drp9341's 2 year Polish Immersion & advanced Spanish + Portuguese + Italian

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drp9341
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Re: Danny's 2 year long POLISH immersion experience!

Postby drp9341 » Sat May 25, 2019 2:28 am

(Possible) Language Plan for Summer 2019 (while home in NYC)...
Goal: Completely Mentally Separate Portuguese and Spanish.

My Portuguese is quite good. I'm definitely B2 in everything except writing. But Spanish still interferes with my Portuguese.

This morning I talked to a friend from Bogotá on the phone for an hour, and we talked about pretty complex topics like student loans etc. Then, my friend from Brazil called me out of the blue and we ended up talking for about an hour and a half.

I don't confuse words and grammar that much anymore. I rarely have Spanish words come into head when speaking Portuguese.
Sometimes I'll doubt a word, like I said "manter" then I asked, "Como se diz isto em português? Se diz mantener ou manter? Qual é a palavra certa?"

The way I separate languages in my brain is through working on pronunciation and rhythm. This has always worked the best for me. I hear the word "casa" as "[k′azә]" in Portuguese, ['ka.sa] in Spanish and ['ha.sa] in Italian (Yes. "La gorgia toscana" is a part of my mental framework for Italian, if I say it with a hard /k/ sound it feels like I'm trying too hard.)

My Spanish literally came back overnight. I watched some youtube videos in Spanish, and fell asleep to telemundo, and this morning when I talked to my friend on the phone, I even recorded myself towards the end to see how I sounded. I fixed the /ɛ/ and /e/ problem overnight with some quick immersion and listening - paying close attention the the exact sound of the /ɛ/ sound. In the recording I said the 'e' in the stressed syllable a little bit higher, almost like /e/ but still closer the /ɛ/.


When speaking Portuguese, I asked my friend how it sounded, since I've been neglecting it for months, and he said my accent became way more "portunhol-ish". I didn't record myself, but I realized I've been saying the 's' like /s/ instead of /z/ in certain places and pronouncing the 'n' as if it was Spanish. For example, pronouncing "cantar" as [kan'tah] instead of [kɐ̃'ta].

Also, I tried to shadow some basic sentences, and I keep pronouncing 'de' as /di/ instead of /d͡ʒi/. I kept saying words like "vendas" like [ven'dəs] instead of [vɛ̃'dəs].


I can never speak both Portuguese and Spanish "at my best" at the same time. One always takes precedence over the other. This happens to a lesser extent with Italian and Spanish, but it's more "rustiness" in the sense that I just need a second to think and I know what's what. In Portuguese and Spanish, I need to look up words and ask questions. I don't think Portuguese has "infiltrated" my Spanish, but I know that Spanish pronunciation has infiltrated my Portuguese. Right now my Spanish is really strong. I'm going to try to maintain my Spanish at this strong level, and simultaneously improve my Portuguese, through focusing on Pronunciation.

Whenever I reach a B2-ish level, I always improve my language dramatically through going crazy with pronunciation and phonology. I love phonetics and accents, but in order to understand the phonetics of a language very well, you need to understand the language itself very well. I guess you could say this is my way of "tricking myself" once I've reached a B2 level, where I feel totally comfortable and myself in the language, but I make noticeable errors quite often, like grammatical, vocabulary, and pronunciation errors for example.


_________
How I'll improve Portuguese? AND maintain/improve my Spanish
- READING QUORA FOR 30 MINUTES A DAY in Portuguese.
- Watching Danilo Gentili's talk show daily, or at least a few times a week. (I'm aiming for the São Paulo pronunciation, simply due to the fact that it's the most easily accessible. Nonetheless, my favorite accent is Rio de Janeiro's Carioca accent.)
- Talking everyday with Brazilians (and one Portuguese person!) on the phone.
- Talking everyday in Spanish, even using free for talk if no one's around to chat.
________

The daily speaking is probably the most important part, since the only time I get a real self evaluation is when I'm forced to speak for 30+ minutes. Under 30 minutes I can make an effort to speak correctly, but after 30 minutes, (if I'm not fluent enough in the language,) I'll start to slip up and make mistakes.

