aaleks's log

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aaleks
Blue Belt
Posts: 701
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:04 pm
Location: Russia
Languages: Russian (N)
English (?)
Italian (beginner)
German (false beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=6724
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Re: Just a log (English, Italian)

Postby aaleks » Thu May 02, 2019 4:46 pm

Both times when I made the decisions to start first English then Italian it was kind of by accident. The difference is that while I still remember why I started learning English almost 7 years ago (I started in Jule 2012), what my goal was, what was the trigger, etc. I don't remember why I decided to learn Italian. I was going to learn French at the time, I'd been dabbling in it for about a year or so I think. I remember why I changed my mind about French -- spelling. I was afraid that I would confuse the crazy English and crazy French spelling. The next in the "line" aka my short list of languages was Spanish actually. In the 90's I watched a lot of Spanish-speaking series on TV, so I even picked up a little through the voice-over dubbing. And back then I was thinking about learning the langauge. And, of course, there was German -- the language I was learning in school and then by myself a bit. My experience with learning German helped me later with English. Italian had always been a maybe-one-day-I-would-learn langauge. French, Spanish, German would be a more reasonable choice for me. But I chose Italian and I'm verry happy with the choice. I love the language. For me it has the novelty of a foreign language and the warm of a native tongue even though it's a completely foreign language for me of course. Some bad thing happened in my life recently and I was afraid that I would always associate Italian with that event because it happened when I just started working on Italian more, listening to it extensively. But later I realized that Italian actually helped me go through it. The language worked like an antidepressant of a sort. Now I feel addicted to the language :D . With languages it's a good thing, I think.

What I'm afraid of though is that my English will suffer. Because I've managed to make it part of my life there's rarely a day when I'm not doing something in English, but usually it means just reading this forum or browsing the Internet. Sometimes I write here but I won't call it working on my writing, or working on anything language-learning related at all. It's an unsupervised writing, meaning that no one really checks it besides me, and recently I've become too lazy to proofread it properly -- after all I'm taking a break! So it's hard to tell what it does more -- harm or good. With listening things are worse. Occasionally I watch an episode of a tv-show or something on youtube which, by rough estimation, comes down to 1-2 hours per week. I've never really had problem with listening but who knows what effect such a diet will have on it? Speaking isn't really one of my skill, or that's what thought but recently without any effort on my part I've started speaking to myself in English. It's normal for me to think in English, I've been doing it for at least a couple of years but when some time ago I tried to transform the thinking into speaking it was difficult to me and require too much effort. Now it happens kind of naturally. Another thing I've noticed about my speaking is that my accent is better when I just relax and speak without trying to pronounce the sounds right. I guess, it's a side effect of listening a lot. But anyway, speaking isn't on my list of priorities right now so if it's going to work itself out somehow without my help -- good for it.
In the overall it seems the break has worked out well for me. I've sorted some questions out, stoped worring too much about my level, grammar, writing. But the problem is that I've rather become careless than gained confidence. I don't know where it finally will get me...

Being as worried as I am about my English skills I'm not going to "steal" time from Italian to not let my English slide. I tend to learn in a binge-like way. There are periods when I get really interested in what I'm learning, in these periods I will learn a lot and almost effortlessly. And there are periods of rest. Sometimes it's not just rest but stagnation. So I need to use those first periods to learn as much as possible within that who-knows-how-long time. The problem is I never know how long such a period is going to be. For example, with English it was a year or maybe even a year and a half. Back then I really made a huge progress in that first year. But will my English survive if I leave it neglected for such a long time?.. We'll see. And there's one positive thing I keep forgetting to mention in my posts. Learning Italian is helping me to let's call it optimise me approach to learning English. But I'll write sometime later maybe. This post is too long already, and I doubt that it's of the same quality as the previous one.
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StringerBell
Blue Belt
Posts: 774
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:30 am
Languages: English (n)
Italian: ~ C1 reading/listening and ? speaking
Polish : on hiatus
Latin: beginner
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Re: Just a log (English, Italian)

Postby StringerBell » Thu May 02, 2019 9:17 pm

aaleks wrote:Sometimes I write here but I won't call it working on my writing, or working on anything language-learning related at all. It's an unsupervised writing, meaning that no one really checks it besides me, and recently I've become too lazy to proofread it properly -- after all I'm taking a break! So it's hard to tell what it does more -- harm or good.


