Drp9341 is (accidentally back) in POLAND for another year!!!!

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drp9341
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Re: drp9341's Living in Europe (Now) Italian Immersion (formerly) 2 year Polish immersion Log!

Postby drp9341 » Mon Mar 02, 2020 7:01 pm

PLEASE CORRECT ANY PUNCTUATION MISTAKES YOU FIND IN THIS POST!
(I would like to improve my writing for the GRE.)


So, I've been back home in the USA for exactly one week. I haven't really been doing much of anything that involves, or requires the use of foreign languages. I spoke Italian for an hour or so with my grandparents when I went to see them the other day, but aside from that, I haven't actually conversed in a foreign language in about a week, I've even been speaking to my girlfriend in English. I'm not sure why, but I have gotten quite lazy with foreign languages. I still watch lots of Youtube and text friends in other languages, I even started playing a video game and forgot I had changed my Xbox to Spanish, and have thus been playing Skyrim in Spanish for the last week. It doesn't really bother me, and there are lots of new words. I also watched about 4 episodes of a Netflix show in Spanish.

I should use Spanish more, especially considering I'm going to be working as an interpreter soon. Nonetheless, I've been quite lazy when it comes to foreign languages, in the sense that I don't try to use them unless it's necessary. I didn't try to speak to my grandparents in English, because it's harder for us to accurately communicate, and I didn't change my Xbox back to English because I really don't care enough to go through the trouble of rebooting it.

I should study Polish, but I've been quite lazy. I played about 4 hours of the Witcher in Polish, but there are just so many strange words that it becomes a chore to do so. I haven't done Anki since I've been back, and I don't really have any motivation to start.

On Wednesday I have an interview for a Master's Program at a City University. I'm not sure if they will speak to me in Spanish or English, so I'm spending some time reviewing academic vocabulary in Spanish, (transcript, GPA, Graduate Advisor, Application Deadline, etc.)

I might give a call to some Spanish speaking friends of mine to catch up after I write this. It's been about 2 weeks since I've had a conversation in Spanish.


Here's something strange though: Italian will creep into Spanish, even if I am "better" in Spanish. I guess it's because I learned Italian first. It never really shows, (meaning that no one can actually hear Italian creep into my speech while I speak Spanish,) but there is interference. When I was taking the interpreters test, towards the end, when I was just totally "in the zone" I caught myself wanting to say "di" instead of "de" multiple times. When speaking quickly it probably isn't even noticeable, but it's still strange. I have to "hold back" Italian, even though my vocabulary is definitely larger in Spanish.

Thanks for reading!
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Re: drp9341's Living in Europe (Now) Italian Immersion (formerly) 2 year Polish immersion Log!

Postby StringerBell » Tue Mar 03, 2020 11:35 pm

drp9341 wrote:PLEASE CORRECT ANY PUNCTUATION MISTAKES YOU FIND IN THIS POST!
(I would like to improve my writing for the GRE.)


I notice that you use a lot of commas where they shouldn't be. I, myself, never understood how to use commas properly for most of my life (owing to the fact that I was taught in elementary school that you are supposed to put them where you would pause when reading. This is 100% wrong! I only learned how to use commas properly last year during a training for work since the institute where I work publishes in professional journals and they always need help with proofreading before publication. Even still, there are still a few times when I have to check the rules, so I'm definitely not an expert. (In that same training I also learned that most scientific journals are rife with punctuation errors due to lack of funding for trained proofreaders.)

Here are a few examples from your post where commas should NOT be used:

drp9341 wrote:I haven't really been doing much of anything that involves, or requires the use of foreign languages.


*you don't need the comma because "or" links the two ideas which share a subject. You should never put a commas between a verb and its subject or object.

drp9341 wrote:I should study Polish, but I've been quite lazy.


*you don't need the comma in front of "but".

drp9341 wrote:It never really shows, (meaning that no one can actually hear Italian creep into my speech while I speak Spanish,) but there is interference.


In this case, you should use either the pair or commas as enclosers or the pair of parentheses. A pair of commas functions in the way that parentheses do.

