Just a log (English, Italian)

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aaleks
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Just a log (English, Italian)

Postby aaleks » Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:40 pm

I decided to give it a try. Probably I should've called this thread/log Just a writing practise log because it's what it's supposed to be about in the first place. There's no point to me counting hours or pages, I can read and watch (and understand) pretty much everything I want to. Of course, I'm still very far from a native-like proficiency, or what they call it, but I can live with (or without :D ) it. At least for now. But writing, and productive skills in general, are my weak point in English. There are a lot of good advices on the Internet about writing, but I get bored from the very look of the word 'essay' :oops: :lol: , and my attempts to keep something like a language journal or diary weren't successful. So this log is one more try.
What I'm going to write in here? First of all about my language learning or things related to it, in other words - nothing really fascinating :D . I'm just a mediocre learner, not a polygot. Actually, on this forum, with my half learned English and mostly forgotten German, I often feel like a monoglot :mrgreen: . It's not a complaint. In fact, it's very inspiring to read all these posts and logs :) .
Last edited by aaleks on Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:43 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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aaleks
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Re: Just a log (English)

Postby aaleks » Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:37 pm

Even though I was going to write in here about my language learning, it seems I'll start with kinda off-top :D . On the other hand any my "off-top" here will be writing practise anyway :)
I was searching on youtube, going from link to link, and came across a link to a song from one soviet kids movie. The name of the video caught my attention: Mary Poppins for the Soviet :lol: and one very strange comment that the movie wasn't popular (the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KW2su6ggsuI ) which isn't true. As I remember it was very popular, at least among me 8-) , even though it isn't exactly the story written by Pamela Travers, or maybe because of that. The book, actually, too boring compared to the movie. I saw Mary Poppins with Julie Andrews too, but, well, it's just not a movie of my childhood :)
Last edited by aaleks on Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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aaleks
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Re: Just a log (English)

Postby aaleks » Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:26 am

If someone asks me how long I've been learning English, I'll say - 5 years, and add that it is not from scratch, I was a false-beginner. But… actually I don’t know what my level was at the time (and what the false beginner level is too). I didn't have English in school, but my first introduction to English was about that time, i.e. my school years. For example, I was watching Детский час with Mazzy. Although I didn't learn much by watching it. "Big", "small", "off we go", and "I'm hungry' - it's all. I guess 15 min. once a week just couldn't do the trick. And then there were series. In the 90s there were a lot of series broadcasted on Russian TV: American, Mexican, Brazilian, Argentinean, French, Canadian, etc. They all were dubbed, but both audio tracks were audible. The Russian track was (is) louder, of course, but because I could hear the second (foreign) track too, I learnt a handful of words: English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and French. But in the first place those were English and Spanish words. Most of them I forgot a long time ago. From Spanish I remember: hombre, niña, niño, trabajo, casa, te amo/te quiero, corazón, and several others. With English it isn't easy to say what words I learnt back then and what later, I only remember that "could/couldn't" I know from Santa-Barbara, and "investigation" from Law&Order.

I found this video on youtube. It's some kind of top-rating of the series of the 90s (there mentioned only 20 of them, in reality there were a lot more). I watched all of those series, not necessary all seasons, but at least a couple of episodes. And I can't say, that I agree with that rating, besides probably the 1st and 2nd places. Also I used to think about Charmed as a series of the 2000s.


The first relatively serious attempt to learn English on my own I made in college. I bought a textbook with audio disks. It was a very usual textbook, no color pictures, no fun. That attempt didn’t last long. Also, as part of that learning attempt, I tried to read Pride and Prejudice in English. I knew nothing about grader readers or any proficiency levels back then. I can't say for sure, but I guess it was more about reading a dictionary rather than about reading the book. Nevertheless I managed to make through a half of it, which took about a year or so. Not everyday reading, just many separate, short-lasting attempts to read. But that wasn't a complete waste of time, I definitely learnt some words through that "reading".
All in all by the summer of 2012 my level allowed me to understand a very basic-level conversation, and partly understand, mostly guess a Wikipedia article.

Это была первая часть Марлезонского балета)).
Last edited by aaleks on Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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rfnsoares
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Re: Just a log (English)

Postby rfnsoares » Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:57 pm

Hello!
Great to see that you have started a log on the forum. Now I have no excuses to not start one :oops:
I've been also studying English seriouly for about 5 years. I remember that my first serious attempt to learning English was reading Duma Key by Stephen King. I agree with you. The reading was extremely hard. More than 20 words by page. :(
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aaleks
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Re: Just a log (English)

Postby aaleks » Fri Sep 22, 2017 1:34 pm

I think my approach to learning English is not the most effective one. The thing is I don't need it for anything really practical like work or studying. I have been learning it just because, just for fun, with no pressing deadlines. If things were different, probably my approach would've been more serious too, but I just wanted to watch series and movies - it's all. And that is why I started with listening, not reading or grammar. There was nothing special about my work on listening: podcast, series with/without subtitles (I've already written about that somewhere on the forum), stuff like these. After 2 or 3 month of studying I found this youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/dailydictation/videos and it helped me a lot.