If I find that my Spanish is getting worse, or that my Portuguese is not improving, I'll readjust.


P.S. Youtube's "slow the video" feature is great if you want to figure out what was said, but they were talking to fast! OR! if you simply want to hear the way someone pronounced something in slo-motion to really analyze what was said!



If anyone has any advice, resources, questions, criticisms, I'd be happy to hear it! (even criticisms, I'm serious!)
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Re: Danny's 2 year long POLISH immersion experience!

Postby drp9341 » Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:13 pm

Today I went to a "Polish Festival" in New York, and spoke a lot with Polish immigrants.

It was a very interesting experience. My Uncle heard about it, and asked me to go with him so he could learn a little bit more about the culture and country.
The nearest Polish community is in Brooklyn, which is about an hour away - although I know of a few Polish families spread out all around me, there's no "Polonia" directly near me.

As soon as I walked in I heard some old lady trying to buy tickets in Polish, and I helped translate for her so she could buy tickets. The person selling tickets might have been polish descent, but she didn't understand or speak it.

Everyone there was speaking Polish. I thought it was going to be like the Greek festivals that are around every year, where it's half non-greeks and half Greek-Americans, but no one speaking Greek - just the occasional grandma with a Greek accent.

I ended up having lots of really good conversations with a lot of people there, (in Polish.) Twice, a Polish American around my age remarked out loud "I'm so jealous you speak Polish so good!" or "You're so lucky your parents made you speak Polish so good!" - pretty funny honestly, since I'm 0% Polish, (as far as I know...)

I was talking to some people near the food stand, and had a brain fart and asked one lady who was serving food what the blood sausage was, (I forgot the name, it's 'Kaszanka'!) and she looked at me very confused and said loudly (in Polish) "Kaszanka, what do you mean what is this?" I then said, (all speaking was in Polish,) "I'm not Polish!" one girl responded, "Then obviously your mom tried really hard to make you learn Polish!" I said, "My mom's Irish, and my dad's Italian - I'm not Polish at all. I just lived in Warsaw for two years." They were really confused. I look Polish. I speak it very confidently and 'fluently' - despite making lots of mistakes with declensions, especially today after not speaking or hearing it for more than a month. I guess this leads people to believe I speak it at home all the time, or I moved to the US as a child or something. Since I heard Polish Americans speaking with Polish customers at the stands, and they sounded very unsure of themselves, and made many more mistakes than I did. A few sounded very bilingual, one in particular was speaking to me in native-like Polish, and then when she switched to English to say something to someone else I was shocked that someone who I thought was Polish just spoke English the same exact way I do haha. I'm not used to that at all!

Towards the end, I ended up having a long conversation with a few older guys at a book stand, they had come during the 80's as refugees, and we ended up talking about Polish politics and the recent EU elections. The conversation got pretty detailed. We were talking for about 30 minutes, about all the stuff happening in Poland, and after talking a bit about whether or not the Polish community abroad should be allowed to vote, they asked me if I voted, and I told them I'm not Polish, 0% Polish, I just lived there for two years. They were extremely shocked, not necessarily because I speak Polish, my Polish is a decent B2 level. It's honestly a high B2 level in everything except grammar - but if I speak and read Polish for a few days in a row, I get exponentially better at Polish grammar, and exponentially worse at every other language's grammar - including English.

In fact, this November I went to Italy after being immersed in Polish the whole week before I went, due to Polish friends staying at my apartment in Warsaw the whole week before. I clearly remember hesitating while speaking Italian. I was mentally pausing before every noun, flabbergasted that a word like "la casa" is always "la casa." I felt like Italian was the simplest language ever, words barely change! I also felt that something was missing, and that I must be speaking Italian incorrectly. It took about 3 hours before this stopped happening. Still, it's very weird.