If you want, I could email you the very useful explanation with examples explaining when to use or not use commas which I got from the training. Send me a PM if you're interested.
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drp9341
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Re: drp9341's Living in Europe (Now) Italian Immersion (formerly) 2 year Polish immersion Log!

Postby drp9341 » Sun Mar 08, 2020 5:40 pm

Language Goals for March

Everything went incredibly shockingly well with the grad school interview and exam. I won't go into details but I believe rules were ignored so that I didn't have to do prerequisites. I got lucky, the advisor was a linguist, and we ended up getting sidetracked and talking about some real technical stuff that I happen to know lots about.

Now I'm waiting for the interpreting job to start, and doing some other small little things here and there. I made a rule for myself that...

MARCH 2020 IS SPANISH AND ENGLISH ONLY

This means that all of my "language efforts" are going towards improving and refreshing my Spanish. I'm speaking Spanish in an online voice conference call thing for like 4 hours each day. I get to talk to people from all over Latin America, and it's super cool so far.

I'm basically reviewing the subjunctive flashcards I made on Anki, speaking, making more cards whenever I look up something I don't know how to say and repeat.

I still make mistakes with the subjunctive, although it's getting to the point where it's so rare as to almost not an issue.

Also, I've realized that I don't understand Caribbean Spanish all that well. When certain guys from the Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico get hyped up and tell stories, I need to really pay attention to follow along. It's not like I can ask them, "what does x mean?" I have a hard time following the words sometimes just because of the different patterns. This is odd because I used to be super comfortable with Dominican Spanish some 5 years ago. I've been listening to a Podcast from Puerto Rico for probably 2 hours a day. It's like an informal conversation between friends and they don't modify their speech at all. They tell stories, make fun of each other, have on guests, etc.

I'm already improving my listening skills, but I have a long way to go before I can understand unpolished Puerto Rican Spanish the way I can understand Mexican or even Castillian Spanish.

Right now, I'm focusing on hearing all the words, and if I don't know a word I write it down and look it up in a dictionary. If it's not in a dictionary, I don't bother since it's slang. I'm already picking up a LOT of new vocab just through exposure, but my main priority is to be good enough at listening that I don't have to ask people to repeat, I just have to ask them what a word means.

I already have a pretty decent base in Caribbean slang, I worked in the Dominican Republic for 3 months, and in NY we have tons of Puerto Ricans and Dominicans. I never had an issue speaking with them face to face, it's only when they are getting emotional and telling stories. That's why this podcast is so useful.

So that's my goal for the next 24 days. I think I can achieve quite a lot, considering I am not a newbie to Caribbean Spanish by any means. I honestly don't know if I got worse, or if I never understood it as well as I thought I did. Only time will tell. If I hit a point where progress slows down noticeably, that probably means I'm back to where I once was, and that I've moved from re-learning to learning.

Please excuse the many writing mistakes I made in this post, I am writing this quickly. As I have said before, I use this language log as a tracker in a sense. If I feel like I'm veering off course, I'll come back and read my own posts.

Thank you all for reading. If anyone has any advice, other than just listening to tons of Caribbean Spanish, let me know! I'm open to any ideas.

I timed myself the yesterday morning and watched the intro of the podcast. During the 2 minutes and 37-second long monologue, there were 2 things I didn't understand. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MG-L2OCWhoY
[0:17] ...estamos rompiendo en lo que es [loh'mot???] podcasts mundialmente...
[1:18] [i]...tenemos a todos los papás 'acicalaos' (Caribbean for "stylish") tienen a tanto [???????] de máscara...

The rest I understood the first time around. However, I have to really pay attention. I sent the recordings to a friend from Andalucia, and a friend from Honduras and neither of them had any clue whatsoever what he was saying. So that's a good sign I guess? I need to ask someone from the Caribbean.
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Re: drp9341's Living in Europe (Now) Italian Immersion (formerly) 2 year Polish immersion Log!