Somewhere about that time I came to conclusion that if I want to increase my vocabulary I need to start reading too. I knew from my previous experience with German that it will work for me. As I've written more than once I didn't use any kind of wordlists, apps, and so on. Although during my listening in the very beginning I wrote down maybe about a dozen words, but I didn't do it while reading books. In the beginning I just look up practically every unknown word in a dictionary and did my best to memorize it. Of course, in most cases I had to do so more than once or twice, but I was ok with that. Then I changed my approach a little and tried to figure out the meaning of a word before looking it up in a dictionary. Now it depends on, in short, do I want to know the word or not. Reading on the Internet all the advices about writing unknown words down, how effective it is, I had doubts about my just-look-up-words approach, and decided give it a try. Or probably I should call it a half-try because I stopped after writing down about 10 or 12 words. I just felt that my usual approach is more effective and less time consuming. I mean for me. Maybe I just deceived myself, of course.

The next stop was writing. After the first attempt to write something in English I understood that my knowledge about grammar is very weak. I could understand speech and written texts just fine, but there always was a context which helped. Never before I had done something close to grammar drilling, and actually this drilling didn't last long too. I think that for the last 5 years I spend on that part of language studying no more than 1 (or 2) weeks in total. Of course, if I have a question, I'll look it up in a grammar book or on the Internet. So it seems that I have been learning English mostly through exposure. Probably if I would've used a more academic, systematic method my result would be more impressive. Theoretically. But practically, or realistically :) , there would be no result at all, even the one I have right now. It would be just another short-lived attempt.
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Via Diva
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Re: Just a log (English)

Postby Via Diva » Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:17 pm

Hey! From my experience, just writing, while of course helpful, isn't as effective as chatting, when you just have no time to think. You'll be writing with a lot of mistakes at the beginning, but then it'll get better ;)

Also try to learn a language from English. I tried that with many languages, it also helped a lot.
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aaleks
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Re: Just a log (English)

Postby aaleks » Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:57 pm

Via Diva wrote:Hey! From my experience, just writing, while of course helpful, isn't as effective as chatting, when you just have no time to think. You'll be writing with a lot of mistakes at the beginning, but then it'll get better ;)

Also try to learn a language from English. I tried that with many languages, it also helped a lot.


Thank you :) . Chatting, or something the like, is probably what I need because one of my writing problems is overchecking.

Also try to learn a language from English. I tried that with many languages, it also helped a lot.

I tried it with French, not serious, just dabbing, but it was interesting and I think useful as well.
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Via Diva
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Re: Just a log (English)

Postby Via Diva » Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:14 pm

Trust me, both these things work. I have evidence! Here you go (if you dare, lol).

Forgot to mention that passive immersion also matters. If you like music with English lyrics, become a lyrics nerd. You gotta want to know what the songs are about. Granted, it's a bad strategy if you prefer pop, but anything more complex would do. And, of course, switch to English audio when you're watching movies and series. Use Russian subs if needed, but you'll get bored and switch to English ones at some point.

To be honest, though, your English sounds rather great already. I'd be interested to see whether it's still that good when you're not "overchecking" :P
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aaleks
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Re: Just a log (English)

Postby aaleks » Fri Sep 22, 2017 6:21 pm

With my passive skills it's more or less OK. And I've never have any problem with the listening part like seems many language learners do. I have no clue what my current level is, in the overall or every separate skill, but passive are definitely better than active ones. A common thing for a self-learner, I guess :) . So I can read and watch practically everything, but my writing (let alone speaking) is lagging behind.

To be honest, though, your English sounds rather great already. I'd be interested to see whether it's still that good when you're not "overchecking" :P

This post can be an example, to some extend :roll: :D I spell-checked two words but made a really great effort not to google-check it ;) .

------------
edited: an usual -> a common
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Via Diva
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Re: Just a log (English)

Postby Via Diva » Fri Sep 22, 2017 6:28 pm

Still seems pretty good. There are a few mistakes, but they're honestly unimportant (like, it should be a usual thing - obvious if you try to say it out loud) If you want to check your chat abilities, hit me up on vk or Facebook :P
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