My point is, it must be strange for these guys at the bookstand to meet a guy my age, who looks like I do, who is catholic (we talked for a few minutes about how Christmas is different in America lol,) and who can talk in detail about which województwa (think provinces,) vote which ways, and even speak in depth about the controversial issue of whether or not Poles abroad should be allowed to vote.

Overall it was a good experience. I talked to some cool people, got some people's contacts, and got to see that Polish is indeed a language that is spoken and useful on this side of the Atlantic. I don't plan on ever moving back Poland, but I will certainly visit it often in the future. Today made me realize that in a sense, I am 'Polish.' I look Polish, I know all the social norms in Poland, the traditions, the food, the history, the language. I've lived and worked there. I was raised catholic, and I've attended tons of Polish masses. I don't even have a romanticized, or idyllic view of the country like a lot of poles born and raised abroad do. It's a weird feeling for sure. I don't "want" to be Polish at all. I have nothing against the country at all. On the contrary, I actually get quite defensive if I hear someone say something negative about Poland, which is really odd.

I think in the process of two years of immersion, trying to learn the language and the culture as much as I could during that time frame, living with a Polish girlfriend, going on trips with Polish friends, being part of the Polish 'team/group/whatever' on Erasmus trips and needing to explain things about Poland to Europeans not from Poland, I think I brainwashed myself into somehow deep down thinking I was Polish...

I'm trying to process the absurdity of all of this. It is genuinely ridiculous. Jesus christ... I've become like Rachel Dolezal!!!!! That white lady who became the president or something of the NAACP and tricked everyone, including herself, into believing she was black!!!

Linking this back to language learning, this makes me think of something. My Polish isn't all that great. It's truly not. I can talk to everyone and do whatever I want. I have no problems with using the language unless it involves something really complex, or it's old poetry like Mickiewicz. However, despite my lack of linguistic proficiency, I did manage to seriously deeply integrate into Polish culture and life. What does this mean for language learning? If one's goals involve learning about and understanding the collective mindset and behavior of another nation of people, how proficient must one be in the language? I'm pretty tired and had some vodka a few hours ago, so I won't go too deep into this now, since my brain is a little foggy, but I want to leave this here so that I can think about this question. It is indeed very strange. It's honestly funny. I genuinely chuckle to myself when I think about me being the Polish version of Rachel Dolezal. I'm chuckling right now reading that last sentence.
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Re: Danny's 2 year long POLISH immersion experience!

Postby Ani » Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:32 am

You're amazing and I love your log. This is a great post. And I hope you get together with us for the next LLORG East coast now that you're here.
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Re: drp9341's 2 year Polish Immersion & advanced Spanish + Portuguese + Italian

Postby drp9341 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:09 pm

So it's been a while since I've updated!

Here's what I've been doing.

Spanish
I'm taking all the state exams to become a Court Interpreter. This afternoon I have the written exam, and then in a month I have the oral exam.

I'm doing 2 things specifically to help my score on the exams, and then lots of other things to sort of "round out" my Spanish.

First of all, I'm working on seriously improving my listening comprehension skills for Caribbean, Central American, and (somewhat,) Mexican Spanish.

I've been watching lots of Telenovelas. I'm already on episode 13 of "El Yankee" (and the show just came out the other day...)

This is the only trailer I can find on Youtube lol. It's got tons of Mexican slang, and the Spanish subtitles are very accurate, so anytime I hear a new word or expression I can check to make sure I heard it right, and look it up. I'm pretty good at Mexican Spanish, but this show uses so much slang, and the accents are so strong, that I often times miss 2-3 words here and there. Especially when Cara Sucia talks. The only other show I've seen with this much Mexican slang is "Club de Cuervos" but "Club de Cuervos" might give you the impression that people use that much slang all the time. Also, they use the slang to make a joke. In El Yankee, the show seems to sort of over-use Mexican slang and idioms. I think it's to give the show more of a "regional" feel. Overall, the show is pretty good. I'm pretty tired of Narconovelas, but this one is reminiscent of Breaking Bad. It's more light-hearted.