Postby tungemål » Sun Mar 08, 2020 8:15 pm

drp9341 wrote:...
I'm basically reviewing the subjunctive flashcards I made on Anki, speaking, making more cards whenever I look up something I don't know how to say and repeat.
...


What do your subjunctive flashcards look like? I am guessing sentences in some way to become familiar with when to use the subjunctive?
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Re: drp9341's Living in Europe (Now) Italian Immersion (formerly) 2 year Polish immersion Log!

Postby drp9341 » Sun Mar 08, 2020 10:12 pm

tungemål wrote:
drp9341 wrote:...
I'm basically reviewing the subjunctive flashcards I made on Anki, speaking, making more cards whenever I look up something I don't know how to say and repeat.
...


What do your subjunctive flashcards look like? I am guessing sentences in some way to become familiar with when to use the subjunctive?



I use cloze deletion sentences. Basically anytime I come across the subjunctive when speaking, reading, listening or writing I look it up on context.reverso

Here are some basic ones that you just have to memorize trigger = subj/ind.
Es evidente que los comentaristas y los pandit de la red {{c1::ponen}} (poner / presente) una vuelta en eso.

and
Es normal que {{c1::vengan}} (ellos, venir / present)

Cases where a mistake could lead to a misunderstanding....
[madre #1] Mi hija Maria estudia todas las noches.
[madre #2] Es interesante que {{c1::digas}} eso porque mi hija dijo que ve a Maria andando de parranda todo el tiempo.

extra: madre #2 acknowledges what madre #1 has said and refers to it, but not that this is presupposed to be a true statement. It would sound weird if madre #2 literally repeated that, it might even sound like she was accusing madre #1 of lying.


cases like this where the subjunctive depends on the speakers opinion.
¿Crees que {{c1::vayan}} a ganar otra vez? - Do you REALLY think they will win again?

extra: This guy can't believe that his friend thinks they will win again. In this guys mind, it's clear that they're not going to win. He can't believe his friend doesn't realize this.


and then another card...

¿Crees que {{c1::van}} a ganar otra vez? - Do you think they will win again?

(This a genuine question. He is unsure who will win.)


I threw in some expressions that I don't often native speakers use, but that I use a lot.

...pero no es que no podamos hacer lo que {{c1::queramos}}querer

extra:...but it's not like we can't do what we want.


I'll try to mix them in with concepts that aren't automatically understood by my brain. For example, if I'm tired too many double negatives confuse me. If I can just automate my understanding of a few sentences like this I run less of a risk of being mentally low energy and not understanding something.


There's always something new to learn and there's always refreshing to be done to make it more automatic. I can feel the subjunctive more and more, which is good; it's become natural. I still don't understand it 100% but it's the biggest of the few subjects that I make mistakes with due to a lack of knowledge. I make mistakes of course, but they're usually vocabulary related or slips of the tongue unless they involve Los Verbos de Cambio, the use of the definite article, or the subjunctive. I honestly don't have much of a problem with ser and estar, maybe that's next though lol. For now, the most elusive part of Spanish grammar is when to use the definite article. I've read all the rules and I have like 100 cards in my deck, but it's hard to remember it and even harder to apply it while speaking.

My goal is to speak Spanish as naturally as I speak English. I'm a long way from achieving that. I highly doubt I ever will if I don't move to a Spanish speaking country, (which I don't plan to,) but Spanish is a really useful language that I speak all the time. I also really like that there are so many accents and varieties to keep me busy.



EDIT: (adding more things that I should work on.)
I don't remember the last time I was corrected for por vs. para. (The people I speak to correct me,) I'm sure I must make mistakes but there hasn't been any surprises with that in a while and I feel like I must be missing something.

I could start distinguishing between the pretérito compuesto (he hablado) and the pretérito (hablé) so that my speech is in line with the correct RAE usage. I'm pretty sure I use them mostly correctly as is, but I know I overuse the pretérito.

There's definitely more. I'll add them as I think of them.
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Re: drp9341's Living in Europe (Now) Italian Immersion (formerly) 2 year Polish immersion Log!