I think writing in English here is good to reinforce what you know, I don't see how it could cause harm. In your last post, I only noticed a couple of very minor errors that were most likely typos, not actual mistakes, and even if they were mistakes, who cares? Language is about communication, not perfection. I enjoy reading your long posts about your experiences and views, so I hope you keep writing them.
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Italian goal: transcribe 10 episodes of Lucifer : 2 / 10

Morgana
Blue Belt
Posts: 659
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 6:02 pm
Languages: EN (N)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=9665
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Re: Just a log (English, Italian)

Postby Morgana » Thu May 02, 2019 11:53 pm

What StringerBell said plus in general I feel like your writing is improving over time! Only little by little because it’s at such a high level already (for a forum anyway, let’s be honest we’re not all writing academically here haha), but when you mention your concern that your English might backslide and that you’re only really getting English practice by reading and posting on the forum, I’m like sheesh she’s so good at English why is she even worrying... :lol: if anything you are getting better during this “break”!
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aaleks
Blue Belt
Posts: 701
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:04 pm
Location: Russia
Languages: Russian (N)
English (?)
Italian (beginner)
German (false beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=6724
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Re: Just a log (English, Italian)

Postby aaleks » Fri May 03, 2019 12:25 pm

StringerBell wrote:
aaleks wrote:Sometimes I write here but I won't call it working on my writing, or working on anything language-learning related at all. It's an unsupervised writing, meaning that no one really checks it besides me, and recently I've become too lazy to proofread it properly -- after all I'm taking a break! So it's hard to tell what it does more -- harm or good.


I think writing in English here is good to reinforce what you know, I don't see how it could cause harm. In your last post, I only noticed a couple of very minor errors that were most likely typos, not actual mistakes, and even if they were mistakes, who cares? Language is about communication, not perfection. I enjoy reading your long posts about your experiences and views, so I hope you keep writing them.

I didn't proofread the post as a whole piece before/after posting it so a couple of errors aren't so bad I guess :) . I've read it now though and found at least three typos (one lost article, one "-s" at the end of the word "skills", and me instead of my), and one error that's more like a slip of the tongue.

Morgana wrote:What StringerBell said plus in general I feel like your writing is improving over time! Only little by little because it’s at such a high level already (for a forum anyway, let’s be honest we’re not all writing academically here haha), but when you mention your concern that your English might backslide and that you’re only really getting English practice by reading and posting on the forum, I’m like sheesh she’s so good at English why is she even worrying... :lol: if anything you are getting better during this “break”!

I noticed it myself but wasn't sure that it's really so.
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learningchayse
Yellow Belt
Posts: 86
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:34 am
Languages: Chinese(N), English
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Re: Just a log (English, Italian)

Postby learningchayse » Fri May 03, 2019 4:01 pm

aaleks wrote: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 :) .


So you can speak Russian, German, English, and Italian?
0 x

aaleks
Blue Belt
Posts: 701
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:04 pm
Location: Russia
Languages: Russian (N)
English (?)
Italian (beginner)
German (false beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=6724
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Re: Just a log (English, Italian)

Postby aaleks » Fri May 03, 2019 4:34 pm

learningchayse wrote:
aaleks wrote: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 :) .


So you can speak Russian, German, English, and Italian?

Only Russian and English. My German hardly was B1 when I quitted it. After a year or so of neglecting the language I lost it almost completely. I remember some words and some grammar but I won't be able to understand even Peppa Pig in German (I've checked). In Italian I'm just a beginner. Maybe an Upper-beginner :D .
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learningchayse
Yellow Belt
Posts: 86
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:34 am
Languages: Chinese(N), English
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Re: Just a log (English, Italian)

Postby learningchayse » Sat May 04, 2019 6:38 am

aaleks wrote:
learningchayse wrote:
aaleks wrote: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 :) .


So you can speak Russian, German, English, and Italian?

Only Russian and English. My German hardly was B1 when I quitted it. After a year or so of neglecting the language I lost it almost completely. I remember some words and some grammar but I won't be able to understand even Peppa Pig in German (I've checked). In Italian I'm just a beginner. Maybe an Upper-beginner :D .


You mentioned your English learning approach in another post which as I remember is something like reading and watching tv for 4 years, right?
Could you say a little bit more about it? I mean how did you do it exactly?
What type of materials have you used and how?
Why do you think you have achieved this level of proficiency?
I would love to know anything related to your approach. :D

I haven't read through your entire log yet, so I apologize if you've covered this at some point.
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aaleks
Blue Belt
Posts: 701
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:04 pm
Location: Russia
Languages: Russian (N)
English (?)
Italian (beginner)
German (false beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=6724
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Re: Just a log (English, Italian)

Postby aaleks » Sat May 04, 2019 1:40 pm

learningchayse wrote:
You mentioned your English learning approach in another post which as I remember is something like reading and watching tv for 4 years, right?
Could you say a little bit more about it? I mean how did you do it exactly?
What type of materials have you used and how?
Why do you think you have achieved this level of proficiency?
I would love to know anything related to your approach. :D

I haven't read through your entire log yet, so I apologize if you've covered this at some point.