EDIT: I'd like to point out The Sopranos for a good comparison in terms of slang. All the New York / Italian American slang and idioms that are used in the Sopranos are real slang words. I've heard all of them many times, with the exception of a few. HOWEVER, I've met very very very very few people who use these slang words so frequently. It seems that the Sopranos exchanged standard English for slang every time it was possible. I've met a few old guys, like 80+ who do use almost as much slang as they do in the Sopranos. Most of them live in Brooklyn, or some other big Italian American Enclave, and they actually speak with a slightly heavier accent (although not quite as much slang.)

If there's any Mexican here who can correct me, it seems that El Yankee is doing the same thing. They're trading standard Spanish for Mexican slang every chance they have. Even though very few people actually use that much slang. I could be wrong, but I've honestly never heard a Mexican using slang that frequently. I've heard 90% of these expressions before, but I've never heard them used SO OFTEN.


I also finally finished 'Cuatro estaciones en La Habana'

This is a great show. It's short, but it's awesome. The Spanish subtitles seem to have been translated directly from the English subtitles. It's sort of odd, but it's actually really helpful because I can't rely on the subtitles to understand what's going on. Surprisingly, I had almost no listening comprehension problems. I always needed to rewind when the guy in the wheel chair spoke, and I even messaged a Cuban-American friend of mine a few ~10 second recordings. Other than that one character, the accent was surprisingly easy to understand. I think it might be a result of having spent so much time in the Dominican Republic, and also hearing Puerto Rican and Dominican Spanish on the radio so often. I also spent the last few months I was in Warsaw Poland hanging out with people from Andalucía every day. This no doubt helped as well.


For Dominican Spanish, I used to watch, (and started watching again...) the comedy channel on Youtube "ThatsDomincan TV"

Really funny, and a great resource for Dominican Spanish.


Also, a good show for me is "Caso Cerrado" https://www.telemundo.com/shows/caso-cerrado/capitulos all the episodes are here, (if you enter in your cable provider, and you have Telemundo.) The people on the show have a wide variety of accents. Also, the stuff they say, is the stuff I'm going to need to interpret for the exam. Simple stuff in theory, but often said in a very idiomatic way.

The second thing I've been doing is practicing interpreting. I've been practicing consecutive interpreting for about an hour every other day, and working on my ability to remember exactly what was said. They want very word for word translation. They want the register, slang, and the idioms accurately interpreted. The hardest part is remembering what people say. On the practice video, the speakers ramble on for about 40 seconds. You can take notes, but effective note taking is a whole other skill in itself. I've been practicing simultaneous interpreting, but I've done the research, and supposedly learning sequential interpreting is the "foundation" upon which one learns simultaneous interpreting. This makes a lot of sense. I'm actually much better at simultaneous interpreting. I need to work on speaking slower when I do it. I've been watching simultaneous interpreters work on youtube and they are much calmer and slower. They always lag a sentences behind, which makes sense.


Other Spanish Studying...
I've been making it a point to speak Spanish for a few hours a week. I've been calling friends, and using some platforms online. I notice that when I don't speak it for 3-4 days, I become less fluent.

I turned a whole bunch of "verbs of change" grammar exercises into a big Anki deck, and I've been doing that daily, or every two days.

I also turned a whole bunch of subjunctive exercises into an Anki deck. I don't know why, but I cannot "master" the subjunctive. It's not a matter of simply automizing it, because even when I think it through, I don't know for sure if the subjunctive is necessary. I try to just copy what natives say most of the time, and send messages to a Spanish friend of mine who teaches Spanish asking her every time I have a doubt. I don't really make many errors, I have one friend who corrects me every single time I mess up the subjunctive. If we're talking about something complex and hypothetical, then he maybe corrects me every 5 minutes or so - which isn't bad. Still, it's definitely a weak point in my Spanish. I'm getting better at playing with the subjunctive vs indicative to give nuance to what I'm saying, but I still have a long way to go before I can utilize it the way a well spoken native speaker can.