Postby drp9341 » Fri Mar 13, 2020 2:46 am

I took Tuesday and Wednesday off from formal language study, and didn't speak any language for those two days. I did watch about 5 episodes of Spanish Netflix without subtitles, but I didn't need to look up any words or really pay attention that hard.

Today I spoke Spanish for a good hour and a half, and I'm already making mistakes with the subjunctive again. After around 45 minutes my Spanish loosened up. The people in the chat couldn't believe I wasn't a native speaker. I told them to wait a few minutes, and they'll hear my mistakes. One guy from Argentina, who couldn't believe I wasn't Mexican, then said, "I guess you sound like one of those Latinos in the US with parents who speak Spanish, but I don't know."

Nonetheless, I had to rephrase some things and wasn't able to express myself as easily as English despite outwardly seeming, "native."

I reviewed my subjunctive cards on Anki, and that helped. I want to "automate" the subjunctive as much as I can, so that going forward I can just learn more expressions and vocabulary.


I know I told myself I would only focus on Spanish this month, but I have been using Italian on video chat (my friends and family are all in quarantine, so I spend a lot of time messing around in our group chat and randomly Facetiming friends and cousins.) I've also been getting more and more tempted to finally take my Polish to the next level. I'm saving The Witcher for next month and I plan on finishing up my playthrough in Polish.

I still have trouble using physical books, but I know that's what my Polish needs. I need to sit down and do a nice mixture of intensive and extensive reading. I am however looking over stuff I wrote concerning Polish so that I will be able to hit the ground running instead of fumbling around trying different things.

I would really like to speak Russian, but I know that I need to first get my Polish to a higher level. I don't want to be half-speak both languages.

I have very little to do until my job starts next month. I've done literally everything I have to do with the exception of two things that require the help of family members. Funnily enough, not having anything to do is making me extraordinarily lazy. I am not respecting time as I always feel that I can "do it later."
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Re: drp9341's Living in Europe (Now) Italian Immersion (formerly) 2 year Polish immersion Log!

Postby drp9341 » Mon Mar 16, 2020 7:57 pm

So it looks like I'll be having some time off for the foreseeable future lol.

I've been working on Spanish, more specifically:
1. Automating the subjunctive so that it flows naturally.
2. Listening to lots of Caribbean Spanish
3. Watching that show, Pablo Escobar el patron del mal.


Updates:
In terms of Caribbean Spanish, I'm getting very good at understanding the Puerto Rican accent. I've been listening to (and sometimes watching,) these two Podcasts, "La Escuela de Nada"(Venezuelan Spanish, Caracas,) and Chente Ydrach. Chente Ydrach can be hard to listen to sometimes... he or his guests will say things that are just plain factually incorrect and act like geniuses. La Escuela de Nada is better since it's just dudes joking around. Even though it's Venezuelan, the Caracas accent is definitely more "caribeño" than anything else. I actually like the accent a lot. Also, the guys are funny and actually make me laugh.

Last night I watched this interview with Residente (Calle 13) and I am proud to admit that I understood literally everything the first time around, I didn't need to rewind once. I did rewind and slow down the audio to analyze and write in the IPA a couple of things the guy said, but I understood it very well. So that's awesome.



In terms of the subjunctive, I need to start phrasing things the way natives do. It's similar to what happened with Polish; I realized that trying to say complex sentences that I invent on the fly would usually require me to use a million declensions. Native speakers though would express that exact same thing in a different way, avoiding so much grammar.

I'm gonna try the same thing with Spanish. Right now though it's hard since I'm jumping from dialect to dialect so I don't really have one solidified Spanish voice in my head.