I guess tou might find a more detailed story on the first pages of the log. Here I'll try to give a short answer (haha We'll see if I succeed :mrgreen: ).

First of all I wasn't doing that on purpose -- waiting for so long before starting to work on my active skills. In my case the whole my English learning story might be headlined as "It just happened" :D . I didn't plan to start learning English in Jule 2012. It just happened that about that time I was watching a series, and several episodes of the series weren't translated/dubbed into Russian. When I tried to find those episodes I found out that there are only subtitles, no dubbed version. I tried to watch it with the subtitles but I didn't like reading subtitles while watching a movie or show so it gave me the idea to once again try to learn English. It's stupid but it's true -- I started learning English on a whim. Then I started searching the Internet, reading about other people experience. At first my goal was only listening, so during the first four or five months it was listening to easy podcasts, working with series using English subtitles. But I felt that the progress was too slow. From my little experience with German I knew that reading might help me learn words faster, so reluctantly I started reading English books. Harry Potter, of course :D . In the beginning I had about 10 or so words per page. At that time I, as many inexperienced language learners, was afraid to learn something wrong, because of that I became obsessed with looking up every unknown word in a dictionary. Often I looked up the words I'd known already -- just in case. At some point I noticed that my brain became lazy -- it didn't even try to remember a word. Why bother if there was a dictionary? So I had to "cure" it by reading in a rather extensive than the usual for me a la intensive way.

There's this vocabulary test. When I started reading the first HP book my score on this test was about 5,000 words. After 1-1,5 years of almost everyday reading and watching tv in English it was around 15,000. Most people would say that it is impossible to learn so many words in such a short period of time. Maybe it's true, but it's just an online test, not real numbers. Either way, after learning English for 1.5 years or so I felt that my head was about to blow because of all the words and other information I stuffed into it. I decided that for the sake of my sanity if nothing else I had to stop. I continued reading books and watching tv-shows but in a more relaxed way -- just for pleasure. No goals like reading at least 10 pages a day, etc. For the next two years it was like that. I didn't learn many new words if at all. But at the same time my understanding of the words I had already known became deeper. My listening comprehension improved to the point that sometimes I couldn't say in what language they were speaking on TV at the moment.

And then I registered on one not-too-friendly English learning forum :mrgreen: (a Russian-speaking forum), tried to write there a sentence in English, which didn't go well. That how and why I started working on my active skills (writing).

P.S. Now according to the vocabulary test I linked I know about 21,000-22,000. The last time I checked, a couple of weeks ago I got -- 22,600 words. I have no clue how inaccurate the numbers are. As I said it's just an online test, it can't be taken seriously.
2 x

learningchayse
Yellow Belt
Posts: 86
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:34 am
Languages: Chinese(N), English
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Re: Just a log (English, Italian)

Postby learningchayse » Sat May 04, 2019 4:02 pm

aaleks wrote:
I guess tou might find a more detailed story on the first pages of the log. Here I'll try to give a short answer (haha We'll see if I succeed :mrgreen: ).


I will definitely look into that part.
So glad to read your learning experience.
As for your intensive reading and listening period, how many hours per day do you spend on English? Seems quite intense to me!!
0 x

aaleks
Blue Belt
Posts: 701
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:04 pm
Location: Russia
Languages: Russian (N)
English (?)
Italian (beginner)
German (false beginner)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=6724
x 1222

Re: Just a log (English, Italian)

Postby aaleks » Sat May 04, 2019 4:34 pm

learningchayse wrote:
aaleks wrote:
I guess tou might find a more detailed story on the first pages of the log. Here I'll try to give a short answer (haha We'll see if I succeed :mrgreen: ).


I will definitely look into that part.
So glad to read your learning experience.
As for your intensive reading and listening period, how many hours per day do you spend on English? Seems quite intense to me!!

Well, it's hard to tell because I never kept a track of the hours I spent every day on English (I'm not doing it now for Italian either). When I only started reading books in English my reading pace was ~ 5 pages per hour, than it became 10 pages per hour. So back then I was spending at least one hour on English but not really daily. Even though I tried to do something in English every day there's such a thing as holydays, besides sometimes life just gets in the way. When I try to count how many hours I've spent on learning English I use 2 hours per day as a kind of middle-ground number. There are the days when it might be 4-5 hours (in the overall), and there are the days when it's none. I've never had a plan or schedule, I just use all the free and "dead" time I can find during a day.
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