I also read Malinche by Laura Esquivel. It has a lot of weird words, but these words aren't that important. I think the author chose them to make the setting and perspective of Malinalli feel more "foreign" or something. It's a good book. I found it on my bookshelf, and decided to read it to boost my reading skills. I read it pretty slow in the beginning, but I got up to a very good speed after the first 1/5th of the book. I like stories about the Conquistadors, and the people of the Americas before contact with the Europeans. The book can be very cheesy and dramatic at times, but it's still worth the read if this stuff interests you.


I've done all of this in the past 3 weeks! After today I will be working on only Interpreting for the next month. Maybe that will greatly improve my Spanish - who knows! It's hard to really perfect my Spanish without...
a) choosing one accent and sticking to it.
b) a few friends with that accent that you hang out regularly.
c) Having to use the language in a wide variety of situations. Speaking on the phone wont get you to a C level. Neither will Skype lessons. It will get you to a C level in "conversation" but it's not the same. The last time I was at a doctor's office or hospital in Spanish was 2014. The last time I had to negotiate apartment prices, or plan a trip with a travel agency (in Spanish,) was in 2017. These experiences helped me a lot, but not observing how natives use their language in all of these varied situations really does add an extra layer of difficulty.


Also I've been speaking Napoletano (The Romance Langauge / "dialect" spoken in and around the city of Naples Italy) quite frequently as of late. I have no idea what I'd rank my level as, but I can honestly have long discussions in Napoletano, and understand it extremely well. I basically binge watched Gomorra's newest season one day when I was off from work. After an episode I decided to spend 2 hours reading through a Napoletano grammar, and then I watched the show, shadowing it, repeating anything I didn't hear. I've been working with a guy from Naples who thinks it's hilarious when I speak to him in Napoletano.

This kind of happened by accident. I texted/challenged my friend from Italy, "You and your dad call me, I learned Napoletano watching TV." They did, and they were absolutely shocked and we had a good laugh. He owes me 20 euros now.

I'm not going to actually learn Napoletano seriously, it was just kind of a fun thing to do while watching Gomorra la serie. I sort of realized a ton of people I knew spoke or understood Napoletano, and decided it would be funny if I could say a few things to them "in dialetto." It kind of just spun out of control after I went through that grammar. There was a lot of immigration to New York from the south of Italy after WWII, but coincidentally everyone I know who speaks or understands Italian knows Napoletano, with the exception of one lady who speaks O.K. Gallo-italico di Sicilia, which is pretty rare.
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Re: drp9341's 2 year Polish Immersion & advanced Spanish + Portuguese + Italian

Postby drp9341 » Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:12 pm

Spanish - 12 days until the The Court Interpreter's Exam.

I passed the written part of the exam. I think I only got 2-3 questions out of 75 wrong. Since then, I stopped reading so much in Spanish.

The Spanish skill I'm working on the most is listening. I want to be able to understand Spanish like I do English. The test is mostly consecutive interpreting, and if I'm struggling to decipher what someone is saying because of their accent, I'm less likely to remember everything since I've wasted brain power that could go to memory on deciphering speech.

I've been doing LOTS of speaking and listening - despite that fact that no one I hang out with is a native speaker. I talk on the phone and text with Spanish friends every day, probably an hour a day on the phone.
If possible, I only go to stores where the employees speak Spanish. I can happily say that the past 3 weeks or so, I have passed for a native long enough to be asked, "Are you from Spain/Argentina/Costa Rica ('white' countries hahaha) nearly every time, and no one has switched to English except one time over a month ago.