...Which leads us to the following point...
I am going to try to base my Spanish on Colombian Spanish for the time being. More specifically, the Bogotá accent. I don't plan on using any of their slang or regionalisms, but I've noticed that they phrase things differently than Mexicans. Mexican Spanish and Caribbean Spanish seem to use constructions that are similar to English more than Colombians do. It's hard to explain, but in Mexico and the Caribbean, they say things that can be translated word for word back to English and sort of make sense. Colombian Spanish is further. I don't know if I'm explaining this correctly, but it's not the vocabulary that's more similar to English, but the syntax. I think this is the case, but I don't know for sure if it's actually the case, or if it's just that since I'm more used to those dialects the way they phrase things is easier for me to understand automatically. I've been paying attention to the pronunciation of Y and LL also. I'm not gonna start saying /d͡ʒ/ but instead of /j/ I'll start using /ʝ/. I don't know honestly lol.

Let's see how this pans out!
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Re: Drp9341's (NOW) "back in the USA" Advanced Spanish - Polish - French - Portuguese - and Italian LOG!

Postby drp9341 » Wed Mar 25, 2020 1:40 am

So due to this whole quarantine thing, I decided to give up on my Spanish plan. I have no obligations to speak any languages for the next few weeks at least, so I've been jumping around.

Last weekend I spoke lots of Portuguese. I was helping edit a video for a Brazilian friend, and I spent hours and hours editing it talking with him. The next day I called an old friend and spent three hours on the phone speaking Portuguese. I have no idea how I'd rank my level in Portuguese. I put it at B2+ but I have no idea if it should be higher or lower. I can watch virtually anything and as long as there's no slang, I'm fine. I make mistakes with the future subjunctive, but not super often. I can explain complex subjects fluently without having to stop and think, I have a very large vocabulary. I supposedly have a very good accent, Brazilians say they can hear I'm foreign but they have no idea where I'm from. I'm lacking some refined aspects though. I never actually studied Portuguese for more than a few days in a row. I learned it by speaking, reading, listening, and repeating. I make mistakes with prepositions and phrase things very literally and correctly. I don't phrase things how a Brazilian would. Nonetheless, it's not "wrong" it's simply that my Portuguese is sort of just the confused offspring of my other romance languages that has taken on a life of its own. Brazilians, and even teachers, don't understand when I say I need to study, because it's not "Portunhol" and because my mistakes are limited, but I would one day like to really immerse myself in TV series, Youtube, books, learn the future subjunctive, master the propositions, etc. When, and if that will ever happen remains unknown.

I am speaking lots of Italian on a daily basis. Lots of Whatsapp texting, voice messaging, Skyping and phone calls. I am definitely making more mistakes, I'm not sure if what I'm saying is correct, but it seems to check out. I don't have the internal monologue anymore since I've moved back to the US.

Spanish is the same as ever. I use it online, and I watch lots of stuff in Spanish. It's sort of not a big deal, but I am definitely learning and reinforcing things. I should do Anki more for the subjunctive though.

Now... The interesting part:
POLISH AND RUSSIAN
The other day I did Russian Assimil until unit 21. I started watching that TV show on Netflix, Лучше, чем люди and I'm switching between the English and Russian subtitles. My Russian knowledge is limited to the 200-300 most useful words, and some basic grammar stuff. Today I went through Assimil and I did some more lessons and reviewed the old lessons. I used Audacity to cut out the silences in the audio, and I added that to my iPad. I put it on loop for lessons 1-25 while cleaning my room. I've learned a couple of new words, but I'm more looking at the spelling and pronunciation. I'm working on Cyrillic cursive and trying to get better at reading and writing that insane stuff.

I'll probably go through Assimil pretty quickly until I hit the units where there are lots of new words and grammar. I'm in no rush to speak Russian, and I would like to get it to a high enough level where I can watch Russian news and Youtube videos. It shouldn't take too long. Maybe 3 months or so. It's quite easy to study. It's not that similar to Polish though. It's like Italian and Portuguese maybe. There is a common root for most of the words, and the "system" is pretty similar. The pronunciation and rhythm change so much that Russian needs to be studied, though. It's not like Ukrainian or Slovak. This is good though.

I noticed years and years ago that my Italian really took off after I started getting better at Spanish. I see with my Portuguese how I already have a "system" in place, and I need to just alter some constructions, change some vocab the pronunciation of words, and communication is easy.

