here, untouched for some weeks. The core issue is the very fact that Assimil demands speaking out loud (stunning, I know). It mortifies me to do anything performative when others are around. I gave up piano for this reason and won't sing or dance around others because of this, too. So I must wait until way into the early morning hours to use Assimil, all due to my own self-imposed prison. And putting it off until so late means that it doesn't get done, of course.
That's the difference between people who meet their goals and people who don't (I'm often in the latter category). The people who meet their goals really couldn't care less what others think of them, or at least learn to recognize and deflate superficial anxieties, and so they persevere. I cannot imagine doing shadowing in the orthodox way prescribed by Professor Argüelles, despite being fully aware of how incontrovertibly good it would be for my progress. Nobody cares one bit about me practicing out loud except for me; marching around shouting in a foreign language is actually among the less weird things one could do in this household.
It's interesting how certain activities reveal the places where one could really benefit from growth and development. My lack of practicing Norwegian aloud, as shown above, has nothing to do with Norwegian or language-learning. It has everything to do with deeply rooted personal inhibitions and unhelpful, self-punishing behavior.