My listening comprehension has gotten way more effortless. I understand pretty much everything I hear in real life, even Dominicans and Puerto Ricans. If I don't understand something someone around me is saying, I'll quickly send a text to one of my friends from Latin America. Usually I hear the word right. TV shows can be annoying, but then I realized that I actually struggle to understand TV shows in American English, (I think I get too focused on the images and stop listening.)

I've been focusing on all the different accents of Latin American Spanish, (except Chilean and Argentinian.) The one accent I have the hardest time with is the 'costeño accents' from the Caracas Venezuela / Cartagena Colombia area. I have a friend from Veracruz I speak to sometimes, but I don't have any issues with her.

I finished that show, "El Yankee." It's a narconovela, and theres tons of those, but I really enjoyed the show. It was very professionally made, and reminded me of breaking bad. I hope they come out with a second season.

I watched that Netflix 8 episode Colombian true crime story set in Bogotá, it was really good, and a lot of the slang was new.

I'm on episode 44 of Netflix's 'Simon Bolívar' show. It's a decent show. It gets way better the second half. There's tons of different accents. Venezuelan, Spanish, Colombian, Ecuadorian, Peruvian and more. The vocabulary is advanced, and they use the 'usted' form almost exclusively, (except sometimes when it's a man talking to a woman.) There's no 'leismo' which is great for refreshing my grammar after spending too much time with Spaniards who used leismo, which I picked up on, and still use. Honestly, the show is a 6.5/10. I was sick for 4 days and I blasted through like 20+ episodes, and now I'm into it. It's a good show, but the reality is that it's pretty much dialogue 90% of each episode.

I've been writing about stuff and getting it corrected. I realized one of my weak areas is verbs of movement - like talking about a car accident, or an 'a-hole' driver.


PROBLEMS

1. THE SUBJUNCTIVE IS STILL HORRIBLE THOUGH
I have a real good friend Latin America who lives in Spain who I do an English / Spanish exchange with daily. I'll send him a 10 minute voice message, and he'll break it down completely and correct all of my grammar. I do the same for his English. If I ramble on about some random hypothetical topic for 10 minutes, I'll make like 4 or 5 subjunctive errors. If it's something more concrete, like a story, then it's like 2 or 3 subjunctive errors. I probably just as often use the subjunctive when I should use the indicative, as using the indicative when I should use the subjunctive.

2. Unstable listening skills.
Usually I'll spend Friday through Sunday with my friends. The last 2 weekends in a row, when I came home I had a really hard time understanding Spanish for the first 10-30 minutes. Monday also, I listened to two hours of podcasts while working in the morning, (I was alone,) and then the second half of the day I was working with an American. On the car ride home my friend from Sevilla Spain called me on Whatsapp, and I honestly couldn't hear more than 50% of the words for the first 3 things he said. I asked him to slow down. By the time he sped back up I was fine, but I'm afraid of this sort of thing happening the day of the exam.

3. Not relying on translations / learning through context and Italian cognates AND only every taking 1 Spanish class makes translating hard.
I never think in a language other than the language I'm speaking in. Even if that language is Arabic and I only know 50 words. I've always been that way, and I'm very grateful for it. However, it is now a problem. I struggle to translate things back into English - I can't find the right word, and everything I say feels slightly unfaithful to the original unless it's something very concrete. I also hesitate when the structure of the Spanish/English sentence is really different from the translation.
I started putting English subtitles on Netflix, and trying to translate, then seeing how close I am to the subtitles. This is actually VERY helpful.


My Spanish still has a lot of holes. If I read a random wikipedia article, I will encounter new words. If I watch a lecture from a Spanish Professor, I need to pause to wrap my head around what was said. I often question whether or not what I say is correct, and I am constantly texting natives asking them if there's a better way to say "XY and Z."