Also, Russian is interesting to me. I would love to be able to speak it well. It's a very cool language in my eyes. There are tons of resources out there for Russian learners, so it would be quite easy to learn it seems. Italian was difficult because, after a certain point, there were barely any good (engaging?) resources. Spanish had lots of resources and is spoken by lots of different cultures and therefore there's always more stuff that's engaging. Russian is sort of like that, but with Polish. I'm hoping Russian becomes the Spanish to my Italian. Does that last sentence even make sense?

Anyway, I'm not really doing any hardcore studying, but I am using all my language on a daily basis except French. My life has just taken in me on a path that requires absolutely no French. I don't mind, I like the language but it's not in danger of being forgotten by a long shot.

Thanks for reading my typed out thoughts, I hope it makes sense, and I hope to get my Russian to a high level one day, although whether or not that will be possible is out of my hands, if my past language learning endeavors serve as any indication.

Goodnight!
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Re: Drp9341's (NOW) "back in the USA" Advanced Spanish - Polish - French - Portuguese - and Italian LOG!

Postby drp9341 » Wed May 13, 2020 7:36 pm

I've completely changed my plans regarding languages over the course of this quarantine. I was working on Russian, and then I realized I should wait and get my Polish to a higher level first, so I stopped. My biggest issue with Polish is something I've never really faced before as far as I can remember. I am having problems "thinking like a Pole/Slav." I've been practicing Polish for close to 3 hours a day in the last 3 or 4 weeks. I mainly watch videos, read books, read Wikipedia, and research any "grammar" that causes me to think, "wait... why is it in this case?" or "let me double-check this, I may have forgotten some."

I've also been working on my French listening comprehension. I cannot understand (most) French movies and TV series without French subtitles. I can read French fine, but my active vocabulary would be gone if not for Italian and English, and my listening comprehension is shaky at best. Nonetheless, I can blabber on in French explaining things to my students (online) even though I'm sure I'm butchering lots of things.

My vocabulary, listening comprehension, and just overall "knowledge" of Polish is miles ahead of that of French, but there is a fundamental difference.

With French, my brain feels like it's just speaking Italian using different words. It's almost like speaking Italian with a crazy accent, (it's obviously not, but I don't need to use my brain for much else except maybe recalling a word.) It's only vocabulary and pronunciation that is holding back understanding and communicating without issues.

For example, this morning I had a lesson with a French student that requires me to teach mostly in French. I was exhausted. I spoke fine though. He understood everything I said and vice versa. I can speak quickly and I don't need to search for words very often. I actually feel like I don't know French, but then when I speak to someone it just comes out like nothing. I don't know a lot of words for a lot of things, but I can usually figure it out quite easily.

With Polish though, it's different. In terms of conversational language, it's quite automatic. I lived in Poland and spoke it daily the whole 2+ years I was there. I've probably spoken and listened to 1000x (probably much more) more Polish than I have French. Nonetheless, when I want to explain a complex concept, it's like my brain just draws a blank. I have to figure out how to break it down into simpler sentences.

I think I need to get my passive skills to a level where I can engage in reading and listening to complex topics with relative ease, and then have that translate into active skills. It's almost like as soon as the topic delves into certain areas, I don't speak that language at all.

So I've been focusing on reading, writing, and listening. I speak it as often as always (not more than usual) since I don't think it's necessary, or even that good of an idea to speak it that often since I often try to say things I don't know how to say, which is going to leave me with fossilized mistakes for sure.

I know many people prefer breadth over depth, and I respect that, but I'd much prefer to be very fluent in a smaller number of languages since I feel a C level is really needed to fully break open the culture and explore it.
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Re: Drp9341's (NOW) "back in the USA" Advanced Spanish - Polish - French - Portuguese - and Italian LOG!

Postby DaveAgain » Wed May 13, 2020 8:07 pm

drp9341 wrote:I've also been working on my French listening comprehension. I cannot understand (most) French movies and TV series without French subtitles.
What are you doing to improve your listening comprehension?
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