An update on my Polish
I started doing Anki again around 3 weeks ago, and only missed one day, (I did half of my deck earlier in the day, and forgot to complete it!)
I also stayed with my girlfriend's family in Podkarpacie for about four and a half weeks straight, and have probably spent 6 out of the last 8 weeks with them. My Polish really improved. I could quit trying to improve rights now and still be totally fine in most scenarios, but I know the dangers of the "immigrant trap" or whatever it's called.
I make mistakes, but everyone says, (when I ask them to please correct me,) that I make really small mistakes that they feel silly correcting... this probably means I make many
I just had a 20-minute conversation with my neighbor about Joe Biden. I tried to answer his questions carefully and not give a biased rundown of the situation. I realized that when talking about a subject I know a lot about, and know plenty more vocab than is necessary in order to talk freely, I am able to speak as quickly, or perhaps quicker, than a native. I even often play around with word order and word choice to add some nuance to what I'm saying.
Unlike when talking to my girlfriend's family and friends, I don't care what this man's opinion of me is, so I focused on what I was saying, and not "how I was saying it." I noticed this the other day as well while takinf a tax ride during rush hour in traffic. The driver and I had a very "lively" conversation about Corona Virus regulations and the nature of the pandemic. We agreed on virtually everything, so it was "lively" in the good sense.In terms of speaking, I just need to keep on adding some more vocab, fixing bad pronunciation habits, and working on my "eloquence" by learning more structures. I also need to learn more about the culture and learn the way unusual words and sentence structures are perceived, and how they are generally used. Obviously, adding some more idioms as well.
The only time I feel like a I "don't know Polish" is when reading official documents. There are so many strange words and sentences are so odd. There are many verbs used in weird ways, and many verbs I've never seen before depending on what I'm reading. If I read a particularly well-written article on a news outlet online, this occurs. This also occurs when watching the news. I actually have a real problem with the news. If I pay attention I understand what they're saying but I'm not quite sure I know what they mean precisely. I just need to keep going, adding information to my brain. I also need to, in equal measure, continue to correct and improve upon what I already know. This is much less clear cut, and requires that I ask lots of questions, and really pay attention to the small details when watching or reading something in Polish. This leads me to consulting Wiktionary quite often.
Here's a great summary of my Polish. So, my girlfriend's "best friend" is a professor at University of French, and is in addition works for the French ministry of education as a speaking examiner for French CEFR tests. I decided to take a French class with her over Skype, and we ended up talking about languages for almost two hours. We spoke a mix of Polish and French, and after she told my girlfriend, (I'm translating and paraphrasing), "He's able to talk better than people at a C2 level, but he makes mistakes with things you learn at the B1 level."
She's right though. Despite taking some night classes which despite being really fun, were completely useless. I, therefore, feel justified in saying that I never learned Polish in the classroom. I tried to go back and follow Oscar Swan's First Year Polish. I consult his grammar book (I have the pdf.) all the time, and have flipped through probably all of the circa 300 pages. I need a teacher, but a teacher who will be able to identify those small mistakes I make and give me an explanation. I find that most teachers are either hardcore prescriptivists or laissez-faire "communication is the most important" type. It's very hard to find someone who will teach me what I need to work on. I would love a prescriptivist sometime in the future, but not right now.My "medium-term" goal is to feel like I am not held back by the language barrier living here in Poland, in any situation. Whether it be talking to some therapist about my deepest feelings type of stuff, talking to doctors about serious medical issues, or even (one day!) asking and receiving legal advice from a lawyer.
I know it's not possible to achieve this within the next 6 months, but that won't stop me from trying.
In terms of reading, I want to be able to read novels "well" in the sense that I could read them and enjoy them if I were to be very interested in the topic, although still needing a dictionary from time to time. I'm writing this to remember: reading the news, which is surprisingly difficult.
In terms of writing, I don't know. I don't write in any language except English outside of texting. I guess I write long texts in Italian sometimes, but I really don't write much at all. Now that I'm back at University for my masters' program, I have been writing a lot more though. It's so strange being at New York University doing a masters' degree, but I'm living in Poland, having classes start at midnight Who would have thought? Life really is full of twists and turns.
I think I summed up here quite nicely what needs to be done to reach my "medium-term" goals. Writing really does help one organize thoughts and think more clearly.
If you read the whole thing, thank you.
I still work through Mr. Real Polish 365 Daily Polish Listening, and I try to watch one VIP video a night by him. His videos and breakdowns are superb. I highly recommend it. I also sporadically skim through Oscar Swan's Intermediate Polish course, I managed to buy the book online. I'll probably use his materials more in the future.