I think that I'm a pretty firm C1, but I don't like the fact that my listening skills are unstable. Fossilized errors also pop out. The other day I said "hacer errores" instead of "cometer errores" because I had the phone on speaker while driving on a crowded high way. I also know that my Spanish is going to get much worse after this exam, because there's no way I can keep this pace up - I wouldn't want to either, I actually get tired of Spanish sometimes, which is weird since it's always been probably my favorite foreign language.
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Re: drp9341's 2 year Polish Immersion & advanced Spanish + Portuguese + Italian

Postby MamaPata » Thu Jul 11, 2019 5:24 pm

I really relate to what you are saying about the translation. I’m not like you in only ever thinking in that language, but there are so many words I know but then I try to translate them and blank. I can read a text in French and genuinely understand it, but then my family want a translation and I can’t figure anything out. I’m actually much less bad at it in Russian, which I think is related to doing much more extensive work in French and intensive in Russian.
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Re: drp9341's 2 year Polish Immersion & advanced Spanish + Portuguese + Italian

Postby drp9341 » Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:18 pm

MamaPata wrote:I really relate to what you are saying about the translation. I’m not like you in only ever thinking in that language, but there are so many words I know but then I try to translate them and blank. I can read a text in French and genuinely understand it, but then my family want a translation and I can’t figure anything out. I’m actually much less bad at it in Russian, which I think is related to doing much more extensive work in French and intensive in Russian.



I'm pretty sure it's similar for me in the sense that Polish is easier to translate into English than a romance language, (with the caveat that I understand the sentence completely; literature or complex sentences are definitely not easier to translate - at least at my level.)

I assume that it's due to the fact that with a good amount of the vocabulary in the romance languages, we learn new words in a the same way we learn new usages of words in our native language, like slang for example. For example, when you buy something online in French the button says 'vérifier." Any native English speaker would know what this meant, even if the page was set up backwards. Instead of the button reading "confirm" it reads "vérifier."

I wouldn't always be sharp enough recall what word is usually on the button in that situation. I could see myself going blank and "anglicizing" 'vérifier' and saying 'it means to verify the purchase' in a situation where I had to tell someone what it means in English. That's a weird sentence and requires some context to understand 100%.

There's thousands of words, and even expressions like this. In Polish, Potwierdź is what's written on that button. I had to learn that the verb potwierdzić means 'to confirm.' One can't just intuit the meaning as if it were a romance language. I think the fact that there's very little transparent vocabulary in Polish makes it necessary to use a dictionary, or ask for a translation.

The exception might be the verbs like wypić vs. pić. One would learn that wypić implies for drinking alcohol or drinking something completely, (kind of like drink until the glass/cup/etc. is empty. - someone correct me if there's some nuance that's escaping me.)

However, for me at least it's still easier to translate because there's no English cognate that's trying to sneak it's way out. If I speak Italian for too long I'll have the word 'principal' and 'main' in my head when I'm trying to say 'it's the main door.'

I think the fact that the Slavic languages' completely different word order and it's entirely different relationship to meaning lends itself to not mixing with your English / French / Spanish etc.

Can anyone who speaks an asian, or any indo-european language comment on whether they have their experience is the same?
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Re: drp9341's 2 year Polish Immersion & advanced Spanish + Portuguese + Italian

Postby Ani » Sat Jul 13, 2019 8:29 pm

drp9341 wrote:
Can anyone who speaks an asian, or any indo-european language comment on whether they have their experience is the same?


It's like this for me in French. I don't think I have the type of brain that can interpret, or it would take me enormous deliberate practice. I can speak about something I've read in French quite easily if it's --read in one language/switch languages/talk in another-- but if I need to translate on the fly for someone? A sort of halting and disgusting English starts flowing out of my mouth, and it's hard to imagine I actually speak either language.
I think it's just like you said -- I learned French by broadening the meaning & usage cases of Latin root words. Until reading your post, I don't think I ever mentally assigned vérifier & confirm together, but I wouldn't have have trouble telling you what the French buttons said. The language just exists separately for me.
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Re: drp9341's 2 year Polish Immersion & advanced Spanish + Portuguese + Italian

Postby drp9341 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:48 pm

I’m at the airport, waiting for my plane to Europe right now, so Ill finally write another post. I’m writing this on my cellphone, and my autocorrect doesn’t really work that well, (I’m too lazy to change keyboards, so my spellcheck has learned a few languages,) please excuse any typos and let me know if anything just happens to make 0 sense!


The Court Interpreter speaking exam was quite easy. The hardest parts were
1) English to Spanish sight translation. (A full page of legalese regarding a child custody case, which you had to read in English and say out loud in Spanish, (doing your best to keep everything as close to the original as possible, even in terms of structure and especially register. I would say that for 30% of the works, I just used any Spanish equivalent, I didn’t want to try to test my luck by creating cognates on the spot. Overall, I managed to keep the meaning completely the same, and I managed to finish both the English to Spanish, and the Spanish to English sight translations in time.

2) The last part of the exam featured a very eloquent Lawyer giving her closing arguments in English, which had to be simultaneously interpreted into Spanish. I am almost certain I interpreted it near perfectly. I only missed one or two sentences. The sentences I missed were arguably not necessary; both of them were just her expounding on a previously said statement by saying it in another way. She spoke for about 4 minutes, and that was the hard part. I definitely also made some subjunctive errors, and probably made a few mistakes as well. When I first started practicing simultaneous interpreting about 6 weeks before the exam, I heard myself say tons of things in English even that no native speaker would ever say. Thankfully my brain held up pretty well, and to be honest the whole 1.5hr exam flew by before I had a chance to even think about how long it was. As soon as I got home I wrote a long breakdown of the exam, so that I could more effectively study to take it in other languages in the future.


Overall, I’m super happy with how far my Spanish has progressed. I haven’t failed to pass for a native speaker in ages, and people don’t even ask me if I’m from Argentina or Spain anymore. I’m also now known by most of the Latinos around my neighborhood and lots of places I frequent, and they speak to me in Spanish now. I actually once went to a different gas station to get a Red Bull because I was too tired to speak Spanish.


The most salient of my errors have to do with the subjunctive. I made a deck on Anki, and I’m paying extra close attention to whether or not people use the subjunctive when I watch TV shows. Everyone with the exception of one friend who’s a really stickler for grammar, says they don’t hear my subjunctive errors, but I know that unless I continue to practice and review, I’ll end up confusing it with Italian.


I’ll be in Poland for the next week, and then after I’ll be in Italy. Today I talked on the phone for an hour and a half in Italian, and I made a point to speak slightly slower so that I could monitor my pronunciation. There was definitely some influence from Spanish, even if it was just evident in my word choice and syntax. I think my Italian will actually benefit in the long run, and that this phase of hesitating slightly won’t last more than a day at most.

Polish on the other hand, has suffered ! My girlfriend came to stay with me for two weeks, (she got here the night I took the exam,) and we spoke lots of Polish. I am speaking much more slowly, and I am making tons of little mistakes, which I correct myself on almost instantly. My recall of words has gotten much worse, however my passive skills are still 95% of what they were. I think it would actually take me about two weeks of brushing up on it to get it more or less back to what it was. I’ll be in Poland for about 9 days, so I’ll see how it goes, although I’ll be focusing more on enjoying my time there, than on explicitly studying.

I’ll be in Italy after Poland, and then I’ll start my “get native within a year” challenge. Although I am going to take it slow, and not burn myself out.

I want to give a big thanks to Iguanamon for pointing me in the direction of some great resources and giving me some great tips for Spanish!
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Re: drp9341's 2 year Polish Immersion & advanced Spanish + Portuguese + Italian

Postby Axon » Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:12 am

Congratulations on your exam performance! Do you know when you'll get the results? I'd love to read that detailed breakdown of the exam, and I'm sure many others would too!
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